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#255314 - 10/15/08 01:11 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: sunwolf]
Chester Offline

Registered: 10/28/07
Posts: 48
Loc: Long Island, NY
This is the single best thread I have read on this site. There is no softening of language, holding hands, or hugging in between statements. I guess that would be tasteless, considering the topic. And it’s a topic always on my mind, as a survivor and someone who supervises sex offenders. Some of these posts hit home and some irked me. The best of you guys have challenged me, though. That’d be your comments, Doug, and Usmc97. It has been nearly a year since I last spoke to my mother. My anger and hatred towards her has been a survival mechanism that has somewhat shielded me from further abuse, but it really has accomplished nothing. Aside from learning how to steel myself to the constant questions from family and friends about what happened between my mother and I, I’ve gone nowhere in the past year. My Dad has gotten sick over this division and my telling him what she did to me. I find myself asking what do I do now?

Originally Posted By: AndyJB2005
It's possible to be both a survivor and sex offender -- in fact I've never worked with a pedophile that wasn't abused as a child.

Andy, at the last conference, a study was referenced which involved the use of polygraphs and revealed more than half of sex offenders claiming to have been abused themselves flat out lied. Are the pedophiles statements that you worked with based on polygraphs or just their own word? If you are just going by what they have said, I suggest more research. wink

Originally Posted By: Usmc97
I have a strong view in that someone can't be both. Being abused DOES NOT turn a person into an abuser. takes effort to be a pediphile.

Actions speak louder than words, for sure.

Originally Posted By: AndyJB2005
USMC, you sure know a lot of facts without A) working closely with these people and/or B) living through it. I suggest more research.


Originally Posted By: arronb
Personally I think neither view is defendable …
Not all sex offenders are exclusive brethren of the devil …
Not all ‘reformed’ offenders stay reformed …

I guess it’s a case by case decision … I personally think its a subject where one should always keep an open mind
...everyone deserves a second chance in life, people always make mistakes ...

Arron, this is more powerful than you might think. I hate my Mom, but I miss her as well. And she has made A LOT of mistakes. I just don’t think she’s reformed yet.

Originally Posted By: Usmc97
I have worked with "them", I also have had a lot of experience with perps and their behavioral issues.

Originally Posted By: ineffable
In what capacities & contexts?

I really don’t think we have to prove our histories to post our opinions. I know you were just trying to get usmc97’s point of reference, but I sounded like you were asking him to prove it. You didn’t ask Andy, and please don’t ask me!

Originally Posted By: AndyJB2005
I know about 30 guys just off the top of my head that stay away from kids without the child's parent knowing of their pedophilia/offense.

They were very serious about recovering and 99.5% of them, that I knew at least, freely admitted to what they did and admitted (with a great deal of remourse) that it was wrong.

Again, if half your guys are lying to you, your numbers are way off, Andy. The program I work with, 100% of the offenders must admit their actions, or they fail treatment. And you have me concerned that the offenders you work with are socializing with parents of children and not telling them of their offender histories. That sounds like grooming behavior.

Originally Posted By: AndyJB2005
...I feel what I say won't matter to anyone so I'll stop here...

Nonsense. If it seems anyone is bashing you, including me, it’s because you have struck a nerve. You’ve brought up a position worth fighting for. I’m starving for new ideas myself. I’m stuck in the middle. I’m tired of being angry, and I’m tired of people falling for and spouting the usual offender bullshit.

Originally Posted By: Bewlayb1
Do I sympathize with pedophiles who have been abused themselves? They might have lived perfectly normal lives otherwise. This horrible thing was forced on them, and they couldn't beat it. It's sad. It's tragic. But truly, I consider these people lost. I know that I would rather kill myself than harm a child. I can't really feel sorry for anyone who wouldn't do the same.

Originally Posted By: Usmc97
At any point if they did stop their ways, with however much remorse, they have still inflicted an unnatural pain and created a tormented life for someone else. But someone like me is supposed to applaud their apoligies?

...It's their shame, let them own it.

