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Women Sex Offenders: Treatment and Dynamics.

In Women Sex Offenders, Adele Mayer sheds light on what she refers to as the "secret within the best kept secret." Beginning from the premise that little is known about women sex offenders, Mayer examines types, causes and effects of their offenses and looks at treatment of women sex offenders and their victims.

One of the book's most important aspects is its emphasis on the differences between men and women sex offenders. Mayer points out that while research confirms that men sex offenders often act out of rage and aggression, women "do not sexualize relationships, eroticize anger or associate power and control with sexual needs." Women sex offenders, she writes, tend to abuse for their own emotional needs: "Sex becomes a masturbatory act for self-stimulation."

Another distinguishing feature of female molestation is the frequency of involvement of a male partner or accomplice. Triads, as Mayer calls these relationships, may consist of a mother-child incest (involving a victim, a female abuser and her male partner) or father-child incest (involving a victim, a male abuser and a collusive mother).

Mayer also notes that men and women sex offenders do share some characteristics--offenders of both sexes, for example, were frequently victims of sexual abuse and neglect as children.

While Mayer's research and descriptive analysis is excellent, perhaps the book's most useful sections are those dealing with specific treatments of offenders and their victims. In treating women offenders, Mayer recommends that therapy be supportive, behavioral, educational and medical. She suggests administering a complete battery of psychological tests and referring offenders to self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

In treating victims of women offenders, Mayer suggests that specific needs be addressed through therapeutic techniques such as modeling, behavioral controls, reality testing, assertiveness training and lessons on sexual vs. non-sexual love. Abused children may benefit from writing, drawing and role playing exercises.

In spite of its brevity, Women Sex Offenders contains a wealth of worthwhile information, including excellent footnotes, bibliographic information and an extensive glossary and index. Mayer's book is a must read for anyone who works with sex offenders.

Reviewed by Sr. Mary Winifred, C.H.S., volunteer, Taconic Correctional Facility, Bedford Hills, N.Y.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Correctional Association, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Sinifred, Mary
Publication:Corrections Today
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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