Why children mistakenly believe they “seduced” sex offenders
At age one, “Girls laugh when urinating and both genders . . . enjoy a bath with older siblings, and they resist being dressed. They like to undress themselves and run naked, especially out of doors, and if left alone, divest themselves of all clothing except their T-shirt, which is beyond their capability. They play alone on waking, and genital play is common . . .”
Two year olds “ . . . love to be in the bathroom with other family members. They still like to be naked; they love to romp, flee and pursue, . . . to taste, touch and rub.”
“In the later half of the third year, the child begins to feel great tension and expresses it through many compulsive patterns, such as . . . thumb sucking, nose picking, masturbation, . . .
“Three-and-a-half shifts rapidly between extreme shyness and exhibitionism, all in the quest of positive attention. . . . The intense need for attention, preoccupation with bodily functions, interest and curiosity about reproduction and increased ability to communicate verbally with adults can culminate in a pseudo-mature seductive posture, especially in female threes . . . It is quite common at a party of adults to see the 3-year-old daughter of the host comfortably curled up in the lap or laps of a succession of male guests capturing their attention with her interpersonal magnetism.
“She may even request that her ‘new friend’ put her to bed and may hold thoughts of him and make reference to him for days or weeks after the party. This behavioral pattern is not exclusive to girls, but is somewhat more pronounced, is better tolerated in terms of gender role stereotypes and receives positive reinforcement from the involved adults. . . .
“The potential for sexual stimulation in this situation is obvious, and available data confirms the incidence of pedophilic genital fondling at this age. . . . The sex histories of many adult men and women contain such experiences that were not traumatic or that caused little concern until the sexual activity escalated beyond looking and fondling or until the situation was discovered and responded to negatively by other adults.”
Of children at the age of ten, she writes, “Girls at this age are often in love with a considerably older boy or adult male. . . . Most children feel that same-sex experimentation is normal and age appropriate, but that heterosexual coupling should be reserved for adulthood and reproduction.”
The above makes it obvious that children act and react in ways that if adults did it, normal adult observers might find it seductive. Abnormal adults who are sexually drawn to children and lack self-control, however, will find the behavior of normal children seductive. Children are oblivious to this unless it is later drawn to their attention, in which case they can be make to feel very guilty about their normal, age-appropriate behavior. As they grow older, they can forget what young children are like and apply adult standards to judging their past behavior. Not realizing that they had been simply acting and responding like normal children, they can wrongly condemn their former age-appropriate actions and feelings as being despicable or perverted. As a result they are likely to mistakenly blame themselves for child molesters criminally taking advantage of their innocence.
Vast numbers of abuse survivors know from bitter experience that pleasure inflicted by a sexual predator can be more damaging than severe physical pain. Some survivors, however, have experiences so different that they find this incomprehensible or even offensive. Experiences differ for the simple reason that abusers differ in their techniques.
If predators are sufficiently skilled, the pleasure they inflict will be sexual. Otherwise – in the case of pedophiles – the pleasure their victims feel will be the gifts they bribe children with or the attention they give love-starved children. Rapists can even force unwilling adult victims to experience sexual pleasure. This very pleasure inflicts horrific, but quite unnecessary, pangs of guilt.
A degree of pleasure or bonding in no way justifies the offender, nor in any way hints that the victim might be perverted or immoral.
The memory of pleasure suffered (yes, “suffered” is the right word) during abuse might currently be suppressed but it could surface at any time. So it is good to prepare oneself by learning about this rarely understood consequence of unwanted sex.
For a far more powerful way to establish one’s innocence, see A Life Transformed. (This is part of a larger webpage called “Cure for Self-Hate” but deserves a much wider audience than that title suggests.)
Related Page: Infant Sexual Development.
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