Wednesday, July 25, 2018

How to Stop Sexual Abuse: Lessons for All of Us.

Being a victim of sexual abuse, you might say that I have an interest in this fight: [Cardinal McCarrick:] Bring Back Sackcloth and Ashes. And I do. Sexual abuse needs to stop. I don’t think singling out Roman Catholics is fair either, though, as it is found not only in all the churches, but in secular society.

Penance is certainly needed for this, and not just from the offenders, but from all of us who have contributed in various ways to the sexual woundedness in our culture.

If people have committed a crime, they need to pay their debt to society and to make what restitution they can to those whom they have injured. But if we want sexual abuse to end, then we have to help them and others find sexual healing. What has been shown, especially by psychotherapists like Steve Ing (whom I don't endorse 100%, but he's on the right path on this point) is that the best way to deal with sex offenders is compassion and helping them to face themselves sexually. They are acting out sexually because they are lonely, miserable, and sexually wounded people. They need healing.

The churches have certainly contributed to the problem, because we have failed to do the hard moral reasoning that would actually understand human sexuality and what makes for human flourishing, and to come up with the moral principles would reflect the actual moral law, as opposed to a kind of philosophical idealism that refuses to deal with human biology and sociobiology. By failing to do this we have contributed to, if not been a major cause of people’s sexual woundedness and misery.

An approach of honesty and openness about sexuality, helping offenders to get their relational, sexual, and other needs met, and dealing with the underlying issues is the way to prevent recidivism, and Steve Ing, for example, has an unbelievably low recidivism rate.

Further such an approach, combined with spreading understanding about how, from a biological, evolutionary, and sociobiological perspective human sexuality works, can help everyone be morally responsible about sex, and seems to me the only sound strategy for getting rid of abortion and the need for pharmaceutical birth control, and for preventing STDs.

Shaming, punishment, shunning and isolation, and sexual repression is not the way to help anyone find healing, and such an approach demonstrably contributes to recidivism among sexual offenders.

1 comment :

  1. A couple of useful comments on Facebook: