Should I be concerned this person *might* be/become a sexual abuser? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-01-2011, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wasn't sure where to post this topic but when I did a search on sexual abuse it seems that this was the place that the topic frequented.

 

At a recent family get together, I had been having a discussion with someone in the family.  I don't even remember how the topic came up, because I think I was a little shocked at what they were telling me.  This person revealed to me that their father introduced them to sex at a very young age and that they enjoyed it.  I did not ask questions - I mean...how are you supposed to respond to something like that?  They simply told me about how their father was initiating sexual activity and that they were very curious about it and liked it so went along with it.

 

I do not need to understand how wrong this is...it's wrong that this happened.  Now I've understood that people have no control over their bodies, but their minds?  To be talking about this many many years later and to tell the story about how you enjoyed having sex with your father? And not seeming to feel like there was a problem with it?     Anyways...my big concern is should I be worried about my children being left alone with this person?  I'm sorry if I sound ignorant...but I've never come across something like this before!  This is such a mystery to me.

 

Thanks in advance for any input.


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Old 10-01-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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No unsupervised visits for your children with this person. End of story. There's no need for you to harass, question or condemn this person for what their father did but you will not give them free access to your children. And the dad if he's still alive. Your children come before anyone's hurt feelings.
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, my feeling exactly.  I have not told DH yet...not sure if I will.  DH has an older son from another marriage, he is 24 now but when he was little, DH had let his son spend the summers with this individual.  Now this same person has asked me to let my son come spend a few weeks at a time with them next summer at the cottage.  A big N-O. 


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Old 10-01-2011, 08:32 PM
 
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No unsupervised visits for your children with this person. End of story. There's no need for you to harass, question or condemn this person for what their father did but you will nor give them free access to your children. And the dad if he's still alive. Your children come before anyone's hurt feelings.

yeahthat.gif I don't know whether this person would be or would become an abuser but the totally laid-back attitude about sexual abuse would be enough to convince me they wouldn't be able to keep my kid safe if something were to come up. Yikes.

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Old 10-07-2011, 04:50 PM
 
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My mom's ex, who molested me and my sisters started introducing sexual talk and behavior and exposing me to porn at the age of 10. So in my experience, that is a trait of a sexual predator.

 

Have to edit this because I misunderstood and thought that the person had only been talked to about sex in an inappropriate way, not actually introduced to sex by the father. This person just bringing it up out of the blue and so calmly, like there was nothing wrong with it is a MAJOR red flag. Never, EVER leave your kids alone with this person!

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Old 10-07-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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Whoa........  As someone who has worked with kids who have been sexually abused, there is no way I would EVER leave my kids with this person for 60 seconds.  I am not kidding.  For one thing, people don't like to talk about this because it feels like blaming the victim, but the number of individuals who are sexually abused who go on to perpetrate is unfortunately extremely high.  Clearly this woman has not worked through her issues or she wouldn't be making such comments to you, which is a huge red flag for the potential for her to perpetrate herself.  It is not like she's been to therapy, worked through her issues, come to an understanding of how awful what happened to her was and started the healing process....all things I'd want to see in someone I would consider trusting with my kids. 

 

 It is not completely uncommon for there to be an element of a child enjoying sexual abuse in some ways, so it is not really surprising that she felt that way. I would never judge someone for feeling that way. Sexual abuse is confusing for children.  What IS surprising is that as an adult she does not realize how incredibly inappropriate and damaging this was, that it is totally abnormal for her father to have "introduced" her to sex, and that she has such poor boundaries and such a lack of understanding of appropriate and inappropriate social behavior that she would talk to you about this. 

 

Please do tell your husband about this, and please do not leave your kids unsupervised for 5 seconds with this woman.  Don't underestimate how tricky sexual predators can be and how quickly they can abuse when given a chance, practically right under your own nose.  She has pretty much "warned" you.  Take that warning seriously.

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Old 10-09-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

 

 It is not completely uncommon for there to be an element of a child enjoying sexual abuse in some ways, so it is not really surprising that she felt that way. I would never judge someone for feeling that way. Sexual abuse is confusing for children.  What IS surprising is that as an adult she does not realize how incredibly inappropriate and damaging this was, that it is totally abnormal for her father to have "introduced" her to sex, and that she has such poor boundaries and such a lack of understanding of appropriate and inappropriate social behavior that she would talk to you about this. 

 

Please do tell your husband about this, and please do not leave your kids unsupervised for 5 seconds with this woman.  Don't underestimate how tricky sexual predators can be and how quickly they can abuse when given a chance, practically right under your own nose.  She has pretty much "warned" you.  Take that warning seriously.


yeah that.

