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#413146 - 10/15/12 06:47 AM An Emerging Phenomenon in Survivor PTSD Coping
livelovelaugh Offline

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 37
Loc: New Jersey
Hello all to my fellow survivors and brothers in the cauae of healing,

I want to address and put forward something that I know may come across as controversial, but that in my line of work as a probation counaelor working witg offenders I am seeing more amd more and that is becoming an increasing cause for further investigation and discussion. Your thoughts, views, and comments are welcome.

First, I do not condone any actions of pwiplw when it comea to thw safety of children or of the child still healing from their abuse witgin an adult frame. As an avuae syrvivor I know first hand the daily struggles all aurvivors wrestle with whoch is why I bring this perhaps less talked about or advocated situation forward for discussion.

my particular contention arises from the many thrwads in news and mwdia as of late and in my practice concerning possession of child pornography. First, I agree thatthe production, fabrication, distribution and sale of such things should be prosecuted and predators and molesters brought to full justoce. But let me vring to light two case studies for you to consider for a moment.

The first is a 29 year old male, veteran combat decorated medic, award winning and veloved elemntary school teacher, volunteer emt, happily married family man, with adult social networks, no criminal record, no reports of any misconduct, secret government clearance, abused as a child. A search warrant is executed and they find suggestive images on a computer downloaded from a filesgare program. Investigation shows no chatroom, email or other correspondence, no payments for said imagea, no volimes or records of storage of such images, no evidencw of luring or solicitation of minors, no complaints afrer the arrest goes public, no further evidence or information for eight mobths after, support from the local community and school community...
Now this man is a convicted felon for possession.
Now consider hia actions and psychological evaluation: as a young teen in sixth grade he heard children calling him gay for how he acted, being socially awkward and naieve from years of abuse, he looks it up on the internet and discovers sites that depict other children like him who are experiencing what he did, he is no longer alone, he has found an understanding, a sense of affirmatikn amd peace that others are out there that understand him and he feels. When nightmares come on, anxiety, or depression hits, this teen turns to these images as a security blanket. Consider the combat soldier who recalls traumatic images and videos of war when suffering from ptsd flashbacks amd nightmares and feelings of emptiness and despair.

It is, in effect, the same principle, there is no tendency toward pedophilia, no suggestion or evidence of sexual arousal or exploitation from what is taking place, and brain scans reveal no sexual gratification or stimulation from viewing, but rather areas of sensory and long term memory processing.

So, out of shame and humiliation after the sense of anxiety or panic has subsided, he deletes the downloaded images, rather than stores them. Hoping that this ptsd cycle will somehow correct itself.

Now consider post conviction, this criminal arrives and begins to talj opwnly and witboyt fear of persecution any linger because that part is over. They begin emdr and ifs therapy and within a year, have learned to cope with their anxiety and fear and pabic ans nightmares without having to resort to viewing illegal images.

Now consider, this person never posed any threat to society, never hurt a child in any sense, in effect they themselves haf set up an internal cycle of repeated a use by returning to images to relive tgeir own trauma and sexual abuse through th ese viewings. Understandably, watching these images is like avusing the cgild over and over avain, but one thing I notice with such cases is theu delete and then dowload whatever pops up the next time an anxiety or panic attacl strikes, then delete, etc. its not about storing and repeatedly viewong or looking for new amd novel imafes with them, its about using this method as their self mwdication to deescalate how they are feeling. Similar to how otgers may use drugs, alcohol, or sex.

And I clearly delineaye such people from true offenders and predators, I have worked with both.

But my dilemma and question becomes is criminal prosecution, incarceration, and life shattering convictions what these particular group of men need? I do not dispute the legality at all, it is a crime to possess, but dont these men, whom I have seen heal from their wounds and find more appropriate methods of coping when allowed to speak freely and openly about the reason and causes
For what they were doing and why tbey were doing it, dont these fellow atruggling survivors who have lived so long in inner turmoil, unable to come firward to resolve these unhealthy coping methods for fear of criminalization, dont they deaerve thw chance to heal the child inside them and move ok n, not co tinue to remain lost and wandering in the darkness of their pasts forever?

