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#121834 - 06/23/05 02:28 AM Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
I saw Ken's post about MS's new policy regarding offenders posting on the discussion boards. In it, he said:

"He may post only in At Risk..."

I, and I'm sure others, am wondering how this will work logistically since the At Risk forum is a Members forum. Some questions:

1. Does this mean an offender will have to become a member of MS or will that be waived?

2. If they do not have to become a member, does this mean there will be an At Risk forum on the Public side?

3. If they are posting in the At Risk forum on the Members side, does this mean they will also be able to view the Survivor and My Story forums on the Members side?

4. If they are restricted to only the At Risk forum, is there technology in place to ensure that is the only forum they post in? i.e., is it an honor system, or will the forums actually reject their posts?

5. If an honor system, is it expected that members who see abuse of it would report those posts?

I've posted this post here instead of PM'ing a mod, since I'm sure many others are probably wondering the same type of questions so feel it will be beneficial for us all to know the answers to feel safe.

Thanks for following this issue through to this conclusion. I appreciate all that the mods do here, and if it is true that they can only post to the At Risk forum, and cannot see anything else on the Members side, then I am comfortable with this solution.

_________________________
Eddie

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#121835 - 06/23/05 02:49 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#121836 - 06/23/05 04:09 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hello gentlemen,

I know that you all have strong feelings about this issue and so I am going to try to give you a quick response here.

The At Risk forum is private and membership is required to join. I don't believe that there will be any changes made to that. From the DB Guidelines:
Quote:
Due to the sensitive nature of some of the discussions in At Risk, admission to post or read is by application to the moderator. You must be a paid member of MaleSurvivor (limited scholarship funds are available for those who cannot afford membership) and the person must let Ken Singer know why he wants access. This information is confidential and will not be shared with anyone.
Access to Member Forums is totally individual. It is possible to allow individuals into At Risk and not into other Member Forums. Please remember that as Ken said in his post, this is not blanket policy. Decisions will be made on an individual basis.

Quote:
If an honor system, is it expected that members who see abuse of it would report those posts?
The mods ask that all of you do the same as always-- please report any post or private message that makes you uncomfortable and then let us check it out and make a decision.

Our guiding principle is to keep the site safe, open, and focused on recovery issues. We ask that you all report posts and share your concerns privately, with moderators. Bringing moderator actions or site concerns to the public forum, or attacking people in posts/private messages, distracts all of us from the healing and recovery issues that this site is about. The fallout from this sort of thing creates more work for the moderators and keeps them from addressing the underlying concerns as fast as everyone would like.


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#121837 - 06/23/05 04:11 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
ShyBear Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/05
Posts: 149
Loc: The American South
Quote:
I often wonder if MS checks out their members to see if any of them are registered sex offenders?
Zach, that's a really good sugestion, but I have no idea if it's being done. Since the "At Risk" board is in the "Paid Members" section and memberships have to be paid for with a credit card, it seems like MS management would at least have *a* name to track. Granted, it might not belong to the actual poster, but it's not possible to make anything 100% safe, not on the internet nor in real life.


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#121838 - 06/23/05 04:44 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Soccer Kid:
What steps are being done to make sure that perpetrators are identified? I often wonder if MS checks out their members to see if any of them are registered sex offenders? Or is MS relying on perpetrators self-disclosing this information?
I am going to quote again from Ken's post:

Quote:

Although we do our best to ensure that there will be little or no exploitation, abuse, or fraud here, we are primarily dealing in a medium where anyone can be anything s/he purports to be. We hope we can spot the obvious deceivers and users of other people, but we are only human and know only what we know. We try to respond to the concerns raised by members here and take action to remove/edit posts that are offensive or flaming. We also try our best to prevent members from putting themselves in vulnerable positions by giving out personal information.
And if I can come out a little bit from behind the "administrator" curtain, I want to say, just as a person on this site, that from day one I've thought that a really great part of this site is the way that people are accepted and welcomed, and allowed to share and build trust with others at a totally individual pace. I wonder how many of the people here who are a threat to no one, would never have registered if they'd been pressed to reveal personal information about themselves right away.

I remember how scared I was to register... and what a great feeling it was to be able to give my trust, and earn the trust of others, in small steps. The posts I was shaking too badly to write six weeks after being here, I could type and send six months later... and with every bit of information and background I shared, my sense of responsibility and belonging grew.

