Preventing a Perpetrator: Interview Series with Dr. Lynette Louise

Author: Tsara Shelton
Published: Thursday 22nd April 2021
Summary: Sexual Diversity conversations with Dr. Lynette Louise ("The Brain Broad") during Autism Acceptance and Sexual Assault Prevention month.

April is both Autism Acceptance Month and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. In this series of conversations with Dr. Lynette Louise topics range from sexual education and understanding to abuse prevention and healing.

NOTE: Lynette's video feed freezes partway into our conversation, but the content continues - powerfully. I recommend listening to it like a podcast or checking out the transcipt. Or, you know, you can watch me nod emphatically along to the moving words while I'm looking at The Brain Broad's frozen smile. Up to you!

Autism and Sexual Assault: These are two topics I have experience with and ideas about. I'm in the habit of writing on these topics all year round, and April is no exception. However, during April I'm more of a listener. Trending hashtags and stories, people feeling encouraged and safe, men and women recognizing themselves in others and sharing how that feels, or not recognizing themselves and sharing that loneliness, maybe even risking so much to be a brave newcomer offering a different perspective and story – these things are closer to the surface during an awareness month and I like to lose myself in it; surround myself by their experiences and beliefs rather than my own so that, when I find myself again, I am more.

I also do share during April, because I want to contribute my story and ideas as well, to play more than one role. But largely, I listen.

This April, Dr. Lynette Louise (“The Brain Broad”) offered to share her experiences, knowledge, and stories with me on video – so while I listen, you can too. Not only is Lynette an international brain change and behaviour expert specializing in autism, but she is also the mother of eight now adult children, six were adopted and four had autism as well as other cognitive and social challenges. All of her adopted children had experienced abuse, including (for some) sexual abuse. With unstoppable energy and a willingness to think way outside the box, Lynette helped all of her children grow beyond expectations. It was a home of loud love and blunt language. I know because I was there. I'm Lynette's oldest.

Please take time to view the video. Mom and I are planning to talk together about Sexual Diversity once a week throughout April, creating videos that will add value and perspectives to the awareness discourse. Next week we will be discussing the particular vulnerability to assault disabled people face. If you have anything you want mom to discuss during this time, I hope you'll let us know! Or if you feel more comfortable keeping your questions private, you can always email her. (Contact info is available on her websites and ) Keep in mind that asking questions out loud allows others to learn along with you. So, if you are comfortable, consider it.

Learn and listen with me during this awareness month. Let's take what it teaches us into tomorrow and beyond.

First Week's Conversation:
Sexual Diversity: Autism

Second Week's Conversation:
Sexual Diversity: Sexual Assault and the Special Needs Person

This Week's Conversation:
Sexual Diversity: Preventing a Perpetrator



Tsara 0:01

All right, I believe we're recording Hello again.

Dr. Lynette Louise ("The Brain Broad")

Hey, thanks again, Mom, Dr. Lynette Louise, the brain broad for doing this series with me. Last week, you talk to us about the vulnerability that people with special needs have to sexual assault. And I think you helped us kind of understand and maybe even make changes, hopefully, to possibly prevent it. But I'm hoping we can go deeper today in the prevention, and maybe we can discuss ways - well, you can to discuss and I can learn ways that we could, perhaps, prevent -

Lynette  0:41  
Prevent the pedophile.

Yeah, I don't know how to say that comfortably.

I want to write a book called preventing the pedophile, I think it's a super important thing to focus on. Just in general, nevermind in sexual diversity or in the special needs population. But just in general, I think we really need to move our eyes from simply looking at the victimology of this situation and look at the prevention of it.

Lynette (cont)  1:13  
In the prevention, when you're when you're thinking in terms of is my, say, non-verbal or not willing to speak because they feel desperate for affection and are happy with whatever's coming their way, person going through something, and I can't tell. You can always use neurotypical information on that. So I never clearly stated that last time. So I just want to say, you know, there's all kinds of, just google it, right? There's all kinds of information out there. And if we take the time to do that, we won't get to this other piece that nobody else is talking about. So just to finish up from our last one, please, you know, if you're wondering, and I did say trust yourself, but also research it. There's lots of information on the kinds of signs that you'll see when a person is being molested or manipulated in some relationship way.

