Saturday, July 18, 1987

Sex offenders often victims of abuse

Sex offenders often victims of abuse
By Kim Pemberton
The Vancouver Sun - July 18, 1987

Innovative treatment programs for sexual offenders are rare because society, and even some professionals working with child abusers, refuse to believe many offenders were themselves abused children, says a Los Angeles child abuse expert.
Dr. Roland Summit spoke earlier this week at a symposium on clinical implications of childhood sexual trauma in Vancouver.
Until sex offenders are given the emotional support necessary to deal with their own childhood abuse, the majority will never overcome their behavioral problems, he said.
"The therapist needs to provide the kind of support a child would need in dealing with the rage because these patients are children who never grew up. They are in a frozen childhood and they need a mother and father all over again," Summit said.
"Once the therapist can provide that experience and the patient gets some confidence to get in touch with the child-like parts in him, then he can begin developing relationships with adults as an adult."
He said a U.S. program works with molesters who would probably not have confronted their behavioral problems without a criminal conviction.
"A person who has learned to molest children, and it usually starts when he was a victim himself, also learns it is okay to do this. All his arguments for molesting become powerfully entrenched. But, by spending time in jail, he realizes his rationalizations aren't so smart."
Summit said not all children who are molested grow up to abuse other children. He said some may show other signs, such as obesity, suicidal depression, self-mutilation or drug and alcohol abuse.