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#35833 - 11/08/02 07:50 PM What Is The "Real" Issue?
MS Admin Offline
Administrative Assistance
MaleSurvivor<

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 382
(Posted by MS Admin for Dr. Hunter)

Recently I have been told that in the chat room at our web site the topic of whether therapists who treat those who have sexually offended ought to be allowed to be members of this organization. Let me repeat that, the topic is not men who have offended, but those who treat them! Clearly this is not an issue of safety. One might be able to make the argument that those who have offended and are as yet untreated ought to be excluded less they prey on the vulnerable. But when the topic is excluding those who are willing to provide treatment to men who have offended it is clear that the objection is merely based on the belief that those who have offended are unworthy of any kind of respect, support, or compassion, and anyone who dares to see them as less than monsters is also unworthy.

In the 1980's when those of us who dared to suggest that there were boys who were sexually abused we were told that we were merely attempting to take the already too scarce resources that rightly belonged to girls who everybody knew "were the real victims of sexual abuse." Passing references to the existence of boy victims appeared in print but then were dismissed since the abuse of boys was so rare that it did not warrant discussion. When the topic of women sexually abusing boys war raised the protests of distracting from the "real" issue of the oppression of females by males increased.

But some of us decided the sexual abuse of boys mattered enough that we organized conferences on the topic. The first one wasn't even exclusively on male victims, but also included workshops on treating offenders.

When the second conference was being planned there was discussion as to whether it was appropriate to include women who treated males. Since the Chair of the Washington conference was a woman it was clear that females had a great deal to offer.

Originally, the focus of the conference was on boy victims. Adult males who had been sexually assaulted were largely ignored. When the topic of adult victims was first discussed many thought it would distract from the "real issue" of boy victims. There were fears that since many of the men who are sexually assaulted are gay or are perceived to be gay the homophobia rampant in America would make it difficult for heterosexual to attend our conferences. But we embraced the issue of men being sexually assaulted.

When the issue of the sexual assault of those incarcerated first began to be presented at the conference there were those who feared that having compassion for criminals would make it difficult for us to raise funds and distract us from the "real mission" of the organization.

When the idea of allowing survivors who are not employed as providers of sexual abuse services was suggested many protested that including these people would distract the organization from the "real mission of offering quality training to mental health treatment professionals." We merged with M.A.L.E. and the organization has yet to self-destruct.

Given our tradition of being inclusive I suggest not only that those who provide treatment services to offenders be allowed to be members, but I will go as far as to say we ought to welcome repentant offenders to join with us in what I argue truly is our "real" mission; the elimination of sexual abuse.

Mic Hunter, Psy.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

(Posted by MS Admin for Dr. Hunter)

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The Team at MaleSurvivor

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#35834 - 11/08/02 09:23 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
MS Admin: Thanks for posting this!

Mic: If you read this or it gets passed on to you, thanks for writing this post!

These words very much express my own feelings, thots and beliefs about this whole matter.

As I've confessed in previous posts (along with several others), by strict & technical if not legal or common definition I have perpetrated sexual abuse myself, whether it was in a faraway time & place or not.

I'm grateful that the MS Administration endorses the embracing of repentant offenders! As I'm sure many others here or who might come here are.

Repentant offenders who are also survivors, and even those who are not, have unique perspectives and helps to offer in the war on sexual abuse.

And after all, at least IMNSHO, we are all made by God in God's image, unique individuals, all of sacred worth, all with something that we can offer the world if given a chance.

Besides, I can look at a practicing sex offender and say, "but for the grace of God, there go I!"

I'm also grateful that our MS Team encourages and includes those who provide treatment to male sex offenders. There may be some here who need this, and hopefully they are getting it.

As for me, it's good to know there are brave therapists who are willing to risk ostracism and maybe loss of clients to treat perpetrators.

It seems to me that's one of the many good ways to stop sexual abuse!

I don't know where this idea that only a very low percentage of perps ever recover.

I wonder if that's becuz so few of them ever get treatment becuz therapists are afraid to treat them and if they do they are under such stress as to make an already difficult job far more so?

I wonder if it's becuz even when they are treated unforgiving and well, abusive people make it so hard on them?

I wonder if it's becuz unwise and unjust persons have twisted both people's opinions and the statistics?

