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#25423 - 02/19/04 11:22 AM The oddity of victims becoming perps
uselesstheories Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 23
Loc: USA
Okay, so I've been doing a lot of reading, family history digging, and learning over the past few months. And yes, my perp (female parent) was most likely abused by her grandfather as a small child.

Here's the oddity that I cannot fathom:

I know what happened to me. I know how fucked up now I am as a result. I know the self-loathing, self-doubt, constant guilt, shame, deadness from within, et. al. that goes along with this victimization.

What, pray tell, makes victims become perps? After what I endured, there is no way I would ever harm another - if you suffered (or are suffering) as such, what would possess you to think it's okay to move from victim to perp? I don't understand how this could be...

_________________________
Life is pain your Highness; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
- William Goldman

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#25424 - 02/19/04 01:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
uselesstheories

I wish I knew the answer to that. Like you I cannot fathom putting any person through what I suffered.

I do know that it is a rare occurance. The greater question, I think, is what causes a person to become a perp at all.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#25425 - 02/19/04 01:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
FlyWM Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Michigan
I don't understand it either, seems impossible that someone who knows how it feels would impose it on another person. It is confusing and hard to fathom, but luckily it is pretty rare, not many victims become perps. The only way I can imagine it is maybe that since they endured it, perhaps they believe it is ok, and don't believe it will really affect their victims. I don't know, it does seem very confusing. I wish I had something more to say, some way to explain it, but I don't. WHen I see children I can't believe anyone would want to hurt them, I have 3 nephews, and when I see them all I want to do is protect the kids, I don't understand how a person could hurt a child, but some people are just that distorted, there is no reason, it just is sadly.

scott

_________________________
Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible in not a declaration, it's a dare.

--Adidas

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#25426 - 02/19/04 02:58 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I do not understand it either. I can not even have normal sexual relations with someone, I could not imagine to force anything at anyone. Maybe for someone who has been abused to the point of losing conscience? maybe then it is a control thing for them? I don't know, I do not understand how it possible to want to do on another what has been done to us. But actually, I am quite glad I do not understand.

Leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#25427 - 02/19/04 03:59 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
UT,

You can probably get some good information on this very topic from Ken Singer, LCSW, a former president of Male Survivor and one of the moderators here. He has worked with abusers, including adolescent abusers.

Mike is right that it is rare for an abuse victim to become an abuser. It is also true that most abusers were abused themselves at some time.

I really want to believe that something terrible happened to the people who abused me (sexually and otherwise). Something so bad that it warped them. The relationships we had were abnormal. I want to believe that the abusers were abnormal. I don't want to believe that I was the abnormal one.

I personally cannot imagine myself doing things like what was done to me. I remember my T asking what I would do if I got home to find my wife doing to my son something my mother did to me. I was absolutely horrified to even think of that. A lot of my "irrational fears" in therapy relate to being over protective of my family, overreacting to perceived threats.

And part of my problem seems to be that I cannot let my children believe that I would be less than perfect as a protector. I cannot let them (or most times, even my wife) see any weakness, even normal human failings. Above all else, at any cost, my family must be protected.

In some episode of one of the new Star Trek series, someone approaches Worf while he is guarding something. In delightfully Klingon fashion, he says, "I remain vigilant." My T told me last week that expression describes me perfectly. Vigilant, perhaps, yet I tire.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#25428 - 02/19/04 04:27 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
uselesstheories Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 23
Loc: USA
Thanks to you all for your thoughts and words, but is it really that rare? As I've been reading, I keep stumbling upon this same theme, that which spawned the original question.

Quote:
While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators.
I mean, this quote does reassure that most victims do not go on to repeat what happened to them, but it's just odd, to me at least, that the bulk of perps were once victims. It's the first part of that sentence, in bold, that catches my attention and makes me wonder why.

Like you folks, I could never cause harm to another, hell, I've been an ethical vegan for fourteen years now, so I know where my sense of compassion for a helpless creature lies. Maybe I'm just stuck on this at the moment; I can't get past what my mother has done to me, and I guess I've been attempting to understand her logic. Victim or not in her own right, she does NOT deserve my sympathy and understanding for her own pains in youth. Were the sickness not passed down upon me, perhaps then I would support her and be sympathetic.

