The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Great Debates

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-11-2010, 03:01 PM
Electric Warrior Electric Warrior is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Why does child molestation happen?

I was reading a discussion on another website about sexual assault, and I was floored by the prevalence of stories where people - especially women - had been molested as children, almost always by a stepfather or their mother's boyfriend. I am just wondering why this occurs. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I put it in Great Debates because I know it's an emotionally-charged question that does not have one clear factual answer. Far from.

These are the theses I've come across:

*Rape is about power, not sex.
Okay, so why do people assert power by sexually abusing children? Adults already have power over children because they are authority figures.

*Rape happens because alcoholism and other drug abuse make people violent.
This still doesn't explain why people sexually abuse children rather than breaking glasses.

*Rape happens because rapists want sexual gratification.
But why, especially if you're married or dating a woman, would you try to get more gratification by forcing her children into unwanted activities? Abused kids are not consenting and they're certainly not going to try to give their rapists pleasure. I find it hard to believe that the male erection is such a powerful force that it turns a man into a brainless, slobbering beast who will have intercourse with anything he sees.

*Rape happens because some people are just nasty and enjoy inflicting pain on easy targets.
I'm starting to think this is the only solution. But is this really true about that many people? I thought sociopathy was relatively rare.

So I'm at a loss.
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-11-2010, 03:42 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post

*Rape happens because some people are just nasty and enjoy inflicting pain on easy targets.
This is the closest, but also people can relieve their pain by inflicting it onto others, causing them to bear it. Child can easily accept that they did something wrong to deserve it. The child bears the weight, and shame of the molester, and the molester gets relief. It's a effect of soul ties, the act forces the 2 to become 1, the more powerful takes possession of the innocent child spirit and leaves the child with theirs.

When that child grows up, bearing the guilt and shame, and seeking relief, finds a child victim, and the process is repeated.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-11-2010, 03:45 PM
Mosier Mosier is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
I don't think anyone can claim to know what's going on in a child molester's head while he/she is committing the act. As far as I know, not even the rapists themselves can explain just what the fuck they're doing and why.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-11-2010, 06:10 PM
hansel hansel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
*Rape is about power, not sex.
Okay, so why do people assert power by sexually abusing children? Adults already have power over children because they are authority figures.
This doesn't mean that sex isn't involved in the act. This idea is mainly a counter to the old Victorian idea that men were barely contained cauldrons of lust that occasionally boiled over, where rape occurred because their animal instincts couldn't be contained--i.e., that rape was caused by an uncontrollable excess of normal sexual desire, and was thus, to some degree, understandable and forgivable, just boys being boys.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-11-2010, 06:48 PM
Skald the Rhymer Skald the Rhymer is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 24,307
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
This is the closest, but also people can relieve their pain by inflicting it onto others, causing them to bear it. Child can easily accept that they did something wrong to deserve it. The child bears the weight, and shame of the molester, and the molester gets relief. It's a effect of soul ties, the act forces the 2 to become 1, the more powerful takes possession of the innocent child spirit and leaves the child with theirs.

When that child grows up, bearing the guilt and shame, and seeking relief, finds a child victim, and the process is repeated.
My response to your latest pearl of wisdom, sir.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-11-2010, 06:54 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 23,374
Well, some people are sexually turned on by kids. So even if they're married or dating, they don't get sexual gratification from their partner.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-11-2010, 07:10 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2008
Kanikbird, people might be a little more receptive to creepy pasta here.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-11-2010, 07:16 PM
magnusblitz magnusblitz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
I think it's a combination of 3 and 4, with some of 1. I bet a lot of molestors didn't have a sex life that met their needs, and/or they can still be turned on by doing things to a child. Add in the general nastiness/lack of care for other human beings, and you've got a child molestor.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-11-2010, 07:31 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 22,926
I don't think there's any one reason; I suspect it's more like a "syndrome" with many possible causes. Certainly there are people who are simply attracted to children, just like there are people who are attracted to men or women . . . and we really don't understand why. But there have to be other factors in play in addition to the attraction, causing someone to actually act on their feelings.

I don't believe that child molestation happens as a conscious act of wrongdoing. By that I mean that the person somehow rationalizes his actions and convinces himself that what he is doing is not harmful to the child . . . that the child may even be enjoying it. People in general have an amazing ability to rationalize just about anything, and I believe child molesters have perfected this. Once you get past the idea that you are harming the child, there's no longer anything holding you back.

I wonder whether anyone has ever done a study of criminals (of all crimes), to find out whether they, at the time of committing the crime, actually believed that their action was wrong, or whether they were able to rationalize it.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-11-2010, 07:52 PM
CutterJohn CutterJohn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Are we talking kiddy diddling or statutory rape here?

For statutory, its just that we're hardwired to find youth attractive, and plenty of guys common sense is temporarily clouded by their dick and a willing teenager.

For the preteen stuff, no clue. I can't imagine its all about power and wanting to harm someone though. At least not at first.. Its easy to understand how violence and threats can come into it, what with the extreme penalties if caught.

I've personally always thought it was sorta like the gay/straight thing.. Can't help what you are attracted to, and these guys(and a few ladies) just happen to have the extreme bad luck of being attracted to kids, with no hope that it will ever be legal, and knowing that they will be social pariahs if they practice it, and probably with the knowledge that they are sick if they do.

Can't be a fun life.


