Document Type


Publication Date



North Carolina Law Review




This article examines a little studied area at the intersections of masculinity, feminist studies, and criminal justice — sexual abuse of boys in custody by female staff. Professor Smith outlines the scope of the problem and discusses competing narratives that attempt to explain the phenomena: (1) female staff as “mother, sister, friend”; (2) adolescent development theory; (3) complex early childhood trauma; and (4) female authority and power. There is a gap in both masculinity and feminist theory in analyzing sexual aggression and power by women over boys. The talk article concludes with policy and practice prescription and recommendations for further theoretical development in the masculinity and feminist theory spaces to account for these phenomena.



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