 


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Old 10-10-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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Whoa........  As someone who has worked with kids who have been sexually abused, there is no way I would EVER leave my kids with this person for 60 seconds.  I am not kidding.  For one thing, people don't like to talk about this because it feels like blaming the victim, but the number of individuals who are sexually abused who go on to perpetrate is unfortunately extremely high.  Clearly this woman has not worked through her issues or she wouldn't be making such comments to you, which is a huge red flag for the potential for her to perpetrate herself.  It is not like she's been to therapy, worked through her issues, come to an understanding of how awful what happened to her was and started the healing process....all things I'd want to see in someone I would consider trusting with my kids. 

 

 It is not completely uncommon for there to be an element of a child enjoying sexual abuse in some ways, so it is not really surprising that she felt that way. I would never judge someone for feeling that way. Sexual abuse is confusing for children.  What IS surprising is that as an adult she does not realize how incredibly inappropriate and damaging this was, that it is totally abnormal for her father to have "introduced" her to sex, and that she has such poor boundaries and such a lack of understanding of appropriate and inappropriate social behavior that she would talk to you about this. 

 

Please do tell your husband about this, and please do not leave your kids unsupervised for 5 seconds with this woman.  Don't underestimate how tricky sexual predators can be and how quickly they can abuse when given a chance, practically right under your own nose.  She has pretty much "warned" you.  Take that warning seriously.


I completely agree with everything in this post.

The big question for me, in this situation, would be whether this should be shared with other family members who may allow their kids to go to that cottage... I mean, it sounds awful to go around telling everyone this, but then again she did share this in what seems a casual way, and obviously you don't want other kids to be put in a situation that you wouldn't want your own kid to be in. I don't know, what do other people think about this?

For the OP, are there other kids in the family spending time with this person?

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Old 10-10-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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For the OP, are there other kids in the family spending time with this person?

I worry about that, too.
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Old 10-10-2011, 03:38 PM
 
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I completely agree with everything in this post.
The big question for me, in this situation, would be whether this should be shared with other family members who may allow their kids to go to that cottage... I mean, it sounds awful to go around telling everyone this, but then again she did share this in what seems a casual way, and obviously you don't want other kids to be put in a situation that you wouldn't want your own kid to be in. I don't know, what do other people think about this?
For the OP, are there other kids in the family spending time with this person?


OP--Personally, I think you *owe* it to any children you know who may spend time alone (even minutes alone) with this person to share the information.  This person is a risk to children, plain and simple.  Nobody knows for sure if he/she will sexually abuse a child, but there are some HUGE red flags that cannot be overlooked.  I am sure sharing the information will be uncomfortable, you may have doubts or guilt about "talking behind his/her back", worry about the impact on your relationship with this person, etc., but the bottom line is that sexual abuse is incredibly devestating.  I could not live with myself if I did not do everything I could to prevent a child from being harmed when I had the information to do so.
 

 

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Old 10-10-2011, 07:50 PM
 
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Hi OP,

 

I agree with the PPs regarding leaving your child with this person. While (from this thread) we don't that this has or would sexually abuse a child, I would not want my child potentially exposed to the kind of sexually inappropriate discussion that this person had with you. (As a side note, if this person raises this with you again, I would recommend gently but firmly saying "This sounds like something that's still affecting you greatly and I think a counselor would be very helpful to you. I don't feel comfortable discussing this with you, but I can look up some local counseling resources if that would help you.")
 

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For one thing, people don't like to talk about this because it feels like blaming the victim, but the number of individuals who are sexually abused who go on to perpetrate is unfortunately extremely high. 


APToddlerMama, can you provide some support for this statistic? While some people who are abused do become abusers, many do not.

 


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Old 10-10-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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APToddlerMama, can you provide some support for this statistic? While some people who are abused do become abusers, many do not.



Of course many many who are abused do not become perpetrators.  I hope I made that clear in my post.  I don't want to take the time to find the exact statistics, though I'm sure you could find them on google-scholar.  Both as an undergrad and then in numerous sexual abuse trainings that I had specific to my job, different statistics were reported on this that were alarmingly high.  One was so high I really can't even imagine it could be true (60%).  Not sure where they got that stat. What I do know for sure is having worked with kids and teens who have been sexually abused, I have seen a large number of them offend.  It happens very frequently in the foster care system.  On the other hand, I have some close friends and family members who have been abused who I would trust completely with my child, regardless of statistics because I know that not all survivors become perpetrators.  This woman has *major* red flags outside of any statistic.  She has not even come close to working through her history, does not see it as a problem, and doesn't have the common sense to recognize that talking about sexual abuse in a positive light is totally taboo and inappropriate.  I wouldn't rule out someone who had been abused as someone who I didn't want to care for my children.  However, I would most certainly rule that person out if I felt they hadn't adequately addressed their trauma.  To fail to do so would be to put my child at serious risk of being abused.  Nobody is going to convince me to give someone the benefit of the doubt in a situation like this.  The stakes are too great. 

