William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Kay L. Levine


This article describes the origins, design, and implications of a new study exploring female-perpetrated statutory rape against adolescent boys in the United States. In contrast to both legal frameworks, which typically regard statutory rape as a male-on-female phenomenon, and existing literature from the fields of psychology and psychiatry derived from clinical samples and sex offender registries, this study examines the incidence of female-perpetrated statutory rape using data from electronic news reports covering the period 1990-2008. In this short article, the author explains the advantages of her approach over those taken by prior scholars, in terms of the size of the data set and the scope of coverage, as well as her decision to focus on statutory rape exclusively, rather than on female sex abuse more generally. The article also discusses the projected implications of the study for understanding not only the crime of statutory rape, but also the gender assumptions implicit in conventional works on this topic.