(Posted by MS Admin for Dr. Hunter)
Recently I have been told that in the chat room at our web site the topic of whether therapists who treat those who have sexually offended ought to be allowed to be members of this organization. Let me repeat that, the topic is not men who have offended, but those who treat them! Clearly this is not an issue of safety. One might be able to make the argument that those who have offended and are as yet untreated ought to be excluded less they prey on the vulnerable. But when the topic is excluding those who are willing to provide treatment to men who have offended it is clear that the objection is merely based on the belief that those who have offended are unworthy of any kind of respect, support, or compassion, and anyone who dares to see them as less than monsters is also unworthy.
In the 1980's when those of us who dared to suggest that there were boys who were sexually abused we were told that we were merely attempting to take the already too scarce resources that rightly belonged to girls who everybody knew "were the real victims of sexual abuse." Passing references to the existence of boy victims appeared in print but then were dismissed since the abuse of boys was so rare that it did not warrant discussion. When the topic of women sexually abusing boys war raised the protests of distracting from the "real" issue of the oppression of females by males increased.
But some of us decided the sexual abuse of boys mattered enough that we organized conferences on the topic. The first one wasn't even exclusively on male victims, but also included workshops on treating offenders.
When the second conference was being planned there was discussion as to whether it was appropriate to include women who treated males. Since the Chair of the Washington conference was a woman it was clear that females had a great deal to offer.
Originally, the focus of the conference was on boy victims. Adult males who had been sexually assaulted were largely ignored. When the topic of adult victims was first discussed many thought it would distract from the "real issue" of boy victims. There were fears that since many of the men who are sexually assaulted are gay or are perceived to be gay the homophobia rampant in America would make it difficult for heterosexual to attend our conferences. But we embraced the issue of men being sexually assaulted.
When the issue of the sexual assault of those incarcerated first began to be presented at the conference there were those who feared that having compassion for criminals would make it difficult for us to raise funds and distract us from the "real mission" of the organization.
When the idea of allowing survivors who are not employed as providers of sexual abuse services was suggested many protested that including these people would distract the organization from the "real mission of offering quality training to mental health treatment professionals." We merged with M.A.L.E. and the organization has yet to self-destruct.
Given our tradition of being inclusive I suggest not only that those who provide treatment services to offenders be allowed to be members, but I will go as far as to say we ought to welcome repentant offenders to join with us in what I argue truly is our "real" mission; the elimination of sexual abuse.
Mic Hunter, Psy.D.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
(Posted by MS Admin for Dr. Hunter)
The Team at MaleSurvivor
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