Sex and Sexuality for the Developmentally Challenged, continued

Sex and Sexuality for the Developmentally Challenged, continued

Additional Suggestions for Preventing Sexual Abuse, Provided by Dr. Rutter 2

Be aware of the damage done by the sexual abuse of trust.

Examine your child-rearing practices and modify them as necessary

Show interest in your child’s experience.

Allow a voice of protest and the sharing of power within the family.

Question society’s myths regarding males and females, masculinity and femininity.

Draw a sharp line between sexual fantasy (which is normal and pervasive) and sexual behaviour.

Acknowledge the importance of your own fantasies, in general, but also “if I begin to notice any of the following step that could be leading me in the direction of offending:”

  • “I wonder how she feels about me personally.”
  • “I wonder what she would be like to touch.”
  • “I can’t stop thinking about her.”
  • “I wonder if her sex life is good.  I’ll ask her about it.”
  • “I wonder is she fantasizes about me.  I’ll ask her about it.”
  • “I’ll begin to close the physical space between us (and see how she reacts).”
  • “I’ll become more overtly suggestive, hoping that she will respond.”
  • “I’m beginning to think about how I will seduce her (or give in to her seduction of me).”
  • “I need to begin to think about how to get away with it.  What will it cost me?”
  • “Where can we meet that would be safe?”
  • “How can something that feels so right possibly be wrong.  I love her and she loves me.”
  • “Maybe we should terminate the counselling relationship before we become sexual with each other.”

Help your colleagues.

Join others in speaking out.

Additional Suggestions to Churches for Preventing Sexual Abuse

  • Acknowledge the existence of sexual abuse in Christian homes and churches, and name it openly.
  • Get members informed about and involved in issues related to sexual abuse.
  • Educate both adults and children to recognize and report abuse.
  • Remove sexual predators from positions of power with respect to either children or adults.
  • Challenge patriarchy.
  • Use appropriate language.
  • Examine the church’s theology for teachings associated with abuse.
  • Dispel the notion that what happens in homes is private and nobody else’s business.
  • Ensure that pastoral staff are well trained and well supervised.
  • Communicate that pastoral staff  are trained and willing to intervene in dysfunctional and abusive families.
  • Teach and model healthy masculinity and femininity.
  • Call both males and females of all ages to responsible, healthy sexual attitudes and behaviours.
  • Teach that sexuality is an important part of our communal life.
  • Provide settings where people can talk about sexual issues.
  • State clearly and model a sexual culture that reflects kingdom-of-God values.
  • Provide settings where men can socialize and learn to express feelings other than those which are sexual and aggressive.
  • Use congregational influence to fight pornography, i.e., the eroticizing of violence.
  • Expect leaders to model exemplary (sexual) lives.
  • Work to transform the meaning of power.
  • Teach win/win ways of relating.

FOOTNOTES

Transference and countertransference are both instances of (over)generalization.  They describe the tendency on the part of the counsellee (transference) and on the part of the counsellor (countertransference) to experience in the counselling situation feelings that have their origin in past significant relationships.

Sex in the Forbidden Zone by Peter Rutter.

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