 

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Old 10-10-2011, 11:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyMommy View Post

APToddlerMama, can you provide some support for this statistic? While some people who are abused do become abusers, many do not.

 


When I was in therapy at a rape crises center, I was told that nearly all predators were sexually assaulted as children. Such a high percentage, in fact, that people in the field assume the actual number to be 100% even though it has not been proven.

 

It doesn't not follow that all victims grow up to be predators. Some do, some don't. 

 

The person described by the OPer would follow the pattern of a predator who is caught and continues to say that they never hurt the child because they believe that being used for sex feels good.

(This is based on conversations with a therapist who ran an group for molesters, a group for children who'd been abused, and a group of adult survivors of childhood abuse. She shared trends in what she heard in her group for child molesters, and a common refrain was "but I didn't hurt her, I would never HURT her.")

 

 

Such a person would never be alone with my child -- I either wouldn't attend group functions with them or I would never ever let my child out of my sight.

 


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Old 10-11-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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When I was in therapy at a rape crises center, I was told that nearly all predators were sexually assaulted as children. Such a high percentage, in fact, that people in the field assume the actual number to be 100% even though it has not been proven.

 

It doesn't not follow that all victims grow up to be predators. Some do, some don't. 

 


 
There are statistics for both.  The number of sex offenders who have been abused is clearly higher than the number of sexual abuse survivors who go on to offend. 

 

ETA: I realize there is some discomfort around discussing this because as I said in my original post, it feels like discussing it is blaming the victim.  Obviously those who have been sexually abused who have not perpetrated don't want to see any correlation drawn, and I completely understand that.  The fact remains though that a person who has survived sexual abuse is more likely than the general population to sexually perpetrate.  It does NOT mean that any particular individual will.   There just happens to be a correlation, and if you're deciding who is going to care for your children, this is good to know.  As a social worker, we would very specifically ask all potential foster families if they had been sexually abused.  Next question would be about the impact, had they received therapy, support from family, etc.  Surviving sexual abuse would not be a red flag that ruled them out.  But, there could be all sorts of comments related to the sexual abuse that could...comments like the person OP is talking about made.  Also, like I said before, I would trust many survivors I know with my kids if I felt they had addressed their issues to the point that they weren't talking openly and positively about sexual abuse and incest. 

 

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Old 10-11-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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[quote name="APToddlerMama" url=Don't underestimate how tricky sexual predators can be and how quickly they can abuse when given a chance, practically right under your own nose.  She has pretty much "warned" you.  Take that warning seriously.[/quote]

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Old 10-11-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

 The number of sex offenders who have been abused is clearly higher than the number of sexual abuse survivors who go on to offend. 

 

 


 

Although I agree with you, I find the way you worded this to be really insensitive.

 

I don't think it's even in the same ball park.

 

I'm a survivor, but not evil. Not even close.


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Old 10-11-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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Although I agree with you, I find the way you worded this to be really insensitive.

 

I don't think it's even in the same ball park.

 

I'm a survivor, but not evil. Not even close.


yeahthat.gif I think this can be worded more like... "Almost all offenders were abused themselves," not "Most victims go on to become abusers."

And really, I don't know how anyone could know or prove the latter, considering how under-reported abuse is. It's much easier to get stats on convicted offenders than the whole population of people who have been abused, since many in the population at-large either would not report their experience in the first place, particularly if they've already dealt with it and moved on (well, as much as someone can move on from such trauma).

And I find it really intrusive that potential foster parents would be asked if they've ever been abused. greensad.gif

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Old 10-11-2011, 08:30 AM
 
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I think she meant "higher than the number of sexual abuse survivors who DON'T go on to offend."

 

And if that's the case, I'm wondering if it's not true. I'm also an abuse survivor, but I know a few people from childhood who were sexually abused as children or early teens and have since been accused of or prosecuted for hurting children in that way. One of them abused a 9 month old baby boy. His girlfriend's son and then proceeded to beat him. The people that don't abuse, seem to be the minority. There are so many cases behind closed doors that will never come into the open. A good friend of my mom's was sexually abused at the ages of 5-6, and his abuse didn't come out until he found his son was abused by his mom's boyfriend. The guy was 37 and didn't say a word until he learned his son was a victim as well.

