General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Say that a 16 year old male molests a 7 year old child, does he know what he's doing?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9289 points ) March 4th, 2013

Say that it is a male family member molesting his younger sibling.

Do you feel as though this person could molest again?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

71 Answers

syz's avatar

Of course he does, and of course he could.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Right. Thank-you.

augustlan's avatar

Unless he’s developmentally disabled, he knows what he’s doing. And absolutely, the risk is there for future incidents.

wundayatta's avatar

Isn’t that what children’s services is for?

tom_g's avatar

Yes, he knows what he’s doing. Yes, he’ll do it again. And please tell me this is just some extreme hypothetical.
And in the case that @augustlan mentioned (developmentally disabled), whether or not he “knows” what he’s doing, he did it, so it doesn’t matter. He needs to be removed from the general population. Forever.

augustlan's avatar

Agreed ^^. Whether he understands how wrong it is or not, he needs to be removed from children.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Absolutely. I knew the difference between right and wrong long before 16. He needs help immedately and needs to never be left alone with any children.

janbb's avatar

Yes definitely he understands.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

Yes he knows it is wrong. Here is the clencher though, because his brain is not fully developed he doesn’t necessarily know the consequences to his actions. This explains it better.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl It’s such a sad situation, and volatile. Unfortunately the consequences to the abuser are always less than the trauma to the young victims.

This is a subject close to my heart.

bookish1's avatar

Yes, and yes.

@nofurbelowsbatgirl : Having an underdeveloped frontal cortex might be an excuse for teenagers thinking they’re immortal, or making poor decisions, etc. It is not an excuse for molesting a child. Do you remember being a teenager? Were you unable to understand that rape was immoral?

marinelife's avatar

Yes, he knows that it’s wrong.

bkcunningham's avatar

Most likely he was molested when he was younger.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Got my answers. I will be discussing this more with my therapist.

tinyfaery's avatar

I can’t assume anyone knows what they are doing, or the consequences of their actions, unless I know them. A psychiatrist or psychologist might say something different.

rooeytoo's avatar

They are driving cars at 16, if they don’t understand the consequences of their actions, why let them behind the wheel of a piece of equipment that can kill innocent people. And really I don’t much care if he understands or not, that doesn’t make it any easier for the victim. Why are we always more concerned about the perpetrator than the victim???

JLeslie's avatar

Yup. Unless he is mentally challenged. I would say the 16 year old needs to be evaluated before we want to put him in jail though.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@bookish1 I was in no way excusing the action. There are many other factors at play. Some have to do with parenting, some have to do with the child’s inability to connect with certain feelings. This sort of thing is not just a one word answer.

I don’t think anyone is more concerned with the perpatrator than the victim. This 16yr old needs to be held accountable for what they have done, but their age and the fact that they are not fully developed should play the first role in what type of punishment fits.

bkcunningham's avatar

But don’t you think he is doing it because it is something that was done to him? I wonder how often that twisted concept of sex and love or sex and pleasure is planted in victim’s heads and they turn into abusers?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

In this case, there was no sexual abuse (16 year old).

bkcunningham's avatar

Do you mean the 16 year old was not previously sexually abused, @Mama_Cakes, but molested a 7 year old?

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Correct. He was exposed to porn as a teen, but he was not molested.

bkcunningham's avatar

It is twisted and hard to phantom. The repercussions are devastating. It breaks my heart for everyone involved in the web that abuse casts.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not sure why the porn matters?

janbb's avatar

Not every sexual abuser was abused themselves.

bookish1's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl : Thank you for explaining what you meant.

bkcunningham's avatar

@janbb, it is always my gut reaction. Right or wrong. It is the first thing that goes through my head when I hear of a teenager molesting a younger sibling. You are correct though. Not every abuser was abused.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@bookish1 no problem. I am sorry if my first answer was confusing or not in depth enough. It sounds to me as though maybe the 16yr old was never taught or understood about proper boundaries.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m not sure how comfortable you are talking about it, @Mama_Cakes, but I’m curious about the circumstances under which the teen was exposed to porn and at what age.

