Newest Members
UniversalBeing, Squirmish20, Cunobelin, Dean-GMoT, hunterprince
13497 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
bluesky (47), Brother B+ (51), emal7717 (56), estuardo (55), JustScott (42), kwf777 (59), LeeAnne (33), mapleleafsn (55), otherside (64), ronnie (62), Scott1962 (55), thrive-n-survive (45), tom3065 (39)
Who's Online
4 registered (LinEar, EdfromNYC, DanielQ432, 1 invisible), 48 Guests and 1 Spider online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
13,497 Registered Members
75 Forums
70,036 Topics
488,933 Posts

Most users ever online: 418 @ 07/02/12 11:29 AM
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#25433 - 02/20/04 02:41 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
theo Offline

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
for some time i had the fear of being just like my abusers. there was the confusion over the sexual acting out that i did over the web, my own history in childhood and adolescence, and the fact that at the time i was really not fully aware of my own survivorhood. when i started on the journey of recovery i was still struggling with the conflicting images of what would be arousing and what i found attractive. for me. it was adolescent girls. i never acted on it at all, but the draw was there and it was terrifying and overwhelmingly shameful. i aasked my t about it several times because i just ws not getting. the final curtain on that fear was this. do i find adolescent girls sexually attractive? yes. do i find them pretty? yes. would i ever act on it? good god, no!! why? the simple answer is because i cared. empathy and compassion is something that is burned out somehow in perps. i struggle with the why of sexual attraction to adolescent girls which is from my abuse and the distortion over sexuality that it caused from age three. the warning sign for me is when i start to sexualize the girls and women i see. if i do not sexualize them then what i see is a human being who is very precious as a human being. when i start ot sexualize them then i step back and start asking why. whenever a human being goes from a human being to an object to be used then the line has been crossed and the evil can begin...a perp is born. just to clarify, acting out as we do in confusion and struggle to understand is not the same as being a perp by a long shot. a perp is one who has lost their humanity, the ability to empathize with another human being that is why we are not like the ones who hurt us...we care.

journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

#25434 - 02/20/04 03:14 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
I've been asked this question many times. The short answer is that those who have been victimized and do not go on to victimize others have a better understanding of empathy (and practice it) than those who abuse others.

The longer answer is a bit more complex and I will post more on this topic tomorrow (Fri). Just don't have time right now.


Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#25435 - 02/20/04 05:33 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
survive75 Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 304
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally posted by outis:
I really want to believe that something terrible happened to the people who abused me (sexually and otherwise). Something so bad that it warped them. The relationships we had were abnormal. I want to believe that the abusers were abnormal. I don't want to believe that I was the abnormal one.
I never realized how strong of a fantasy this was for me until recently. I think I would do anything if my abuser could explain to me why he was the way he was. Give me something to go on anyway, other than this damn nagging 5 year old's belief that it was something I did to make me deserve it.

But Theories, as far as why those who are abused sometimes go on to abuse, I can only speculate. And usually my speculations are not very popular, but I guess... well, in the same way that some people here have depression, others have difficulty with sex and intimacy, some have substance abuse problems... and others don't have any of these symptoms... I can only assume that for some people, abuse changes them and drives them to externalize the abuse and repeat it. Maybe it is to replicate the situation except now they are in control. I don't know.

It is a hard thing to balance... the anger I feel at abusers and the knowledge that this behavior doesn't just drop out of nowhere. I've admitted here that I hit my ex-girlfriend a few times when we were together. And I knew it was wrong when it was happening, and the guilt was so strong, but it was out of control at the time. When it happened a third time, I promised her that I wouldn't do it again, went into therapy, and started to figure out how my physical abuse led me to violence when I felt out of control. So, my ex had (and still has) every right to be angry at me, but I do hope that my explanations for my behavior at least helped her to understand that it was my issue (and she didn't deserve it) but also put it in perspective for her.

