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Jukes, A. (1993). Violence, Helplessness, Vulnerability and Male Sexuality. Free Associations, 4(1):25-43.

(1993). Free Associations, 4(1):25-43

Feature: Male Sexuality

Violence, Helplessness, Vulnerability and Male Sexuality

Adam Jukes

The title of this article was suggested by a comment by MacLeod and Saraga (1988) in which they suggest that it is difficult for professional men to challenge or think seriously about the orthodoxy in dealing with child sexual abuse (which orthodoxy they define as any model which implicitly or explicitly places responsibility for abuse anywhere except on men) because we would then have to ask painful questions about the relationship between violence, helplessness, vulnerability and male sexuality. What they are addressing is the type of resistance with whose sources we are familiar from everyday therapeutic practice. To this I would add only that another huge hurdle arises from the reflexive nature of these questions and the difficulty of locating one's own desire as an object in the perceptual field when it is so clearly a (the?) major determinant of that field.

It would be hard to contradict Saraga and Macleod's analysis of this resistance. Its sources are not only personal, although they are severe enough. I believe it also reflects — and badly — on the prevailing frameworks through which we, as professional carers, understand the construction of our male sexuality and violence. What I want to attempt here is to do the difficult thing and articulate what seems to be otherwise so unthinkable.

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