Inappropriate Affection toward Young Girls

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feen
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19 Aug 2012, 11:48 am

I am an uncle of a young man (22) who has Asperger's. I'll call him Joe - not his real name.

Joe has always been an affectionate kid. He loves my kids, who are also now young adults (3 girls, 1 boy). There has always been a slight problem with his being over affectionate with the girls, but it has only been an annoyance, as my girls are young adults, and can navigate through the discomfort / awkwardness.

But lately the problem has taken a very worrisome turn. Joe is very affectionate with very young girls (his nieces, etc.), even as young as 2 years old. He sometimes hugs and kisses them too long, and too close. A parent of one of these girls has said that they have seen that Joe has an erection after one of these long embraces. Yeah - very uncomfortable situation.

About a week ago, we got a report that Joe was at a gathering that included non-family members, and that he was displaying this behavior, and was asked to leave. I don't believe that he was told WHY he had to leave, so I don't know if Joe realizes that his inappropriate affection toward young female children is becoming unacceptable. He may believe that they were simply tired of having Joe around.

Obviously if this behavior is allowed to continue or, worse yet, escalates beyond the current level, serious problems are inevitable.

Now... On to Joe's parents...

Joe's mom is a sweetheart, loved by all of us, but a bit blind to Joe's differences. Joe is her only child, and she loves him very dearly. She knows that Joe is academically challenged, but seems to deny - or at least play down - his social / maturity challenges. It doesn't appear that she has any idea of the inappropriate affection issues I'm describing here, for one, or both, of the following reasons: 1) She is blinded by her love for her son, and/or 2) He does not display this behavior when she is present.

Joe's dad is also loved by all of us, but also appears to "not get" the extent of Joe's differences. All of us adult family members are uncomfortable discussing Joe's challenges with his parents, as we fear they will be seriously hurt or angered (or both). However, we're starting to realize that ignoring this issue is simply not an option.

We have discussed talking to Joe's parents, or talking just to Joe's mom (as she is much more involved than Joe's dad in helping Joe navigate the world), or... talking to Joe and gently/firmly letting him know that his over-the-top physical affection for these young girls is unacceptable and must stop.

My wife is a psychiatric nurse, and has a great relationship with Joe, and she believes she can get through to Joe in a way that would stop this behavior. I, on the other hand, think that talking to Joe, and not his parents, is a bad idea. Although I DO have faith that my wife could have a very positive influence on Joe's behavior - she is REAL good in situations like this - I fear that if/when Joe's parents discover that my wife was counseling Joe and not involving them, their hurt/anger will be much worse than if we directly confront them with the issue.

So that is where we are... I welcome any suggestions, similar experiences, references to useful information - whatever anyone has to offer that may help guide us in handling this as safely and effectively as possible.

Thanx...



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19 Aug 2012, 11:55 am

I can see why you and other family members find this very worrying. It does sound as if something needs doing before things escalate out of control and someone goes to the police or something.

Would your wife be prepared to speak to Joe's parents and volunteer to speak to Joe to save them the discomfort of doing so? As she would be offering to help them, perhaps this would soften any taking offence they might otherwise take. I'm sure if they realise that it could end with a complaint to the police by someone at some point that they would rather something is done asap.


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19 Aug 2012, 12:24 pm

Wow,

This seems like a difficult subject. I can sort of relate as I used to feel affectionate towards anyone who was nice to me (not in a sexual kind of way per say but like.. take bullet for them). Then I realized that it's stupid to be so naive in thinking these people even care about me and grew out of it.

I don't know the family but have you ever considered that his parents put up a facade? A mask for the public and actually don't talk to him enough to let him know that these things are inappropriate? My mom was the same way, she'd act all caring and wonderful infront of people but when we would get home she went back to ignoring me most times and getting frustrated to the point of beating me.

I think talking the parents would help them with some vigilance but I also believe a good talking to him would be nice as you could sit him down proper and clearly explain that these things are not acceptable and that he needs not do them anymore. Maybe teach him the differences between what is acceptable and what is not, maybe the stages of when it is acceptable and with whom.



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19 Aug 2012, 1:08 pm

As someone who was a girl with an uncle pretty much exactly like this, you need to do something now.

Not trying to scare you, but you might have already waited far too long to do anything.

The time to act is yesterday, SAY something to the parents and I would be kind but blunt. say "I'm worried something might happen and that Joe would wind up in jail".



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19 Aug 2012, 1:56 pm

I agree with the poster above, this has to be dealt with very quickly. If approaching the parents is not effective, you need to be clear with them that outside agencies will be involved. This is a young man that needs help, and children that deserve protection. It may be that a two pronged approach might be beneficial, with you discussing things with his parents and your wife discussing it with him. I can only imagine how awkward a conversation this will be for you, but by being the one to call attention to this you are doing absolutely the right thing.



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19 Aug 2012, 4:08 pm

SilkySifaka wrote:
It may be that a two pronged approach might be beneficial, with you discussing things with his parents and your wife discussing it with him.


I agree, this seems like a good idea.

I think that as long as Joe is given this message by someone who he likes and trusts, things should be ok...it sounds like your wife fits this description, so I think it's ok if she talks to him directly. Sorry to sound callous, but who cares if his parents get angry at her for talking to him directly? Which is worse, Joe's parents getting angry, or Joe getting arrested?



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19 Aug 2012, 4:27 pm

CWA wrote:
As someone who was a girl with an uncle pretty much exactly like this, you need to do something now.

Not trying to scare you, but you might have already waited far too long to do anything.

The time to act is yesterday, SAY something to the parents and I would be kind but blunt. say "I'm worried something might happen and that Joe would wind up in jail".


I couldn't agree more. This needs to be addressed ASAP, and should have been addressed a long time ago. Joe's parent's anger/embarrassment or your discomfort is nothing compared to all the lifelong hurt that these young girls could sustain or the very serious consequences that Joe could suffer. The fact that he "does not display this behavior when she [his mom] is present." Already shows that Joe may know these behaviours and the attached feelings are not OK. Address this right away. Talk to Joe. Talk to his parents. Talk to whoever is involved that could help, and don't stop until you get this nipped in the bud before someone gets very badly hurt (if they haven't already).



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19 Aug 2012, 4:31 pm

Having an overly affection son (who has learned to control it), I think it is all in how you phrase it. I like the two pronged approach, and I think you come at it explaining how you've noticed/heard about how it is making people uncomfortable. Affection is a wonderful thing, but different people have different expectations and norms with it, and if you don't want to be misunderstood (which is a real danger for males) you have to be extremely careful. And being misunderstood can carry ramifications beyond embarrassment, one can get in trouble with the law. I think men need to know that, it is something that always scared me watching my son and his lack of limits. So. I've had versions of this conversation with my son since he was little, and he gets it. He is very comfortable being affectionate in our home and with people he knows are open to it, and he is a vault with everyone else. It is just how it has to be.

Basically, be careful to not make this personal or critical, but a "you know how society is" thing. Worked for us. And if the parents are angry for a while ... that is OK. I would believe that they will get over it. They will eventually realize that this conversation had to happen.


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19 Aug 2012, 5:12 pm

I think you have gotten good feedback.

I especially agree that his parents' reactions to whatever you do needs to be the least of your concerns. Your top concerns need to be the protection of the girls first, and protection of your nephew second. The girls and your nephew are the ones who could have lifelong consequences regarding this, not his parents.

Good luck. I can only imagine how difficult this will be, no matter how you decide to address it.


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Chronos
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19 Aug 2012, 10:00 pm

feen wrote:
I am an uncle of a young man (22) who has Asperger's. I'll call him Joe - not his real name.

Joe has always been an affectionate kid. He loves my kids, who are also now young adults (3 girls, 1 boy). There has always been a slight problem with his being over affectionate with the girls, but it has only been an annoyance, as my girls are young adults, and can navigate through the discomfort / awkwardness.

But lately the problem has taken a very worrisome turn. Joe is very affectionate with very young girls (his nieces, etc.), even as young as 2 years old. He sometimes hugs and kisses them too long, and too close. A parent of one of these girls has said that they have seen that Joe has an erection after one of these long embraces. Yeah - very uncomfortable situation.

About a week ago, we got a report that Joe was at a gathering that included non-family members, and that he was displaying this behavior, and was asked to leave. I don't believe that he was told WHY he had to leave, so I don't know if Joe realizes that his inappropriate affection toward young female children is becoming unacceptable. He may believe that they were simply tired of having Joe around.

Obviously if this behavior is allowed to continue or, worse yet, escalates beyond the current level, serious problems are inevitable.

Now... On to Joe's parents...

Joe's mom is a sweetheart, loved by all of us, but a bit blind to Joe's differences. Joe is her only child, and she loves him very dearly. She knows that Joe is academically challenged, but seems to deny - or at least play down - his social / maturity challenges. It doesn't appear that she has any idea of the inappropriate affection issues I'm describing here, for one, or both, of the following reasons: 1) She is blinded by her love for her son, and/or 2) He does not display this behavior when she is present.

Joe's dad is also loved by all of us, but also appears to "not get" the extent of Joe's differences. All of us adult family members are uncomfortable discussing Joe's challenges with his parents, as we fear they will be seriously hurt or angered (or both). However, we're starting to realize that ignoring this issue is simply not an option.

We have discussed talking to Joe's parents, or talking just to Joe's mom (as she is much more involved than Joe's dad in helping Joe navigate the world), or... talking to Joe and gently/firmly letting him know that his over-the-top physical affection for these young girls is unacceptable and must stop.

My wife is a psychiatric nurse, and has a great relationship with Joe, and she believes she can get through to Joe in a way that would stop this behavior. I, on the other hand, think that talking to Joe, and not his parents, is a bad idea. Although I DO have faith that my wife could have a very positive influence on Joe's behavior - she is REAL good in situations like this - I fear that if/when Joe's parents discover that my wife was counseling Joe and not involving them, their hurt/anger will be much worse than if we directly confront them with the issue.

So that is where we are... I welcome any suggestions, similar experiences, references to useful information - whatever anyone has to offer that may help guide us in handling this as safely and effectively as possible.

Thanx...


If he is becoming sexually aroused while interacting with these children then I would deal with him no differently than I would deal with a man who didn't have AS.

People with AS might be socially naive in some instances. A young man with AS who is courting a woman might innocently make the wrong move at the wrong time. A young man with AS might not realize what he perceives as a platonic hug is perceived with mal-intent by others, but people with AS are not stupid and there's a very big difference between that situation and a situation where a grown man is becoming sexually aroused while kissing or hugging little girls.

Affection and sexual arousal are two different things.

I would confront him. Not just his parents. Him and his parents. And when I confront him I would do it alone. He is a grown man and he can answer for himself on this. Additionally I would not allow him around children unsupervised. I would not allow him to touch children, and honestly, I probably wouldn't allow him in my house.



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19 Aug 2012, 10:36 pm

If he is having an erection because he is around kids, that means he is a pedophile. Sure that doesn't mean he will touch them wrong because not all pedophiles do that and only 20% of them actually do it. Most of them don't commit the crime and they hate child molesters as well. But honestly if I found out someone was one, get the hell away from my kid. I would not want the guy near my son. Sorry, mommy instincts so I feel the need to go mamma bear and protect my kid.


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20 Aug 2012, 9:29 pm

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Last edited by cubedemon6073 on 22 Aug 2012, 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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20 Aug 2012, 9:42 pm

Chronos wrote:

If he is becoming sexually aroused while interacting with these children then I would deal with him no differently than I would deal with a man who didn't have AS.

People with AS might be socially naive in some instances. A young man with AS who is courting a woman might innocently make the wrong move at the wrong time. A young man with AS might not realize what he perceives as a platonic hug is perceived with mal-intent by others, but people with AS are not stupid and there's a very big difference between that situation and a situation where a grown man is becoming sexually aroused while kissing or hugging little girls.

Affection and sexual arousal are two different things.

I would confront him. Not just his parents. Him and his parents. And when I confront him I would do it alone. He is a grown man and he can answer for himself on this. Additionally I would not allow him around children unsupervised. I would not allow him to touch children, and honestly, I probably wouldn't allow him in my house.


I totally agree with this 100%.



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20 Aug 2012, 9:44 pm

League_Girl wrote:
If he is having an erection because he is around kids, that means he is a pedophile. Sure that doesn't mean he will touch them wrong because not all pedophiles do that and only 20% of them actually do it. Most of them don't commit the crime and they hate child molesters as well. But honestly if I found out someone was one, get the hell away from my kid. I would not want the guy near my son. Sorry, mommy instincts so I feel the need to go mamma bear and protect my kid.


I agree, someone like that regardless of AS would never be allowed around my hypothetical children, and I certainly wouldn't let that person be around my niece. While I'm not a mom at this point, I still have that instinct and if I found out someone molested my niece, I would gladly go to jail for murder.



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21 Aug 2012, 9:53 am

I think it's important to do something before Joe either gets his ass kicked, killed or arrested. As a psych nurse, I think your wife might be in a good position to figure out if he is sexually attracted to young kids or just doesn't understand.

If you continue to let it go, it's very likely he will be hurt. If I saw a grown man hugging my daughter like that, the least I'd do is kick his ass, some people might shoot him and in a lot of places, it could be considered justified depending on how far he went with the girl. If he does to jail, pedos are the lowest of the low in jail.

If he truly doesn't know, that would be a shame if he was beat, shot or anally raped in jail.



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21 Aug 2012, 12:26 pm

thewhitrbbit wrote:
If he does to jail, pedos are the lowest of the low in jail.


They're often segregated from the rest of the inmates for their own safety.