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Old 10-11-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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yeahthat.gif I think this can be worded more like... "Almost all offenders were abused themselves," not "Most victims go on to become abusers."
And really, I don't know how anyone could know or prove the latter, considering how under-reported abuse is. It's much easier to get stats on convicted offenders than the whole population of people who have been abused, since many in the population at-large either would not report their experience in the first place, particularly if they've already dealt with it and moved on (well, as much as someone can move on from such trauma).
And I find it really intrusive that potential foster parents would be asked if they've ever been abused. greensad.gif

If this is a routine question asked by social workers trying to place foster children in homes, then it must be a high percentage of people that have been abused to go on to abuse. Abuse is so under-reported it's unreal. As I mentioned in a post above. I was lucky to have even spoken to my mom about what happened to me. I had no idea my sisters had been hurt too. They didn't speak up.
 

 

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Old 10-11-2011, 08:59 AM
 
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yeahthat.gif I think this can be worded more like... "Almost all offenders were abused themselves," not "Most victims go on to become abusers."
And really, I don't know how anyone could know or prove the latter, considering how under-reported abuse is. It's much easier to get stats on convicted offenders than the whole population of people who have been abused, since many in the population at-large either would not report their experience in the first place, particularly if they've already dealt with it and moved on (well, as much as someone can move on from such trauma).
And I find it really intrusive that potential foster parents would be asked if they've ever been abused. greensad.gif


That is not what I said.  I said that the number of victims who go on to become abusers is unfortunately higher than the general population.  It is a risk factor, not a sure thing.

 

The home study process that my state used for screening potential foster parents is completely evidence and researched based.  Unfortunately, having a history of sexual abuse that has not been addressed is a risk factor for foster children, which is why the question is asked.  Not only do social workers need to screen for people like OP described who apparently view sexual abuse as normal and even positive, but there is also a huge need to screen for survivors who have not adequately addressed and worked through their histories of abuse.  One thing that can and does happen frequently if a person has not done this, is that when a child who has been sexually abused is placed in their home, things start to unravel majorly for both foster child and foster parent.  Dealing with a child's history can stir up a lot of turmoil, flashbacks, etc., for that foster parent.  We need to know that the foster parent has adequate support, will seek out therapy if needed, and can help that child through the healing process.  If a foster parent has not worked through that process themselves, there is no chance for them to be able to adequately support the foster child.  Sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect all impact the parenting process if they haven't been addressed.  We know from research that is a fact, so it is imperative to screen for these things to ensure kids are emotionally and physically safe in a home.  It isn't about prying into a foster parents' lives.  I have helped numerous potential foster parents be linked with therapy, etc. (paid for by the state) so that they could come to a place emotionally and psychologically where they could successfully parent a foster child with a history of trauma. 
 

 

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If this is a routine question asked by social workers trying to place foster children in homes, then it must be a high percentage of people that have been abused to go on to abuse. Abuse is so under-reported it's unreal. As I mentioned in a post above. I was lucky to have even spoken to my mom about what happened to me. I had no idea my sisters had been hurt too. They didn't speak up. 

 

Completely true.  Thank you IwannaBanRN.  I totally understand the discomfort in discussing this.  No survivor wants to be told that statistically speaking, they are more likely to be abusive than someone who hasn't been abused.  I am not saying that specifically about individuals, but across the board, there is a correlation. In both my undergrad classes as well as sexual abuse training this was a huge issue in discussion, with many people speaking up and saying "I was abused, but I would NEVER abuse."  I know.  We know.  It is a sensitive topic.  The point is not to say that if one has been abused, they will abuse.  The point is to say there is a correlation and when you see red flags like the person OP describes, you should take them seriously.  The goal after all is protecting children--not ignoring the correlation because it is uncomfortable. 

 

 

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Although I agree with you, I find the way you worded this to be really insensitive.

 

I don't think it's even in the same ball park.

 

I'm a survivor, but not evil. Not even close.


Truly Linda, I would not wish to offend of be insensitve.  It is true that the number of individuals who are sexual abuse survivors who offend is higher than the general population and that the percentage of perpetrators who have been sexually abused is greater than the number of survivors who then abuse.  I am not being snarky at all but am wondering how you'd suggest wording that to be more sensitive while still being factual?  Please share because I don't wish to be insensitive but I do wish to share that information.

