Friday, June 30, 2006

Therapy 'no cure for sex abusers'


Psychological therapy for sex offenders can reduce re-offending rates, but does not provide a cure, a study says. Researchers from the Universities of London and Leicester reviewed nine studies involving 567 offenders in the US, UK, Canada and Europe. Some treatment programmes have cut re-offending by up to 40%. But experts said the British Medical Journal report was wrong to talk about curing as it was not a medical problem and could not be solved as such.
From what I learned from those who worked with sex offenders in either offender treatment programs or in intensive probation programs, a combination of education and monitoring to quickly identify pre-offending behaviors are key to an effective program.

Where I can see talk therapy contributing to a reduction in reoffending is when a therapist helps the offender deconstruct the rationalizations that lead to rape, helps the offender understand what non-sexual needs were met through rape and helps the offender through the process of humanizing the pain of that person's victims. Since some offenders are master manipulators, what the therapist observes should always be combined with knowledge of what the offender is doing outside of the therapy sessions.

Knowing who should not be in the community under any type of monitoring or supervision is imperative even if we accept that sex offenses don't have a biological cause.

If you aren't convinced that rape is a choice, not an expression of a testosterone-related medical condition triggered by female hormones, look at some information about Tourette's Syndrome. If rape were like the symptoms of Tourette's, then there would be no picking of victims, no deliberate misunderstandings about the meaning of consent, no accusations that the victim did something stupid. There would be no denial by friends and family saying that this person would never rape because this person always respects women.

I posted some of my thoughts about the fallacy that the growth of the porn industry has contributed to a reduction in rape, but in that post I forgot to mention the growth of sex tourism and sex trafficking industries that may at least be partially linked to the desires of those who want to exploit others sexually, but who don't want to risk a felony conviction under the improved enforcement of rape laws.

If someone plans a trip to commit what would be a crime in the US, then that person has control even if he or she rationalizes away any feeling of responsibility.

Since we don't know the number of would-be rapists who have turned to sexual traffickers to get what they want, we can't say with any confidence that the problem of rape is on it's way toward rarity or that the need for victim services has abated in the least.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:14 AM   0 comments links to this post


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