Social moralities and discursive constructions of female sex offenders

Hayes, Sharon L. & Carpenter, Belinda J. (2013) Social moralities and discursive constructions of female sex offenders. Sexualities, 16(1/2), pp. 159-179.

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This article explores legal, scholarly and social responses to women identified as sex offenders. While much has been written on the male paedophile, rapist and sex offender, little research has been done on the role of gender and sexuality in sex offending. This article examines the ways in which the female sex offender is currently theorized and the discourses surrounding policy, legislative and media responses to their crimes. We identify contradictory public discourses where perceptions of female child abusers in particular often succumb to moral panic, in spite of many such offenders being given lenient sentences for their crimes. An examination of the discursive construction of female child abusers suggests that these contradictions are informed by underlying assumptions concerning harm and subjectivity in sex crimes. In exploring these contradictions we illustrate the ways in which such discourses are impacted by social moralities, and how social moralities construct offender and victim subjectivities differently, based on differences in gender, age and sexuality.

Impact and interest:

2 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 57214
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: gender, sex crimes, sex offenders
DOI: 10.1177/1363460712471112
ISSN: 1363-4607
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 SAGE Publications
Deposited On: 14 Feb 2013 04:01
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2016 16:32

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