I wonder if, when survivors and their supporters do this, they realize they may be shooting themselves in the foot?

I wonder if we can do more healing & less hurting, more including & less excluding, more integrating and less dis-integrating?

We've become so used to compartmentalizing & isolating seemingly everything and every aspect of our lives. Keeping things together and working together has become a real challenge. This makes carrying out any purpose or mission a real complexity and difficulty at times.

For us male survivors, I'd say our mission is difficult and complex enuf already.

I'm glad our Male Survivor leadership wants to keep it together and keep it as simple & focused as possible.

I do too.

So thanks again.

Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#35835 - 11/08/02 11:31 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Well, that is a neat short history of the prejudices of treating victims and how we grew to be who were are today. Thanks Dr. Mic Hunter.

Thanks Vic. The more I read of the violation of boys who have become men, and see young fellows trying to deal with the havoc it has made in their life, the more I think we in the USA at least need to get to teaching sexuality as gift, the security of good relationships, and be very tough on adults who harm kids or men who rape men.

I wonder what the sentences average out for a man who has sodomized a child. For a man or men who rape a man.

It seems that when we can we need to be educators and at other times advocates to make America safe from sexual predators, no matter who their victims are.

MS does a great job focussing on that. I too am proud, and very grateful for MS.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#35836 - 11/09/02 12:11 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Thad Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/28/01
Posts: 1752
Loc: Oakland, CA
Mic, thanks for the history lesson - I tend to take for granted where we are now and forget that it took a real effort to get us here - thanks to the determined efforts of pioneers like yourself and Fred (and many others I am sure) You deserve our thanks because the openness and healing would not be possibile without you guys. Your work will continue to benefit so many. Thank you from a survivor

_________________________
"..this place isn't a discussion forum..it's a portal..." Lupin
"The truth will set you free, but first it will probably piss you off." dwf's AA sponsor.

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#35837 - 11/09/02 12:38 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Thank you Bob, and ditto to what you say about our mission as among other things teachers and advocates on behalf of all survivors and all who are at risk. And the good job MS is doing. I am proud & grateful to be a part of it all!

Thad, ditto to your good words too. Where would we be, where would I be, without these pioneers? Without MS? I too give my thanks.

Oh Thad, check your PMs when you can. Thanks.
\:\)
Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#35838 - 11/09/02 04:42 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
That was good to read, and it confirms for me reasons that offenders must be treated, and with as much compassion as we can.

There are evil people out there who will re-offend, and are clever enough to jump through hoops and convince the authorities that they are "cured" , and these people must be kept away from society.
But still treat them, and learn from them.

We need to know how and why they work and think, it's the only responsible way society can deal with offenders.

As Vic points out, how many of us have sailed so very close to that fine line ?
Too many of us I think, I know I have.

My abuse led me to acting out with willing strangers, what was next ?
That level was reached by an escalation of fantasy over many years.
Would I have become bored with that by now if I hadn't made the decision to recover myself ?
I think I know the answer.

I do know for sure why we have no children after being married for 27 years, I didn't trust myself.

The majority of offenders are so very little different to ourselves, it's frightening.

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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#35839 - 11/09/02 07:06 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5780
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Some years ago, during a male survivor group, one of the men nervously asked if he could bring up a very difficult topic. Of course, I said. He said he sometimes had thoughts of sexually offending. He added that he never acted on the thoughts and said he was concerned because there was no place he felt comfortable or safe to bring up the topic.

Now, this group of seven men, all sexual survivors with NO history of sexual offending, responded to the nervous member who brought this topic up. Of the six other men, five admitted that they had similar thoughts and feelings.

There have been numerous men I've worked with over the years who identify themselves as survivors and yet had acted out sexually against younger children when they were children or teenagers themselves. They often live with great shame and guilt over these old behaviors and sometimes avoid situations where they COULD act on their thoughts or feelings.

I think people should know that it is not a simple black-white issue. Certainly, someone who has crossed the line and actually done a sexually abusive behavior, needs to be in treatment and avoid any situations that could lead to another offense. (By the way, no one in the abuser treatment field talks about "cure". It's more like diabetes... a condition or illness that can be controlled but not cured.)

