The molested grow up to be molesters. Really?

A recent thread in the pit got me to thinking about this.

Years ago, my sister and I along with a group of friends were supposed to go out. My sister wasn’t going to be able to go because she couldn’t find a baby sitter. I had asked her: “What about ‘Bob’” (Bob is a family friend. He’s also a stay at home dad) She went on to tell me how Bob’s wife confided in her that Bob was molested as a child and that she doesn’t feel safe leaving the kids with him anymore because lots of victims of molestation grow up to be molesters themselves. :rolleyes:

On the surface, this sounds just asinine, but to be fair, this is an opinion that seems to be shared in the psychiatric community. I know the few times I’ve listened to Dr. Drew’s “Love Line”; He has stated this as well…

I have an armchair theory about this. It seems to me that predators who get caught would claim that they had been molested as a child. If only to gain at least a modicum of sympathy from the authorities.

I’m really curious to know how and where these psychologist are getting their statistics.

Also, as a parent, would you let a former molestation victim watch your kids?

Poor Bob. He doesn’t know it but he’s basically been victimized twice. Once as a child and second by a prejudgemental society. (In this instance, my sister. I say society because I get a gut feeling she’s not alone in thinking like this. Not by a long shot.)

Well, most molestation victims are female and most predators are male, so right off the bat there’s got to be something wrong with that assertion, no?

I’ve listened (and still listen) to quite a bit of Loveline, so while I can’t give any factual answers I can give a little more insight into what Dr. Drew has said. The abused women tend to become serial “victims”, and become attracted to predators almost exclusively. He reasons this is an innate urge to relive their earlier experiences in an attempt to take control of them, in a way they couldn’t when younger.
The abused boy on the other hand would likely become an abuser for much the same reasons.
Dr. Drew’s main experience came from drug addicts that he’s worked with, many of whom have had traumatic childhoods.
I’d be really interested to see what sort of data anyone can find on this subject.

I have heard of various studies, many showing that those who are molested are more likely to molest, but that’s like saying that someone with a family history of cancer is more likely to have it. It’s not a certainty!

I always thought of it more like the so called Serial Killer Triad, where they have found that many serial killers were bed wetters, fire starters or animal torturers as children. But not every child that does those things becomes a serial killer, not even close, its more that those who do tend to have it in their past.

While it is true that most molesters were molested themselves, most people who are molested do not grow up to molest.

Rapists, molesters, serial killers, and other people exhibiting extreme antisocial behavior have almost always experienced highly traumatic childhoods; while sexual predators have very often been the victims of sexual abuse, it’s the background of any sort of powerless abuse in my opinion that imparts a need to exert power over others later in life.

Definitely not. I read a heartbreaking article written by a man who had been sexually assaulted as a child by a teenage family friend. He grew up when the idea that molesters were victims of molestation themselves was firmly entrenched in the public consciousness, and as a result feared he was destined to become a molester himself. It created a lot of extra turmoil for him, particularly since he didn’t tell anyone about the incident for years and there was no one to tell him that wouldn’t happen.

I can’t imagine holding anyone’s history of molestation against them absent any other indication they wouldn’t be a trustworthy caregiver. It’s particularly galling because it disregards any work the person would have done to overcome what was done to them.

As I recall, it really is statistically more likely for a victim of a molestor to grow up to be one, but nowhere near certain. And only if the victim is the genetic offspring of the molestor; adopted children are no more likely than anyone else to become molesters; there appears to be a genetic component.

Perfect~ hit the nail on the head.

Exactly. It’s not that all victims will offend, but that most offenders were victims. Males in particular.

Incidentally, Dr. Drew does not say all victims become offenders, he says that most victims (especially females) will reenact their abuse by seeking out other abusers. It’s a minority that become abusers, but it’s rare to find an abuser that wasn’t a victim of some kind of abuse or trauma themselves.

\Tongue in cheek
So, it’s really her friend she should be worried about, as victims are far more likely to choose abusers than to become them . . .

/tongue in cheek

Well said - my post was poorly worded.

Oh, I think you said it just great, big guy! :slight_smile: (Er, apologies if you’re not in fact a guy.)

I actually avoid being around children as much as possible, since I was molested as a child and my family actually buys into that feces. They also think that gay people are molesters in waiting(I don’t think they consciously register this aversion). In fact, they suggested that my homosexuality was a byproduct of molestation(Two of them. Since I only told three, and only one of them was logical enough not to jump to this conclusion). So, them not wanting gay people around their children…and me being a closeted gay person…when it does all come out, I don’t want any chance that they will think that of me.

Sorry, I don’t know if what I just blurted out was relevant. I suppose I am saying that I have first-hand experience of this twisted logic?

Simply Human,


It’s misunderstood.

Those people who were molested and never got to understand that it is wrong and they can do better, do often molest others. Take my grandfather, who thinks of his introduction to sex at age 11 as a great thing that happened to him and doesn’t grasp that others would rather not get such “gifts”. I had to stop reading García Marquez’ autobiography when he got to his own introduction to sex at a similar age, he sounds like my grandfather.

But those who know it is wrong, do not do it upon others.

It’s not “100% of people who have been molested become molesters,” it’s “a high percentage of people who molest, got molested as children.” Sort of like “apples are fruits” does not mean that “all fruits are apples.”

Gentle correction: Non-heritable, epigenetic component.

Well said, well said.

I read an article in a magazine at the hairdressers about this sort of thing which really affected me. A woman and her husband had been trying for years to have a baby, with no joy. So they ended up adopting two young sisters. These children - as it turned out - had been very seriously and systematically sexually abused. Their biological parents had more or less rented their own children out to whatever sort of miscreant paedohphile was interested and who would pay.
The story the adopted mother told was heartbreaking. These two children were five and six and spent a lot of time sexually touching and fondling each other and repeatedly asked their adopted Daddy to fuck them. And any male who happened to visit the house; friends of the family, social workers, the postman.
The children were very aware that this sort of thing had to be asked by sidling up to the man in question and stroking him and smiling at him and being very precocious and provocative.
And telling the man that it would be their little secret. Which, understandably, would freak out any man who was not a paedophile.
So the family ended up losing all of their own frends because no other couple would willingly spend time in the company of these children, for fear of being propositioned at best, or being accused of encouraging it or partaking in what was on offer, at worst.

I know that a story in a magazine is not anything like a scientific fact, and for all I know it could have been a complete fabrication, but it made a whole lot of sense to me in relation to this theory that we’ve all heard about the victims of abuse going on to be abusers. It makes sense to me that there are people who never question whatever they were raised with. They accept it and it is normal to them and they perpetuate it with their own children. They think that everyone lives that way and that anyone who doesn’t is either lying or missing out. Doesn’t have to be sexual, can be to do with religion or violence or vegetarianism.
I am not saying religious people and vegetarians are anything like on a par with violent people or paedophiles, but I am just using those as an example of things kids get raised with and are used to. Some people become adults who spend thier lives trying to escape from the values their parents had and never be like their parents, because their parents were good or because their parents were bad. But some people turn into their parents, which can be for good or for bad.

Maybe you’re right, but why take the chance? And if it is right… be wary if Oprah Winfrey says she’ll babysit your child O.O!

First of all, Bob’s wife had no business telling Bob’s abuse history to her neighbor. Jesus. That’s the biggest betrayal of all in this story.

Second of all, I feel very badly that Bob is experiencing discrimination based on something that’s beyond his control. I have often encountered the attitude (however subtle) that kids who were abused must have something wrong with them or are inherently damaged in some way. A lot of victims already feel that way; it just sucks to have it socially reinforced.