Originally Posted By: Blueshift
Right now, though, at least as far as I know, if a person who felt he/she was at risk of hurting a child tried to seek help before the tragedy occurs, that person would find that treatment was only available to those who had already offended plus they would then be labeled a monster by the same society that refuses them treatment because they have not yet offended. Does that make sense?

I have as much hatred in my heart as anyone towards those who abuse children but my hatred isn't protecting children. Those on the other hand, who are able to put their feelings aside and work with pedophiles and predators toward the goal of not offending...those people may be the ones who are really making a difference while me and my hatred do nothing.

...many of those people are doing something about the problem---not because they don't hate abuse, but because they can love children more than they hate pedophiles.

I hear old, stale hate in your comments, Doug. I think people missed that. I’m only just realizing that my anger and hate has accomplished nothing other than keeping frozen in one spot. It’s time I actually did something.

Originally Posted By: Usmc97
I don't say to hate, I'm just for strict responsibility. There is help for them.... counseling, accountability, education, their responsibility to not be around children PERIOD.

Originally Posted By: mogigo
The only thing I can add is when I'm not vilified for BEING a survivor then we can work on help for the perp's.

Originally Posted By: M3
…we are left in their dust to fend for ourself with the support of other survivors. We seem to remain the taboo, the secret subject, even after we disclose.

Originally Posted By: King tut
People have the right to hate, like you say, but not in some belittlement of "cherished hate" but a painfully earned right…

Originally Posted By: mogigo
We'll get to you "people who fuck children", right now I'm doing what I can for those of us who don't.

Working with offenders, I can’t tell you how pissed I am that there are little to no resources available for survivors, but there is a plethora of services and treatment programs for the offenders themselves. It’s almost cruel. The only agency near me offers services to both survivors and offenders. If I was to go for counseling there, I would run into the same guys I referred there! And when screen over the phone and when I replied no to any history of offending, the interviewer said I was lucky to have avoided that trap.

There still remains a very dangerous assumption, among the professionals in the field no less, that all offenders are victims, and that all victims will become offenders. Maybe that fiction is what I should work on?

rock: left pocket

#255322 - 10/15/08 02:22 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: mogigo]
blueshift Offline

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
Originally Posted By: mogigo
One last past.

The best way to get The "normals" to understand is to get them to relate with the victim's not the perp's. Once we can get them to understand that all victim's will not become perp's then we can get them to understand??!! (sorry I'm not there yet myself) the thought's of the perp's.

I just feel like you're skipping a step, unless of course that you think the "normals" already understand us survivors.

But hey, lets work on explaining why perp's offend. I'm sure they'll understand that in no time flat.

I never spoke at all about getting ANYONE to understand perps.
I don't think anyone ever will understand perps including perps. That doesn't mean though that they are beyond help or treatment. We don't really understand a lot of things about the world we live in but it doesn't mean that we are powerless over it.
Originally Posted By: mogigo

Read the first line of my first post Doug

Yes, I read it. Problem is I kept on reading and what I read after that made me feel that you didn't get me at all because you were still suggesting that I was somehow placing abusers on a higher priority than survivors. That was NOT what I was trying to say at all.

I might have said a lot of things that can be agreed with or not, it doesn't matter, but it does matter to me that people are getting their hostilities all over people who don't deserve it.

Whether someone agrees or disagrees with the work that survivors like Andy do, survivors like Andy are not perps, are not perp sympathizers or perp apologists. They are just fellow survivors who have different ideas about the best way to protect children and they do not deserve to be looked at as being in the THEM category in the us and them dichotomy.

Believe me, I totally hear what you are saying about how shitty it is that survivors are all seen as perps. I am as against that as you are, and that is partly why I get annoyed when people talk as though a fellow survivor has some vested interest in protecting perps from hurt feelings because they have a different view of how to tackle the problem.

No one really knows with any certainty about what the best answer is---like I said, no one will ever understand what makes a perp perp. But someone should not be made to feel as though he is being painted as a perp or a perp sympathizer simply because he has a different opinion about the best way to keep kids safe.

My Story
My Art

#255328 - 10/15/08 03:00 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: Chester]
blueshift Offline

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
Originally Posted By: Chester

Working with offenders, I can’t tell you how pissed I am that there are little to no resources available for survivors, but there is a plethora of services and treatment programs for the offenders themselves. It’s almost cruel.

