Amid the sordid details of the Jeffery Epstein affair we see female recruiters finding young girls and luring them to the lair of male sexual abusers. Will these recruiter women be held accountable for their actions?

What happens to these female sex traffickers will tell us whether women in the United States are really considered equal to men or if we have decided to view women as though they have no moral agency of their own but are merely the playthings of smarter, stronger, male perpetrators.

No doubt these female employees of Epstein will try to hide themselves on the list of Epstein’s victims. But if we hold to the equality of women and men we cannot allow that to happen. For a woman to betray and procure another woman or child for the sexual use of a man is particularly egregious betrayal considering the natural sort of trust women and children have in females not to betray them sexually.

In a recent Forbes article on sex trafficking we learn not only are women “a growing category of sex trafficker” but also “in some countries they are the primary perpetrators” of that crime.

[Sex trafficking is] committed right under our noses, and by men and women in suits….

Women and girls are the primary victims of this demand… What is surprising (and breaking with the stereotype) is that in many countries where statistics on the gender of the traffickers are obtained, women are the main perpetrator of human trafficking. An almost unimaginable picture emerges of women subjecting other women and girls to such cruelty. The report indicates ‘in some parts of the world, women trafficking women is the norm.

It is that very perception of being “safe people” that gives women their unique power. I have noticed a reluctance to ascribe full responsibility to a woman who participates in a crime like sex trafficking. It seems there is a public desire to be more lenient with her than with a man.

For example, not only is there a feminist movement to abolish prison for women, a recent study found that there is 60 percent disparity in punishment between men and women for the same crime. This revelation was attributed to “the boyfriend theory” of crime: that women involved in crime are forced by boyfriends or husbands or other men presumably through physical intimidation.

No doubt this is sometimes true. Perhaps some women really are simply tools of more evil and more intelligent men. But to say that all female sex traffickers are always tools of evil men is an inherently sexist notion.

What would happen if we really believed in equality?

If we really believe in equality, then we need to say to women what we say to men: no one can force you to do anything. You are the master of yourself. The claim of force or manipulation by another can be used to mitigate punishment in a court of law but not as the sole defense. The Nuremberg trials should have taught us that.

But let’s entertain for a moment the idea that it is possible for someone else to force you to do something heinous while you are entirely guiltless. If so, does that possibility extend to men or does it only apply to women? Are reluctant men ever persuaded to commit crimes due to extreme pressure? What about pressure from women?

Those who see physical intimidation as the worst and most significant kind will say no to the second question. But any therapist could tell you that emotional and psychological pressure can be just as devastating as a physical threat.

While it could be true that most women are less capable of an effective physical threat against a grown man if she is not armed, women certainly are able to threaten a man with serious loss should he fail to meet her expectations. She can threaten loss of contact with his children or withhold sex or peace in the home or money or many other goods.

Women, I would argue, are at least men’s equals or even superiors in their capacity for psychological abuse, manipulation and blackmail. Furthermore, women are certainly capable of sheer physical intimidation against – at least – children (females commit 54 percent of abuse against children) and the elderly, infirm or emotionally vulnerable.

Consider the case of the depressed young man who was goaded into completing his suicide attempt by the taunts of his girlfriend. She was 17 at the time and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two and half years in prison. While that sentence may or may not be appropriate for this girl considering her age and mental state (she has a history of depression and suicidal ideation herself), had the tables been turned and it was the boyfriend pushing his girlfriend to commit suicide the data suggests the charges and the sentence would have been much more severe. Are we okay with that? If so, why?

The fact that women are not half of all CEOs apparently blinds us to other significant facts: women are , actually the great majority of employees in all the professions that raise future generations. Some 40 percent of all children are now born to single mothers with very little or no mentoring contact with men.

Indeed, if so much evil is to be attributed to bad teaching, or inadequate mentoring, as the extreme left tends to claim, women will be forced to admit a certain amount of responsibility for the negative outcomes we are seeing in men and society, or admit that their theory that human evil results from poor nurturing is only half the truth.

What nurtures a ‘rape culture’?

If rape is how feminism presents it: that is, resulting from either boys being taught to rape or a lack of teaching that one should not rape, is it mothers and female teachers, doctors and therapists who are inculcating “rape culture” in our boys?

Either there is no such thing as rape culture, or much of rape culture is being produced in males by women themselves.

Oddly there are strong arguments for both possibilities. On one hand, rape does not need to be taught. On the other, many mothers find it difficult to enforce boundaries with their children. The Boy Crisis by Dr Warren Farrell and Dr John Gray has collected the data on children raised in single parent households and found that children raised by only fathers do much better than children raised by only mothers.

Single mothers do worse on every measurement and are especially poor at teaching the delaying of gratification, which is essential for overall success in life especially in regard to sexual morality. Any boy who is trained to perceive the word “no” as that thing women say a few times before you eventually get what you want will become the sort of adult we don’t want around our daughters. While I would not say indulgent mothers are entirely to blame for their sons becoming toxic men, I think we can at least attribute say it is a contributing factor.

It is often claimed that rape is not just a result of mere untrammeled sexual arousal but due also to the rapist’s desire to dominate, and humiliate their victim. We have learned of late that sexual contact between female teachers and other female authority figures and their male students and charges is more common than previously thought.

The CDC’s nationally representative data revealed that over one year, men and women were equally likely to experience nonconsensual sex, and most male victims reported female perpetrators. Over their lifetime, 79 percent of men who were “made to penetrate” someone else (a form of rape, in the view of most researchers) reported female perpetrators. Likewise, most men who experienced sexual coercion and unwanted sexual contact had female perpetrators.