But what do I know? It could be they are just violent sociopaths who want to rape someone who can't fight back.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-12-2010, 08:32 AM
njtt njtt is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Is most molestation rape? I would take rape to mean, at a minimum, vaginal or anal penetration, but my impression is that molestation is more usually a matter of feeling up, or perhaps getting the child (possibly, but by no means necessarily, with a threat of violence) to perform a hand-job or blow-job on the adult. While it is plausible that penetrative rape has a lot to do with aggression or dominance, that is much less obvious to me in these other sorts of cases. (Not that I have any positive explanation of the behavior to offer.)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-12-2010, 08:40 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Is most molestation rape? I would take rape to mean, at a minimum, vaginal or anal penetration, but my impression is that molestation is more usually a matter of feeling up, or perhaps getting the child (possibly, but by no means necessarily, with a threat of violence) to perform a hand-job or blow-job on the adult. While it is plausible that penetrative rape has a lot to do with aggression or dominance, that is much less obvious to me in these other sorts of cases. (Not that I have any positive explanation of the behavior to offer.)
Unlike conventional rape, I don't believe child molestation is about control.
__________________
"You're a veritable wise man when it comes to human relations, AClockworkMelon." Freudian Slit
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-12-2010, 01:33 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: TX
Posts: 13,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
*Rape happens because some people are just nasty and enjoy inflicting pain on easy targets.
I'm starting to think this is the only solution. But is this really true about that many people? I thought sociopathy was relatively rare.

So I'm at a loss.
Most child molesters aren't psychopaths (aka sociopaths), but you're conflating two concepts there: sexual sadism and psychopathy. A psychopath may use violence to acheive sexual gratification (or money, or whatever else he wants), but it may simply be the means rather than the end - he has no conscience and isn't particularly troubled by the infliction of pain and harm so long as he gets what he wants out of it. With a sexual sadist, the pain and harm is what he wants. Comorbid psychopathy and sexual sadism is the truly dangerous combo; that's where you're getting into Ted Bundy territory.

Child molesters usually aren't psychopaths - when they are they're particulalry dangerous, but they're usually not. They may have some sort of conscience, but they can justify their behavior to themselves through all sorts of cognitive distortions, reasoning that looks completely bizarre to us but is absolutely airtight in their own minds (child came on to me, parents tacitly approved, I'm not really hurting him). Some may enjoy the victimization and nonconsent aspect to some degree, some may even be sexual sadists, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. Some may be so completely socially inept that a child is the only person they can relate to sexually. They come in many varieties.

Last edited by pravnik; 05-12-2010 at 01:35 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-13-2010, 07:32 AM
Perciful Perciful is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
I think pedophiles are attracted to children in a sexual way the same way normal people are atttacted to the oppsoite sex or gays to the same sex.

I never chose what sex I would be attracted to it just happened during puberty. I wonder if some of these pedophiles were molested themselves as children?

Trying to get them to not act out their normal sexual cues is always going to be a problem just as if someone told me it's wrong to be attracted to men. I would have to deny my attraction to men. So I would have to become celibate or risk being locked up.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-13-2010, 07:43 AM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: San Juan, PR
Posts: 10,481
Very good points by pravnik. Some of them don't think they're doing anything wrong. Some of them don't care if they are or are not doing something wrong. Some of them know they're doing something wrong and go ahead anyway. some of them get off on the fact it's wrong.

Lovely, isn't it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
I was reading a discussion on another website about sexual assault, and I was floored by the prevalence of stories where people - especially women - had been molested as children, almost always by a stepfather or their mother's boyfriend.
[...]
[...]
*Rape happens because some people are just nasty and enjoy inflicting pain on easy targets.
I'm starting to think this is the only solution. But is this really true about that many people? I thought sociopathy was relatively rare.
Watch it: in a self-reporting environment you may get the impression that the prevalence of a conduct is far higher than it really is. And one predator will often account for multiple victims.
As it stands, the incidence of child sexual abuse IS dishearteningly high (and the only tolerable rate would be zero), but one has to take such things into account.

Last edited by JRDelirious; 05-13-2010 at 07:46 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-13-2010, 07:55 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perciful View Post
I wonder if some of these pedophiles were molested themselves as children?
Gee, you really think so?
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-13-2010, 08:26 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
I recall an article once where a psychologist was dicsussing sexual orientaton and attraction, etc. He mentioned something called "sex maps" - basically, what is it that turns someone on? This is believed (by most psychologists?) to happen very early in life, if not before birth.

Basically, we all recognize patterns; it's a feature of evolution.This is young, this is old, this is healthy, this is not. "Pretty" vs. "Ugly" is a form of this. There are cues that (most of us) recognize, child vs. adult, male vs. female characteristics, etc. Psychologists love those experiments where they have a whole range of pictures and ask someone to rate the person for A, B or C based on facial appearnce, for example. There's a whole separate discussion on faking cues -e.g. lighter hair usually happens in childhood for Europeans, so blonde is a trick to make the person look younger and therefore more appealling.

So I suspect that a lot of child molestation is simply that their "what turns me on" part of the brain is connected to the wrong "recognizers"; just as with gay men and women, they also have their gender rather than the opposite connected to their "what turns me on" brain section.

(OK, this is NOT the gay=child molester argument. It's a discussion of what makes a person attracted to what).

There was an earlier thread (GQ?) asking what the ratio of girl to boy molestors was - IIRC,about somewhere between 4 to 1 to 10 to 1. An interesting question is why the men who were molested (presumably by men) as children would molest girls, not boys, if this is a "Pass it forward" response. And also - why do most such molestors have a preferred gender? Rarely do you hear of equal opportunity molestors.

I suspect more likely it's a side effect of the way our brains may develop randomly to be attracted to something different. Like "in the closet" gays, the molestor may sometimes have no problem having an adult hetero relationship but likely finds the one he's wired for more satisfying. Children, especially stepchildren, are an easy target. It would not surprise me to find they may often even initiate relationships to get at those stepchildren.

What strategy they use to coerce their young partner determines exactly how serious the damage they inflict. Like normal people, they likely range from the sweet seduction to the nasty bully, with varying "I'll show you" reactions when rebuffed. THEN the power and domination may come into play.