The link where I found the quote: Male Sexual Abuse Statistics

_________________________
Life is pain your Highness; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
- William Goldman

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#25429 - 02/19/04 04:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Theories,

I'm going way out on a limb here, but what I think is that when they were abused, someone put pain and shame on them. Wrongly. In a horribly tragic attempt to rid themselves of it, they put it on us.

Wrongly.

I can't defend their actions. I wouldn't want to if I thought I could. It was wrong.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#25430 - 02/19/04 04:48 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Angry_youth_86_Keith Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 103
Loc: Olympia, Washington
I struggled with this same issue, because when I was growing up, acting out off and on. I was raised christan *lol look how bad tht failed \:D * And i was taught that any intersted in men/boys *at my age boys beings Im talking about ages 6-11 is when this was drilld into me.* and so when at around 12 on I had slight intersts and curiousties in kids my own age. I actually for a long time thought this ment I was a child molester if I even so much as looked at someone who could have been younger or my age. so I can see that what happens can really put some screwed up things in our head. I also have asked some questions to my T about this, he has said basicly that sometimes if those ppl never got help and were left untold what happend to them was wrong and the muiltitude of other things that comes with being abused were wrong that I guess they belived that everyone else is just tryin to judge them but waht there desiring is right? I dont know, i honestly do not totaly understand the concept at all and it is beyhond me how pain=pleasure.

_________________________
"Ignoring mortality, we worship mediocrity"- Greg Graffin

"Live fast, die young, leave a great looking corpse"-Ronny Van Zant

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#25431 - 02/19/04 08:39 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Funny, this subject came up in my therapy session this evening. I'm dealing with this now.

Whether it's self-imposed or reality, I perceive that people I know with kids, who I've told, don't seem to trust me around them as much as they did before. I don't really hold it against them, because I fear this myself, but it bothers me and it's sad that folks believe this about survivors.

My therapist told me (repeatedly!) that one thing that perpetrators lack is a sense of empathy. They can rationalize this behavior to themselves very well, to the point that A: they don't believe they're hurting the victim, or B: they just don't care.

The truth is that we know so little about sexuality and the mind that we don't know what makes us attracted to the opposite sex, same sex, animals, fetishes, and heavy machinery ( \:D ), never mind children. More to the point, we don't know what makes us more susceptible to resist what is bad for us or wrong. I do believe, when it comes to hurting someone, that empathy plays a major role.

So, I worry less about it (I don't think that concern will ever go completely away, no matter how much self-esteem I get), but I wish i could remove that ONE misconception from people's minds. It would make recovery that much easier.

I hope this helps. It helped getting it out and putting my concersn and opinions into words.

Peace and love,

Scot

_________________________
There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

fromacuriousmind.blogspot.com
malehurtandsurvive.blogspot.com

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#25432 - 02/19/04 08:57 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
UT
It's universally accepted that this is true.

Quote:
While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators.
I also think ( this is just my opinion ) that many Survivors show the same 'type' of behaviours as perps in as much as the things that drive us are the same.

I have read a lot about CSA now, and seen a few taped interviews with perps, and the thing that strikes me is that when they describe the feelings and urges that make them abuse children they describe EXACTLY the same urges that drove me to act out with strange men in public toilets.
"There but for the grace of God....."

I can honestly say that it scared me shitless.

What I cannot say though is what happened to make me act out with 'consenting' adults and not kids ? I have no idea at all.
The other scary thing that I have discovered recently in group therapy is that self harmers, alcoholics and a cross dresser ALL describe the same urges at work.

Perhaps we just recieved a bit more moral guidance along the way ? who knows, I wish I did.

