Learning from Sex Offender Treatment?
What do treatment groups for folks who have committed sexual offenses have to teach the rest of us?
It turns out, the folks who are in my treatment groups for people who have committed sexual offenses are just regular folks, there’s no big, SCARY thing wrong with them. The vast majority of these folks don’t fit the stereotypes we see in the media. It also turns out, they have the same kinds of thoughts/beliefs/cultural practices as the rest of us, and are immersed in the same culture as the rest of us. AND a lot of the thoughts/beliefs/cultural practices we ALL have are risky in terms of sexual safety.
For the most part, these folks who have sexually victimized others are just regular folks whose thoughts/beliefs/cultural practices have helped them to feel okay enough about sexually victimizing behavior to move forward with it, and that’s alarming! Because it means none of us are as far away as we think we are from compromising the sexual safety of those around us, or compromising our own sexual safety. It’s a slippery slope.
We are all participating to some degree in moving ourselves away from sexual safety, and all of us are harboring thoughts/beliefs/cultural practices or engaging in behaviors that are sexually harmful to ourselves and others to some degree. These are things that hide in plain sight, that have become invisible, woven into the fabric of our culture. Some of these things may seem small, but there are a lot of them, and I can tell you from my professional experience, THEY ADD UP, and they have an impact.
Luckily, we can work to increase our awareness, and work toward increasing the sexual safety of the world around us.