 

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Old 10-11-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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I agree, trust your instincts, don't leave your children alone with them.  It isn't so much that they were abused as a child, it's that they clearly haven't examined the issue - i.e., that they think it was fine, brag about how they enjoyed it, that it wasn't harmful, talk about it openly.  Red flag!

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Old 10-11-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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I agree. That is not what APToddler Mama said. It is a risk factor. A correlation, not a causation.
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That is not what I said.  I said that the number of victims who go on to become abusers is unfortunately higher than the general population.  It is a risk factor, not a sure thing.


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Old 10-11-2011, 12:02 PM
 
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With the terribly high rate of abuse in foster homes, I don't think there is much off limits when evaluating potential foster parents. Everyone I know that was in foster care had at least one, and often multiple foster homes that were abusive. Very sad.

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Old 10-11-2011, 02:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post\

 

No survivor wants to be told that statistically speaking, they are more likely to be abusive than someone who hasn't been abused.  I am not saying that specifically about individuals, but across the board, there is a correlation.

 


 

yes, and statistically speaking, people who drive cars are more likely to get drunk and crash their car into someone and kill them than people who always take the bus.

 

there is a correlation between driving a car and drunk drivers causing fatal accidents. Statistically speaking, as a car driver, I'm more likely to kill some one by drinking and driving than a non-car driver.

 

Except that I don't drink and drive. Ever. Most car drivers don't.

 

Those of us who drive responsibly really don't want to be lumped into the same group as drunk drivers.

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

yes, and statistically speaking, people who drive cars are more likely to get drunk and crash their car into someone and kill them than people who always take the bus.

 

there is a correlation between driving a car and drunk drivers causing fatal accidents. Statistically speaking, as a car driver, I'm more likely to kill some one by drinking and driving than a non-car driver.

 

Except that I don't drink and drive. Ever. Most car drivers don't.

 

Those of us who drive responsibly really don't want to be lumped into the same group as drunk drivers.

 


Well, I guess I don't understand.  I really am wondering how you'd suggest saying it more sensitively since you said earlier you agree but think it was said without sensitivity.  I think there can be honest discussion of the fact that there is a correlation without lumping everyone together or blaming individuals.  There is a correlation.  Doesn't mean anyone is saying *you* or any other individual is going to perpetrate.  But to deny the correlation is silly, because it does exist.  And it is certainly worth considering in a situation like the one OP finds herself in. 
 

 

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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Has anyone considered that the stats may be slanted by convicted abusers using the "abuse excuse" defense, and falsely portraying themselves as victims of abuse in the hope of getting a lighter sentence?

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

Those of us who drive responsibly really don't want to be lumped into the same group as drunk drivers.


Yes, this is what I was trying to say. APToddlerMama, I know you didn't say exactly the "most people..." thing, it's just that's the tone it came across as to me. I understand what you are ultimately trying to say, I just feel like it needs to be worded more carefully. I also think that the statistics might be different for males vs. females who have been abused??? Maybe I'm remembering that wrong. Anyway, I get that it's a risk factor, but the way it is worded kind of neglects the fact that only a small percentage of survivors go on to become perpetrators. It feels like a stereotype to me.

And thank you for explaining more about why foster parents are asked if they've been abused -- I didn't think of it from that perspective, and I guess it makes sense. I just know I'd be uncomfortable disclosing my own abuse to a case worker & wouldn't expect to hear that question (good to know, since someday I'd like to be a foster parent...)

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by choli View Post

Has anyone considered that the stats may be slanted by convicted abusers using the "abuse excuse" defense, and falsely portraying themselves as victims of abuse in the hope of getting a lighter sentence?

Who knows how accurate the statistics are, but I can tell you undoubtedly with the children and teens I have worked with over a span of several years, that I knew about their history of sexual abuse long in almost every case long before they started perpetrating. 

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Old 10-11-2011, 04:33 PM
 
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The analogy of the drunk driver is not a good one.

Abusers were often abused as children and most adults have children. Subsequently, it takes a huge amount of maturity not to repeat the cycle of abuse. It takes cognizant and conscious effort and perhaps a good support system and slug of therapy.

And sometimes you think you are over it and you are not. A good friend of mine had some flashbacks lately while she bathing her child. She was pretty shaken and called her therapist right away.


Back to the OP... did you speak to your partner? Is he on board with you making the choice not to have your child spend time alone with this person?
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Old 10-11-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Subsequently, it takes a huge amount of maturity not to repeat the cycle of abuse. It takes cognizant and conscious effort and perhaps a good support system and slug of therapy.

 

not really. I'm no more mature than the average person.

 

I've less of a support system than the average person.

 

I had a lot more therapy than  most people. A lot more. winky.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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