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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#25433 - 02/19/04 09:41 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
theories,
for some time i had the fear of being just like my abusers. there was the confusion over the sexual acting out that i did over the web, my own history in childhood and adolescence, and the fact that at the time i was really not fully aware of my own survivorhood. when i started on the journey of recovery i was still struggling with the conflicting images of what would be arousing and what i found attractive. for me. it was adolescent girls. i never acted on it at all, but the draw was there and it was terrifying and overwhelmingly shameful. i aasked my t about it several times because i just ws not getting. the final curtain on that fear was this. do i find adolescent girls sexually attractive? yes. do i find them pretty? yes. would i ever act on it? good god, no!! why? the simple answer is because i cared. empathy and compassion is something that is burned out somehow in perps. i struggle with the why of sexual attraction to adolescent girls which is from my abuse and the distortion over sexuality that it caused from age three. the warning sign for me is when i start to sexualize the girls and women i see. if i do not sexualize them then what i see is a human being who is very precious as a human being. when i start ot sexualize them then i step back and start asking why. whenever a human being goes from a human being to an object to be used then the line has been crossed and the evil can begin...a perp is born. just to clarify, acting out as we do in confusion and struggle to understand is not the same as being a perp by a long shot. a perp is one who has lost their humanity, the ability to empathize with another human being that is why we are not like the ones who hurt us...we care.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#25434 - 02/19/04 10:14 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
I've been asked this question many times. The short answer is that those who have been victimized and do not go on to victimize others have a better understanding of empathy (and practice it) than those who abuse others.

The longer answer is a bit more complex and I will post more on this topic tomorrow (Fri). Just don't have time right now.

Ken


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#25435 - 02/20/04 12:33 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
survive75 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 304
Loc: Massachusetts
Quote:
Originally posted by outis:
UT,
I really want to believe that something terrible happened to the people who abused me (sexually and otherwise). Something so bad that it warped them. The relationships we had were abnormal. I want to believe that the abusers were abnormal. I don't want to believe that I was the abnormal one.
I never realized how strong of a fantasy this was for me until recently. I think I would do anything if my abuser could explain to me why he was the way he was. Give me something to go on anyway, other than this damn nagging 5 year old's belief that it was something I did to make me deserve it.

But Theories, as far as why those who are abused sometimes go on to abuse, I can only speculate. And usually my speculations are not very popular, but I guess... well, in the same way that some people here have depression, others have difficulty with sex and intimacy, some have substance abuse problems... and others don't have any of these symptoms... I can only assume that for some people, abuse changes them and drives them to externalize the abuse and repeat it. Maybe it is to replicate the situation except now they are in control. I don't know.

It is a hard thing to balance... the anger I feel at abusers and the knowledge that this behavior doesn't just drop out of nowhere. I've admitted here that I hit my ex-girlfriend a few times when we were together. And I knew it was wrong when it was happening, and the guilt was so strong, but it was out of control at the time. When it happened a third time, I promised her that I wouldn't do it again, went into therapy, and started to figure out how my physical abuse led me to violence when I felt out of control. So, my ex had (and still has) every right to be angry at me, but I do hope that my explanations for my behavior at least helped her to understand that it was my issue (and she didn't deserve it) but also put it in perspective for her.

And maybe THAT is why the fantasy of having my abuser apologize and explain is so strong for me. I want the admission of guilt, but also some reason why. But, in the same way, it would probably lead me to feel guilty for being angry at him if I knew that something had happened to him as a child.

So, in a long-winded answer, I can't imagine the mixed feelings you are having right now Theories. I hope you can find some answers.

-Sean

_________________________
-Sean

"Even though I know/I don’t want to know/Yeah I guess I know/I just hate how it sounds"

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#25436 - 02/20/04 01:22 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Flint, Michigan
Fuck them, Fuck them all.

I have been sexually abused I have been raped I have been sold to other guys I have been fondled I have been harassed I have been threatened I have been beaten, that in no way makes me one of those fuckers.

And God Damnit to those sons of bitches that say that because I have been abused and I hurt from it I will be an abuser too.

Fuck them, fuck them
Bill

_________________________
Pain is Temporary; Quitting lasts Forever. - Lance Armstrong

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#25437 - 02/20/04 08:16 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Bill

Quote:
And God Damnit to those sons of bitches that say that because I have been abused and I hurt from it I will be an abuser too.
Amen to that ! And this "misinformation" - to be very polite about it - is the biggest fear we have, it's the reason guys like us hang onto the secret for so many years. It's the reason guys who do get help and therapy to sort themselves out are still scared of being open about what happened to us.

I know that as open as I am about my abuse now, there are still a couple of people I haven't told because I fear they will cling to that old argument like the wreckage of a shipwreck, and I can't be sure of convincing them otherwise.

