Volume VI, 2007
Dr. Christopher Leone, LouAnne B. Hawkins
Jessica Lunsford’s father awoke on February 24, 2005 to discover his nine-year-old daughter was missing. John Couey, Jessica’s neighbor, had entered their home at 1:00 AM the previous night and abducted the little girl. After sexually assaulting her, he dug a hole and buried her alive. A forty-nine-year-old homeless man, Brian Mitchell, abducted fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint from her bedroom in an affluent district of Salt Lake City. She was found after nine months of sexual abuse, deprivation, and threats to her life. The scruffy drifter was arrested and awaits trial.
In recent months, newscasters have brought the images of these unshaven, dirty predators and their fair, sweet victims into our households. Now imagine that these predators are attractive young women in business suits and heels and their victims are rowdy little boys in baggy clothes. Impossible? Perhaps most people think so. Why is it that we envision the prototypical child molester as one of the men represented above? Why is that we envision the prototypical sexual abuse victim as a fragile little girl?
Rector, Bailey, "Sexual Tutor or Sexual Predator, Instigating Provocateur or Innocent Victim? Attitudes Toward Perpetrators and Victims of Child Sexual Abuse" (2007). All Volumes (2001-2008). Paper 41.