If you are pissed about the lack of resources for survivors, then I understand completely. But if you are pissed about the resources for offenders, I don't understand because they really aren't for offenders, they are for the children that the offenders are at risk of hurting.

And yes, I will admit that I have no certainty that these resources do actually do that, but aside from whether they do or don't, it isn't like some lovely gift to offenders that is denied to survivors--it's an attempt, whether misguided or not to protect kids.

Originally Posted By: Chester

The only agency near me offers services to both survivors and offenders. If I was to go for counseling there, I would run into the same guys I referred there! And when screen over the phone and when I replied no to any history of offending, the interviewer said I was lucky to have avoided that trap.

Now that is definitely messed up. Though I do believe that offenders should be treated too, I CERTAINLY don't think them and survivors should be treated TOGETHER! Whoever's idea THAT was needs a quick and sudden change of career! " uh, sorry, I have to cut your session short now, your rapist is here for his session." !? What kind of sh*t is that?! I'd be super pissed if I was getting counseling at a place like that!
Originally Posted By: Chester

There still remains a very dangerous assumption, among the professionals in the field no less, that all offenders are victims, and that all victims will become offenders. Maybe that fiction is what I should work on?

I agree. That needs to change. Assumptions are all too often just a handy substitute for thinking and dealing with things and people on a case by case basis. I'm sure even the assumption that all offenders can be treated is also a dangerous assumption. There are always exceptions.

My Story
My Art

#255336 - 10/15/08 03:56 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: blueshift]
usmc97 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/02/05
Posts: 437
Loc: Colorado
I'm not against the people who work with perps, it's the way that it is portrayed... that somehow there is hope in turning one of "them" into being safe. That "rehabilitation" is an effective option that can be passed along to perps to make them safe to be around a child. That there is redemption without any consideration to their victims. Their actions and offenses from the begining are not from lack of resources or places to go in order to prevent them inflicting harm. Defending them in saying that they are just human and have "problems" does not make them less of a monster. They destroy lives, "we" are not simular to "them". They are a whole different breed. Victim OR perp, one can't be both.... they could have been a victim prior to, but they cross that line and they can't return to being one of "us".

They are somewhere in the spectrum of being cowards, and being sick enough to not comprehend right and wrong. In any sense they are a danger. There is plenty of preventive care for them if they so wanted intervention.

It's an unrealistic hope, like world peace (sorry to break it to the tree huggers). The search for some perp gene in DNA or something. Justification for the answer we've all asked, Why? How could they? and not accepting simple truth.... They are predators like some animals are predators, they function the same ways show the same signs but with a lot of them are more deviant than any other species. It seems like that can't be accepted, it's clinical denial, professionals in denial.

Children are protected through adults in their lives being alerted to innapropriate behavior. There is an understanding of how perps work that is continually adjusted as years go by, they can be profiled and recognized by those who gain knowledge of what to look for and other training. There are plenty of "us" who naturally carry those talents.... the gift and curse. All of that is the best prevention to date until our society sees that there is no place for "them" in regards to children and that they should be segregated to where they can't hurt any kids or public ridicual in a clear way where they are marked to be recognized.

It's just that "they" are not a science experiment where it can be okay to make mistakes and imperfections. They can lie through treatment as well as any sociopath. If you've never met one of those that would be an eye opener..... there is no sense to how their mind works... they just are and they just do.

If I were strong enough I would probably be able to work with predators but my treatment would seem too harsh because I'd demand responsibility, effort, accountability, public admittance, zero confidentiality and privacy, restitution, ect. with no tolarance for any resistants to treatment and this would be a lifelong commitment to where they would never see a child again .... There is no place that holds them to all of that.

Semper Fi

The statistics? 1 in 4, 1 in 6?
...then there's me the imaginary number

#255349 - 10/15/08 08:02 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: Chester]
AndyJB2005 Offline

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1245
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Fine...I f*cking give up trying to help the world and these people to not hurt children...since it's so obvious it doesn't matter to you people or society...