Theo
I think that what you described is common to many men, abused or not. teenage girls go out of their way to look good at the mall on a Saturday afternoon, full makeup and high fashion. The older ones say "sod it, I'll go as I am !" - but that's only a part of it I know, there are other reasons at work here.

I for one missed out on meeting girls completely until I was nearly 17. At junior school the girls sat one side of the class, boys the other. At breaktime we had seperate yards.
Then I went to boarding school and had even less contact with girls - and the wrong contact with other males, and I lived out in the country with no other kids around, let alone girls.
So at 17 they scared the hell out of me, but with the help of a very "forthcoming" young lady who threw herself at me repeatedly :rolleyes: I eventually overcame my terror. \:D

But is this one reason that some survivors might find young girls attractive ? maybe because we had those formitive years fucked up so comprehensively we long for what we missed ?
I bet we all had trouble living 'normal' lives while the abuse was happening, no matter how well we covered it up ?

Just a thought...

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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#25438 - 02/20/04 08:45 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
blacken Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 1251
Loc: Northern Ohio
I am a Licensed Social Worker in Ohio & have been working with abused children for about 9 years now. I also survived about 9 years of sexual abuse by my dad. Below is what my education, my own abuse & recovery process, and my work experience, has taught me.

----
Rape is a crime of violence, not sex. Its about power & control. Molesting children falls into this area. Weather or not the control aspect is thru coercion of affection, its still a control issue, and the process used is just a mechanism towards acquiring the intend goal (& presumed need)
[Its further along where presumed need become consuming and serves to reinforce a Thinking Error.] Children are weaker, naive, inexperience and unaware. The adult has ALL the power in this type of relationship.
Remove the “sex” from sex abuse, you get abuse. What IS abuse? Cruel and violent treatment; Insulting and offensive language; Physical or mental maltreatment; excess use. Weather the abuser includes sex or beatings or insults, as part of there actions, the bottom line is, they are in the position of ultimate power. This is ONE part of the equation.

Part two is the abusers’ mind frame. These are insecure people. The short comings they feel in there daily lives, drive them to find a way to feel at least somewhat in control of their life.
Some turn to violence with weaker or presumed weaker adults. Such as Domestic Violence with a wife or girlfriend. Some pick fight at bars. Some rob. Etc.
Weather they feel sexually inadequate or not, some turn towards children, because children are the most vulnerable & easiest to manipulate & dupe.

Third are Thinking Errors (cognitive distortions). Statements about Perps lacking remorse, or Not caring are true & false. These are not universal traits among Perps. Some do care about there victims in their own twisted way, take NAMBL for instance. They wildly profess how much they love (platonic) & care for these children. They profess how sex is sometimes a small part of their relationship. Their “caring” is derived out of selfishness (a desire for control over another to create a sense of power or confidence or intimacy they find lacking with adults), not out of true concern for others. But they don’t see that. They don’t want to see that, to do so will under mind their reality & shed light , to themselves, their true intentions.
This, in technical terms, is a Thinking Error. But its not the only one. Mental Filter, Grandiosity/Uniqueness, Super-Optimism, Victim Playing, Assuming, Closed Channeling, Emotional Reasoning and Confusion between Wants vs Needs, & others, can all play a part in the minds of Perps. Thinking Errors, are just that. When one’s thinking (& actions based on that thinking) doesn’t make logical or rational sense.
To this person for example, 1 + 1 = 3.759, and they can talk/argue for hours why this is so.

Fourth. The Lacking of remorse itself, is not a T. E. So what IS it? Remorse-deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed. How does the average well rounded individual develop the ability to Feel remorse? Well, look at very young children.
You get caught writing on the wall with a crayon & your normal parent scolds & and looks unhappy/upset. You respond by crying. Why? You love that person. You’ve developed a strong attachment for that person. So what? Well, this sense of attachment comes from being able to gets your True needs met. Needs for food, shelter, protection and affection (actual touch that comforts). A baby is completely dependent, & instinct (to suvive) directs them to associate with those that meet their needs. Consistency of needs met, is love to a very young child. It follows that you don’t want to repulse your care giver, for u may stop receiving care. Its more complex than this, but this is the basics. Remorse starts here in its simplest form.
Now, even if remorse develops normal here, it can be undone/destroyed or damaged later on.
An old example of this is the foster kid who moves thru 16 homes in 12 years. The lack of “consistency of needs met from a care giver” causes the same problems. Having the same person caring for you appropriately for your whole childhood helps you to form a strong sense of remorse for misbehavior and for caring appropriately for others. You have become what you have received, in a generalized sense.