Coloma's avatar

Kinda a no brainer IMHO.
Compulsions to molest have nothing to do with knowing right from wrong.
They are compulsions and they render the person experiencing them very dangerous, regardless of age.
Any 9 year old would know they were behaving badly, let alone a 16 year old.
Pedophilia is a deviant psychological condition that has no age limits.

bookish1's avatar

@Coloma, do you think it comes exclusively from compulsions? Could such behavior not result from just the callous thought that other people are subject to your whims and you can use them for kicks if you want? (I guess this would be sociopathy, huh?)

Adagio's avatar

@Mama_Cakes “I will be discussing this more with my therapist.” I hope the 16 year old has been removed from the situation and appropriate help sought for both victim and abuser.

Coloma's avatar

@bookish1
Who knows, sociopath, narcissist or just your run o’ the mill perv.
I do think that whatever the case the person in question certainly knows that their behavior is wrong. Either they can’t help themselves or they just don’t care. Maybe both. :-(

RandomGirl's avatar

My older brother molested me when I was about 8 and he was 16. He knew what he did and he has apologized to me and I’m absolutely sure he’d never do it again.

augustlan's avatar

@RandomGirl How do you know he’d never do it again? My molester apologized to me, too, and tried to get me again the very next day. :/

WestRiverrat's avatar

In many states a 16 year old can be tried as an adult. He knows what he is doing and it needs to be addressed immediately, the recidivism rate for child molesting is among the highest of all crimes.

hearkat's avatar

A mental health professional once told me that if there are more than 4 years between the siblings, it is considered molestation; but closer in age there is a greater possibility that there was mutual curiosity (e.g. “playing doctor”) so it becomes harder to prove that there was abuse or coercion.

rooeytoo's avatar

@augustlan – sounds like the wife beater who tearfully apologizes and says he will never do it again – yeah right!!!

RandomGirl's avatar

@augustlan – I suppose I have no real, tangible proof. I’m glad that only our family knows about it, because I wouldn’t want him to be saddled with that record for the rest of his life. The only reason I shared that here is because the probability of someone tracing my post to him or myself is so small. He was going through a hard part in his life at the time, and had a lot of hormones raging. He didn’t have the proper leadership in his life, or education. All that changed a few years later, and he realized why it was so wrong. He turned around a lot of his life around that time. I just can’t see him going back to his old way of life. I’m absolutely sure that his kids, the other kids living in his house (they have three couples and two babies in the house right now), and the many other kids he comes in contact with several times a week are perfectly safe. Plus, he’s happily married, so I’m sure that plays a big part in the purely physical side of things.

Arewethereyet's avatar

It is wrong and very destructive, I know of a similar situation and the only remorse the perp had was getting found out and was fearful of the legal repercussions, he never apologised. Whichever way you deal with it please get the help each of these children need.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

I mean from a logical point of view from the of 16 to 21 there is usually a boost in maturity level no? Say whoever molested the kid was 21 instead of 16 wouldnt it be more possible he would be more aware of repercussions? My point is the age of a person can definitely alter decision making. The taking of innocence from a child is terrible and there should be consequences for it. I do not believe however at 16 the person should live with that the rest of their lives. This is a very sensitive topic but our society and justice system at times prosecute people based off of an emotional response rather than a logical point of view which i dont think is right either.

tom_g's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever: “I do not believe however at 16 the person should live with that the rest of their lives.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think we have a choice. The 15-year recidivism rate for child molesters is 35%. That means that 1 in 3 will have re-offended within 15 years. Letting three child molesters go means that we are allowing an unknown number of kids to be molested by at least one of these people within a 15-year time frame.