Then there's the whole discussion about how initially Freud found that the patients he was treating in Vuenna were traumatized victims of child molestation. He later realized that accusing prominent Viennese families of child molestation was a career-limiting move, and dreamed up the crap about Oedipus and Electra which sent modern psychiatry on a 100-year wrong turn.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-13-2010, 10:54 AM
Electric Warrior Electric Warrior is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanks everyone for your answers...I just want to clear up a couple of things:

a) I'm not talking about pedophiles, I'm talking about people who sexually abuse children. While those groups overlap they are not the same thing.

b) If there is a difference between penetrative rape and unwanted genital contact, I DO NOT CARE. Any kind of sexual abuse of children is an attack and if we start creating a hierarchy of less and more severe acts things will get troublesome quick.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05-13-2010, 01:44 PM
Perciful Perciful is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
Thanks everyone for your answers...I just want to clear up a couple of things:

a) I'm not talking about pedophiles, I'm talking about people who sexually abuse children. While those groups overlap they are not the same thing.

b) If there is a difference between penetrative rape and unwanted genital contact, I DO NOT CARE. Any kind of sexual abuse of children is an attack and if we start creating a hierarchy of less and more severe acts things will get troublesome quick.
Sorry to refer to them as pedophiles. I prefer it to child molesters.

I am just of the opinion that that they may just have "bad recognisers" as MD2000pointed out. I am with her or his post 100 percent.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05-13-2010, 05:06 PM
md2000 md2000 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
Thanks everyone for your answers...I just want to clear up a couple of things:

a) I'm not talking about pedophiles, I'm talking about people who sexually abuse children. While those groups overlap they are not the same thing.

b) If there is a difference between penetrative rape and unwanted genital contact, I DO NOT CARE. Any kind of sexual abuse of children is an attack and if we start creating a hierarchy of less and more severe acts things will get troublesome quick.
a) I'm not sure I understand the distinction. A pedophile (who acts out) is by definition engaging in child abuse. A child abuser that is not a pedophile? Huh?

(If they don't act out, who cares? I imagine there are all sorts of people with all sorts of warped urges who control themselves all their lives... That's what being civilized is all about - controlling your urges.)

b) Sorry but yes, there are ranges. The perv that takes pictures of kids in the playground; the one who tries to hug little girls or boys; and the one who fondles; and the one who penetratively rapes; and the guy about 10 or 20 years ago who ended his little "episode" by chopping off the boy's penis; not to mention how many who killed their victims.

There *is* a range of severity of offenses; not to suggest that any offense is not extremely traumatic for the person who suffers it. That's why sentences for such offences can range from suspended to death; however, the current hysteria about the sex offender registry, basically lumps an 18yo with a 17yo girl friend in the same category as a mass child rapist. Anything that dilutes the meaningfulness of that registry detracts from its real purpose and need.

Last edited by md2000; 05-13-2010 at 05:07 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 05-13-2010, 06:04 PM
njtt njtt is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
b) If there is a difference between penetrative rape and unwanted genital contact, I DO NOT CARE. Any kind of sexual abuse of children is an attack and if we start creating a hierarchy of less and more severe acts things will get troublesome quick.
I think it would be hard to imagine a more ethically irresponsible claim than that. Frankly, attitudes like that may well have the potential to do more harm in the world than actual child molestation.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 05-13-2010, 06:11 PM
Tethered Kite Tethered Kite is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Actually, it is germane to society to be able to determine whether the molester is an inadequate personality who sexualizes children because he is incapable of an adult relationship. Or has a brain tumor. Or a personality disorder. Or mental illness.

Currently there is still a hope to treat these people and it would be important to know from where the behavior originates before attempting that.

Sexual abuse - the gift that keeps on giving.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 05-13-2010, 08:34 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I think it would be hard to imagine a more ethically irresponsible claim than that. Frankly, attitudes like that may well have the potential to do more harm in the world than actual child molestation.
Frankly, you're wrong. Research conducted on victims of sexual trauma who have developed PTSD has found that the severity of the event is actually a very small predictor of whether someone will be psychologically damaged as a result of sexual abuse or assault. The factor with the greatest effect size (and thus the single greatest predictor of PTSD) is social support immediately following the event. Other significant factors are whether the victim was experiencing other life stressors at the time, whether the trauma was repeated, and how the victim knew the attacker. People frequently make the mistake of assigning lesser damage to ''lesser'' crimes of sexual trauma, but frankly the evidence isn't there to make this claim.

ETA: OP, are you looking for anecdotal experience here, or what? I think I could shed some light on this conversation, but I'm not sure how direct experience is valued in the context of a Great Debate.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 05-13-2010 at 08:36 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05-13-2010, 10:09 PM
njtt njtt is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th View Post
Frankly, you're wrong. Research conducted on victims of sexual trauma who have developed PTSD has found that the severity of the event is actually a very small predictor of whether someone will be psychologically damaged as a result of sexual abuse or assault. The factor with the greatest effect size (and thus the single greatest predictor of PTSD) is social support immediately following the event. Other significant factors are whether the victim was experiencing other life stressors at the time, whether the trauma was repeated, and how the victim knew the attacker. People frequently make the mistake of assigning lesser damage to ''lesser'' crimes of sexual trauma, but frankly the evidence isn't there to make this claim.
I am quite prepared to believe what you say here about the predictors of psychological damage. I do not, however, see how it makes the ethical point I was making in any way wrong. In fact, it is pretty much irrelevant to it. I did not say anything about the psychic damage that might be caused. Indeed, in the wrong circumstances, perfectly blameless or even well intentioned actions (nothing to do with sexual molestation) can cause someone psychic harm in later life. That is not wickedness, it is bad luck.

Suppose I stare briefly at a woman's cleavage in the street (to construct an example that has a sexual component, and is, at least arguably, something that is wrong to do) and she happens to be a paranoid schizophrenic ("experiencing other life stressors at the time"), and she panics, runs into traffic and is killed. Am I responsible at all? Maybe, a teeny bit. Am I a criminal, a murderer? I think not. Am I as bad as someone who deliberately shoves someone in front of a speeding car? Hell no! Heck, I am nowhere near as bad them even if the person they shoved survived with only trivial injuries.

