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What Child Sexual Abuse

Means to Abusers

Love, play, vengeance, but not abuse

Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D., LICSW

Copyright 2010 Jane Gilgun

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About the Author

Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D, LICSW, is a professor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA

Summary

Child sexual abuse means many things to abusers, but they rarely see what they do as abuse. This article shows in perpetrators’ own words what child sexual abuse means to them. By understanding what they get out of sexual abuse, treatment providers and policy makers can devise more effective prevention programs. Survivors can see that they were not at fault. Perpetrators have sole responsibility for child sexual abuse.

What Child Sexual Abuse

Means to Abusers

Love, play, vengeance, but not abuse

The stories perpetrators tell about child sexual abuse make it clear that they alone are responsible. Sexual abuse means many different things to different perpetrators, but the core of these meanings is emotional and sexual gratification. They describe sexual abuse as love, a thrill, a fix, play, a conquest, or revenge, but sexual and emotional gratification is what they want and get.

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