There are crimes that are worth taking a chance that rehabilitation has worked (theft, for example). But when it comes to sexual offenders, we don’t really have a choice. The risks are too high.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g I agree 100%. One person being molested is too many, and help should be sought immediately to prevent further harm. PLEASE keep him off the streets.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

Like I said I am just now forming how I feel towards these topics. I have been a victim of many things (terrible things) but there have been just a few court cases where ive said “that person deserves to live with that there whole life.” You only have one life (excluding religious perspective) and if you are not wrongly taking the life of someone else why should a person, after consequences, not get a second chance at a normal life. You can argue that the molestor (at 16) can to some extent ruin the life of a little boy or girl by giving them pyschological issues. But a 16 year old can also give a child psychological issues by bullying them but you are more willing to persecute the molestor over the bullier. Why?

tom_g's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever: “You only have one life (excluding religious perspective) and if you are not wrongly taking the life of someone else why should a person, after consequences, not get a second chance at a normal life.”

Well child molester recidivism was already mentioned for one. There are some risks that are statistically so high that releasing that into the wild would be morally equivalent to performing the actions.

@JoeyOhSoClever: “But a 16 year old can also give a child psychological issues by bullying them but you are more willing to persecute the molestor over the bullier. Why?”

Good question. If a 16-year-old is bullying a 7-year-old, then we need to potentially lock up this person as well. A 16-year-old isn’t going to suddenly develop a normal moral compass when it comes to abusing children.

Look, kids do stupid things. 16-year-olds do stupid things. They might drink and steal something from a convenient store or go on a joy ride or something. They might get in a fight. These are the crimes that have potential for rehabilitation. Child molestation – and arguably, bullying of a 7-year-old – are extreme behaviors that indicate severe emotional and moral deficiencies that statistically are unlikely to disappear – even with treatment. Part of the role of society is to protect the public (and kids) from these people. It’s sad, and these 16-year-olds likely have urges that are beyond their control or have a history of abuse, but if you do that, your life in the public is (or should be) over.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever Compared to non-sex offenders released from State prisons, released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime.
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=1136

This is really interesting reading about it:
Since the 1960’s, studies using this device have been done with thousands of men. Subjects sit in a private room while the operator exposes them to a series of slides, videos or audio tapes with sexual content. Many so called “normal” men who have not committed illegal sex acts show considerable arousal to stimuli depicting naked children or children involved in sexual activity. (e.g. Freund, et al, 1972, Behavior Therapy, #6) Based on this kind of evidence, it’s easy to see that adult sexual attraction to children is rather natural.

But natural isn’t the same as “good” or “right.” Any impulse to do or take what we want is “natural.” We may for example, feel an urgent and natural need to urinate or empty our bowels. But rarely will we do so except in special places designated for that purpose, even at the cost of considerable discomfort from delaying this “call of nature.” And how many of us haven’t thought at least momentarily of killing a misbehaving child, an insensitive spouse, or a demanding and insensitive supervisor? But, while accepting our human “nature” in these areas, we also recognize the importance of keeping our impulses under control and generally, we do so.

In short, when it comes to urination and defecation, property acquisition or interpersonal violence, we seem able enough to separate thoughts and desires from behavior. But when it comes to sex, and particularly sex with children, we tend to go beyond merely controlling our ordinary human nature in favor of civilized behavior. We declare war on it. We fly in the face of historical and scientific evidence by insisting that sexual arousal to children is unnatural or “sick.” We refuse to accept our “selves,” pretending instead that we are somehow naturally “pure” in this one (sexual) domain.
http://ccoso.org/newsletter/whymolest.html

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@tom_g Its the fact that we arent prosecuting bullying the same way is what gets me.I think its still how society feels towards sex. Premarital sex is still taboo. Which is why molestation might be more scientifcally researched than other offenses. Its also probably viewed much more immoral than bullying and other offenses by society and the justice system. Again I stick by my opinion that metaphorical bullier and the molestor (at age 16) should get a second chance in public after consequences. Life is too short. Im sorry jellies I respectfully disagree with you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever They do get second chances, most don’t even serve a ten year sentence!!