And maybe THAT is why the fantasy of having my abuser apologize and explain is so strong for me. I want the admission of guilt, but also some reason why. But, in the same way, it would probably lead me to feel guilty for being angry at him if I knew that something had happened to him as a child.

So, in a long-winded answer, I can't imagine the mixed feelings you are having right now Theories. I hope you can find some answers.



"Even though I know/I don’t want to know/Yeah I guess I know/I just hate how it sounds"

#25436 - 02/20/04 06:22 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 1984
Loc: Flint, Michigan
Fuck them, Fuck them all.

I have been sexually abused I have been raped I have been sold to other guys I have been fondled I have been harassed I have been threatened I have been beaten, that in no way makes me one of those fuckers.

And God Damnit to those sons of bitches that say that because I have been abused and I hurt from it I will be an abuser too.

Fuck them, fuck them

Pain is Temporary; Quitting lasts Forever. - Lance Armstrong

#25437 - 02/21/04 01:16 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire

And God Damnit to those sons of bitches that say that because I have been abused and I hurt from it I will be an abuser too.
Amen to that ! And this "misinformation" - to be very polite about it - is the biggest fear we have, it's the reason guys like us hang onto the secret for so many years. It's the reason guys who do get help and therapy to sort themselves out are still scared of being open about what happened to us.

I know that as open as I am about my abuse now, there are still a couple of people I haven't told because I fear they will cling to that old argument like the wreckage of a shipwreck, and I can't be sure of convincing them otherwise.

I think that what you described is common to many men, abused or not. teenage girls go out of their way to look good at the mall on a Saturday afternoon, full makeup and high fashion. The older ones say "sod it, I'll go as I am !" - but that's only a part of it I know, there are other reasons at work here.

I for one missed out on meeting girls completely until I was nearly 17. At junior school the girls sat one side of the class, boys the other. At breaktime we had seperate yards.
Then I went to boarding school and had even less contact with girls - and the wrong contact with other males, and I lived out in the country with no other kids around, let alone girls.
So at 17 they scared the hell out of me, but with the help of a very "forthcoming" young lady who threw herself at me repeatedly :rolleyes: I eventually overcame my terror. \:D

But is this one reason that some survivors might find young girls attractive ? maybe because we had those formitive years fucked up so comprehensively we long for what we missed ?
I bet we all had trouble living 'normal' lives while the abuse was happening, no matter how well we covered it up ?

Just a thought...


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

#25438 - 02/21/04 01:45 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
blacken Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 1860
Loc: Northern Ohio
I am a Licensed Social Worker in Ohio & have been working with abused children for about 9 years now. I also survived about 9 years of sexual abuse by my dad. Below is what my education, my own abuse & recovery process, and my work experience, has taught me.

Rape is a crime of violence, not sex. Its about power & control. Molesting children falls into this area. Weather or not the control aspect is thru coercion of affection, its still a control issue, and the process used is just a mechanism towards acquiring the intend goal (& presumed need)
[Its further along where presumed need become consuming and serves to reinforce a Thinking Error.] Children are weaker, naive, inexperience and unaware. The adult has ALL the power in this type of relationship.
Remove the “sex” from sex abuse, you get abuse. What IS abuse? Cruel and violent treatment; Insulting and offensive language; Physical or mental maltreatment; excess use. Weather the abuser includes sex or beatings or insults, as part of there actions, the bottom line is, they are in the position of ultimate power. This is ONE part of the equation.

Part two is the abusers’ mind frame. These are insecure people. The short comings they feel in there daily lives, drive them to find a way to feel at least somewhat in control of their life.
Some turn to violence with weaker or presumed weaker adults. Such as Domestic Violence with a wife or girlfriend. Some pick fight at bars. Some rob. Etc.
Weather they feel sexually inadequate or not, some turn towards children, because children are the most vulnerable & easiest to manipulate & dupe.