I'm glad my friend and colleague, Mic Hunter has offered his thoughts. I look forward to the next conference in Minnesota and will probably do a workshop on the victim to victimizer process if there is sufficent interest.

Ken Singer


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#35840 - 11/10/02 12:12 AM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Ken:

What you share in your post and what Dave shares in the previous one are indications to me that such a workshop would be very helpful to us as survivors to keep us alert and offer warning signs we & others can look for to see if we're moving too much toward victimizer.

I'd like to see such a workshop and I'd like to be able to be there for it. I hope...

Anyway thanks for sharing that, and thanks again Mic!

Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#35841 - 11/10/02 08:02 AM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
I think that one of the most frightening things that has ever happened to me took place about 1 year after my abuse stopped, I was about 16 and I came so close to abusing my cousin one day. He's about 2 years younger than me, the same kind of gap between me and my abusers.

The memory of those few minutes, no more than 15 or 20, are burned into me like a brand.
I remember clearly how I manipulted the circumstances and steered the talk towards sex.
What stopped it happening I don't know, although my cousin is very strong willed and always has been. Maybe he had such a strong personality that it kept me away. There was never anything vulnerable about him, still isn't.

We still see each other and he's cool with me, so I don't think he fully realised what was going on - I hope not.

Like I said, I remember this clearly, and this is the main reason we have no kids. I'd seen my dark side and didn't like what was there.
The thought of going that route was clear enough to me, and somehow repugnant enough for me to never go down that road again.

But it's such a fine line, I don't know how or why I made the decision that pushing sex onto someone younger and weaker was a bad thing to do, I'm justso glad I did.

I'm just staring at the screen, wondering about finishing and sending this. It's the first time I've ever memntioned it to anyone. To hell with it............

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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#35842 - 11/12/02 08:04 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
Dave and all,

Earlier this year at the local rape crisis center monthly meeting I heard a talk from a therapist who dealt almost exclusively with perpetrators in court ordered group therapy. The more I heard him talk the more withdrawn I got. The behaviours that he was discribing for the perpetrators were not that much different from some of the behaviours that I had. My acting out was with consenting adults but that didn't make a lot of difference to me at the time. I recalled that when I was 16-17 (3-4 years after the abuse stopped) I almost became a perp. It scared the hell out me. How close the line is and how fortunate that I didn't cross it.

The one point that came out of his talk is that in his experience group therapy does work if the perpetrators are in it for long enough. He was a very dynamic speaker and must be a very good group leader. He indicated that the perpetrators in the group sessions were very hard on each other, pointing out to each other how their speech, posture and attitude were inconsistent with what they wanted to become. He said that they weren't being cured they were learning to control themselves and stop offending.

Treating perpetrators is a necessity to prevent others from becoming victims.

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#35843 - 11/12/02 08:30 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Steve
Every time I see a documentary on TV about sex offenders I want to hide behind the friggin chair !

Their behaviours, reasoning and justification for their actions are just too close to mine for comfort.
And it just makes me wonder what tiny little influence makes the difference between a non offender and an offender.

If anyone knows - please tell me....

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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#35844 - 11/12/02 10:21 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Dave:

The difference? Like you said, a tiny influence. A stroke of luck here, an influential friend there; a bad break here, one more unhealthy touch there. A thin line indeed.

No wonder it's so easy for us to lock up not only sexual offenders but other criminals. Maybe sometimes we're afraid if we have to look at them, they'll look too much like our reflections in our mirrors!...

Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#35845 - 11/12/02 10:48 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Steve:

"Treating perpetrators is a necessity to prevent others from becoming victims."

You are so right! About that, and about how thin the line is.

It's good to hear something is helping perps to control themselves. Isn't that all that's expected of any alcoholic or addict? Or any of us?

Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#35846 - 11/12/02 10:49 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
rax Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/02/00
Posts: 75
Loc: Newark, CA
MS Admin and Dr. Hunter,

Thankyou for that lovely post about the "real" mission.

I whole-heartedly agree.

An abuser on the Dr. Phil show about child abuse talked about the vampire syndrome, i.e. the fact that abused children often tend to grow up to be abusers.

So, when you look at an abuser, before you judge him, think once, that maybe he was abused himself.