Lynette (cont)  2:10  
It isn't always sex. Sometimes, some of the most horrible things happen to your brain because someone's manipulating you simply for their own gain. And it doesn't that gain doesn't have to be sexual for to do harm. So these are very researchable things, things that you can find with, you know, some simple Google searches. And then if you have questions, I'm more than open to answering. So if you get confused, go to, send me an email and or go to Facebook or wherever you are, wherever. Or here on sexual diversity comments.

Tsara  2:47  
Or here, comment on this YouTube link. Wherever you're seeing this.

Wherever, wherever, and I'll answer you as best I can or pass you to someone who can. Alright, so there, I wanted to make sure we cleared that up from last time.

Thank you.

Lynette  3:02  
So how do you prevent this? Everyone's aware that, by now I would think you're aware that - at least in the neurotypical world - when you've been abused, you're more likely to become an abuser yourself. You may not be aware that when you've been abused, and then guard against it very carefully, so that you don't become an abuser, you may - without being aware of it - choose an abuser as your relationship.


Lynette  3:36  
So this is something that happens, in part because we're very black and white when we're trying to fix ourselves, right?

Lynette (cont) 3:46  
So we go, alright, if I don't do it, and then I look for someone who really hates it, then I know we're safe, right. When in fact, that kind of passion is usually a signal that there's some underlying thing. This is also very Google-able. And this I'm going to pass off because you can look this up, you can find out what these signs and signals are. But I do want you to be aware that just because you went, "Oh, I was abused. And I'm not going to abuse," that doesn't mean you're not inviting it into your world. And you do want more knowledge on that. Now let's move to people with sexual diversity issues.

Lynette (cont)  4:32  
Because that, everything I was talking about is sort of in the neurotypical world, neurotypical taste sexually, all of that, and it's very available. It's when we get into diversity, that it's harder to find information. Which is something to celebrate, in a way. We never used to be able to get that information in the first place. So at least it's there, right? And will often apply even if you're dealing with someone who's special needs.

Lynette  5:03  
So number one, sexual diversity. What does that mean?

Lynette (cont)  5:07  
You know, does that mean, I'm special needs? Or does that mean, I'm unique in my approach to satisfaction and pleasure when it comes to sexuality?

Yeah, that's how I think of it. It means you're more of an outlier, not necessarily special needs or anything, right? You're not in the common.

Lynette  5:29  
Right. So we're going to take that meaning and include that with if you happen to be a special needs person, if you happen to be special needs cognitively, if you happen to be special needs mental health wise, psychologically, or even if you happen to be special needs physically. Because this basket is "I'm different." It holds, "I'm different" in it. And "I'm different," often follows with secrecy.

Tsara  6:07  
Oh, that's a good point, yes.

Yeah. When you feel different, you very often think, "oh, I don't want anyone to know that because it's different. And they might not accept it." So now here you are, you're young, let's put you at pre-puberty but things are starting to be brought into your awareness, you're starting to have interest. And you notice that you're a little out of step, or you've known at all in your life, because you're in a wheelchair or whatever. But you're a little out of step, you're different. And you start to keep that hidden, because you've already learned from society, from education, from your family. That differents not so great. That different means - and that's wrong, by the way - but different -

[Tsara and Lynette laughing]

Lynette  6:58  
-Different means, you failed that test. Meanwhile, you were brilliantly noticing the exact key that bird was singing in outside the window, right? So yeah, but failed the darn math test, right? So you've started to take this on, I'm different I'm different I'm different. Way before it turns into sexuality, you can be preventing a pedophile there. You can be preventing the abuse there. You can be saying, "Wow, you're so -" I loved the word unique when one of my daughters, Khiya, gave it to Rye. She used the word unique, or she used the word odd. They weren't loaded with misery, right.

Lynette  7:44  
And so you can start finding new adjectives for your child, finding ways to help your child to embrace and love and see the value in their difference, and want to - and this is the important part - want to speak out. Even if it's through facilitation and typing and pointing or whatever method they have.

Lynette (cont) 8:04  
You want your child to want to include you in their sexual development. And you don't start with sex.

Oh, that makes so much sense.


Right. If they're feeling different, and so they get comfortable with secrets, secrets are not uncomfortable. And they're where you live. That, that's huge. I didn't think of that, ever.

