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#189849 - 11/03/07 05:50 PM Why do some SA survivors become abusers???
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
*** MAY BE TRIGGERING

I know that most SA survivors do NOT become abusers, which is why my family never thought that my SA survivor-brother would someday become a perpetrator.

I always thought it was a choice, but when I hear the ramblings of an obviously confused and broken mind, I am not so sure. Some SA survivors seem so confused and broken that they have no idea where boundaries are anymore.

How does one control or make choices about inappropriate thoughts and dreams? Especially dreams, because they are subconscious?

Then again, he HAD to know it was wrong! How could someone cause an innocent person the very same pain they experienced as a chid?! That's a choice!

I just don't understand.

Was it because, in addition to my brother being abused almost daily from kindergarten to 6th grade, when we moved away from the abuser, my parents were very strict and controlling?



Edited by evanescentjoy (11/03/07 05:50 PM)
_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#189904 - 11/04/07 09:18 AM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: evanescentjoy]
BJK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/02/07
Posts: 1526
There is no easy answer to this question.

Many CSA survivors struggle with things that most non-survivors take for granted. How do they deal with love? Pain? Attention? Isolation?

Many perps never learn the difference between positive and negative attention. All children crave attention in one way or another, and believe it or not, when a child is only exposed to negative forms of attention, they may skew the meaning of that attention to believe it is positive. Yes, a large number of perps actually tend to believe that they are helping their victims by abusing them.

Another possibility are perps who are so traumatized by their abuse experiences, they end up reverting back to those abuse experiences whenever they are overcome by any kind of overwhelming emotion. Thos emotions might include anger, love, fear, or shame. Most of these perps actually know that they are wrong when they commit their actions, but are either unable to or lack the courage to face their emotions in any other way.

In a lot of cases, we have adults that never grow psychologically past the age where their abuse occurred, and they end up subconsiously thinking that they are emotional peers to the children that they abuse. This means that they see absolutely nothing wrong with their actions.

In some cases, we have perps who are incapable of feeling love, so they try to compensate for that defficiency by forcing others to love themselves. When an adult who was sexualized at a young age looks at a child and wonders what that adult can do to make that child love him/her, sex is what comes to the front of that adult's mind.

But ultimately, I think the two biggest deciding factors as to which victims become abusers lay in two very important areas. Which victims learn to feel empathy? And which victims are able to face their pain?

Sometimes I feel like I have too much compassion. When I look at someone who is sick enough to actually perp a child, I feel a tremendous amount of sadness for the person. Nobody deserves a life devoid of love, and I firmly believe that perps are created...not born that way. My therapist says that this is a good thing, for what could be a better way to protect our children than to understand why people become perps and to try to help them before they get to that stage?

The fact that people are asking this question instead of just comdemning the people who perp is one thing that gives me hope for the future of society.

Bryan

_________________________
Revenge is nothing more than another way of perpetuating abuse.

What the world needs now
Is some new words of wisdom
Like la la la la la la la la la.
-David Lowery

Having a friend who will keep a secret for you is worthless compared to a friend who won't keep a secret from you.

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#189911 - 11/04/07 10:25 AM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: BJK]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
I agree w/ a lot of what Bryan said- my 1st abuser was 11 years old- it's obvious to me, as an adult, she was being abused herself.
While it's important to recognize the "Vampire syndrome" as a myth (especially since that myth was a factor in keeping me silent), I think it's more important to note that the strongest flag-wavers for a genetic or biological root for CSA perpetration are often the same folks who have a vested interest in having society decriminalize or legalize it, namely, perps.
Like Bryan laid out so well, there are probably a lot of factors involved, but to me, other than true sociopaths, it comes down to learning the wrong lessons too early, and a path in life that never included a strong enough reality-check. In looking at my life history, i see many situations where the outcome was driven by my warped view of myself and life in general, and only now can i recognize what was really going on, but i only ever had extremely negative associations between sexuality and children; when the Jon-Benet Ramsey case made the news and the pageant footage was everywhere, it angered and depressed me deeply, it didn't get me excited. At the same time, i can't bring myself to completely hate even my 2nd abuser, who was an adult male and had the ability to choose- of course i still have rage toward him, but i know were i given the chance to act out some revenge fantasy, the satisfaction would be fleeting, and i would be as guilty as he, in allowing my urges to dictate my actions. There is no simple answer, but i 110% agree with Bryan here:

"what could be a better way to protect our children than to understand why people become perps and to try to help them before they get to that stage?"


_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#189917 - 11/04/07 10:46 AM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: BJK]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16263
EJ,

While I realize you don't mean it the way it sounds, your title question leads the reader to feel you believe otherwise. The premise of the question is more than likely based on a myth.

Statistically the occurrences of CSA is much closer to the same than the uninformed would imagine between CSA survivors and those who never this terrible plague on humanity.

To quote the article titled "Myths and facts" that is linked on our Home Page

Quote:
Myth #6 - The "Vampire Syndrome"Ńthat is, boys who are sexually abused, like the victims of Count Dracula, go on to "bite" or sexually abuse others.

This myth is especially dangerous because it can create a terrible stigma for the child, that he is destined to become an offender. Boys might be treated as potential perpetrators rather than victims who need help. While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators. Research by Jane Gilgun, Judith Becker and John Hunter found a primary difference between perpetrators who were sexually abused and sexually abused males who never perpetrated: non-perpetrators told about the abuse, and were believed and supported by significant people in their lives. Again, the majority of victims do not go on to become adolescent or adult perpetrators; and those who do perpetrate in adolescence usually don't perpetrate as adults if they get help when they are young.

You might wish to read the entire article.

Having said that, I feel for you in your grief concerning your brother. I, too, have a relative in the federal penitentiary because he committed this terrible crime against his own son. My advise would be to look out for yourself and the wellbeing of the rest of your family through all this because trying to figure out why he abused is something even the most scholarly minds in the country have a hard time determining, or coming to agreement on. This is the one thing you can do for yourself and for them is to move through the grief to the healing and recovery, because you too have in a way been made victims as well.

Lots of love,

John



_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#189926 - 11/04/07 11:28 AM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: BJK]
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Originally Posted By: BJK
Another possibility are perps who are so traumatized by their abuse experiences, they end up reverting back to those abuse experiences whenever they are overcome by any kind of overwhelming emotion. Thos emotions might include anger, love, fear, or shame. Most of these perps actually know that they are wrong when they commit their actions, but are either unable to or lack the courage to face their emotions in any other way.


It seems obvious from his apologies and tears to us and his desire for the boy not to have to testify in court and relive the experience/humiliation that he was aware that what he was doing was wrong.

Talking to him, it sounds like he has a lot of confused mixed messages and wrong thinking playing out in his mind.

Originally Posted By: BJK
In a lot of cases, we have adults that never grow psychologically past the age where their abuse occurred, and they end up subconsiously thinking that they are emotional peers to the children that they abuse. This means that they see absolutely nothing wrong with their actions.


It does seem that he is subconsciously 12, when the abuse stopped. The boy is the age that his abuser was. It almost seems as if he is re-enacting the past.

I do believe, however, that he knew and knows that his actions are absolutely wrong, on some level. He knows he hurt all of us terribly so I know he is aware that what he did was wrong.

But the wrong thinking patterns seem to have taken over and allowed him to justify what he did...

Originally Posted By: BJK
But ultimately, I think the two biggest deciding factors as to which victims become abusers lay in two very important areas. Which victims learn to feel empathy? And which victims are able to face their pain?


I think the ability to face one's pain and learn to feel empathy must be key. Pain, when left to fester inside, turns into disease.

Originally Posted By: BJK
Sometimes I feel like I have too much compassion. When I look at someone who is sick enough to actually perp a child, I feel a tremendous amount of sadness for the person. Nobody deserves a life devoid of love, and I firmly believe that perps are created...not born that way. My therapist says that this is a good thing, for what could be a better way to protect our children than to understand why people become perps and to try to help them before they get to that stage?


I don't think that there can ever be too much compassion. Ultimately, I believe compassion is a choice that we make over a series of smaller choices. In your case, this means that you have the tremendous capacity of viewing someone who hurt you terribly as human.

In someone else's case, the unforgiveness, lack of control, and blame are also daily choices that result in very negative and harmful consequences.

Originally Posted By: BJK
The fact that people are asking this question instead of just comdemning the people who perp is one thing that gives me hope for the future of society.
Bryan


I agree with you. But we have a long way to go.

_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#190294 - 11/07/07 04:01 AM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: evanescentjoy]
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 795
Loc: North Texas
Hi EJ,
Quote:
I know that most SA survivors do NOT become abusers, which is why my family never thought that my SA survivor-brother would someday become a perpetrator.
Quote:
Was it because, in addition to my brother being abused almost daily from kindergarten to 6th grade, when we moved away from the abuser, my parents were very strict and controlling?

If I am not mistaken, it seems to me that your parents, took the position of sweeping what happened to you and your brother under the rug, and pretended that it never happened. I have a hard time understanding that.
Quote:
I always thought it was a choice, but when I hear the ramblings of an obviously confused and broken mind, I am not so sure. Some SA survivors seem so confused and broken that they have no idea where boundaries are anymore.
Quote:
my brother being abused almost daily from kindergarten to 6th grade
This was a long abuse, over the social developing stages of life.

Quote:
How does one control or make choices about inappropriate thoughts and dreams? Especially dreams, because they are subconscious?

You can't control them, but you can tell yourself that they are just flies of fantasy, and will not happen in real life.

Quote:
Then again, he HAD to know it was wrong! How could someone cause an innocent person the very same pain they experienced as a child?! That's a choice!

His thinking got so distorted, that he thought he loved the child, and that the child loved him, and wanted sex. At least that is the way my friend described it. ( note my friend was never molested as a kid, that he knows of. But he did have alcohol and emotional abuse in the family.)

take care,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#190296 - 11/07/07 04:07 AM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: lostcowboy]
lostcowboy Offline
Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 795
Loc: North Texas
I almost forgot, you may want to PM Ken Singer, one of the mods on here. He is a therapist, who has clients that are survivors, and he has clients who are perpetrators. He may be able to help find therapist for you and your brother.
Bye now,
Clifford

_________________________
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." - Albert Camus
Pretty much my life as I have posted so far. Triggers!

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#190513 - 11/08/07 08:43 PM Re: Why do some SA survivors become abusers??? [Re: lostcowboy]
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Quote:
If I am not mistaken, it seems to me that your parents, took the position of sweeping what happened to you and your brother under the rug, and pretended that it never happened. I have a hard time understanding that.


That's part of what makes it even more difficult.

Besides shock, fear, and grief, I am experiencing feelings of anger and blame towards my parents, but express none of it to anyone but my boyfriend.

Unfortunately, it is not the time to point this out, again, although I fully intend to, someday.

I am angry that they didn't do more when they discovered that my little friend and I were discussing bj's in kindergarten. They should have done something, then... Had they explored it more despite their discomfort, perhaps they would have discovered that my oldest brother had been abused and gotten him into treatment sooner, when he was still a child and they had more control/influence over him.

My parents' and my relationship has been bad enough the way it is. When we saw my brother off, it was the first time I had seen or spoken to them in two years.

EJ

_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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