A thinking Error can be looked at like this.
5 year old truly believes that Santa Claus is a real person. That would be normal thinking at 5. A 25 year old (who is not mentally retarded) believes in Santa Claus. That would be a Thinking Error.

Fifth. Ya, there is more, but I’m tired of typing.

The mind of a perpetrator is not simple or easy to define. And they don't just spring from the ground like a demon. Perps took some serious wrong turns in their development, and have kind of crashed though the guardrails of normality and onto their own broken road, One on which they constantly drive in circles of immorality & insecurity.
There is no one all encompassing answer to why an adult would abuse a child. The human experience is wildly dynamic. There are as many reasons as there are perps & victims.
We may never really know why some abuse.

The real question is, "How do I keep myself and my children safe in the future?" This answer will serve you much better than the one above.
The answer to this is real and within our reach.

Blacken

_________________________
Everyone is a genius! If you were to judge a fish, by its ability to climb a tree,
it would think it was stupid all of it's life.
~Albert Einstein

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#25439 - 02/20/04 11:17 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
OK, I'm going to try to answer the question of why some people sexually abuse others. Please read this with the understanding that I am not apologizing or making excuses for perpetrators. I have been working with juvenile and adult offenders (as well as male survivors) for 25 years and this response comes about from a philosophy that sexual abuse is harmful, has no redeeming qualities for the victim (except that some survivors have been able to channel the abuse into creativity or other positive ventures but who in their right mind would want to trade that for the abuse?), and that most perpetrators do not feel good about abusing others.

Sexual abusing is a choice. That means that there is no excuse for doing this to another human being. Abusers make poor choices which create damage and hurt for their victims. They are not born this way but get there through physical/emotional/sexual abuse done to them, OR they have somehow allowed their life experiences to affect the way they view others as sexual objects or as objects to take their problems out on.

Sometimes it is a misdirected way of being nurturing, but in the end, it becomes a way of getting sexual gratification without truly understanding the impact of these behaviors. In any event, the child/victim suffers and the abuser generally has no idea of the full impact they have caused.

Blacken referred to cognitive distortions. This is a way that a person makes it ok to do something he knows he should not do. On a trivial example, take speeding. We all know that going over the speed limit is a) against the law, b) can result in a ticket/fine which will cost us money, c) result in possible increase in our insurance premiums, d) increase our chances of having an accident, e) burn more gas going at higher speeds, etc. So, even though we know all this, why do we speed?

The answer is cognitive distortions, also known as thinking errors or distorted thinking. This is how we make it ok to do something we know we should not do. We come up with justifications ("I'm late for this important meeting"), rationalizations ("Everybody else is going over the speed limit"), minimizing ("I was doing only 8 miles over the limit, officer"), being above the rules )"The cops are all tied up at that accident back there, I won't get caught"), etc. There are a few more kinds of distorted thinking in addition to these.

The point of distorted thinking is that abusers know that what they are doing is wrong. They do not tell others of their abuse and they try to hide or keep it secret.

Part of the treatment philosopy with abusers is to get them to see how they made it ok to do what they did. This is important to break what may well be an established pattern of making excuses or creating the self-justification of their behavior.

Another area of sex offender treatment is to get them to see how their behavior is an excuse or justification for something else going on in their lives. Suppose you had a bad day at work. You felt unappreciated, worthless, inadequate, picked on, etc. You would have choices how to deal with these negative feelings. You could take it out on others (yell at the kids, kick the dog, break something) which is termed "acting out".

You could take it out on yourself (mentally calling yourself names, putting yourself down, cutting yourself, or even committing suicide- the ultimate form of "acting in"). You could get drunk, over-eat, numb out on tv, video games, use drugs, sex, work, or other ways to "numb out".

All of these ways are essentially negative. Doing something positive, such as talking to your friend/lover, going for a walk, working out at the gym, relaxing with some music, etc., is termed an Intervention. It gets rid of the negative feelings and in the end lets you feel empowered rather than guilty. Sexually abusing someone is considered to be a form of acting out. Most abusers do not abuse when they are feeling good about themselves.

