Legal statutes in most states define the perpetrator as 3-5 years older than the victim. However, in cases where the victim is developmentally disabled, the offender may be younger than the victim. Ability to provide consent is the issue. Men are perpetrators in most cases, whether victims are girls or boys. However, women also perpetrate sexual abuse. The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder reports that women are perpetrators in about 14% of cases involving boys and 6% of cases involving girls.
The majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a family member. Darkness to Light (www.darkness2light.org) reports that 30-40% of victims are abused by members of their families. Research, however, has shown much higher rates of sex abuse by family members. Only 10% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers. Older children and known community members comprise a large percentage of the perpetrators. Neighbors, friends of the family, and babysitters commit sexual abuse. So do school teachers, softball coaches, grocery store clerks, lawyers, and preachers. No group membership list is exempt. Neither is any age, gender, or other characteristic. Sex offenders come from all walks of life. Young, old, male, female, rich, poor, educated, and uneducated.
The sexual abuse of your child may have been perpetrated by:
You will face a different set of emotional responses and decision-making processes based on who the offender is.