Unspeakable Acts: Why Men Sexually Abuse Children / Edition 1

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The sexual abuse of children is one of the most morally unsettling and emotionally inflammatory issues in American society today. It has been estimated that roughly one out of every four girls and one in ten boys experience some form of unwanted sexual attention either inside or outside the family before they reach adulthood.

How should society deal with the sexual victimization of children? Should known offenders be released back into our communities? If so, where, and with what rights, should they be allowed to live? In Unspeakable Acts, Douglas W. Pryor argues that much of this debate, designed to deal with abusers after they have offended, ignores the important issue of why men cross these forbidden sexual boundaries to molest children in the first place and how the behavior can possibly be prevented before it starts.

Incorporating in-depth interviews with more than thirty convicted child molesters, Pryor explores how men become involved with breaking sexual boundaries with children. He looks at how their lives prior to offending contributed to and led up to what they did, the ways that initial interest in sex with children began, the tactics offenders employed to molest their victims over time, how they felt about and reacted to their behavior between offending episodes, and how they were ultimately able to stop.

The author expands our understanding of this often reviled, little understood group, leaving us with the uneasy conclusion that the moral wall separating us from what is defined as extreme, sick behavior is not as opaque as we would like to believe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
”An example of how interviewing and life course methods can be done in ways that yield an empirically rich analysis useful for theoretical development. . . . A nicely written book using excellent methodology.”

-Contemporary Sociology

”A superb book that takes us into the subjective world of the child molester. It breaks new ground and provides a major contribution to sex research. Vital reading for all those interested in the interpretations of the men who commit unspeakable acts.”

-Martin S. Weinberg,Indiana University at Bloomington

”Victims, survivors, and their supporters most want to know how and why people can sexually assault and terrorize children who love and trust them. Finally, after reading Doug Pryor's Unspeakable Acts, I feel a have a vivid and reliable answer to that question. This book is must reading for every student of child sexual abuse.”

-Hal Pepinsky,Indiana University at Bloomington

Contemporary Sociology
An example of how interviewing and life course methods can be done in ways that yield an empirically rich analysis useful for theoretical development. . . . A nicely written book using excellent methodology.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814766668
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Pryor is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and co-author of the recent ground-breaking book Dual Attraction: Understanding Bisexuality.

[Author Bio]

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Table of Contents

1 Studying Offenders and Their Behavior 1
2 Blurring of Boundaries in Childhood 31
3 Escalating Problems in Adulthood 61
4 Shifting into an Offending Mode 91
5 Approaching and Engaging the Victim 123
6 Snowballing from One Act to Many 157
7 Continuing with Regular Offending 189
8 Exiting Offending and Public Exposure 221
9 Answering the Question Why 251
Table 1 Recent Studies Measuring Sexual Abuse 285
Appendix A Topical Interview Guide 289
Appendix B Research Consent Forms 294
Appendix C Statistical Data on Cases 297
Appendix D The Retrospective Interpretation Problem 300
Notes 303
Suggested Reading 336
Index 343
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2001

    lousy book

    As a mother of molested children, I can say this is the worst book I've read on the subject.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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