“I Know It’s Hard to Believe, But the Monster Who Abused Me is My Mother:” Experiences of Being Sexually Abused as a Child by a Female

Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan, Attrash Najjar Afnan, Dana Lassri, Carmit Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study we sought to shed light on the experience of adults who were sexually abused by females. Narratives in the current study were chosen from a large set of narratives (n = 505) that were submitted to the Israeli Independent Public Inquiry on CSA. Twenty-eight (n = 28) narratives of adults who experienced CSA committed by females were included in the study and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Two main themes were identified: (1) adults who as children experienced CSA committed by females, and (2) personal, interpersonal, and social constructions of the abuse. Most of the narratives included intrafamilial abuse, with half of the participants reporting that their mother was the one who committed the CSA, which often occurred during daily routine activities, with the main abuse scene being the shower/bathroom. Participants described various abuse experiences including the experience of powerlessness, “standing together,” and captivity. Finally, participants discussed how social constructions of gender impacted how they understood and experienced the abuse. Child sexual abuse committed by females was described by the participants as having serious consequences for their lives. Participants shared how perceived gender roles and social scripts have an important role in casting doubt on the existence and reliability of CSA experiences committed by females. Findings from the current study help to identify key characteristics of sexual abuse that was conducted by females, and suggests social mechanisms that may help explain why perpetration by females is understood and treated differently than perpetration by males.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSexual Abuse
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • child sexual abuse
  • females

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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