Why Law Enforcement Is Seeing More Women Offenders


Why Law Enforcement Is Seeing More Women Offenders

Whenever I write an article about the corrosive backgrounds of offenders, readers suggest that I’m trying to make excuses for criminal behavior. Per a previous comment,  “Every sex offender will make claim he was abused as a child; it doesn’t excuse what he did.”

I don’t disagree. If you do the crime, you should do the time.

But the facts as to women offenders are real and they need to be understood. We debate the root causes of crime which are usually centered on poverty or jobs or discrimination. But is there a root cause for the root causes?

I believe there is and it’s centered on child abuse and neglect, present in the backgrounds of most offenders. It doesn’t matter if jobs and a way out of poverty are guaranteed, if you grew up abused, beaten, ignored, and if you made your own breakfast since the age of five (assuming you could find food in the house), you are likely to be a burden to society.

Women are becoming increasingly active as offenders, Crime in America. Why?

Women Offenders and Sex Abuse

Women offenders are massively abused and that trauma is ignored by the #metoo movement and most people.

Per the data below, sex abuse and physical violence is part of the childhood experience of 80-90 percent of women offenders.

I spoke to many women offenders through my podcasts and professional life who routinely told me that they were sexually abused as children by family and people they knew.

On one radio show, four women provided explicit stories and details about their sexual abuse that were incredibly raw. I didn’t run the show for a week; I wanted them to think about their testimonies and the possible consequences for their personal lives. All four insisted that I offer it to the public; it was empowering. They were happy to have it out in public.

Sitting in a women’s pre-release center where we held public affairs training (they had a culinary arts program thus free food), I was surrounded in a courtyard by women inmates on break. They told me that for the first time in their lives, they weren’t being beaten or abused, and they were getting training for jobs and decent medical care. They were “safe” in prison. Some did not want to leave. Prison was preferable to their previous lives.

The study below provides documentation regarding the extensive sexual abuse of women caught up in the in the justice system.

Authors recommend interventions by society to address abuse after it happens without mentioning that it could be stopped by addressing the problem head-on at the family and community levels.

The Sexual Abuse of Women is Routinely Ignored

The sexual abuse of women is routinely ignored by almost everyone because the larger society is complicit.

We have “women’s” magazines proclaiming a feminist agenda while virtually all ads focus on a woman’s appearance. We have male politicians, religious leaders and entertainment officials charged with endless abuses who were self-proclaimed feminists.

We have sexualized movies and television shows.

As to music,…

“….when I get out I’m f______ all your little sisters in the f______ throat hole.”

“At Vulture, Craig Jenkins surveyed the “new wave of rap violence” and drew the following conclusions: “We owe it to the women who say they’ve been hurt by these artists to stop offering them space in interviews to trash their accusers before everyone gets their day in court. We owe it to the (increasingly) young fans of these guys—who place their safety in the hands of both artist and venue at every concert—to ensure that the performer onstage isn’t acting against the best interests of his audience…The current climate of simply shoveling more money and clout at rappers with dangerous tendencies and hoping they’ll straighten themselves out is untenable.”

The Daily Beast

“To be a woman who loves hip-hop at times is to be in love with your abuser,” she said. “Because the music was and is that. And yet the culture is ours.” That familiarity with trauma doesn’t have to be hip-hop culture’s narrative moving forward. We, as listeners, need to challenge ourselves to be better and simply not listen to these artists.”



The massive sexual abuse of girls and women in the justice system is well documented. I’m told by women offenders and the people who work with them that the physical and sexual abuse continues well into adulthood with male offenders insisting that she run drugs up Interstate 95 or have the s___ kicked out of her, or have their children threatened.

Women in the justice system have massive mental health and substance abuse problems, Crime in America.

But the #metoo movement is absent from this discussion along with just about everyone else. It’s simply too easy to blame poverty and other factors than to look inward at ourselves. Pointing fingers may jeopardize funding sources, and who wants that?

Criminal justice advocates ignore it, the entertainment industry ignores it, politicians ignore it.

If we are going to end the crime problem in this country, then we must stop ignoring the unbelievable level of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of girls and women.

Virtually all have children who will grow up in unenvious circumstances. The cycle continues unabated.

Study (direct quotes rearranged for readability)

In a 2006 study of girls involved in Oregon’s juvenile justice system, for example, 93 percent had experienced sexual or physical abuse; 76 percent had experienced at least one incident of sexual abuse by the age of 13; and 63 percent had experienced both physical and sexual abuse.

Similarly, in a 2009 study of delinquent girls in South Carolina, 81 percent reported a history of sexual violence, and 42 percent reported dating violence.

Finally, a 1998 study of juvenile-justice-involved girls in California found that 81 percent of girls had experienced one or more incident of physical or sexual abuse; 56 percent reported one or more forms of sexual abuse; and 45 percent reported being beaten or burned at least once.

But rates of prevalence alone do not fully capture the severe extent and multiple incidents of girls’ sexual victimization. In the California study, for example, of the 56 percent of girls who reported sexual abuse — which can take many forms — 40 percent of girls reported being raped or sodomized at least once, and 17 percent reported multiple occurrences of abuse.

Girls in the Oregon study, meanwhile, reported they had experienced an average of over four forms of severe sexual abuse before the age of 12.

Justice-involved girls also are victimized by sexual violence at an earlier average age, and for a longer average duration, than other forms of abuse.

The South Carolina study, for example, found that in contrast to other forms of violence that peaked during certain developmental stages, sexual violence was a risk for girls throughout their lives, though particularly during adolescence.

Meanwhile, the California study found that the age at which girls were “most likely” to be fondled or molested was five years old; and the Oregon study found that the average age at which at least one instance of sexual abuse occurred was just under seven and a half years old.

These findings are particularly significant in light of a recent study that found that traumatic exposure before high school is an even stronger predictor of girls’ delinquency than such exposure during high school.

Rights 4 Girls

Leonard A. Sipes, Jr. – Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Former Adjunct Associate Professor of criminology and public affairs-University of Maryland, University College. Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University. You can contact me at [email protected].

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