I do believe that a child predator cannot be reformed and they will always harvor malicious intents toward children, despite their rationale that convinces them they are in the right for their fewlings.
However, I also believe that equally survivors struggling with ptsd symptoms alleviated by traumatic cues such as viewings of children in similar situations to theirs can be helped, just as any other ptsd survivor can be when afforded the chance to talk and giveb the right therapeutic tools, which is not to imprison them and trap them further in their past traumas of isolation, persecution, and victimization.

Your thoughts, comments, and opinikns on this are welcomed. I have begun initial research into this with a group of colleagues, as this particular case study is not isolated, and the patterns are strikingly similar in all instances

for what they were doing and why they were doing it
fear amd panic amd nightmares without having to resort to viewing illegal images.
"...and it was then that I carried you..."
Footprints in the Sand

#413148 - 10/15/12 06:56 AM Re: An Emerging Phenomenon in Survivor PTSD Coping [Re: livelovelaugh]
livelovelaugh Offline

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 37
Loc: New Jersey
The second case study of ciurse is the same situational set up. A young adult male, abused as a child, a model of the community, who instead uses his access and community status to lure children, abuse them, photograph them, and then trade or stream it online. Or the person who is communicating with this predator, asking him for certain types of videos or pgotos, or who pays for shipment of such things to his residence. Bith these are dangers, threats to the community. While it is a shame their abuse may have lwd to this road, it may be a person never abused as well. The psychology of such a person is ofteb delusional and grandiose aelf persuasion and convincing of their acti ok ns as legitimate and consensual, or perhaps in considrration of feeling power over someone so helpless the reasons are many, but what I find remains, is they act in their own interest, exploit positons of power and access, and in my practice almoat always say they still have feelings and fantasies related to children, even years later. Whether it be genetic wiring or environmental impact, I do not know... But I have yet to see a pedophile, even one wgo hasnt acted in impulse, reform or change their state of mind.

In contrast, men ive worked with that come to me with this ptsd coping dysfunction have reformed and found better outlets for dealing with their anxieties and panic and depression and nightmares. Therein lies an amazing and research worthy consideration.
"...and it was then that I carried you..."
Footprints in the Sand

#413241 - 10/16/12 06:52 AM Re: An Emerging Phenomenon in Survivor PTSD Coping [Re: livelovelaugh]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4223
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
this is a tricky issue. and i feel very ambivalent about it. but i am glad you brought it up. maybe discussing it will help.

i have some of the tendencies you have described in the 1st example. some of the pictures i have searched for online have been ones that closely resembled the episodes in my past - almost like re-enactments of my own abuse. i even search for ones that show guys with the same contrasting body sizes and types as my abusers and me. and i am not proud to admit that.

i know what you mean about deriving comfort from such images - as crazy as it sounds to the uninformed (including my wife). fort some reason it does give me temporary releif to see such pictures. maybe the assurance that i was not the only one it happened too - or that i was not making up the memories?

i have been concerned about the illegal aspects of photos of under-age kids. i have always tried to make sure that the sites i visited were ones with staged events rather than real ones - and that had statements that the models or actors are of legal age. but i still have felt creepy and guilty for looking for and at such photos. and i have not wanted to save them where they could be found by anyone who would guees anything. i hate to think that anyone is really being harmed in the photo shoots or filming - and yet i know that it is a very real possibility.

to complicate matters further, i have not only used them as a coping tool, but have also been aroused by them. and that i find very confusing and disturbing as well. no matter how much i insist that it is for therapeutic purposes, it is also undeniably p*rn. just as in my experience of the original events - in my viewing the depictions, i experience a chaotic and conflicting mix of pain and pleasure, shame and s*xual release which is both exciting and disturbing.

so - yeah - i see your point about not charging the guy suffereing the after-effects of abuse for something that was not technically abusiveness on his part - and i empathize with him - and agree in part with your premise. but - how in the world would you prove motivation and intent and how the mind and emotions and psyche of the accused are working - to convince anyone that he is not guilty of the charges?

