Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why do I do this to myself?

Like many people in our field, a long day's work sometimes leaves me psychologically and emotionally drained. One thing I do to unwind is watch mindless television. Unfortunately, I also have a somewhat lurid and voyeuristic side that draws me to shows like Criminal Minds, Law & Order, etc. Actually, I stopped watching L & O after they diagnosed a woman with Pedophilia using a PET scan. However, I made an exception last night, but only because Merissa Morin (daughter of ATSA member John Morin and stepdaughter of ATSA Board member Jill Levenson) was appearing on SVU. Thankfully, there were no wild applications of half-baked psychology. Merissa did a good job.

But, to get back on track...

This past weekend, I was catching up on old episodes of Criminal Minds and two of them threw me into a tizzy. In one episode, they referred to a guy as an "Anger/Excitation Rapist". When are we finally going to put this tired and outdated nomenclature to rest? I'm pretty sure that Ray Knight (often in combination with Robert Prentky) convincing blew that typology away in the late 1990s or early 2000s. In the other episode, the Dave Rossi character (Joe Montegna) referred to a serial killer who was targeting 16-18 year old girls as a "Hebephile". My outburst was so dramatic that the cat leaped off the bed!

I get it that the field is still trying to come to grips with diagnostic frameworks and typologies, with the proposed Paraphilic Coercive and Pedohebephilic disorders causing quite a stir. In truth, many parties make quite legitimate points for and against these proposed diagnoses. However, can whoever is advising these television shows please take the time to read a little bit??

Last point before I put this to rest...

This week, infamous Canadian child killer Clifford Olson was again denied release by the Canadian National Parole Board. Duh. However, what gets me is that the tabloid media seems obsessed with misleading the public into believing that he actually had a chance of getting out. In Canadian law, a "life" sentence is just that -- a life sentence; like, until you die. Parole "eligibility" is also just that -- eligibility. Just because someone might be eligible does not mean that he/she will actually be released (and, even once released on parole, an offender serving life can be returned to prison at the slightest sign of trouble). It doesn't take a lot of brain power to realize that no Parole Board member in his/her right mind is ever going to release Canada's most notorious child murderer.

Nuff said.


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