I can’t imagine much worse than an almost fully grown man having sex with a crying two year old that later dies from internal injuries. It’s inhuman.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@KNOWITALL Well after the sentence they are registered sex offenders which follows them for the rest their life. And thats different from the question. I am not talking about molesting babies and killing them. If someone molests a child or a baby and it kills them, of course that deserves harsh repercussions. I am speaking of the molestation that does not kill.

tom_g's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever: “Its the fact that we arent prosecuting bullying the same way is what gets me.I think its still how society feels towards sex. Premarital sex is still taboo. Which is why molestation might be more scientifcally researched than other offenses.”

Wait. What? Are you suggesting…

1. The puritanical attitude towards premarital sex comes into play in any way when we are discussing the sexual molestation of a 7 year old? I won’t assume this is what you are suggesting, but I have read it this way. If so, wow.

2. Bullying of 7 year olds by 16 year olds is a problem that society is not addressing?

I’ll be honest – I don’t really understand what you’re saying at this point.

If you are merely arguing that rehabilitation is something we should always strive for, then I can get that. I disagree, but I would get the motivation here.

tom_g's avatar

Let’s try a little thought experiment. Let’s say the recidivism rate was higher. Let’s say the 15-year rate was closer to 80%. Would this have an affect on your position. Is the rate itself a factor in your decision?

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@tom_g Well yes I do believe a puritanical attitude is taken when assesing a molestation of a child. That is in a sense what a molestor is taking from the child, purity, isnt it?

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@tom_g A lot of things influence a perspective. I would like not to think that cumulative percentage of the entire US population influences me in determing the fate of an individual life, but it might. Also its one thing to be a victim of molestation but when you are trying to protect your child from it, perspectives might change there as well. I am a victim I am not a parent yet.

tom_g's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever: “Well yes I do believe a puritanical attitude is taken when assesing a molestation of a child. That is in a sense what a molestor is taking from the child, purity, isnt it?”

Well, I’m not even sure how to respond to this. The sexual abuse of a 7 year old has nothing to do with a culture’s attitudes about sex. 7 year olds don’t have sex. Sexual abuse is not about sex.

@JoeyOhSoClever: “A lot of things influence a perspective. I would like not to think that cumulative percentage of the entire US population influences me in determing the fate of an individual life, but it might.”

Ok, so try it. Name me a % that might be enough for you to change your mind. What if the rate was 99%. Would that work?

@JoeyOhSoClever: “Also its one thing to be a victim of molestation but when you are trying to protect your child from it, perspectives might change there as well. I am a victim I am not a parent yet.”

You might be right about perspective. I am a parent of 3 young kids. I’m a bleeding heart left-wing/progressive/liberal/socialist, but when it comes to protecting the public (and children in general) I have very strong opinions. The moment my daughter was born, good-ol-pacifist me discovered very quickly that I would kill (in a very painful, torturous way) anyone who would hurt my child. Hell, I have physical reactions of rage when I hear about other peoples’ children being hurt.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@tom_g “Well, I’m not even sure how to respond to this. The sexual abuse of a 7 year old has nothing to do with a culture’s attitudes about sex. 7 year old don’t have sex. Sexual abuse is not about sex.

I probably still disagree here. I doubt that when a jury or judge is assessing a molestation case that atleast one of their own views about sex aren’t influencing their emotions at all.

And yes, I agree I would probably rage out if someone hurt my child and feel the same about other parents children. I feel now with victims of abuse because I can relate. I am in no way condoning molestation. In fact I am calling for harsher sentences to dealt. My point of arguing is that juveniles who commit molestation should not be registered sex offenders after a lengthy sentence in jail/prison and rehabilitation has occured.

tom_g's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever: “I probably still disagree here. I doubt that when a jury or judge is assessing a molestation case that atleast one of their own views about sex aren’t influencing their emotions at all.”

Really? Here are my views on sex: everything goes. Sex should be on every TV station at all hours of the day – no censorship. We should be way more open about sex. We should be teaching our children about safe sex – not abstinence.

Ok. So how does this relate to sexual molestation of a 7 year old in any way. What is there to “disagree” with here. Please be clear – what does sex (consensual sex between two or more adults) have to do with child molestation? I’m really confused.