Third are Thinking Errors (cognitive distortions). Statements about Perps lacking remorse, or Not caring are true & false. These are not universal traits among Perps. Some do care about there victims in their own twisted way, take NAMBL for instance. They wildly profess how much they love (platonic) & care for these children. They profess how sex is sometimes a small part of their relationship. Their “caring” is derived out of selfishness (a desire for control over another to create a sense of power or confidence or intimacy they find lacking with adults), not out of true concern for others. But they don’t see that. They don’t want to see that, to do so will under mind their reality & shed light , to themselves, their true intentions.
This, in technical terms, is a Thinking Error. But its not the only one. Mental Filter, Grandiosity/Uniqueness, Super-Optimism, Victim Playing, Assuming, Closed Channeling, Emotional Reasoning and Confusion between Wants vs Needs, & others, can all play a part in the minds of Perps. Thinking Errors, are just that. When one’s thinking (& actions based on that thinking) doesn’t make logical or rational sense.
To this person for example, 1 + 1 = 3.759, and they can talk/argue for hours why this is so.

Fourth. The Lacking of remorse itself, is not a T. E. So what IS it? Remorse-deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed. How does the average well rounded individual develop the ability to Feel remorse? Well, look at very young children.
You get caught writing on the wall with a crayon & your normal parent scolds & and looks unhappy/upset. You respond by crying. Why? You love that person. You’ve developed a strong attachment for that person. So what? Well, this sense of attachment comes from being able to gets your True needs met. Needs for food, shelter, protection and affection (actual touch that comforts). A baby is completely dependent, & instinct (to suvive) directs them to associate with those that meet their needs. Consistency of needs met, is love to a very young child. It follows that you don’t want to repulse your care giver, for u may stop receiving care. Its more complex than this, but this is the basics. Remorse starts here in its simplest form.
Now, even if remorse develops normal here, it can be undone/destroyed or damaged later on.
An old example of this is the foster kid who moves thru 16 homes in 12 years. The lack of “consistency of needs met from a care giver” causes the same problems. Having the same person caring for you appropriately for your whole childhood helps you to form a strong sense of remorse for misbehavior and for caring appropriately for others. You have become what you have received, in a generalized sense.

A thinking Error can be looked at like this.
5 year old truly believes that Santa Claus is a real person. That would be normal thinking at 5. A 25 year old (who is not mentally retarded) believes in Santa Claus. That would be a Thinking Error.

Fifth. Ya, there is more, but I’m tired of typing.

The mind of a perpetrator is not simple or easy to define. And they don't just spring from the ground like a demon. Perps took some serious wrong turns in their development, and have kind of crashed though the guardrails of normality and onto their own broken road, One on which they constantly drive in circles of immorality & insecurity.
There is no one all encompassing answer to why an adult would abuse a child. The human experience is wildly dynamic. There are as many reasons as there are perps & victims.
We may never really know why some abuse.

The real question is, "How do I keep myself and my children safe in the future?" This answer will serve you much better than the one above.
The answer to this is real and within our reach.


#25439 - 02/21/04 04:17 AM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
OK, I'm going to try to answer the question of why some people sexually abuse others. Please read this with the understanding that I am not apologizing or making excuses for perpetrators. I have been working with juvenile and adult offenders (as well as male survivors) for 25 years and this response comes about from a philosophy that sexual abuse is harmful, has no redeeming qualities for the victim (except that some survivors have been able to channel the abuse into creativity or other positive ventures but who in their right mind would want to trade that for the abuse?), and that most perpetrators do not feel good about abusing others.

Sexual abusing is a choice. That means that there is no excuse for doing this to another human being. Abusers make poor choices which create damage and hurt for their victims. They are not born this way but get there through physical/emotional/sexual abuse done to them, OR they have somehow allowed their life experiences to affect the way they view others as sexual objects or as objects to take their problems out on.

Sometimes it is a misdirected way of being nurturing, but in the end, it becomes a way of getting sexual gratification without truly understanding the impact of these behaviors. In any event, the child/victim suffers and the abuser generally has no idea of the full impact they have caused.