Uncle Bob giving his little niece's crotch a rub through her panties, though certainly wrong, is not nearly as bad as him, or someone else, hurting and injuring her by forcing their adult sized penis into her tiny, undeveloped vagina. It is certainly conceivable (though, I should think, unlikely) that the first event, badly handled, could give rise to more psychic distress in later life than the second if handled very well, but that is not Uncle Bob's fault, it is the fault of the people who handled the situation inappropriately. (Frankly, I am inclined to think that the best, least traumatizing, response to the crotch rubbing incident might be to say nothing, and simply never give uncle Bob the chance to be alone with her again. Clearly the penetration incident would demand a very much more serious response, with regard to both victim and perpetrator.)

Last edited by njtt; 05-13-2010 at 10:11 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05-14-2010, 12:09 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Uncle Bob giving his little niece's crotch a rub through her panties, though certainly wrong, is not nearly as bad as him, or someone else, hurting and injuring her by forcing their adult sized penis into her tiny, undeveloped vagina. It is certainly conceivable (though, I should think, unlikely) that the first event, badly handled, could give rise to more psychic distress in later life than the second if handled very well, but that is not Uncle Bob's fault, it is the fault of the people who handled the situation inappropriately. (Frankly, I am inclined to think that the best, least traumatizing, response to the crotch rubbing incident might be to say nothing, and simply never give uncle Bob the chance to be alone with her again. Clearly the penetration incident would demand a very much more serious response, with regard to both victim and perpetrator.)
Your assertion that one kind of abuse is worse than the other is not grounded in empirical evidence. The empirical evidence on the psychology of sexual trauma basically indicates that it's very hard to predict whether or not a given victim will develop PTSD (which is IMO the best indicator of psychological trauma we've got). Even the effect sizes for social support/stressors are only moderate. Your attempt to make a distinction between example one and two, though well-intentioned, will likely end up causing more harm than good, especially if Girl A is unlucky enough to be significantly affected by the event.

Saying nothing is the worst possible thing you could do to a child who has had such an experience. Children who experience sexual abuse of any kind often have irrational cognitions about what happened -- believing they caused it, rationalizing or minimizing its effect and therefore self-downing when they feel pain associated with it, etc. To not even address those irrational cognitions significantly increases the chances of PTSD and also increases the chances the child will be abused again.

That's my intellectual argument--the one based in research, and science. I know that some people tend to place more weight on anecdotal evidence. My anecdotal evidence is that I was sexually abused by my Mom's 2nd and 4th husbands. The first was an incident more along the lines of what you'd probably consider egregious -- he was an outright pedophile, I was a toddler, he confessed, he went to jail. I remember testifying in court and I remember losing my ''Dad,'' but not much else. I didn't understand that toddlers don't have good memories; I thought for years that the reason I didn't remember is because it didn't happen and I had lied and destroyed my family and put an innocent man in jail. I did have nightmares. I dreamed I was an infant and a man was breaking into our house and I couldn't stop him. I was afraid of other men. It did affect me.

The second occurred repeatedly over the course of about 5 years between the age of 12ish and 17 and is more comparable to your Uncle Bob example, only instead of Uncle Bob, it was my adopted father, a man I idolized and depended on to protect me from my mother. Any time I contemplated telling, I remembered exactly what happened last time I told. The consequences of revealing sexual abuse were very concrete for me -- they meant I would lose my father and my mother would lose her mind and yet another chance at happiness. So I dealt with it. Because nothing was worse than losing my father.

By your logic, my Mom should have ignored the 2nd instance (she did.) But frankly, that's the one that caused me unspeakable pain and horror and I feel violated my trust in every imaginable way. That's the one that fucked up my sexuality and haunts my dreams. That's the one that ruined my reputation and life as I knew it, that ended my faith in God, that took away the only man I've ever considered a real father. That's the one where I had no proof, where he had plausible deniability, where people asked me relentless, suspicious questions about the details and asked me why I couldn't just get over it. That's the one where I have spent the last 10 years punishing MYSELF for being so upset over something ''so minor.'' That's the reason I'm still shelling out hundreds of dollars a month and the reason I'm awake right now and the reason that after 10 fucking years of therapy, my primary diagnosis is still PTSD.

Obviously there was a context that significantly magnified the damage. But if you think the first guy is more reprehensible then the second, well, you're wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 05-14-2010, 07:46 AM
monavis monavis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
I was reading a discussion on another website about sexual assault, and I was floored by the prevalence of stories where people - especially women - had been molested as children, almost always by a stepfather or their mother's boyfriend. I am just wondering why this occurs. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I put it in Great Debates because I know it's an emotionally-charged question that does not have one clear factual answer. Far from.

These are the theses I've come across:

*Rape is about power, not sex.
Okay, so why do people assert power by sexually abusing children? Adults already have power over children because they are authority figures.

*Rape happens because alcoholism and other drug abuse make people violent.
This still doesn't explain why people sexually abuse children rather than breaking glasses.

*Rape happens because rapists want sexual gratification.
But why, especially if you're married or dating a woman, would you try to get more gratification by forcing her children into unwanted activities? Abused kids are not consenting and they're certainly not going to try to give their rapists pleasure. I find it hard to believe that the male erection is such a powerful force that it turns a man into a brainless, slobbering beast who will have intercourse with anything he sees.

*Rape happens because some people are just nasty and enjoy inflicting pain on easy targets.
I'm starting to think this is the only solution. But is this really true about that many people? I thought sociopathy was relatively rare.

So I'm at a loss.
As one who was molested as a child of 4, I believe it starts out because the older person has not been taught correctly about it's sexuality. They use a child to satisfy their curiosity and know the child will not tell because they are too young to understand. It is easy(in their minds,I think), to get by with it. At least in my case this seems to be the reason. The person who molested me was such a person and he ended up marrying a girl much younger than himself. A lot of it had to do with his religious traing that sex was bad, even to think of it or to masturbate. I do not believe they think of the harm they are doing to the child and think only of themselves at the moment. This person also molested my younger sister, and she was a mess because of it. In my case when I tried to tell my mother she beat me, she caught me looking at myself because I was trying to see why I hurt. I later realized her ideas about sexuality were not healthy and that also (I believe ) was because of her own religious beliefs, that even a thought of sex was sinful. never blamed the person who molested me as much as my mother. I later learned through counceling that it was not unusual because it was easier for her to deal with me than with the peratraitor.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 05-14-2010, 08:18 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th View Post
Frankly, you're wrong. Research conducted on victims of sexual trauma who have developed PTSD has found that the severity of the event is actually a very small predictor of whether someone will be psychologically damaged as a result of sexual abuse or assault. The factor with the greatest effect size (and thus the single greatest predictor of PTSD) is social support immediately following the event. Other significant factors are whether the victim was experiencing other life stressors at the time, whether the trauma was repeated, and how the victim knew the attacker. People frequently make the mistake of assigning lesser damage to ''lesser'' crimes of sexual trauma, but frankly the evidence isn't there to make this claim.