For people that want the world to be free of victims, you all sure shoot yourselves in the foot attacking someone trying to help STOP THIS...and I really question if you actually DO want no more victims -- like I do -- or you just want your anger intact at all costs?

Thanks for your condescending winks, Chester. You nailed the coffin shut.

You know the world isn't only about our feelings alone.

F**k this site, too....all it ever does it make me mad anymore. I wont bug you guys anymore and/or waste my time. So good job, Chester! You won! Congratulations! You got another protector of children to give up!

You too, USMC. Mission accomplished.

Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

#255356 - 10/15/08 09:02 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: dgoods]
Still Offline

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 7011
Loc: FEMA Region 1
One well defined rift between members here has always been this issue. Do we forgive them? Do will kill them? Do we beat them? Do we _______ them?

We all seem to take positions on our preferred reaction option and defend it with volleys like these. It reminds me of holy-wars and doctrine wars.

I hope we can focus on what unifies us rather than what separates us. We are all wounded men seemingly placed in the same room (here at MS). We all have our own reactions and plans for the outside world.

#255365 - 10/15/08 09:55 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: Chester]
ineffable Offline

Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 1371
Loc: state of holeecrapdood

Difficult immediately believing or accepting people presenting themselves as experts
especially if we are just to take their "opinions" at face value.

"hi little boy... I have a puppy in my van... wanna see?"

"uh Chester? I don't see any van"

:: "Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread which is not there" ::

#255373 - 10/15/08 10:33 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: ineffable]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
If I may risk bringing in my experience of 30 years of working with abusers and male survivors....

This is a chapter from my book (hopefully soon to be published) that answers some of the issues kicked around in this thread. I hope it will help clarify rather than add gasoline to this potentially explosive thread.

Chapter 8

Why “Demonizing” Keeps Them Powerful

Sexual abusers are like bullies in many ways. They pick on people weaker or smaller than they are. They use their resources of size, strength, knowledge or authority to get what they want.

Common sense (and sometimes the advice of our parents) tells us to confront bullies because they are cowards at heart. If only it were that easy. On the one hand, we know intellectually that the bully is a coward (if he’s not, then why not pick on someone his own size or bigger?), but on the other, when we are that little kid confronted by the older and bigger bully demanding our lunch money, we do what we can to survive. There may also be a value or belief in the victim’s school or social network that says, “Don’t rat on anyone”. This can lead to the fear that the bully or his friends will retaliate against anyone who tells on them. And telling a teacher or other adult might bring on admonitions to the victim to resolve the problem himself.

Fortunately, American schools now have a better understanding of the effects of bullying on children. The Columbine shootings a few years ago drew many people into discussions on the effects of bullying, and numerous schools have instituted anti-bullying policies that include training for children and teachers. Similarly, the occasional would-be Columbine copycats remind the public that bullying has a serious negative effect on victims that sometimes manifests itself in violence, antisocial behaviors or even suicide. Not too long ago, a thirteen-year-old girl committed suicide after a fictional boyfriend she met online broke up with her after a series of abusive emails “he” had sent her. Tragically, the boyfriend was the creation of the mother of a classmate of hers.

The dilemma that exists for the child who was bullied or abused is that later in life, as an adult, he emotionally goes back to a childlike state when triggered by situations that recall old circumstances. The child who gave up his lunch money to the bully may revert to that childlike state when, as an adult, he is confronted by an aggressive panhandler asking for money. This situation now is not the same as when he was a child with less knowledge, power, or resources. Nevertheless, the adult who reaches into his pocket to find money for the panhandler may experience a pounding heart; he may sweat, and he may curse himself for giving in to the panhandler against his will.

However, he had a few other choices he could have made if he was thinking clearly as an adult rather than reacting emotionally as a child. He could have ignored the request and kept walking. He could have firmly told the panhandler, “No!”, and walked on. Instead, he emotionally became a child without the intellectual wherewithal to be assertive.

