Why do we accept approximations of apologies from serial perpetrators of sexual violence? What if it were that easy to accept the testimonies of survivors who are still trying to piece together their own stories? During my upcoming Sexology podcast interview with Dr. Nazanin Maoli, she and I dug deeper into the nature of sexual violence, particularly expanding it beyond rape to groping, attempted rape, and masturbation as a means of intimidation.
We covered so much! I defined the Three Big E’s that routinely underlie sexual violence: Self-Entitlement, Lack of Empathy, and Systematic Exploitation. But I ended the interview wanting to say more about the mindset of men who routinely abuse others. I wanted to share more about how many abusers choose to maintain their violent behaviors even when confronted with evidence as to why their abuse was harmful and not reciprocated.
How I Learned to Recognize Lack of Accountability
For 6 years, I challenged men who had perpetrated violence to do better. I used to volunteer as a co-facilitator of the then oldest batters intervention program (BIP) in the country, RAVEN. When I read statements from the likes of Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Louis CK, and others all my alarm bells go off. I immediately question their desire to change, and I suspect you might, too. Perhaps you just can’t put your finger on it, but something about their statements seem insincere. Here are a few common tactics that serial perpetrators use to convince others and themselves that their behaviors are not harmful. These denial tactics are even how they garner sympathy.
1. Forgetting What Happened
It is so hard to find useful information on how to live with Herpes. People only seem to ever talk about prevention. Well what if you’re Herpes-free, but with someone who carries the virus? You and your partner's choices in this matter are going to vary based on how long you've been together and your unique circumstances. For instance, a woman who is in her third trimester of pregnancy may have to work with her physician to decrease risk of transmission to her baby due to a rare complication that can even lead to infancy death. However, continuing to have a sexual relationship with her partner may be essential to her romantic relationship, and Herpes poses little risk to pregnant moms who have carried Herpes prior to getting pregnant.
6 Other Ways To Decrease Risk Of Transmission
Recently I was afforded the opportunity to shed light on the outbreak of sexual assaults in Hollywood as it reflects our larger culture. As a sex educator, it is important to me to impress that masturbation is healthy and natural when practiced consensually between partners and in moderation during solo sex. As a trauma specialist, it is important to me to affirm that masturbation when used to intimidate is sexual violence and not any less harmful than rape. Masturbation may have been the weapon of choice in the case of comedian Louis C.K. but it's not in and of itself more or less deviant than other forms of sexual assault.
Read more about how I draw a clear line between out of control sexual behaviors and sexual predation in the Huffington Post article by Priscilla Frank "Why Men Masturbate In Front Of Women Without Their Consent"