ETA: OP, are you looking for anecdotal experience here, or what? I think I could shed some light on this conversation, but I'm not sure how direct experience is valued in the context of a Great Debate.
I guess that's the eternal question about justice and the law - are you punishing someone based on the severity of their actions, or the ultimate trauma that resulted.

The mind boggles at trying to establish the latter. In a non-sexual context, there have been many instances where one person's off-hand dismissive comment had a severe and traumatic impact on another's life. That's covered by free speech...

To follow on your example along with the posting, the comments and actions of others, even after the event, were as much or more traumatic in effect than the actual act; they made a more lasting impression and did more damage. To what extent is a molestor responsible for what others do?

This is not to say anyone who does this is innocent, they are not, but we can only judge them based on what acts they themselves perform. Callous mishandling or failure to provide comfort by third parties may severely compound the damage. Sadly there's no law requiring anyone to be sensitive and compassionate - or else our jails would be ten times as full.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 05-14-2010, 08:39 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 32,346
You might ant to check out the website of Andrew Vachss, an attorney who works with the victims of child sexual abuse. He probably knows more about the subject than anyone else.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 05-14-2010, 09:05 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
To follow on your example along with the posting, the comments and actions of others, even after the event, were as much or more traumatic in effect than the actual act; they made a more lasting impression and did more damage. To what extent is a molestor responsible for what others do?
I understand the point you are trying to make, but I think one thing is often overlooked in these cases, especially where family is involved. Regardless of the severity of his actions, my relationship with my adopted father would have to end. Even if my entire family had embraced and supported me, I would still have lost my Dad. What people don't get is that these are people, not monsters. This is the man who taught me martial arts and cooked me pancakes in the morning and attended all of my band concerts. And because of what he did--not because of how my family handled it, but as a direct result of his own actions -- I lost him forever. AFAIC he's guilty of murder. He killed my Dad.

As for the distinction between pedophiles and child molesters, there is a very clear one. The dude who messed with me when I was 2 was sexually attracted to children. My adopted father was not. I had the body of an adult at 12, he somehow rationalized himself into believing that because of this, and because of my relative maturity, and because we had a strong bond, this somehow meant I was ''really'' an adult. He told me more than once that he wished he had married me instead of my mother, and people in public assumed we were a couple when we were out together alone.

I'm not saying he wasn't sick -- just that the circumstances were different. My mother was abusive to both of us, and we related strongly to one another for that reason. He was just psychologically messed up enough and dissatisfied with his marriage to justify abusing me. And I want to be clear--living with my mother would mess anyone up. She was prone to paranoid delusions, violent, impulsive, and egregiously emotionally abusive. While I want to make it clear that I hold him responsible for his actions, I don't think you can discount the effects of this kind of stress on someone psychologically when considering why the abuse happened.

I don't think you can generalize about child abuse. Some dudes are sexually oriented toward pre-pubescent children. Other dudes confuse minors with adult bodies for adults. The damage can be profound either way, but there IS a difference in sexual orientation.

As for some of the assumptions identified by the OP -- abuse is about power, not sex, I don't buy it. It sounds like something that came out of the feminist movement but was never actually verified and is now considered common knowledge. Most of the so-called experts who hold these opinions don't have the scientific evidence to back it up. No doubt for some abusers this is true, just as for some it is about causing pain, but I don't think you can generalize.

My personal impression is that abuse is about opportunity and gratification. It requires an extreme form of narcissism to pull off and a heaping dose of denial and rationalization, but human beings are excellent at rationalizing abhorrent behavior. In my adopted father's case, he could not relate to my mother, he believed that my mother was exactly like his own, and therefore that he and I shared a special bond. Did he manipulate and take advantage of me? Hell yes. But did he really believe all that bullshit he told me? I think completely.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 05-14-2010, 05:28 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Uncle Bob giving his little niece's crotch a rub through her panties, though certainly wrong, is not nearly as bad as him, or someone else, hurting and injuring her by forcing their adult sized penis into her tiny, undeveloped vagina. It is certainly conceivable (though, I should think, unlikely) that the first event, badly handled, could give rise to more psychic distress in later life than the second if handled very well, but that is not Uncle Bob's fault, it is the fault of the people who handled the situation inappropriately. (Frankly, I am inclined to think that the best, least traumatizing, response to the crotch rubbing incident might be to say nothing, and simply never give uncle Bob the chance to be alone with her again. Clearly the penetration incident would demand a very much more serious response, with regard to both victim and perpetrator.)
Not to get all "Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children," but this is one of the worst ideas I've read on this board. (OK, that and pan fried semen.) The onus for preventing future abuse shouldn't be on the victim/victim's family or on getting them to avoid the abuser. The law should punish the abuser.

As has been pointed out, people can feel traumatized and disturbed no matter what is done--whether the abuser is jailed or even if no one knows. And how do you "say nothing" while making 100% sure that the uncle isn't around her? If I knew there was a member of my family, "Let's make sure he doesn't stay around" kids right after I learned he abused someone just wouldn't be enough.

And finally, that's related to my last point--why would you want to be around that kind of person? You're basically saying that their behavior is fine because they didn't actually rape the kid. I wouldn't want that person to think they were an accepted member of my family/circle of friends, though. I'd never want to associate with them--not out of fear of them, but out of disgust.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 05-15-2010, 01:38 AM
Mince Mince is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Hmmmm, I would never presume to divine the psychology of a child molester, not even as a child molester (which I am not). The OP is a ridiculous premise...IMHO.