In this case, the panhandler was not the bully of this man’s childhood. Rather, this is a projection of a bad childhood experience. Projection is a common phenomenon in which we emotionally read a current situation in terms of an old experience, and the "trigger" that causes us to do this could be some characteristic of the old memory. Suppose, for example, an uncle with a red beard abused you as a child. Years later you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable whenever you are around someone with a red beard. If you are not aware of why you feel that way (“I don’t know why I don’t like anybody with a red beard”), you may find yourself uncomfortable around people with red beards. It may also be so hidden in your mind that you are not even aware that you have had a negative reaction to men with red beards, but somehow you react fearfully to them.

But suppose you have the awareness that your uncle (with the red beard) abused you. You may forego any family functions that he attends, you could attend but avoid him, or you might act around him as if nothing had ever happened. If the abuser still emotionally affects you, ask yourself if you are allowing him to have power over you. Does the fear of being in his presence, years after the abuse has ended, still affect you? Does it cause you to avoid situations where, from an adult intellectual perspective, you know you are not in danger?

Or do you find that you feel anxious and unsafe even though the abuser now lives far away from you and probably has no idea where you live? It is not unusual for a survivor to discover that the abuser died years ago, but then find that his fear of him continues unabated. This fear or discomfort is part of the effect of the abuse and the abuser taking a piece of your brain.

Fear Can Make the Abuser More Powerful

If the abuser seems larger than life, if he has power over you or controls your participation at family affairs, for example, you may be “demonizing” him. There was a classic science-fiction movie made in 1956 called “Forbidden Planet”. Without going into the entire plot, the gist of the story involves an invisible monster that is attacking the base camp set up by the “good guys” on a planet in another solar system. The heroes have come to rescue an earlier expedition that has been under siege by something.

Nothing seems to be able to stop the monster, who is picking off the astronauts one by one, and in a last ditch effort to survive, the remaining explorers who are under attack finally descend into what looks like a bank vault for protection from the creature. The monster is melting the thick steel door, but then someone realizes that the creature is the product of the chief scientist’s emotions, primarily fear and anger. His intense but generally hidden feelings are fueling the monster. As soon as he grasps this and lets go of his fear, the monster disappears. It dies, and the planet blows up after the rest of the cast is safely back in space.

In many ways, the “monster” that is your perpetrator is fueled by your fears, anger and self-defeating behaviors. The more power you give him in your mind, the more he has to control you. He probably rarely (if ever) thinks of you, but how often do you think of him or find yourself upset by the effects of the abuse he committed?

Although perpetrators will not likely know any of the problems a survivor endures years after the abuse has ended, the survivor is reminded of the abuse and the abuser much more frequently. The guilt, shame, and disgust the survivor feels about his self-defeating or self-destructive behaviors, such as overeating, substance abuse, etc., are constant reminders of the impact of the abuse. In reality, the power the abuser had over the child victim is no longer there. In the victim’s mind, however, the perpetrator is an all-powerful demon who still controls him.

The problems that the abuse created for the survivor may or may not be linked to the abuse itself. The survivor may be aware of his self-defeating problems and he may likely be aware that he was abused. However, this does not always mean that he will link the problem with the abuse. When he does, he may become angry at himself with fearful memories of the abuser. The abuser seems larger than life because at the time of the abuse he was larger than his victim. Remember, bullies don’t pick on people their own size or strength.

Many adult survivors are physically bigger and stronger than their abusers are today. They could literally “kick the abuser’s butt”. From a physical perspective, the adult survivor is now able to kick butt. From an emotional level, however, the adult survivor is still that vulnerable frightened child and thus gives the perpetrator the power to control him even today. He probably has an intellectual understanding that he is more powerful than he emotionally feels. But the abuser’s power is heightened in the survivor’s mind by fearful memories and anger that he often misdirects at the wrong persons, including himself.

It is easy to say, “Let go of the fear and anger.” That is almost in the same league as the advice many survivors get from family and friends stating, “Get over it”. (This term, by the way, can be a real trigger for some survivors. One writes that to say this “is to say that what was done to him was no big deal, that his pain doesn’t count, that the issues that confront him as a boy and then as an adult are of no particular consequence, and that he doesn’t have the right to expect support – even from those closest to him.”)

Although there are probably a small number of survivors who may find some comfort stuck in the role of victim, the overwhelming majority of survivors do not want to be controlled by the abuse or memories of the abuser.