There is a price we pay for that kind of gradual relinquishing of safety-- what I'm keeping guarded out of shame or fear, someone else may be keeping guarded because he's dangerous, or a liar. And while we might know next to nothing about another poster, even another member, we know nothing at all about who's reading the public forums-- after all, they are open to the world.

I'm willing to share a certain portion of my experience with the anonymous "guests" who read here every day, if it helps that person who's reading, but too scared to register and post (although I would also encourage those people to register and post). But that's not a decision everyone's ready to make. And these concerns are part of why the moderators emphasize that everyone think about their own safety at all times... not just in terms of keeping your identity private, but in terms of how you use your energy and give your trust while you're here.

Sorry to go on so long.


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#121839 - 06/23/05 07:52 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

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#121840 - 06/23/05 11:41 PM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
The At Risk Forum guidelines state -

Quote:
This forum is for survivors who have done inappropriate, harmful, or abusive behavior to others in their childhood or adolescence, or have acted out sexually through certain sexual behaviors, such as compulsive masturbation, promiscuous consensual relationships, internet pornography, book store acting out, etc.
Searching for registered sex offenders would be of no use as many members post there who are not offenders, but feel that their behaviours are of sufficient risk to themselves - maybe others as well - that they need somewhere to discuss such things.

A quick look at the list of people who have posted there shows a good cross section of MS regulars.


Quote:
If you don't check for registered names, you should still provide your members with a list of the known offenders participating here. Even if they don't disclose it publicly, if the Mods find out about it, they should be required to notify all of us. That's only fair. I'm sure many would agree.
In the USA you do have access to sex offender listings, as required by Megans Law ( but I'm a foreigner, so don't quote me on that )
MS has no need to maintain lists of offenders, and if we check everyone out against the offender registers as they arrive it'll be a very lonely place as the great majority of users prefer the anonymity of a nickname and a Hotmail address. Payment can surely be made anonymously as well by a bank draft or similar means.

I disagree strongly that "they (The MS Admin & Mod's I presume? ) should be required to notify all of us. That's only fair."
It's NOT our place to notify everyone of someone elses situation. And it would be extremely unfair, unethical and emotionally damaging to everyone if we went down that road.
The potential for flame wars makes it a non starter to begin with, then there's problems such as the Mod's being accused of falsely making statements about someone, and the potential for blackmail and many other behaviours that misguided people could use that information for.

The last thing we need at MS is a vigilante culture, and this would only ensure that one developed.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#121841 - 06/24/05 02:22 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
One of the problems with sex offender registries is that they can give a sense of false security. My guess is that anyone who comes here as a survivor who had abused others in his past would likely not announce that. The fact that Ranger did say that he had abused earlier made him a dangerous perpetrator in others' eyes.

Had he not said that, you probably would have dealt with him as just another survivor. The ones who announce their past are likely less dangerous than those who hide it.

If, for example, you as Soccer Kid, were to come here without stating you had perpetrated in the past (just a hypothetical situation... no indication that this is true), how would anyone know who you really are to check the registries to see if you have a background?

I don't think the danger is in those who are known. It is the large number of perpetrators out there who have not been caught or sent to treatment.

The major problem I have with registries is that it identifies only those who have been caught and doesn't identify those who have not.

By providing a forum for those who are struggling with thoughts of abusing or had done so in the past and are looking for healing, the At Risk forum can help make this place and society a safer place to be. Remember too, the AR forum is also for those who have other behaviors that have the potential to hurt themselves or others (such as compulsive masturbation, porn addiction, sexual acting out with adults, etc.)

One of my fellow mods pointed out the other day when I posted the message about perpetrator policy, that many survivors have engaged in behaviors that are harmful to their loved ones. Should we ban anyone who has engaged in unsafe sexual practices and then has unprotected sex with his partner? Should we ban anyone who has been verbally or physically abusive to his partner or children? Where do we draw the line?

Lots of questions for thought and discussion.

Ken


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#121842 - 06/24/05 06:32 AM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
Soccer Kid Offline
Member

Registered: 10/22/04
Posts: 273
Loc: Missouri


_________________________
~Zach~
Deviant of Many Talents

"Reality is just an illusion."

Top
#121843 - 06/24/05 11:04 PM Re: Question about the new Perp Poster Policy
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
Granted MANY survivors acted out their abuse while it was going on out of pure confusion.
I did this between the age of about 40 to 46, and I had fantasies about doing it from the day my abuse stopped at 16. It was confusion, and it did have it's roots in my own abuse. That much I have learned since entering therapy.

