Breaking and entering: Wounded masculinity and sexual offending
MetadataShow full item record
Sexual manifestations of childhood abuse are sometimes re-enacted by sexual offenders, witnessed by the forensic art psychotherapist, (who is often female), and safely contained within the art psychotherapy image, and the gender-mixed dyad. Maternal deprivation, along with witnessing domestic sexual violence, may “breed” a damaged “hypermasculinity”, where the intimate, and compassionate act of image-making can offer reparation of the archetypal feminine; enabling new opportunities in mastering trauma, and emotions. Female therapists are not always perceived to be nurturers, protectors or carers for men who have experienced neglectful childhood experiences of the mother-son relationship. Paradoxically, however, women can receive a high level of emotional self-disclosure, and may offer new and creative opportunities for consensual alliance, where gender can be healing. This case vignette describes how individual art psychotherapy enabled a man, diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder, and sentenced to life for numerous accounts of rape and burglary, to explore his risk, increase trust in women, and meaningfully re-engage into offence treatment within an enhanced personality disorder service in a high secure setting in the UK. Image-making may evoke compassion for self and other, whereby a unity and balance of masculine and feminine can take form, and where joint image-making with the therapist, may install gender perspective-taking as a vehicle for change. In addition, the impact of gender-specific dynamics and belief-systems is examined, as well as the desensitisation of explicit, gender-attacking material. The chapter includes the patient’s reflective quotations upon his therapeutic progress in surrendering control and superficiality, avoidance and denial, revealing hidden anger for “turning into an abuser” and overcoming shame.