…We found that, contrary to assumptions, the biggest threat to women serving time does not come from male corrections staff. Instead, female victims are more than three times as likely to experience sexual abuse by other women inmates than by male staff.

Also surprisingly, women inmates are more likely to be abused by other inmates than are male inmates, disrupting the long held view that sexual violence in prison is mainly about men assaulting men. In juvenile corrections facilities, female staff are also a much more significant threat than male staff; more than nine in ten juveniles who reported staff sexual victimization were abused by a woman.

Could sexual abuse of young males by older adult females have the same motivation as male-perpetrated rape? That is, not merely due to sexual arousal but a desire to dominate or control? If so, it would make sense then that this intense hatred for women that comes out in the most heinous crimes of male-perpetrated rape and even murder, might sometimes stem from previous childhood abuse.

It would also make sense that a woman who has been sexually abused by a man might be tempted to engage in a sex act in which she is in full command of the situation, such as sexual contact with a minor. These 50 sex offender teachers (all of whom are well above average in looks) were oddly seeking out boys. And yet there seems to be still a societal reluctance to see these women as real sex offenders in the same category as male sex offenders. Why?

Any time a woman commits a crime or atrocity we tend to ask, “How have we as a society failed this woman? What are the mitigating circumstances of her behavior?” When a man fails to meet his obligations, we do not wonder about his circumstances or if perhaps he was himself a victim of societal failings. I find this curious. To be fair, this is probably happening because men commit violent crimes at three times the rate of women. The logic appears sound: the rarity of female violent crime seems to demand an explanation beyond women’s own volition.

Though as a woman myself I wonder if the giant disparity between male and female conviction in crime does not indicate female moral superiority so much as it represents the difference in what we, as a society choose to prosecute.

Women’s bad behavior is most often subtle and private and usually nearly impossible to prove. For example a woman need not use violence against a small child to cause serious harm, extreme pain and even death. She needs only to ignore it, as in this story of an infant left in a baby swing without care for a week until he eventually died, according to the coroner, from a maggot infested diaper rash. The article mentions a toddler daughter which strangely suggests a more intentional quality to the death. Interestingly, this Newsweek story displays the father’s mug shot prominently but not the mother’s, who is equally charged in the crime.

With equal rights come equal responsibilities

When you factor in the great power of mothers over their children and teachers and care-givers over their students and charges, and nurses over their patients in a multi-generational view, men and women’s equal ability to impact society through history is fully revealed.

If a woman’s bad behavior can stem from abuse at the hands of a man, could not a man’s bad behavior sometimes stem from abuse at the hands of a woman? And so, it seems both men and women must take responsibility for their actions least we get caught in a cycle of evil abuse and then revenge which can play itself out through generations.

Women and men are equally capable of evil and good. The disparity in convictions is partly due to the fact that unlike men, women can more easily get away with their bad behavior partly because of their perceived moral superiority and partly because the evil they do is usually too subtle to have a law against it, or if there is a law against it there may be no proof.

Women’s crimes can often be attributed to accidents and are often not caught until a pattern emerges as in the case of this NICU nurse charged with the murder of eight babies and attempted murder of nine more.

But I predict a greater number of female convictions for serious crimes now that the smart phone provides the evidence in texts, audio and video recordings needed to convict. For example, these caught on video child abuse cases and sex offender texts, this case, where a college student finally leapt to his death from a parking garage after “his girlfriend sent a barrage of …47,000 [abusive] text messages in two months” the last of which said “die!”

With equal rights come equal responsibilities. While it must be said that women who murder or neglect their charges to death are truly rare, women who lie, manipulate, cheat, get impatient, lazy, bitter and vengeful are as common as similarly disposed men. The attempt to lay at the feet of men the full responsibility of a broken society while simultaneously extending a kind of strange moral deference to women, denying their faults, weaknesses, capacity for evil, or at least shrouding these in mysterious excuses of previous abuse, is inherently absurd and sexist.

While this behavior might seem chivalrous or generous to women it is ultimately condescending. Women are powerful people and that was the case from the beginning of time, well before the dawn of third wave feminism.

Women are as essential to the world as men and always have been. Women have helped to make everything we see in front of us today, the good and the bad, even if their names are not on it, because they largely created those people whose names are on things and also those people whose names are not. Most all the greatest works and acts of history are hidden and unsung.

It is primarily women who teach their children what love is, what normal is, both through motherhood and her self-chosen careers in the nurturing professions. If we women don’t like what we see around us then maybe we need to take some responsibility for our part in the chaos.

For women to accept this new insipid tale of themselves as merely tools, powerless, too harmless for prison, incapable of any real evil, always in need and always “trapped” by someone else’s choices, is a seriously dangerous and defeatist story demoting women precisely into that second-class citizen which feminism claimed to want to save us from.

Women are capable of great evil. Just like a man, if a woman believes herself truly incapable of evil, she actually increases the likelihood she will perpetrate it. She will naïvely sleep-walk through her moral choices, leaving destruction in her wake, resting in the notion that there will always be someone else to blame if anything upsetting happens.

Jordan Peterson says, “I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.”

When you deny a woman’s capacity for evil you lie. And not only that, you betray those (men, women and children) who might have been mistreated by that woman; you deny her equality with men and worst of all you deny her great capacity for good.

Katherine Baker is a freelance writer who lives in Pennsylvania.