Obviously, there is no excuse for sexually (or any other form of abuse) abusing a child or sexually offending against anyone else. However, it is what abusers do. Other people facing the same stressors or issues do not abuse others. They may take it out on themselves or stay drunk, for example.

What is often insidious about sexual abuse as opposed to other forms of self abuse or numbing out that most folks do when they are being dysfunctional about life's stressors, is that victims often blame themselves for the abuse. Many abusers give the victim that sense by telling them it is their fault. Often, the victim doesn't need to hear this directly, but because of the child's developmental level, s/he takes that blame on. When you are a certain age, the normal develpmental level is one of "the world revolves around me" and the child takes on the sense that it is his fault even if the abuser does not say that.

There is more, but I'm trying to keep this somewhat short to convey some of the understanding about why they do what they do.

Again, there is no excuse. The more you know abusers and their tactics, the more you can be empowered.

Abusers need to know what the impact is on the victim. In my work with abusers, I will often share with them what the impact is on survivors AND what survivors feel about them. Your voice, your pain is important for abusers to understand.

In the earlier post yesterday, I said that empathy is the most important aspect of preventing abuse. If a potential abuser can address the question of "what would it be like for me if someone were to do this to me?" and genuinely say he would not want this to happen to him, it could prevent him from abusing in the first place. This is something that survivors who have posted here have said about their thoughts/feelings of abusing others. It keeps them from crossing the line. For those who have abused, empathy can keep them from abusing again.

My work in this field is about prevention. Working with survivors to help them heal is very important to me. Working with abusers to help them so they do not abuse again is also important. I am on the board of CAP (Child Assault Prevention), an international organization to teach primary prevention to children in schools to keep them from being abused in the first place. To me, all three areas are important.

I underatand your anger with perpetrators. I share that regarding what they have done. I also recognize that that while they have done some horrendous things, they are still human beings who need to change. Some do so only because they were caught and probation or parloe tells them they must be in sex offense-specific treatment. Some are feeling terrible about what they have done and use treatment to become better human biengs. Whatever their motivation, I work with them as I work with survivors.

I hope this answers some of your questions. I will try to respond to addional comments and questions that you have about abusers.

Ken


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#25440 - 02/21/04 09:32 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
uselesstheories Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 23
Loc: USA
Blacken and Ken,

Thank you both so much for these latest posts. There is much information in which to absorb, but I truly appreciate your input into this side of the issue that simply seems beyond my grasp. Some of what you said is not easy to hear but through learning, perhaps I can better learn to deal with these questions rolling around inside of me.

thank you both.

_________________________
Life is pain your Highness; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
- William Goldman

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#25441 - 02/21/04 03:41 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Texas_Mike Offline
Member

Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 135
Loc: San Antonio, Texas-The Lone-St...
put the brakes on...

it takes a shit head to take advantage of another human being.....










Cay Crow: Stop It Now offers warning signs of potential sex offenders

San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 02/21/2004 12:00 AM

According to the 1996 National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, between 1986 and 1993 the estimated number of sexually abused children increased from 133,000 to 300,200. Dr. David Finkelhor found in his research that each year one or two of every 20 boys and four of every 20 girls are sexually abused during childhood. The secrecy, shame and frequent threats involved in child sexual abuse silence the victims forever or delay their outcries for many years. All too often survivors and perpetrators live with the secret of what happened between them, especially if they are members of the same family.
There are many treatment options for survivors. Perpetrators typically must be convicted of child sexual abuse to receive court-ordered treatment.

Prevention programs for child sexual abuse have targeted kids in schools. These programs teach things like "stranger danger" and how to loudly say no and run away. Some programs teach kids some level of self-defense. Children learn that their bodies belong to them and the difference between good and bad touch. If they experience an "icky" feeling from an older child or adult, they learn to report it to an adult they trust.

Fran Henry is the founder of another prevention program. But this one is not for children; it is for potential offenders. Stop It Now has operated for 11 years as a nonprofit organization. The help line receives about 75 calls a month, mostly from males. Statistics from 2002 show that 72 percent of callers knew someone who may be at risk of offending or they know that an offense has occurred. Some 16 percent of calls were from offenders or those who fear they may offend, and 12 percent were from those seeking information about children's sexual development.