Blacken referred to cognitive distortions. This is a way that a person makes it ok to do something he knows he should not do. On a trivial example, take speeding. We all know that going over the speed limit is a) against the law, b) can result in a ticket/fine which will cost us money, c) result in possible increase in our insurance premiums, d) increase our chances of having an accident, e) burn more gas going at higher speeds, etc. So, even though we know all this, why do we speed?

The answer is cognitive distortions, also known as thinking errors or distorted thinking. This is how we make it ok to do something we know we should not do. We come up with justifications ("I'm late for this important meeting"), rationalizations ("Everybody else is going over the speed limit"), minimizing ("I was doing only 8 miles over the limit, officer"), being above the rules )"The cops are all tied up at that accident back there, I won't get caught"), etc. There are a few more kinds of distorted thinking in addition to these.

The point of distorted thinking is that abusers know that what they are doing is wrong. They do not tell others of their abuse and they try to hide or keep it secret.

Part of the treatment philosopy with abusers is to get them to see how they made it ok to do what they did. This is important to break what may well be an established pattern of making excuses or creating the self-justification of their behavior.

Another area of sex offender treatment is to get them to see how their behavior is an excuse or justification for something else going on in their lives. Suppose you had a bad day at work. You felt unappreciated, worthless, inadequate, picked on, etc. You would have choices how to deal with these negative feelings. You could take it out on others (yell at the kids, kick the dog, break something) which is termed "acting out".

You could take it out on yourself (mentally calling yourself names, putting yourself down, cutting yourself, or even committing suicide- the ultimate form of "acting in"). You could get drunk, over-eat, numb out on tv, video games, use drugs, sex, work, or other ways to "numb out".

All of these ways are essentially negative. Doing something positive, such as talking to your friend/lover, going for a walk, working out at the gym, relaxing with some music, etc., is termed an Intervention. It gets rid of the negative feelings and in the end lets you feel empowered rather than guilty. Sexually abusing someone is considered to be a form of acting out. Most abusers do not abuse when they are feeling good about themselves.

Obviously, there is no excuse for sexually (or any other form of abuse) abusing a child or sexually offending against anyone else. However, it is what abusers do. Other people facing the same stressors or issues do not abuse others. They may take it out on themselves or stay drunk, for example.

What is often insidious about sexual abuse as opposed to other forms of self abuse or numbing out that most folks do when they are being dysfunctional about life's stressors, is that victims often blame themselves for the abuse. Many abusers give the victim that sense by telling them it is their fault. Often, the victim doesn't need to hear this directly, but because of the child's developmental level, s/he takes that blame on. When you are a certain age, the normal develpmental level is one of "the world revolves around me" and the child takes on the sense that it is his fault even if the abuser does not say that.

There is more, but I'm trying to keep this somewhat short to convey some of the understanding about why they do what they do.

Again, there is no excuse. The more you know abusers and their tactics, the more you can be empowered.

Abusers need to know what the impact is on the victim. In my work with abusers, I will often share with them what the impact is on survivors AND what survivors feel about them. Your voice, your pain is important for abusers to understand.

In the earlier post yesterday, I said that empathy is the most important aspect of preventing abuse. If a potential abuser can address the question of "what would it be like for me if someone were to do this to me?" and genuinely say he would not want this to happen to him, it could prevent him from abusing in the first place. This is something that survivors who have posted here have said about their thoughts/feelings of abusing others. It keeps them from crossing the line. For those who have abused, empathy can keep them from abusing again.

My work in this field is about prevention. Working with survivors to help them heal is very important to me. Working with abusers to help them so they do not abuse again is also important. I am on the board of CAP (Child Assault Prevention), an international organization to teach primary prevention to children in schools to keep them from being abused in the first place. To me, all three areas are important.