Last edited by Mince; 05-15-2010 at 01:40 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 05-15-2010, 04:23 AM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
Not to get all "Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children," but this is one of the worst ideas I've read on this board. (OK, that and pan fried semen.) The onus for preventing future abuse shouldn't be on the victim/victim's family or on getting them to avoid the abuser. The law should punish the abuser.

As has been pointed out, people can feel traumatized and disturbed no matter what is done--whether the abuser is jailed or even if no one knows. And how do you "say nothing" while making 100% sure that the uncle isn't around her? If I knew there was a member of my family, "Let's make sure he doesn't stay around" kids right after I learned he abused someone just wouldn't be enough.

And finally, that's related to my last point--why would you want to be around that kind of person? You're basically saying that their behavior is fine because they didn't actually rape the kid. I wouldn't want that person to think they were an accepted member of my family/circle of friends, though. I'd never want to associate with them--not out of fear of them, but out of disgust.
Just ignore him. He used "psychic distress" in his post.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 05-15-2010, 06:53 AM
monavis monavis is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Regardless of the age or circumstance the person who molests a child is wrong and should be punished for it;it is a crime. Years ago it was just let to pass. Because in my case my mother was also wrong and did nothing to stop it. Perhaps it was ignorace at the time, but now days that can not be an excuse, as it is well known that it is harmful to a child one way or the other, just as rape is for an adult!

I can be wrong, but I believe a person should be taught from an early age that a person who touches another improperly is acting in a criminal manner, and should tell a respected adult; if they are afraid of punishment them selves. We teach them stranger danger, we should also teach them if a person tries to do something with( or to) them that they wouldn't do in front of another respected adult it is wrong!

Like the RCC, some worry more about the scandle, than the child's welfare!
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 05-15-2010, 09:37 AM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mince View Post
Hmmmm, I would never presume to divine the psychology of a child molester, not even as a child molester (which I am not). The OP is a ridiculous premise...IMHO.
Why? Just because you're not interested in this? I'm not getting this...
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:38 AM
Electric Warrior Electric Warrior is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanks olivesmarch4th, you've defended my points better than I could. I also want to add that in situations like the ones described in your posts, the person is having a sexual relationship with an adult and still molesting children, so I don't think they're a pedophile in the sense of 'only sexually aroused by children'.

Mince, I don't think that understanding why an action is committed is the same thing with empathizing with the person.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 05-16-2010, 12:11 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
Mince, I don't think that understanding why an action is committed is the same thing with empathizing with the person.
Yeah...I like to think all the psychologists studying pedophilia aren't...well, pedophiles.

I don't study them in any official capacity but it's a topic that's long fascinated me. Definitely not trying to empathize with them. I, too, always wondered why. I remember when I was in fifth grade we saw this stranger danger type video except it was a boy whose uncle was sexually abusing him (fondling) him, and he didn't know what to do...my reaction was just why. And no one's ever really been able to explain it.

I mean, I know some of the theories. The whole, they are uncomfortable around adults or they were molested themselves or it's a power thing. Or that they're just born that way. But that's so intellectual. I just want to know on the base level, what are they thinking or feeling when they do it. What's going on, what is it satisfying?

And with the ones who aren't even raping, where it's touching...I wonder about that, too. If someone fondles a child, they are committing a great wrong, but for what? You can't even say it's for the orgasm. Is it just being near to something they're attracted to or is it that they're trying to make the kid feel bad and getting off on that...or...? I mean, there's no one pedophile person. I'm sure they all have their different motivations. But I can't get into the head of someone like this. Maybe I don't want to...but it's just frustrating to know that people are doing these things and to not really know why.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 05-16-2010, 03:14 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian Slit View Post
And with the ones who aren't even raping, where it's touching...I wonder about that, too. If someone fondles a child, they are committing a great wrong, but for what? You can't even say it's for the orgasm. Is it just being near to something they're attracted to or is it that they're trying to make the kid feel bad and getting off on that...or...? I mean, there's no one pedophile person. I'm sure they all have their different motivations. But I can't get into the head of someone like this. Maybe I don't want to...but it's just frustrating to know that people are doing these things and to not really know why.
Yeah, it's even more frustrating when you're trying to figure out how your family was destroyed. I had a very strong confidence in my own judgment as a child, and my adopted father undermined all that, because he somehow convinced me he was the best father in the world. When he started touching me, I assumed it was something I was bringing on myself, some signal I was giving off, something I'd said or done to create some kind of misunderstanding between us, and I was terrified, utterly terrified that if I spoke up not only would he be hurt, but that he would be angry with me and want nothing to do with me. It never even occurred to me that it was something he was doing wrong.

So I dealt with it by ignoring it. I shut down when it was happening -- didn't move a muscle, didn't say a word, just froze up completely. I thought about it at night when I let my mind wander, I dreamed about it, and as his actions gradually escalated, I came to the conclusion that eventually we were going to have sex and there was nothing I could do about it. For me, everything was spinning out of control. By the end I was so afraid of being alone with him that I believed he might be a serial killer. I wondered if every trip we took would be my last. Every time we climbed into the truck I imagined him driving to some abandoned field, raping me and stabbing me to death and leaving my corpse in the woods.

I was a worrier. And something... happened. I went on a vacation with him alone and we were in a cabin in the woods. I don't remember very much except afterward my Mom began grilling me about our trip and asked me if there was something I was not telling her. I asked her, ''Mom, are you happy?''

And she said, ''Yes, but I want to be happy based on reality, not based on lies. If he did something to you, you have to tell me.''

I wanted to tell her so badly. But I couldn't take her happiness away from her. I just couldn't. I had to be, what, eleven? I could have saved myself so much grief. Instead I just kept my mouth shut and endured the next six years.

