Profile Of An Abuser

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Nineteen percent of the world’s children live in India. According to a 2007 study, 53.22% of those children reported having faced sexual abuse. 59

Although there are many different forms of gender-based violence against women, they nonetheless often share certain characteristics. For example, most types of GBV do not occur as unique incidents, but are ongoing over time, even over decades. Often, the girl or woman not only knows the abuser before the first incident, but might live with or interact regularly with him. It is clear that although the common image of rape is a violent attack by a stranger, in reality, most forced sex is committed by abusers known to the victim. For example, husbands, male family members, acquaintances and individuals in positions of authority.  There is no single formula for identifying an abuser. However, having a sense of commonalities in convicted abusers can help us all recognise potentially dangerous situations:

Identified Sexual Abusers Often:

  • Are close to the girl, including male relatives
  • Are able to intimidate, charm or gain a girl’s trust
  • Exist in a position of economic and/or psychological control over the girl and her associates, including coaches
  • Individuals with frequent access to the girl
  • Exhibit other controlling behaviours
  • Make efforts to isolate girl
  • Groom girl to create a bond with them, offer special treatment, kindness, gifts
  • Are hypersensitive, easily aggravated, quick to emotion
  • Experienced or witnessed abuse themselves
  • Seek out positions where they have frequent access to children, including sport programmes

57 . “Sexual Abuse By Women: The Crime No One Wants To Investigate” at

58 . “Female Sex Offenders”, March 2007, Center for Sex Offender Management, U.S Department of Justice.

59 . "Study on Child Abuse: India 2007" (PDF). Published by the Government of India, (Ministry of Women and Child Development). Retrieved from