Stop It Now does not provide protection or treatment for offenders or potential offenders, but it does offer treatment referrals and available options within the legal system. It is unique in that it approaches child sexual abuse as a preventable public health issue with identifiable warning signs.

The following is a checklist of warning signs from the Stop It Now Web site. Do you know an adult or older child who:


Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limits?

Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want the affection?

Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen?

Manages to get time alone or insists on time alone with a child with no interruptions?

Spends most of his/her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with someone his/her own age?

Regularly offers to baby-sit many different children for free or takes children on overnight outings alone?

Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?

Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom?

Allows children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behavior?
For more information, go to http://www.stopitnow.org or call (888) PREVENT.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

_________________________
"Passion, excitement, and confidence are the important medicines that you need every day"

Run 2 Live-Live 2 Run

Best,
"The Desert Runner" Mike

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#25442 - 02/21/04 05:42 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
A while back I read the excellent book that accompanied an equally good tv documentary series "The Hunt for Britains Pedophiles"

The extra understanding that I gained about the pedo's motives, and methods, was a major part of my healing.
The biggest question we all ask is "why ?" - and even though I was learning about other peoples abusers the information was obviously valid for my abusers.
And because I'm never likely to get the answer to "why" from my abusers I had to find the best answer available.

Thanks to Ken and Blacken for helping us gain further understanding.

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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#25443 - 03/06/04 01:15 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
blacken Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 1251
Loc: Northern Ohio
Texas-mike,
Please read the entire post, its meant to be taken as a whole statement, and is Not directed at You, only is responce to your post above.

Though this "problem" appears uniquely horrible, the solution certainly is not singular in nature.

Of course we should warn our children, teach them 'self protection', Yet we, ourselves, must recognize the signs, because children CAN be taken advantage of, even with the best prevention training.

Perps are often the very people that are teaching our kids to be safe in the first place. For example...parents, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, etc. They Are in the supreme role to twist & manipulate.
Our best defense, is setting up an atmosphere where Perps don’t have the opportunities to abuse.
Of course, this is no easy task.
First, It takes a change in the way we look at the problem, how we conceptualize & describe this
dilemma.

Currently, we often see safety, as being related to the title of an individual. The words we use to describe safety are,......coach, parent, teacher, & so on. But safety is not a noun. It’s a verb, an action. So, feeling safe means, you trust that an individual wont take action against you.
We used other nouns to describe danger.....stranger, perp, con. These nouns produce instant reaction and warning. These names represent potentially dangerous actions.
We wrongly assume that danger is directly (& exclusively) related to specific people, places, things. Noun = dangerous behavior.
Where its actually the action taken by/with/at a person/thing/place that is the danger. Actions/Behavior = danger.
Remember DANGER is a VERB, not a NOUN.

The impact with the ground, after falling off the cliff, is the danger, not the cliff its-self. If anyone takes this to mean we should not be concerned about our children being around suspected or previous threats like,... cons, strangers, etc, then you've missed my point.

But that’s all I care to write on this subject right now....

Blacken

_________________________
Everyone is a genius! If you were to judge a fish, by its ability to climb a tree,
it would think it was stupid all of it's life.
~Albert Einstein

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#25444 - 03/06/04 03:34 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Spidey Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/04/03
Posts: 14
Loc: NYC
I, like others here no doubt, was terrified by the statistical or psychological possibility that I would become like those who marked me with abuse.

Bearing in mind that a lot of sexual abusers were abused, but that only a small percentage of those who are abused become abusers, and through my own experiences, the personal truth I arrived at was this:
Getting help, in many cases, makes the difference. If the poison is left inside to fester and is compressed and guarded and left unspoken, its influences come out anyway - whether the person wants to or not.
But if help is obtained, and the poison is spoken out a little at a time, it is not being left to fester. Efforts are made to be aware of its influences and the forces at play - and from there, to change them, guide them, sculpt them, and, sometimes, to destroy them with truth. To destroy the often unspoken and unseen perception of what you were taught as being normal (even though part of you knows SA is not). Basically, its easier to fight and deal with a visible thing, than one that has been made invisible for whatever reason.

I don't fear that possible future anymore. Part of me will stand vigil over it until I'm in my grave, but I find its a much smaller part than it used to be.


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