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When A Man You Love Is A Sexual Predator


By Angelina Chapin
December 5, 2017

Excerpt Below:

Last week on the “Today” show, Savannah Guthrie shakily asked, “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?” hours after learning that her co-host, Matt Lauer, had been fired over allegations of sexual harassment. Gayle King asked a similar question after Charlie Rose, her former co-host from “CBS This Morning” was accused by eight women of sexual misconduct. Sarah Silverman said about the allegations against comedian Louis C.K., “Can you love someone who did bad things?

Experts say it’s common for an offender’s loved ones to feel torn between love and disdain. “If your brother was accused of sexual assault or sexual abuse, how would you feel?” asked Brian Pacheco, the director of communications at Safe Horizon, a New York City-based organization that provides resources for victims of domestic and sexual violence. “It’s really normal in the short term for people to be confused and go back and forth between, ‘Oh they [are] a terrible person for doing this,’ and, ‘I want to continue the relationship.’ It’s important for people to sit with that and process. They don’t have to make a decision right away.

Ultimately, Pacheco says, a person’s emotions can change over time, a reality many psychologists and counselors would address in therapy. People might shift from feeling defensive of offenders to feeling anger and betrayal toward them. Frequently, a perpetrator’s loved ones go through an intense period of mourning their relationship with the accused.

We really have to put the onus on the person who committed the act,” he said. “[People] feel powerless that they couldn’t step in and couldn’t change what happened … but part of it is knowing that it wasn’t your fault.

Members of the entertainment world described the sexual misconduct of prominent predators like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. as open industry secrets. But, often, offenders are very skilled at hiding their crimes.

Pacheco believes the process of reconciling your love for a person with your contempt for their behavior largely hinges on the offender’s willingness to hold themselves accountable.

[It] starts with an abuser saying, ‘I did something wrong and [I] need to change my behavior,’” he said. “It’s hard to move forward if someone [is] not taking responsibility for their actions.

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