But when I finally got out of that house, and I began to come to terms with the reality of what had happened, it was like someone had just called to tell me my father had been killed in a horrible accident. I was a senior in high school at that time, and I had to leave class and go out in my car and just cry for hours at a time. And I realized that, contrary to my expectations, I had terrible judgment about people and didn't know who to trust. That I had been played the fool for so long by someone who purported to have my best interests in mind was an unbearable thing to have to accept.

Maybe those kinds of abusers convince themselves because it's not outright rape, it's ''not that bad'' a notion they apparently got from some members of the Dope. Because when they get caught, they can explain it away. Mom can explain it away and stay married to the fucker another five years. The rest of the family can pretend it never happened.

To sit here and listen to people say this experience is ''not so bad'' makes me want to vomit.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 05-16-2010, 04:12 PM
nuggz nuggz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Olive... god, you're breaking my heart. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

Almost all of my old highschool girl-friends had been molested by some uncle or mothers boyfriend or something. They all seemed to be fine in spite of it, which always blew my mind.

It's a sad world where I have to say that I'm LUCKY to have escaped my childhood without such an experience.

I have a 3 year old son, and one of my biggest worries is that someone will hurt him like this.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 05-16-2010, 05:22 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuggz View Post
Olive... god, you're breaking my heart. I'm sorry you had to go through that.

Almost all of my old highschool girl-friends had been molested by some uncle or mothers boyfriend or something. They all seemed to be fine in spite of it, which always blew my mind.
Yeah, I know a lot of people who went through different child abuse experiences and they all deal with it in different ways. Some are complete messes, and others seem to have come out relatively unharmed. Personally my roughest spot was young adulthood, say age 17 to 23. I ended up having to withdraw from college for a couple years to get myself together. I've been a lot better over the last 4 years. There is still work to be done, but the worst is over. It's just a chronic PITA now more than anything else.

It's like roulette; you can never really predict how any degree of abuse is going to affect any given child. To me I really don't think it would have made a difference exactly what happened -- the painful part was the betrayal and the loss.

Perhaps if that were the only trauma I had experienced it would have been different. But my life was full of unsettling and frightening experiences and I lived in an extended family where abuse, domestic violence, drugs, alcohol and mental illness were the rule rather than the exception. This combination of experiences makes trauma harder to treat--I don't know if people realize it, but PTSD often manifests itself in ways that seem to have nothing to do with the trauma.

Sometimes it's just a general feeling of being unsafe no matter what situation. My greatest chronic fear is having someone break in at night and stab me to death. Over the last week I've been unable to sleep because of anxiety around every little noise I hear in the house. It's been getting increasingly worse -- I have to shut and lock the bedroom door. I've never had anyone break into my house or stab me for that matter, it's just the weird way my trauma has managed to manifest. And obviously I couldn't tell you what particular event precipitated that fear.

I know there are probably a LOT of people on this board who have had comparable experiences. People underestimate how many people live through abuse because survivors don't generally want to talk about it. There is a stigma. When I first joined the board a couple of years ago, I used to post about these experiences extensively because I was in desperate need of validation, and in fact I probably lacked the self-validation ability as recently as last Fall. But I did 3 months of prolonged exposure which involves sitting for an hour a day every day reliving traumatic experiences until they gradually become less distressing. When I first started I was bawling and hyperventilating for an hour straight. Prolonged exposure is weird because you're reliving your experience as a kid but you're filtering it through your adult brain -- you can think everything through in a more rational way than you did as a child.

I don't feel the need to minimize OR exaggerate what happened any more, because I know firsthand that what I went through was absolutely horrific for me at the time, and I also know it only felt like the end of the world.

I realize this discussion doesn't really shed any light on the ''why'' of child molestation, though it might help you to understand the CHILD's role in this business.

I respect the decision of other survivors not to share so openly, but I've made the decision that I'm going to keep right on posting about it until it stops happening to other kids. The idea that I shouldn't talk about it, to me, implies that I did something wrong, and I didn't. I lived in shame about this for 16 years; I am never going to feel shame about it again.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 05-16-2010, 06:19 PM
nuggz nuggz is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th View Post
I am never going to feel shame about it again.
good for you. It's refreshing to see someone come out of an experience as traumatic as this... let alone someone coming out of this with the intent to help others.

My first reaction as to why people do this is that some adults are so inept with their ability to handle "adult" interaction (be it situations of socialization/conversation/romance), that they get a child who they can feel superior to.

But fuck, I may be wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 05-16-2010, 09:39 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuggz View Post
good for you. It's refreshing to see someone come out of an experience as traumatic as this... let alone someone coming out of this with the intent to help others.

My first reaction as to why people do this is that some adults are so inept with their ability to handle "adult" interaction (be it situations of socialization/conversation/romance), that they get a child who they can feel superior to.

But fuck, I may be wrong.
I've heard that, too. But I guess even the molesters don't always know necessarily. Like we can step back and "intellecutalize" but when we make sexual decisions, are any of us really analyzing? Still...it's just so odd to wonder what is going on in their minds? Or what are they feeling? What takes them over?
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 05-16-2010, 11:05 PM
Tethered Kite Tethered Kite is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
One in four households has experienced some degree of sexual abuse of children. That was the figure I was taught in the 80's.

So it always surprises me at how strongly people react when they learn that a registered sex offender is moving to their area. I suspect there is some kind of mental gymnastics that many of us do that prevents us from thinking that Uncle Fred, who was a little buzzed and groped our daughter at Christmas - all a mistake - is a sex offender.

I think most of us live with some level of sexual abuse in our family histories and it's much easier to think the real offenders are the "others."

And I think it's important to say that the fact that it's so rampant isn't cause for vigilanteism or overreaction. I'd like to look at it more as a matter that many people aren't taught good boundaries or coping skills.

As common as it's been throughout history I think it's fair to say that it is a part of human nature. That is to seek comfort or domination through sexuality and also to develop a selfish style of achieving the same.

If we could recognize the more casual and less damaging acts of sexualizing children and recognize that we play some part in that perhaps we could heighten our own public awareness.

