Fact is most if not all perpetrators of sexual abuse against children were victims of SA at some point themselves. However, like you say this should not have any bearing as a mitigating factor when it comes to how society deals with perpetrators. On the contrary, effective sex offender treatment doesnít allow perpetrators to get away with bemoaning their own history at the expense of taking responsibility for their reprehensible behaviour. The minute an offender starts doing so s/he is called on it and reminded why they are there, namely for what they did to others, not to make excuses for themselves. Like you say excuses and rationalizing on behalf of offenders is what led them to come to a calculated and deliberate decision to abuse others. This is the exact reverse of the therapeutic challenges that the rest of us survivors who wouldnít dream of abusing others experience. In my survivor support group for example Iím constantly challenged to find compassion and forgiveness for myself, which is very hard to do since it feels like what happened to me is my fault. The stark contrast in treatment is illustrative of the need for different approaches to treating abusers vs. non-abusers with histories of SA.

On another note I want to comment on what you said about acting out. This is something that I believe all survivors have in common to some degree. Iíll admit that I have acted out, with drinking, drug taking and with sexual behaviour that was unhealthy and unsatisfying (for me), as well as purposefully neglecting myself physically, emotionally and spiritually in order to punish myself further, but never anything against others. I wouldn't dream of it, and if I did I'd hope that I had the courage to go get help before hurting someone else, which shows I know the fundamental difference between what's right and what's wrong. Truth is aside from a very slim percentage of the population that is psychotic the rest of us know what's right and wrong so despite whatever differences or similarities that may exist in our personal histories there's the rub. If anything Iíll say that itís especially inexcusable for a survivor of SA to act out against others since at the very least we of all people should know better. Just my thoughts. JS

Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And weíll change the world.