One recurrent theme I see time and again is the periodic meeting with the abuser at a family function. Essentially, the survivor has a few choices. He can avoid the event. He can go there and try to avoid the abuser. He can tell or ask the abuser not to come there. He can also let the abuser know privately that he expects certain things and wants the abuser to respect those wishes. This last choice is likely going to need some prior communication and perhaps a confrontation ahead of time. (There is more detail on this in Chapters 14 and 15.)

When a survivor is able to tell the abuser how he wants him to interact or behave, or whether to be at a function, he is making a shift from dwelling on his fear in the past to exerting more control over his life in the present. He is empowering himself, and as he does so he reclaims for himself more and more of the control that the abuse and the abuser once had over him. This is about becoming assertive and is illustrated in Chapter 16, which will deal with an example of a successful confrontation.

They Fear You

In my work with abusers, I have found time and again that they are generally afraid of running into their victims years after they committed the abuse. Why is that?

You, the survivor, represent a threat to them. Think about it. You have the power, now as an adult, to expose them. Whether the threat of exposure rests in the family or the community, the stakes are high for abusers to maintain the secrecy. Public exposure brings the possibility of arrest, loss of job, scorn, or even a civil lawsuit. When you keep the abuse a secret for years after it happened, you are doing exactly what abusers want from their victims. They don’t want this disclosed because, contrary to what you might have believed as a child, they have more to lose than you do.

While statute of limitations rules can prevent a criminal prosecution or lawsuit for damages, many states have loosened the rules for initiating court action for victims of child sexual abuse. A civil or criminal suit, even if not successful, can be very costly to the perpetrator in terms of money and reputation. The cost of defending a criminal or civil action can be staggering. Think of the Michael Jackson case, also of how O.J. Simpson was acquitted in the criminal trial but lost in civil court.

I worked with a young man in his mid 20s who decided to sue his stepfather for civil damages. The statute of limitations prevented him from signing a criminal complaint against his stepfather, but under the circumstances, he was able to sue the man in civil court. This young man had suffered from depression for years following the abuse and had sexual identity issues that were straining his relationship with a girlfriend. He decided to retain a lawyer who, at considerable cost to the lawyer (it was a no-fee but percentage of the monetary judgment), built a formidable case against the stepfather. Defending himself from this suit was very expensive for the stepfather. Although I don’t know whether the primary motivation for this survivor was money or the satisfaction that his stepfather was publicly exposed as a sexual abuser, it was empowering for him to finally get the upper hand.

A number of times over the years, offenders in my groups have talked about the concerns they have over the possibility of running into one of their victims on the street. In a way, it puts them in a defensive position they do not wish to be in. Even if there is no court action, they generally don’t know what they would say if a victim confronted them.

One man I’ve worked with saw his childhood abuser on the street years later in the small town where the two lived. The abuser noticed the man and although he didn’t say anything to him, it seemed that he wanted to avoid this survivor. The survivor was fearful and upset when he saw the abuser for the first time. His reaction in this first encounter was almost childlike. He was afraid and said that both seemed to need to escape from each other. After we talked about it, he saw the abuser again a few weeks later and had a different reaction this time. Although not comfortable enough to say anything to the abuser, he felt more self-assured and pointed out the abuser to a policeman who was driving by. Though he was not sure why he did this, he told the officer that the man had abused him when he was a young teenager. In a way, he felt that he had exposed his abuser to the authorities, even if no legal action could be taken.

The third time he saw his abuser on the street, the abuser was talking to a teenage boy and this man felt his anger rising, wondering if the perpetrator was trying to set something up with the boy. He gave the abuser a “death stare” and the abuser quickly walked off. This man is now confident that he will say something to the abuser, an elderly man these days, the next time he sees him.

What’s especially significant here is that the anger he felt was no longer directed to himself, as it had in the past. Instead, he used it on the second occasion to talk to the police about the abuser, and gave the perpetrator a “death stare” the third time he saw the man. This represents the survivor becoming more assertive rather than acting like the helpless child he once was.

