With the Jerry Sandusky case in the news, I heard a well-known radio commentator ask, “If these accusations are true, how could his wife not know what he was doing?” It’ a good question that people may wonder. If someone is guilty of doing the things Jerry Sandusky is accused of doing (there is no verdict yet), would the wife really be so clueless?
Often we think of pedophiles as dirty old men in trench coats offering children candy. We think we should be able to immediately spot them. However, the profile of a child molester may surprise you.
According to the Department of Justice and psychological experts, these are some of the characteristics that are common among pedophiles:
1) Usually male and married.
2) Prefers to be with children over adults.
3) Finds employment, opportunities, charities, volunteer organizations that involve children.
4) Usually non-violent with no criminal history.
5) Seduces children he knows through subtle and persuasive tactics.
6) Goes to great lengths to conceal his activity and presents self as an exemplary person.
7) Rationalizes his behavior and tells self that what he is doing is not harmful. Lacks empathy for the children involved.
8) Can be any age and from any socioeconomic class, and can be religious.
9) Has deviant sexual interest (like watching children dress), arousal patterns and interests.
10) May or may not have been sexual abused himself. Dr. Marshal, a leading sex offender expert points out that the literature does not support the notion that all sex offenders have been sexually abused. Some have been, and some have not.
Unfortunately, there is no typical profile of a sex offender. So it is difficult to know who is doing the offending.
So back to the question, “Would a wife know if her husband was sexually molesting children?” Very often, the wife is taken aback when she finds out the truth. Because her husband isn’t a “criminal,” it is hard to believe he could be acting this way. People who know him are also surprised.
Can you spot a pedophile? Not always. Even when a spouse has suspicions, they are usually cast aside because the behavior is usually concealed. Denial is powerful when you have little reason to expect anything that would lead to such humiliation.