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Don’t confuse sex addicts, offenders

Recent local stories – of a financial aid director abusing his power against women, of a serial child molester, of an alleged rapist – have the disturbing sex offender in mind. We’re told such behavior generally repeats itself; are these offenders addicts? Does it matter?

Labeling people as “monsters” is easy. Do we care about the root of their behaviors? Regardless of the answer, North Idaho expert and counselor Ed Dudding says it’s important to distinguish between sex offenders – who may be addicted to sex (71 percent of child molesters and 55 percent of other sex offenders are addicts, according to’s Dr. Michael Herkov), and sex addicts – who rarely commit sex offenses (less than 20 percent). In fact, violence can be a “rule-out” when diagnosing sexual addiction. Full Article

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Don’t confuse sex offenders with kidnapping, raping, and murdering sexually violent predators either

This definition is pretty acurate. To start try separating the word “sex” from the offender and addict to understand the difference; removing that word takes with it the associated prurience and fear, both which drive errors and stereotypes. Next, consider the key distinguisher from a professional’s standpoint: Consent. An offender is someone who exerts power over another person without consent, who seeks to harm another person. An offender’s intent is to harm others, whereas an addict harms himself. The addictive behavior may be with multiple partners or strangers, take the form of exhibitionism or voyeurism, or be alone (computer images,… Read more »

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