As it stands presently, mention of it raises no number of strong reactions which makes it difficult to deal with at both personal and public levels.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 05-17-2010, 03:37 AM
AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2009
Quote:
do not believe they think of the harm they are doing to the child and think only of themselves at the moment.
There you have it. Extreme narcissim, plus emotional stunting (ie mistaking simple interest for " s/he lead me on!) I quite frankly don't believe that it's an orenitation. More like them mistaking extreme OCD thoughts for "love"/attraction.
There's also the fact that a lot of them may have been sexually abused themselves, and so think by acting out the abuse they'll be able to "heal" (the same way females who have been raped can turn rather promesticus)
It seems to be a perfect storm sort of thing.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 05-17-2010, 10:12 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by olivesmarch4th View Post
Yeah, I know a lot of people who went through different child abuse experiences and they all deal with it in different ways. Some are complete messes, and others seem to have come out relatively unharmed. Personally my roughest spot was young adulthood, say age 17 to 23. I ended up having to withdraw from college for a couple years to get myself together. I've been a lot better over the last 4 years. There is still work to be done, but the worst is over. It's just a chronic PITA now more than anything else.

It's like roulette; you can never really predict how any degree of abuse is going to affect any given child. To me I really don't think it would have made a difference exactly what happened -- the painful part was the betrayal and the loss.
...

I know there are probably a LOT of people on this board who have had comparable experiences. People underestimate how many people live through abuse because survivors don't generally want to talk about it.

....
I realize this discussion doesn't really shed any light on the ''why'' of child molestation, though it might help you to understand the CHILD's role in this business.
Thanks for a frank and pretty rational discussion.

Sorry, if the whole situation got pretty far when you were age 11, I doubt it's a case of confusing adult body with adult unless you were an incredibly early bloomer. There's a technical term I can't remember for guys who are attracted to young adolescents, since "ped-" means child and generally is taken for prepubescent.

Yeah, I'm sure the guy rationalized the heck out of things, and it was convenient for him that you froze instead of resisting. (I cannot say in any way it is your fault. "Convenient for him" is the neutral to perp-blaming phrase).

it's a tough decision; the closest analogy I can think of is the abused spouse. The simple truth is that a spouse is usually abused because the abuser is in a position of power; they usually have the income, the strength, and the willingness to exploit. Despite all the pab and platitudes, anyone can see (and the abused usually does) the consequences of reporting - the whole life ends; if the abuser goes to jail, no income. Regardless, the house and the car and the groceries and everything is gone. If the abused spouse does ot have an equivalent job, their life is over. Thus they tolerate more and more abuse because the alternative is worse in their mind.

So with you... the only stable person in your home life, and whatever might have happened earlier, you were well aware that any reporting would basically take him away. Whether he consciously or unconsciously exploited that, he did act. If he was sincerely deluded, he failed to pick up on obvious cues. Did he/you share those moments and heart-to-heart talks, etc. that would truly be part of a serious realtionship? I'm guessing not. So he missed or ignored cues other than active resistance that should have told him you were not a willing participant in that level of relationship. Still it's his fault, not yours.

I think a lot of people do not talk about their trauma because they do not want to be an exhibit, or an object of pity. That's the way I would feel. Some stuff is private.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 05-17-2010, 11:00 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Thanks for a frank and pretty rational discussion.

Sorry, if the whole situation got pretty far when you were age 11, I doubt it's a case of confusing adult body with adult unless you were an incredibly early bloomer.
I WAS an incredibly early bloomer, so it's hard to say. I had also been through a lot by the time I was eleven so I was a little more self-aware and mature than the average 11 year old. I was not an adult, or anything like an adult, but I can see how someone could have deluded themselves into believing, in the very least, I was mature enough for a sexual relationship. I had never heard of people sexually attracted to adolescents; that's a possibility too I guess.

Quote:
I think a lot of people do not talk about their trauma because they do not want to be an exhibit, or an object of pity. That's the way I would feel. Some stuff is private.
I understand where other people are coming from -- I don't often discuss this in real life for similar reasons. I feel like the Dope is the only place I really CAN talk about it with no consequence. There are times where it would be really nice if I COULD reach out -- most people when they are dealing with stress or drama can call someone and talk about it. It's not something you can call up a friend and discuss in any helpful way. They might sympathize, but it's unlikely that they will relate or be able to give advice. In a way, all of us who have been through this are on our own to deal with it.

I am beyond the need for pity, though I do get frustrated/depressed sometimes that I am still dealing with the aftermath of those events after such a long time. Especially because I have taken what I view to be extraordinary measures to deal with it in the best way possible. Some people like being a victim. I don't. I have expended thousands of dollars and countless years of therapy, some of it very time-consuming and unpleasant, not ''please pat me on the head and tell me about how sorry you feel for me'' therapy, but REAL therapy, ''get off your ass and do something about it'' therapy.

The prolonged exposure I mentioned above required me to get up at 6am every morning and devote an hour a day to severe anxiety (intentionally trying to provoke anxiety/fear/helplessness/horror), then spend that evening doing the ''in vivo'' part which meant identifying an action that tended to trigger flashbacks (like watching a scary movie) and deliberately doing it. I devoted all my time and energy to that during my first semester of graduate school, on top of an internship and full-time coursework. And yes, progress was made--in some ways, significant progress--particularly around my mother's abuse. But there are still issues I have. And it's incredibly frustrating after all that hard work to go in to see a new therapist and see, yet again, scrawled under ''PRIMARY DIAGNOSIS,'' the label ''PTSD.'' And by ''incredibly frustrating'' I mean sometimes I want to put my fist through a wall.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 05-17-2010 at 11:03 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 05-17-2010, 11:13 AM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
Sorry, if the whole situation got pretty far when you were age 11, I doubt it's a case of confusing adult body with adult unless you were an incredibly early bloomer. There's a technical term I can't remember for guys who are attracted to young adolescents, since "ped-" means child and generally is taken for prepubescent.
I think "ephebophile" is the word you want here.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:13 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.