First and foremost, very few, if any, sexual offenders are "born" as offenders--they are created. By this we mean that sexual offenders learn to offend through various means. One of the most common factors among adult male sexual offenders is their own sexual victimization. When a child is sexually abused, especially when the abuse process consists of tricks, manipulation, bribes, or if the child is made to experience pleasure, the abuse can disorient, confuse, and distort the boundaries of the child. Children, for the most part, do not have the cognitive capabilities of comprehending sexual abuse or victimization when there is no direct threat or force used. Children work on a more concrete and emotional level. Therefore, if the child experiences a sense of pleasure from physical stimulation, the child may attempt to re-enact what they have learned. This is particularly true for males. To summarize, one way a sex offender is created is through being sexually abused himself. Then, through the learning conditioning process, he may develop a particular fixation or sexual preference.
Another way a sexual offender is created is through "presexualization". This is where there is no actual physical sexual abuse, but a child is exposed to sexual behavior prematurely and experiments through what he has observed.
The first thing an abuser has to do is stop abusing, and recognize that a problem exists. This is not the easiest thing to do due to the shame, embarrassment, and denial involved. It is vital that the offender reaches out to the appropriate person or therapist. Many therapists feel that they can "handle" sexual offender therapy, even though they may have only seen 20 sexual offenders in their practice history. More damage can be done if the offender chooses the wrong therapist, or an inexperienced therapist. Choose a therapist who has worked exclusively with sexual offenders. You can find this out simply by calling and asking the therapist directly.
Once you have chosen a sex offender therapist, you must take the greatest risk you will have to take, and that is to trust him or her. If the offender feels safe and can trust the therapist (in all respects), the offender will disclose his history and take therapeutic risks. The client-therapist relationship is protected by privileged communication and confidentiality. There are limits to this information and confidence, such as being a current threat to a child, but most past incidences can be held in confidence as long as there is no current threat.
The offender must not give up and terminate therapy prematurely. Offenders do not view sex, sexual relations, children, women, or even themselves correctly. An experienced sex offender therapist will be confrontive in order to help the offender perceive those constructs in a more healthy fashion. The offender must be honest with the therapist and disclose very sensitive information such as fantasies, offenses, sexual preferences, fixations, and other "secrets".
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Sex offender therapy can and does produce significant results, as numerous studies will point out. If you need a referral to a sex offender therapist in your area, or if you have any questions about treatment, please e-mail me and I will reply at my earliest convenience.
If you would like to write Mr. Rosenberg anonymously, please write: Mr. Rosenberg
P.O. Box 782
Troy, MI 48099-0782
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