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Understanding Child MolestersReview - Understanding Child Molesters
Taking Charge
by Eric Leberg
Sage Publications, 1997
Review by Vicki Jung, M.A., CMHC
Feb 29th 2000 (Volume 4, Issue 9)

When it comes to the topic of child molesters, we'd all prefer to believe they don't exist. However, the reality is they do -- and, in large numbers! If you want to learn how to recognize a child molester, then read Eric Leberg's book, Understanding Child Molesters: Taking Charge.

Now, why would anyone want to "understand" them? Wouldn't we rather they be locked away forever! Unfortunately, we have pedophiles who are released from prison daily. So, when it comes to "understanding" child molesters, what we really want to know is how to identify one in order to prevent other young children from being molested. There are those molesters who are offending and have not been caught. There are those who have been caught and never been prosecuted and still free in our communities. There are those who have been convicted and in prison. Then, there are those of have served their time and are free to roam the streets and potentially molest again. Our children are at risk, not only on the streets; but now on the Internet.

How do you recognize a child molester? Until a molester is caught, it's hard to prove; and even then, the molester often continues to deny doing so and blame others. However, Leberg's description of the grooming behaviors characteristic of child molesters is very enlightening. Even if we can't "prove it", we are at least alerted to the possibility and can take necessary steps in protecting out children. After reading about the different kinds of grooming behaviors, you will be more aware of how devious and conning they can be. If you are ever in a situation where you wonder, "could he/she be molesting children", you will have learned some clear guidelines to consider.

For professionals this book is a valuable resource as it provides information on how the criminal justice system works and how it affects offenders. It also tells how to legally obtain information on an offender.  Leberg's suggestions on how to utilize the criminal justice system as a resource in preventing revictimization is beneficial knowledge for those professionals who are dealing with this population of our society.

What I like about this book is the true case studies, which give us insight into these perpetrators. It is a very difficult topic to talk about, much less write about it. The author's use of humor adds a much-needed relief to a very painful and uncomfortable subject. His ability to do so make it a very engaging book.

In my private practice, I have found this book not only helpful for me, but for my clients who have been victimized. While it is hard for them to read it, they are able to relieve themselves of the unnecessary guilt that has plagued them in believing that they did something wrong.

It has also been helpful to parents of children who have been molested. The father of one of my clients who had been molested read the chapter on grooming behaviors. There was a great revelation that came from his doing so. He remembered back to his childhood and started questioning certain situations in the church and other activities he was involved in through school and community activities. The one most vivid in his mind was the Scout Master who "required' the boys to sleep in the sleeping bag with him overnight in order to achieve a certain rank in the troop. Fortunately, this father chose not to do so; but in looking back he saw the scenario from a different perspective.

As a child we are taught to follow orders given to us by adults. We are to respect our elders. As parents, we need to educate our children to discern between valid authority and devious manipulation. That's a hard lesson even for adults to learn, let alone children.

I commend Leberg on a job well done in providing the communities with this valuable resource on child molesters. For each person who reads it, we have another pair of eyes and ears educated in looking out for the safety of our children. With over 27 years of experience as a Corrections Officer in the State of Washington, he probably knows more about these perpetrators than anybody. I am most appreciative to him for his words of wisdom, and I highly recommend his book.
 

To discuss this book or the review you have just read, join the Metapsychology Discussion E-Mail Group by going to this URL: http://www.onelist.com/subscribe/metapsy-discussion

Vicki has been in the field of mental health for over 16 years. Since 1990 she has worked in private practice through Jung, Jung and Associates in Bothell, Washington. As co-founder of the Youth Suicide Prevention Center in 1985, she counseled over 450 youths-at-risk of suicide through group intervention until it closed in 1990. Her work has a broad range of experience including not only suicide and self-harm behaviors, but grief and loss, survivors of sexual abuse, victims of crime, anger and violence, marriage and family counseling, Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, and Dissociative Disorders. Through her career she has worked extensively with individuals, couples, and groups including children, adolescents, and adults. In addition to traditional therapeutic skills, she utilizes art and sand tray therapy and has a special interest in pet-facilitated therapy. Her Chihuahua, Sarina Marie, works as her co-therapist.

You can buy this book from Barnes and Noble.com. They promise to ship it within 24 hours of your order, and sell it at 20% discount. Click here: Understanding Child Molesters.


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