EVIL SITS AT THE DINNER TABLE

Understanding the Difference Between Preferential and Situational Child Sexual Abusers

There are significant differences between those who molest other people’s children and those who molest their own children. This is part of the reason why some people cannot comprehend that a family member did sexual things to a child. They don’t see any parallel between the accused, and what is commonly believed about sexual predators, or like what has been seen in the Jerry Sandusky case.

THE ONLY THING WRONG WITH THIS PHOTO IS IT SHOULD ALSO HAVE IMAGES OF WOMEN

In Why Me? Lynn Daugherty describes “regressed child molesters” as people who have wives or partners whom they are sexually active with, but who still abuse their own children. When this type of man comes under tremendous stress, he degenerates to touching or having sex with the child. The preferred sexual choice of these abusers is adult women, even finding them more stimulating than a child, but these men have poor impulse control and when extreme difficulties occur, they turn to children. These men are often controlling, and may feel that their life is out of control. The only way to regain power is to assault a vulnerable child who cannot fight back.

Former FBI Agent Ken Lanning, calls the difference between the two types of offenders, “preferential” and “situational.” Preferential offenders are most often pedophiles (preferring pre-pubescent children), and are the type of molester who will seek out children by becoming a football coach, camp counselor, Boy Scout leader, or a helper sick or disabled children.

“Situational” offenders are usually fathers, mothers, and other relatives that end up committing incest upon children who happen to be available because the child is a family member. Sometimes situational offenders are step-fathers or step-mothers who molest their step-children.

Situational offenders end up molesting the child for various reasons. They may feel attracted to the child or stimulated by being close to them. Situational offenders often have low self-worth, cannot deal with stress and take advantage of the child as the result of the extra pressure. Other dynamics might be a wife who has stopped having sex with the offender.

Situational child molesters may be the kind of person who verbally abuses their wife, friends, or employees. They are also more likely to use force. The abuse of the child might only materialize in times of high stress. Therefore, it would be sporadic and impulsive. This type of perpetrator usually only chooses female children, and in the abuser’s mind, he feels the child is a suitable sexual partner because he can pretend that she is older than her true age. “Regressed child molesters” could account for why so many accusers in cases of repressed memory came from a middle or upper class home where everything appeared “normal” to outside observers.

Unlike pedophiles, situational offenders do not have a preference for pre-pubescent children. They are usually not aroused by child pornography but will still sexually abuse a very young child if the conditions allow it.  Preferential offenders deliberately set themselves up to be in a situation with children and are more likely to have multiple victims. At the same time, the two types of abusers can share the same pattern of behavior and motives.

Preferential offenders are more likely to be deviant in their behavior and are over twice as likely to molest only male victims.  They typically think more of their needs, instead of the danger of being caught. This might explain someone who sleeps in the same bed with little boys every night without worrying about what others might think or do……. or someone who will repeatedly rape children in a shower stall at a University locker room.

Preferential molesters tend to use more paraphernalia, pornography and fetish props. They also tend to be more ritualistic in their behavior. However, the situational offender may progress into having more of the preferential type of behaviors if he (or she) continues to molest his children or grandchildren over several years.

My father had all the characteristics of a regressed “situational” offender. I do not think my father would have gone out looking for children to molest if he had not procreated. His aberrational behavior most likely developed within the dynamics of my childhood home.

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Sources:

Why Me? Lynn B. Daugherty, Ph.D., Mother Courage Press, 1984, pages 24-25

Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis for Law-Enforcement Officers Investigating the Sexual Exploitation of Children by Acquaintance Molesters, Fourth Edition September 2001, Kenneth V. Lanning, Former Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation, Copyright 2001 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, pages 22-51.