I am curious to see if you would be able to come up with a recidivism rate that would not ok. Like I asked – if it was 99%, would that be enough for you to support protecting society from them? You have stated multiple times that your main argument is that “juveniles who commit molestation should not be registered sex offenders after a lengthy sentence in jail/prison and rehabilitation has occured.” But with 15-year recidivism rates at 35% for child molesters, you are stating that you are fine with this number. What number would you not be fine with?

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@tom_g “what does sex (consensual sex between two or more adults) have anything to do with child molestation?”

Ok so you just said your view is sex should be done consensually and between to or more adults. That is not the case however when intercourse happens between a 16 year old and a 7 year old, correct? Both are not adults and it is probably not consensual. Thats where your view comes into perspective, when you see that molestation is assualt which means its not consensual and when you see that a child is involved which means the molestor just forced a non adult (child) into intercourse.

Yes 99 percent would make me think twice about letting them back into society.

rooeytoo's avatar

Here we go again with the rehabilitation, like it is some magic pill anyone can take and then they are rehabilitated. Rehabilitation is one of the most difficult processes in the world to accomplish even when the person wants to rehabilitate themselves. So you put someone in prison for any offence and want the government to rehabilitate them, I am here to tell you that whatever the crime is, it just doesn’t happen consistently. So nope I don’t want crims of any genre turned loose in my neighbourhood without my knowing about it.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@rooeytoo fine, I am convinced.

tom_g's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever: “Yes 99 percent would make me think twice about letting them back into society.”

Ok, so if 99% of child molesters would re-offend within 15 years of “rehabilitation”, this would be unacceptable to you. Why? I’m assuming because allowing kids to be molested doesn’t seem appropriate for a legal system. And if we “rehabilitate” 500 child molesters, 495 of them would find a child and molest him/her within 15 years.

But you seem ok with the reported 35% 15-year recidivism rate. This means that if we “rehabilitate” 500 child molesters, 175 of them will find a child and molest him/her within 15 years. That’s 175 molesters, so we are talking about potential for even more victims. Intentionally releasing this type of terror on children doesn’t seem to conflict with your notion of fairness or morality?

My support of removing child molesters (and other types of criminals) from the general population forever has nothing to do with punishment. It’s about protecting people from the dangerously mentally ill. If we are able to at least determine that there is some percentage that we’re both uncomfortable with, we can work towards finding one that works for both of us – or at least discuss the possibility that more knowledge about the pathology of sexual offenders will lead to more accurate diagnosis and prognosis, which will allow us to tweak our response to such actions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever IMolestation is a crime that kills the soul of a child. Bullying can as well, but usually it doesn’t happen except in school, and school-age children can at least talk or tell, or speak for themselves.

I won’t participate further because to me it’s a no-brainer, and except for my religion telling me God forgives all, I would consign all molesters to the depths of eternal hell with no guilt or remorse. God save their victims.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@tom_g @KNOWITALL I understand your perspectives.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JoeyOhSoClever I’m sorry if I said anything odd. I get so amped up about this subject, I have had a lot of dealings with people who have been molested and it enrages me. The physical damage and emotional damage are tremendous. Peace.

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@KNOWITALL I get you no worries. I am not offended I am just tired of arguing this point. I still love everybody lol. It’s just me, I am always trying to look at things from all perspectives.

bkcunningham's avatar

You aren’t allowed to do that here, @JoeyOhSoClever. It is frowned upon. ~

JoeyOhSoClever's avatar

@bkcunningham I am not allowed to view things from multiple perspectives? Why?

KNOWITALL's avatar

My friend just came who works for BACA, Bikers Against Child Abuse, and I mentioned this conversation. He said that molestation and bullying compare to a speeding ticket and a DWI in his opinion.

Anyway, I do encourage different perspectives, and hope you continue to bring them up.

Adagio's avatar

@JoeyOhsoClever The ~ after @bkcunningham ‘s comment indicates that his tongue was in his cheek at the time.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Is that respectively? The molestation is like a speeding ticket and bullying is like a DWI?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Bullying is the ‘speeding ticket’, molestation the ‘DWI’.

I’m going to stop following.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther