“I can help you,” he said, before drawing on a stereotype

In my post about the arrest, I mentioned another detective who more experience related to sex crimes, who participated in the interrogation.

After the interview, he spoke to me privately for a moment. He said something like “I can help you, if you want to be helped. I know you better than you know yourself.” Unsure where he was going with this, or how to respond, I just listened as he told me how he understands what’s going on in the minds of offenders. “I’ll bet you were touched up a bit as a kid?”

Wow. That was his big insight? That the cycle of abuse is the most likely cause of my actions? Yes, there are some people who, having suffered abuse as a child, go on to commit similar abuses themselves. He’s probably even dealt with several such cases. But I’d be surprised if it’s the majority.

I simply replied “no; not at all,” probably with an air of disbelief and a puzzled expression.

“No?” he replied, with a mild look of surprise, and that was the end of the conversation. No further mention of how he was supposedly able to “help” me, but I instinctively knew that expert psychological help would be superior to whatever he had in mind. He’s an expert, too, but his job is to catch criminals and build a case against them; I doubt rehabilitation for offenders is his forte.

People offend for various different reasons. I’m not sure that generalisations are particularly useful.

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