media misunderstanding

November 18th, 2017

The media is doing their best to keep up with the sexual abuse/sexual offending allegations that are rampant in recent times, but there is one thing they haven’t quite gotten yet. Sexual addiction isn’t sexual offending. The allegations usually involve one person “the perpetrator” violating the sexual boundaries of the victim. And yes–the victim is being victimized because they are being intruded upon sexually in ways that they did not ask for. Although a sex addict can participate in sexually-offending behaviors, and a sex offender can have sexually-compulsive tendencies, they are not to be confused.

When it was reported that Harvey Weinstein had a long history of sexual offenses, apparently, this was common knowledge in the industry. But, unfortunately, it was reported that he was going to treatment for sex addiction which may be part of the story but only a small part of it. Only the evaluating clinician can tease out the issues with the client, but it’s important for the media to report these offenses accurately and not throw them automatically into the sex addiction category.

Yes–it’s confusing even for mental health professionals, but it’s an opportunity to understand these differences and treat the wounded individual accordingly.

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