Because women are more likely to seek professional help, and because they are more likely to be the victims of abuse by people in positions of power, women who do seek professional assistance may end up being victims of sexual exploitation by the very people from whom they seek help. Unlike other problems which primarily affect women, such as rape and domestic violence, this issue has received little public attention and has had little success in building a social movement to combat it. Bohmer analyzes the social construction of this unique problem and the response it has received from individuals, groups, and various institutions, such as the law and the regulatory process. Bohmer explains why this problem has a different history from other problems facing primarily women, and why it has not had much success in stirring social movement for addressing the problem.
Using other issues of feminist concern, Bohmer connects the problem of professional sexual exploitation to issues of gender and power and shows the ways in which women seeking help are punished for doing so. In addition, the available self-help groups and organizations are examined in light of their benefits and relative lack of success in combating the problem. The legal and regulatory systems in place are also discussed in terms of the ways in which society responds to new social problems as they receive public attention.
About the Author:
CAROL BOHMER is a lawyer and a sociologist interested in sociological and legal issues affecting women. She has published articles on divorce, mediation, rape, domestic violence, and sexual misconduct. She is visiting associate professor of sociology, women's studies, and public policy at Ohio State University.