Having reliable knowledge about sex offenders is important. This section will sketch out some of the basics. The big idea here is for you to know for certain, to truly understand that you are not to blame, so give consideration. Self-blaming and self-shaming are a normal kind of mental pollution afflicting victims. Accurately understanding offenders will help to dissolve this.
It's a common idea that a sex offender has an uncontrollable sexual urge, and that he (or she) was just so horny that he was compelled to do what he did to you. This is simply not true.
Sex offenders try to be very careful about what they do, after all, not getting caught is very important to them. Their strategies for committing sexual offences are thought out well in advance, in most cases. They hone their skills in sexual and non-sexual areas. Their skills are trickery, lies, manipulation, head games, threats, bribery, intimidation and violence. They tend to be pretty good con artists. In order to commit a sex crime and to also get away with it, a complex, sophisticated set of skills are developed by the offender.
Much of their success depends upon you believing that it is your fault. This helps to ensure that you will keep silent. Some sex offenders use threats of violence, intimidation tactics or assault to accomplish this end. They will choose what works for them.
Suzie (not her real name), nine years old, was sexually assaulted by a fifteen year old male baby-sitter, Jake (not his real name either). She did not tell her parents about it and it didn't come to light until an eleven year old girl was placed in the home as a foster child. She too was sexually assaulted by Jake, but she blabbed to her social worker.
Suzie's folks, the child protection worker and the police told Suzie that it wasn't her fault, yet she remained depressed and withdrawn. She was convinced that it was her fault, even though the important, big people in her life consistently told her that it wasn't. In her mind, she had concluded that if they ever found out that it really was her fault, then she would be rejected. This was a major double whammy for her.
How did this come to be? Why was she so convinced of her guilt - so convinced that fear and shame became powerful secrecy-maintaining forces within her, even when the facts of the sexual assault were in the open?
We see this self-faulting thinking, time and time again, with victims of all ages. It helps to keep victims silent. It is one of several influences that helps to maintain a victim's silence. Fear of speaking openly about victimization is normal. It is tough on the victimized person, but it is normal. The sex offender's strategy of trickery, lies, manipulation, head games, threats, bribery, intimidation and violence helps to create secrecy-maintaining fear.
Jake had followed a typical offender's strategy - one which has been used on victims of all ages. It has many variations. Perhaps you will see some similarity with your own experiences. Perhaps you have a lingering sense of responsibility or self-blame about what has happened to you. Don't back off from that awkward feeling, bring it out. Let's put it to the reality test, to see if you really are so blame-worthy.
In the case of nine year old Suzie, Jake's strategy had successfully arranged for Suzie to believe that she was responsible for the sexual assault. This ensured her silence and his safety. These were definitely not the actions of someone with uncontrollable urges. These were the actions of someone very much in control - and capable of thoughtful, detailed planning.
Understanding how sex offenders function will help you to reclaim your self from the bonds of false responsibility - by understanding your innocence.