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Webster, G. (2017). Who Will Sing With the Perpetrator?. Psychoanal. Dial., 27(2):164-171.

(2017). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 27(2):164-171

Who Will Sing With the Perpetrator?

Gerard Webster, Psy.D.

Child sexual abuse is a relational crime that affects not only the people in the child’s and perpetrator’s social network; the whole of society is affected. Child sexual abuse is at the same time extremely personal and pervasively social. Just as healing is required for individuals, so too does society need to tend to its wounds. Conceptualizing child sexual abuse as an emergent property of a limitless multitude of systems and subsystems implies that no one can be considered an innocent, objective observer of doer–done-to relating between victims, perpetrators, and guilty bystanders. We are participants in what we are observing. Our openness to connect with the experience of victims should not be at the expense of openness to listen to the experience of perpetrators and community leaders who must also be heard, in order to heal.

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