Over the last few years I have trained as a counsellor, and have made great efforts to learn about sexual abuse and its effects on adults - especially males. Part of that learning has been to find out out how offenders work and and think, although I don't proffess to be an expert.

But one thing that has struck me is that many offenders, mainly the 'one-off' offenders, share the same behaviours that I did, behaviours that I have successfuly overcome, as have many other survivors that I know of.
Is there any reason why a one time offender shouldn't be capable of recovery to a position of never offending again?
Of course it's not 100% certain, I might under extreme duress act out again, but I somehow doubt it. The chances are probably on par with me winning the lottery or becoming a mass murderer, and I can live with those odds.

Ken makes the point that it's far better to deal with an offender that we know about than one who comes here and keeps their background a secret, and I agree 100% with that view.
In my recovery I have found through experience that being honest and open with others has been the most powerful tool I possess.
Sharing the horrible facts that I have had brief and sordid sexual encounters with unknown men, with all the risks entailed, has been the catalyst for me stopping that behaviour.
If that same catalyst is available to someone who is at risk of continuing their offending behavior then I personally feel we have a duty to help in any way we can.

'We' are survivors; and we have righteous hatred towards abusers, trust me- I hate mine. But I don't have a consuming hatred that obstructs my recovery by overwhelming it.
Places like MS, and the support some of us recieve from loved ones and friends, can provide much of that catalyst, 'WE' provide the basis of that catalyst for other people.
Should we squander such a remarkable resource by not sharing it with the widest possible range of people?

Do we want to see an end to continuing abuse in those generations that follow us? You bet we do! So are our views and experiences, and it's a huge range of experience that we can offer- should it be restricted solely to non offending survivors when we could help an offending survivor overcome their problems and maybe protect one more child?

We all know the statistics show that most abusers are themselves victims - and that the majority of those those abused don't become abusers.
So we know that people like us are more likely to become abusers as adults, and we also know that we as survivors can change our lives and overcome our dysfunctional behaviours with good support and the right help.
We do this through therapy and the support of whoever cares, whether it's family, friends or an online community.
The important part in my experience is the support we receive, it makes a huge difference. MS and organisations like it can, and do, provide support for people who might not have the structure of family and friends available to them. Or maybe they just feel more comfortable in the relative anonimity of being online? Whatever, 'support' is essential, and to deny someone support will entail a big risk of regression. Is that a risk 'we' want to take with someone who could possibly re-offend?

I don't advocate opening up MS to all offenders, that's NOT what MS is about. But my personal view is that if a survivor who is also an offender - a 'low grade' ( and that's NOT meant to minimise any offence ) offender who is also in an offenders programme / therapy etc, or someone who admits to being at risk of offending, deserves a chance here at MS.

I would also add that if push comes to shove then I would side with asking all known offenders to leave if it became an all or nothing choice, but I don't think we will arrive at that position.

A big part of this dilemma comes down to 'forgiveness', and it's a fact that some survivors can forgive and some will never reach that place, and nothing I or anyone else says is likely to change those views easily. It's something the individual must choose for themselves.
I said earlier in this post that I hate my abusers, and I do hate them, but I'm not consumed by that hatred, neither am I consumed with hatred and vengance for perp's in general. Yes, lock them up and throw the keys away if they are recalcitrent and unlikely to respond to any treatment. But once they are under lock and key, or being treated in such a way that success is a good probability, then they are of little concern to me because they are IN the system and unlikely to re-offend. It's someone elses responsibility to a degree, hopefully 'someone' who's qualified and experienced at either containing or recovering that offender.
But if 'I' can offer some support and the benefit of my experience then I believe I should do so.
We as survivors do have experiences that we wish we didn't have, but how many offenders have the opportunity to hear our experiences first hand and learn from them?

I would also say that I believe that survivors should not live in a closed and limited environment where everything is made comfortable and safe for them.
We all live in the real world where people deal with uncomfortable situations, and they DO deal with them.
Don't we deserve that option, don't we wish we could find our way through lifes problems without descending into a crisis? I know I do, but it's something we have to learn as survivors because we're generally used to living in perpetual crisis.
It's easy to hide away from what we don't like, turn the TV off when Michael Jackson is on the news etc. But what do we gain from retreating and hiding? I firmly believe that we slow down our healing if hide and retreat.

It's NOT about forgiving, it's about dealing with OUR personal demons, and if we can deal with them then we can deal with anything.

Anyway, that's my personal view and NOT necessarily the views of MS.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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