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#413243 - 10/16/12 08:13 AM Re: An Emerging Phenomenon in Survivor PTSD Coping [Re: livelovelaugh]
Blessedcurse Offline

Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 98
The way I see it, watching a picture or film where a child is sexually abused is another abuse of the child. It is a violation of the childs integrity and the fact that the child has already been violated does not make it less of a violation.

I think that the trauma coping as a reason is understandable, but it is not an excuse. No matter how traumatized you might be, you have no right to abuse, violate or take advantage of anyone else in your healing. Watching child porn is a crime against the child and that does not change due to reasons. Anyone who needs to watch child pornography needs to know that it is a violation of the child to watch this, it is a person on the pics that probably walks around wondering who of all people he/she meets on the streets has seen him/her in those awful situations.

Only time it is ok to watch child porn is to conduct a legal investigation, I think. And even then you would need to considder the violation of the child.

However, I do understand the need to see stuff that reminds of ones own abuse. I understand, I just don't think it is ok. Writing about it is ok, reading survivors stories and identifying is ok, watching staged porn with adult actors is ok (though it might be difficult to make sure how staded/adult the whole thing is), drawing your own pictures is ok. All of this is ok because it concerns yourself, your healing and other concenting adults.

As soon as you involve a child (or a non concenting adult) it stops being about you and your healing and starts to be about this other person and his/her right tho the own body. You can never excuse abuse of a child with the intentions of the adult. What matters when abuse or validations of a child is taking place is how it affects THE CHILD! Not what the abusor intended or needed. And the effect on the child you can not know. Maybe the effect is not evident until the child is adult.

But I assure you, the fact that the child was already abused, or the fact that so many others have already watched this video, or the fact that the video is old so the damage is already done, those facts do not mean that adding to the abuse and violation is more ok.

#413244 - 10/16/12 08:37 AM Re: An Emerging Phenomenon in Survivor PTSD Coping [Re: livelovelaugh]
Yerac Offline

Registered: 02/22/12
Posts: 45
Loc: Southern CA

#413575 - 10/19/12 12:17 AM Re: An Emerging Phenomenon in Survivor PTSD Coping [Re: livelovelaugh]
livelovelaugh Offline

Registered: 01/13/12
Posts: 37
Loc: New Jersey
Thank you all for your comments and I whole-heartedly thank you as well for your honesty and candid approach to this topic. I agree with all, there is no excuse and the law is the law, but more importantly the psyche and trauam of the child affected is paramount, regardless of how a person decides to rationalize it, yes, the fact remains a child has been hurt.
I also agree, that there is no way to truly know and delineate motives, beyond observed neurological assessments and therapy. As I have stated, my work with so many "offenders" has led to such a discrepency in thinking patterns that I wanted to bring it up for discussion among those most closely affected by it, including me as a survivor of abuse. While I cannot comprehend or rationalize it in my own mind, I can empathize with a person who just doesn't conform to an offender profile.
I have begun preliminary research investigations based on case files for comparative studies, and brought it to the attention of this forum especially to see if it might be a worthy investigation to continue to persue. As mentioned, in the short term 10 year span I have data for so far, there is a striking difference as mentioned already between true "offenders" and those using such things as a "coping" mechanism. Offenders have gone on to offend, to have socialization issues, to have criminal issues , etc while those truly coping in a dysfunctional manner after using emdr or ifs have not reoffended, have not have any other criminal complaints, have completed probation, etc. successfully, most have families and seem much better.

Again, as many point out, true motives and psyche cannot be truly observed or expressed, but outwardly, it seems like an interesting phenomenon to explore further.

Thanks again for all your input!
Anyone else is also more than welcome to offer their thoughts, as well.
"...and it was then that I carried you..."
Footprints in the Sand


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