Think about how the abuser is likely to react should the two of you meet by chance somewhere. He is more likely to fear you than to direct any aggressive behavior at you. This is borne out by my experience with abusers, and it is pretty unlikely that the abuser would take the opportunity to try to intimidate the survivor, particularly not as he might have done years ago, when the abuse took place.

A number of American states and provinces in Canada, as well as the United Kingdom and other countries, have changed statutes of limitation in sexual abuse cases in the past few years. Notably, religious institutions have also responded to decades-old claims of abuse by survivors and may also take responsibility to help pay for treatment perpetrated by members of the clergy.

In New Jersey a survivor of clergy abuse, Mark Crawford, lobbied his state senator and other politicians to change the state’s charitable immunity law. After several years of effort, he was able to get the law revised so victims of charitable institutions, such as churches and private schools, could be sued for abuses made by their staff. He felt that by going public with his abuse history, he was no longer allowing the secret to keep him silent and he mobilized his anger into changing the law. The best way to find out whether you can sign a criminal charge or bring civil suit against the perpetrator is to check the statute of limitations in the jurisdiction where the abuse occurred.

It is also important to have good support from family and/or friends if you are going to undertake such an action. Remember, the perpetrator has the most to lose in any exposure. The childhood belief that the boy would be vulnerable to exposure as “being gay” for “participating” in the abuse is really insignificant compared to the possibility of arrest, media reports, prison, financial settlements, exposure to his family, and Megan’s Law (sex offender) registration for the perpetrator. So think about it. Is the fear of being labeled “gay” worse than a perpetrator being exposed and being publicly branded as a sexual abuser or predator? The truth here – again – is that the abuser has much more to fear and to lose than the survivor.

Remember, the abuser wants desperately to keep the abuse a secret. The power you have to expose him is quite considerable. If you want to expose him and get the upper hand, please do so in a way that keeps the process under your control. Chapter14, on disclosure and confrontation, should be required reading before undertaking a potentially turbulent but rewarding effort.

However you deal with your anger and fear of the perpetrator, do bear in mind that the ultimate objective here is to regain control so you can focus on your own recovery. Unfortunately, many survivors are so caught up in their anger and fear of the perpetrator that they neglect their own healing. Some survivors put a lot of energy into ranting against perpetrators, hoping to expose them and make life as difficult for them as possible. Revenge may feel satisfying, but if it is sought at the expense of healing yourself it may not be very productive.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#255374 - 10/15/08 10:33 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: ineffable]
sunwolf Offline

Registered: 09/20/08
Posts: 225
Loc: Indiana
Wowwww..I didn't know i was stirring this controversy when i posted my 1st post about this...but It's been very educationg reading all the post...i have not yet come with any soulution for myself but there are certain things we need to clarify:

1st not all child molesters or abusers are adult my case it was my brother and my cousins all underage as me

2nd: not all victims are children..we have seem here adults that were abused and raped

3rd: not every vicitim of child abuse become an abuser but certainly some do...

4th we need to make more efforts on PREVENTION!!! The 1st right of a vicitim is not becoming ONE!!!

5th: sexual repression and misunderstanding in our society creates many sex offenders

6th: the root of all of these (child molestation and abuse other than sexual) is violence in our society

7th: there is much abuse in the world other than sexual (war, miltiary mines that hurt children, child labor, child hunger, child neglet, child soldiers, etc etc etc)..those are abused children too...

lets keep the dialogue open...

Edited by sunwolf (10/15/08 10:35 AM)

#255385 - 10/15/08 11:15 AM Re: survivors and sex offenders... [Re: sunwolf]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

This is a powerful thread on an explosive issue and I think it raises some useful issues and points from a variety of perspectives. But let's focus on the dialogue aspect of the discussion rather than on the differences of opinion that are bound to arise. We all have good and valid reasons for feeling the way we do; please grant that to the other guy as well.

Let's also watch out for comments that can be taken personally, and at the same time recognize that on a subject like this others are bound to dispute your point no matter where you stand on the issue. Let's try to avoid either expressing disagreement as an attack or interpreting it as an attack.

Larry, aka roadrunner
ModTeam Coordinator

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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