Sexual misconduct perpetrators need professional help

Photo illustration of a man trying to take an upskirt photo with a mobile phone.
Photo illustration of a man trying to take an upskirt photo with a mobile phone.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

The setting up of a unit for sexual misconduct victims is a positive move by the National University of Singapore (New NUS unit to help victims of sexual misconduct, Aug 31).

It recognises that such acts very often inflict pain and harm upon the victims. The unit can provide them with meaningful structural resources and support.

At the same time, it is also important to provide psycho-emotional support to the perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

They must realise that their actions have consequences and accept accountability.

As a psychotherapist, I strongly believe that perpetrators, especially if they are relatively young, need appropriate professional support. With professional intervention, they may change and contribute positively to society and their families.

Providing support to facilitate the perpetrator's rehabilitation is not just a matter of compassion. It is also a rational mitigative "upstream" response. If the underlying psycho-emotional issues that led the individual to commit acts of sexual misconduct are not adequately addressed, he could commit similar offences later in life.

It is important that a perpetrator has access to resources to help him resolve his maladaptive psycho-emotional issues earlier and give him hope that he can change.

It is greater to heal two persons rather than just one. No matter how dark one's tunnel may be, it is important to be able to perceive a light at the end of it.

Jessica Leong Lai Cheng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2019, with the headline 'Sexual misconduct perpetrators need professional help'. Print Edition | Subscribe