And what is "abuse"? Is it only valid if we abuse another, and not ourselves?

I can say that I have never sexually abused another, but what about the abuse that I have given to myself?
What about smoking and killing myself ?
What about binge-eating ?
What about the self-prostitution?

Am I an abuser? Most certainly.

Someone once told me, "I have seen the enemy, and it is I"

So, How many people can say that they have never abused?

Im just glad that there are doctors and therapists and others who understand the pain of being abused and are ready and willing to help us.
These are our angels, our unsung heroes.
Lets just be thankful and appreciate their value.

regards,
rax.


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#35847 - 11/13/02 07:28 AM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Rax:

Fellow survivor, you make some really good points!

I don't know (hard evidence) and yet I know (discernment, "reading the signs") that my mother, my primary perp, was in some way sexually incested, verbally abused, emotionally abused, and probably physically abused as well.

Just like me. Hmmmm...

Now of course this is in no way justifies her abusing me, and I know you're not saying that it does. However it is, if nothing else, a warning to me about "the vampire syndrome" (never heard that before; fitting analogy).

Very insightful stuff there on self-abuse, too! Self-abuse is in general more socially acceptable or tolerable than "others-abuse." And it, again in general, does have less negative influence & impact on others, at least immediately & directly.

But none of us lives in a vacuum or is an island unto ourselves. What one person does inevitably affects those around him, who in turn affect those around them...This ripple effect may fade, or it may build into a tidal wave of overt & violent behavior in someone somewhere along the way.

Dave/Lloydy posted an interesting article about this in the public forums, about the aboriginal Indians in Canada and their communal way of dealing with sexual offenders. It points out that sex offenses are considered to be rooted in broken relationships within the community that need mending, not isolation. That's what we're talking about here.

If I abuse myself I'm not loving myself. If I don't love myself I can't love others--which means I might abuse them. If I abuse myself it affects my attitude & my actions, making them more abusive, even toward others.

Now I haven't repeatedly ran & bashed my head into a brick wall or anything. But I have over & over again smashed my head against walls of addiction & compulsion, obsession & loss of self-control.

Among other things, this has been corrosive of my relationship with my wife, including sexually. Is that a crime? No. Is it a sin? Yes! \:\(

IMNSHO, no abusive action, not even toward oneself, affects only oneself. Even if it did, it would still be abusive, and wrong.

"I have seen the enemy, and it is I!"

How many people can say they've never abused?

As another wise man once said (in the context of an act considered, at least in his time, sexually abusive; ie adultery), "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone."...

Let's see: alcohol & substance abuse, anger, adrenalin & other addictions & compulsions; fighting, hitting, berating, road rage...

As clearly as with someone in a glass house, I am in no position to throw stones...

Whether those things are now totally or largely in my past or not.

Rax, I too am very grateful for the therapist, doctors and support friends who help me move beyond abuse: the abuse perpetrated against me, and the abuse I perpetrate against others.

Thanks & take care

Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#35848 - 12/01/02 12:30 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
michael Joseph Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 2719
Loc: Virginia
I firmly believe it is a learned behavior, and that those who were abused were abused themselves.
I also know the percentage of those who do go on to abuse is very low. They just end up hurting many children. So not all abused children grow up to be abusers, but those that do need help asap so they can be helped too.

_________________________
Standing together is so much better than hiding in the dark.
***I am a three time WoR Retreat Alumni***
The Round Table, Men's CSA Group, Monday 7:30pm CST, MaleSurvivor Chat

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#35849 - 12/01/02 06:25 PM Re: What Is The "Real" Issue?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
MJ, I agree that probably all people who sexually abuse others were themselves abused in some way; tho not necessarily sexually, it's probably so in most cases.

I've been thinking about how much sexual abuse seems to be more about power & control than about sex. As is physical, verbal, emotional & other abuse. This is common thot when it comes to female survivors, and I don't think its any different for men.

As for me, I know it was about my mother taking out her hatred & resentment of men on me in every way she could. Sexually was just one of those. It was about her controlling me as a symbol of controlling men in general, becuz she felt controlled by them.

Having said that I am convinced tho I have no proof that my mother was sexually abused as a child.

The abuse stops here!

Thanks for the thot-provoking post, MJ!

Vic

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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