I underatand your anger with perpetrators. I share that regarding what they have done. I also recognize that that while they have done some horrendous things, they are still human beings who need to change. Some do so only because they were caught and probation or parloe tells them they must be in sex offense-specific treatment. Some are feeling terrible about what they have done and use treatment to become better human biengs. Whatever their motivation, I work with them as I work with survivors.

I hope this answers some of your questions. I will try to respond to addional comments and questions that you have about abusers.


Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#25440 - 02/21/04 02:32 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
uselesstheories Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 23
Loc: USA
Blacken and Ken,

Thank you both so much for these latest posts. There is much information in which to absorb, but I truly appreciate your input into this side of the issue that simply seems beyond my grasp. Some of what you said is not easy to hear but through learning, perhaps I can better learn to deal with these questions rolling around inside of me.

thank you both.

Life is pain your Highness; anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
- William Goldman

#25441 - 02/21/04 08:41 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Texas_Mike Offline

Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 135
Loc: San Antonio, Texas-The Lone-St...
put the brakes on...

it takes a shit head to take advantage of another human being.....

Cay Crow: Stop It Now offers warning signs of potential sex offenders

San Antonio Express-News

Web Posted : 02/21/2004 12:00 AM

According to the 1996 National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, between 1986 and 1993 the estimated number of sexually abused children increased from 133,000 to 300,200. Dr. David Finkelhor found in his research that each year one or two of every 20 boys and four of every 20 girls are sexually abused during childhood. The secrecy, shame and frequent threats involved in child sexual abuse silence the victims forever or delay their outcries for many years. All too often survivors and perpetrators live with the secret of what happened between them, especially if they are members of the same family.
There are many treatment options for survivors. Perpetrators typically must be convicted of child sexual abuse to receive court-ordered treatment.

Prevention programs for child sexual abuse have targeted kids in schools. These programs teach things like "stranger danger" and how to loudly say no and run away. Some programs teach kids some level of self-defense. Children learn that their bodies belong to them and the difference between good and bad touch. If they experience an "icky" feeling from an older child or adult, they learn to report it to an adult they trust.

Fran Henry is the founder of another prevention program. But this one is not for children; it is for potential offenders. Stop It Now has operated for 11 years as a nonprofit organization. The help line receives about 75 calls a month, mostly from males. Statistics from 2002 show that 72 percent of callers knew someone who may be at risk of offending or they know that an offense has occurred. Some 16 percent of calls were from offenders or those who fear they may offend, and 12 percent were from those seeking information about children's sexual development.

Stop It Now does not provide protection or treatment for offenders or potential offenders, but it does offer treatment referrals and available options within the legal system. It is unique in that it approaches child sexual abuse as a preventable public health issue with identifiable warning signs.

The following is a checklist of warning signs from the Stop It Now Web site. Do you know an adult or older child who:

Refuses to let a child set any of his or her own limits?

Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even when the child does not want the affection?

Is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child or teen?

Manages to get time alone or insists on time alone with a child with no interruptions?

Spends most of his/her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time with someone his/her own age?

Regularly offers to baby-sit many different children for free or takes children on overnight outings alone?

Buys children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason?

Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom?

Allows children or teens to consistently get away with inappropriate behavior?
For more information, go to or call (888) PREVENT.


"Passion, excitement, and confidence are the important medicines that you need every day"

Run 2 Live-Live 2 Run

"The Desert Runner" Mike

#25442 - 02/21/04 10:42 PM Re: The oddity of victims becoming perps
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
A while back I read the excellent book that accompanied an equally good tv documentary series "The Hunt for Britains Pedophiles"

The extra understanding that I gained about the pedo's motives, and methods, was a major part of my healing.
The biggest question we all ask is "why ?" - and even though I was learning about other peoples abusers the information was obviously valid for my abusers.
And because I'm never likely to get the answer to "why" from my abusers I had to find the best answer available.

Thanks to Ken and Blacken for helping us gain further understanding.


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

Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >

Moderator:  ModTeam, TJ jeff 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.