So a lot of the things as a parent that you think, "oh, that's not that important," especially when you're dealing with somebody who has this unusual perspective, for whatever reasons.

Lynette (cont) 8:43  
When you start thinking that it's not important to value their self-worth to get them talking to keep the communication flowing in the early stages. You can't just jump in and go, "Hey, well, let's have the talk. Looks like you got your breasts." Right? You've got to develop this. Now, let's say you've made that mistake.

Tsara  9:03  
Okay, thank you. A lot of people are going "What!? What did I do?"

Lynette  9:07  
Right? So let's say you've made that mistake, and maybe some things that happened to your child.

Lynette (cont)  9:14  
So, you know, hating yourself for it and thinking it's too latr id not gonna help. What you can do though, is go, "I think I made a mistake here. Let's begin. Just communicating like crazy about everything. Let's just begin." Because you don't want this whole laser focus on something uncomfortable till conversations beginning. If you've ever watched a movie with a psychotherapist sitting across from someone, they usually just sit there and wait. And talk about things, and they'll ask the real questions and I don't want you to be afraid of the real questions, but they don't laser focus on the person and make them more uncomfortable. They make them more comfortable. Copy that. Right? We watch movies and shows all the time. For goodness sakes, use them to your benefit, right?

Lynette (cont)  10:00  
So, go back to the idea that communication is the point.

Lynette (cont)  10:07  
All right, now let's prevent the pedophile. Let's say, you've got a child who's finally telling you that there's weirdness inside them. They may not tell you how it came to be. They may not, it may not have anything to do with any sexual foray against or with them, it may be something they saw on TV, it may be something that came from- when I was talking about my son wanting nylon fabric, it may be something sensory that comes directly from them. Maybe because of their physical structure, you know. Because I'm this tall, I walk around the world and look at everyone's crotches. And as I developed and the dopamine and estrogen, all these hormones, started to change me I was looking at that, and I got thoughts, and this is what I thought - and it may develop you differently.

Lynette (cont)  11:03  
And that same person might develop into, let's say, wanting somebody more their size. Or let's say they're in a wheelchair wanting someone - because you're only a pedophile if it's someone too young, right? So if you're just developing in an unusual way, that's next time. And we'll just talk about that and have some fun with that. And that's, you know, that's all really okay.


We have one more in this series to go. But if you're developing in a way where, because of these secrets, because of this self shame, because of this unusual way that you experience the world through your perspective, through your sensory system, through your height, through your wheelchair, through your whatever. Because of that, you now have gotten too uncomfortable with a peer relationship and sex.

Lynette (cont)  12:07  
Or with what you view as someone greater than you because you've decided you're less than because you think you're, you know, you're different. You've been keeping secrets. So now -

Tsara  12:20  
Like how you were saying in the last episode about how self esteem is often the issue when people are abusive, right.

That's what right, yeah, right. So you're keeping all these secrets, you start the sort of self hate or self esteem issue. Everyone that's interested in you, you think they must, there must be something wrong with them, because you know you're broken. So you turn away anybody with this genuine, clean, beautiful affection for you. And you turn to people that don't want you, that's a common response. And then if you turn too far, you may look for the innocent.  

Lynette (cont)  12:55  
You may look for the animal or the person usually, you know, in this case we're talking about a pedophile so it'd be a child, that doesn't have an opinion. That won't be able to say you're broken, because they don't know yet. Or that you can manipulate and keep the secret with so that everything stays hidden because you're comfortable in hiding.

Lynette (cont)  13:19  
So how do you prevent that? Well, you prevent it by when that communication starts, and when they give you a sliver, just a little sliver, and say, "You know that four year old is really cute."
You don't go, "oh, oh my god, never say that again." But your alarm bells go off. This is uncomfortable. So go ahead and pause and take a walk. But come back, okay.

Lynette (cont)  13:55  
This is usually helpful at this stage, and stoppable. Turnable, preventable. If you go, all right, that's not healthy. Something unhealthy is evolving. As my famous daughter here who is interviewing me always taught me, most things are a phase if we let them be.

Lynette (cont)  14:21  
Now some things are really hardwired. But most things are a phase. So let's nudge this through a phase. Let's let this be the pre-pubescent or the puberty time where a phase is evolving. And a craving is happening because of some low self-esteem issue. And you say, "Oh, yes, that's a very attractive four year old. What do you like about that for your old face? Oh, you like the bright blue eyes. Hey, let's look over at this magazine," and start looking at a magazine. Online probably nowadays. And look for bright blue.

Lynette (cont)  15:00  
Or Google bright blue eyes and say, "oh, look this face, that age, which one do you like?" Many cultures have a younger look, "Oh, do you like these Asian girls? Do you like these -" You know, so help the person to find out that what they're feeling can be found in a safer place, in a better place. You know, bring that up, talk about it, look for it. And while you're there, while you're there, you say, "Yeah, when you see something in a child - it happens to everyone, by the way, you know - our brains and bodies are weird, we get reactions. So I don't know if you got a reaction. But if you got a reaction, just know, it'll just go away." If it's a boy, tell him to go pee. Whatever. Be clear. You know, if you saw an erection happen, you want to discuss it without being upset.

- or freaking out. I love that, like, don't freak out. But also don't ignore it. It's a phase doesn't mean poopoo it and don't get your hand in there to try to guide it into something healthy in the next phase.

Right. So you say, you know, "here's some tools: you can go pee you can learn to masturbate, you can..." you know, be very clear. Especially if it's someone cognitively challenged, you're going to have to be. So be very clear, while turning their attention somewhere else and - see, if you are the child and you're a little titillated by your mum being frank, but mostly embarrassed, while at the same time you're enjoying this communication and this searching for a more adult style person to be attracted to, there'll be a good feeling here, and a little bit uncomfortable over there. And that frankness itself is like the story that, when they say bring it into the light to make it disappear. It's very true. When a parent is saying, "Oh, it looks like that's giving you an erection. Maybe those pants are rubbing, you should go into -" They're like, "Okay, it's gone."

Lynette  17:08  
But your comfort,

Lynette  17:11  
your comfort, makes it so that when they have an uncomfortable feeling about something they're thinking about, you'll be the one they talk to you.

That's exactly, exactly where I was about to go now. And not only in those moments that you have, can you take advantage of those moments, but now you're going to get many more moments. Because you'll be frank with them you aren't going to freak out, but you will talk to them, right?

Right. Yeah. And in girls is a little harder. You know, if you're looking at a girl, you don't see a spontaneous erection show up. So that's a little bit harder. But they still have signals, they have ways that they move, their nipples get erect. So you might notice that. So there are physical things, but there's also knowing your child. So if you don't know them yet, start now. At the end of the day, this is all about knowing that there is a sexual phase you're about to come into, and you want to evolve them into it well. And if somewhere in that process your child lets you know that something has happened to them and you feel unequipped, please reach for special help. Reach for a therapist, reach for someone who can help you here. Don't make pleasure, bad. And that's what I want it want, to conclude with. Pleasure's not bad. It's, you know, we're a funny society. I do play therapy all the time. And the parents don't appreciate it till it looks like work. Meanwhile, they learn more when you play than when you work. Making play, making pleasure, bad forces people underground.

Lynette (cont)  18:56  
Creates that secrecy, builds that feeling of I'm different, I'm bad, I'm shameful, and begins a process of turning us into something we'd rather not be.

Lynette (cont)  19:09  
Please, pleasure's a beautiful thing. But it needs to be handled well. So, get comfortable with talking about it.

Thank you. Thank you so much. I think that is a lot for us to have -

Yeah, they probably have to -

Lynette  19:27  
There's probably some triggers in there. Sorry. I know.

Maybe but mostly I think, maybe yes, you're right. But also, it's just so exciting. I mean, it is information that we can use and you know -

- and if you have a trigger pause this and ask yourself, why.

Why? Do some work with yourself.

Right, right. Because you're not going to be comfortable in that conversation if I'm triggering you.

Tsara  19:54  

So that's the first signal that there's something going on there for you.

Tsara  19:59  
Okay, well thanks.Thank you again so much. I can't wait to share this with everybody.

Lynette  20:05  
We'll be light and fun next time.

One more. Yeah, one more light and fun.

Lynette  20:09  
All right.

Thank you.

You're welcome. Bye

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