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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Voyeurism

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Author Topic: Voyeurism
Member # 29212

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I recently starting dating my best friend...we met a couple of years ago when we first started college, and we've been inseperable best friends since, finally now getting around to dating. We were talking last night, and my bf decided to say that he thought being in a relationship (this is his first, by the way, but not mine) involved being completely honest with a partner so he had something to tell me.

What he said was that for the last couple of years, he's been a voyeur. Our dorm that we were in last year shared a wall between the girl's and guy's showers, and as you might imagine, the dorm was kind of old so there were cracks in the walls. He confided to me that he'd use to sneak into the guy's shower and peep at the women on the other side. Since occasionally, I admit, I'd glance through the cracks myself out of curiousity, I felt that I shouldn't be judgemental, but he said that it got bad enough for him that he'd schedule his shower times around that--he'd sit in the floor lounge "studying" and waiting until he knew women were in the shower, then go "take" one himself. And at night, he'd creep in at watch women without taking a shower to cover the fact that he was there, because he liked the "thrill factor" of possibly getting caught.

He doesn't do it anymore, probably (and this is my conjecture) because we live in single campus apartments now that have individual, not shared, baths. Even though we're dating now, I can't help but think that if he had the chance, he might still do something like that. I feel slightly hypocritical because like I said, I occasionally took a peep too, although not to the extent he did (and if I had the chance, would I again? Probably), and am actually kind of jealous and hurt knowing he was getting off looking at our peer's bodies, even though this was over a year ago--in fact, I think I might be more jealous that he was getting off looking at other women than shocked that he was being voyeuristic in the first place. I also feel kind of bad for doubting him in this matter because as he said, he was telling me this because he wanted to be in an honest relationship and as far as I could infer from what he told me, this ended about a year ago.

I'm still kind of hurt and confused and jealous, though, and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this information now. Help would be appreciated!

Posts: 47 | From: WA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Okay, I think you might need to lay aside your "jealousy" and consider that what he was doing was seriously violating these women's privacy, for the sake of a sexual thrill.

It sounds like this was something he did a lot, and you've said here that you think he only stopped for practical reasons, not out of any sense of conscience.

Really, the occasional curious glance on your part isn't the same as this sort of compulsive, repeated behaviour, going on for years.

What he's describing is abusive behaviour towards women and, legally, a crime.

This sort of voyeurism has been documented as a common precursor of more serious sexual offences, including sexual assault and rape.

And you're right; it almost certainly is something he'll do again, if he gets the chance.

I'd say you need to think seriously about whether you want to be in a relationship with this guy - and, for that matter, consider reporting this to the college authorities. Urging him to seek professional help and treatment is also an option.

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 29212

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I guess part of my confusion comes from the fact that he made the effort to sit down and say, "Look, I value our relationship enough to want to be honest with you, so I need to tell you about this thing I used to do when we were still living in the dorms." And my inital reaction wasn't "Oh, ok, honey, it was a year ago, I forgive you," I believe my exact words were, "You did WHAT? You're a horrible person!"

Reporting this to authorities is something I feel as if I can't do right now, mainly because a very close family member of his died quite recently and he's still coping with that. As he's currently not voyueristic, throwing authorities -at this moment- on him feels like it would be way too much on him. Still, I feel like I need to talk to someone about this--I know well it's a crime, and he knows full well it's a crime too, as he mentioned when telling me everything. I guess what's still fuzzy is whether he feels guilty at all over this, I admit that I was in enough shock to not really be able to pick up on that or not. I just still feel really confused over this.

Posts: 47 | From: WA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, he says he's not.

With behaviour as compulsive as he reported to you, it'd be pretty unusual for it to just plain stop, without counseling or therapy, because one given avenue of opprotunity closed.

And if he doesn't seem to think what he was doing was at all serious, if you didn't get the impression that he did, that does take some of the import out of him telling you.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 29212

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I talked to him for a while yesterday. It really hit him that what he did was actually pretty bad. We've been friends for a few years, but we've never had an argument, or even much of a disagreement about things (the ones we did were mostly academic). This was the first topic he's really seen me adamently -against-, and the first time I've ever directed any sort of really negative emotion towards him, which I believe helped drive the point home. When he said, "But, you know, I didn't do it as much as I may have intially made it sound," I retorted, "But had you been caught just ONCE, you'd be in jail right now," and that's when that guilty "Oh my gods...yeah..." look spread across his face and he honestly started to feel bad about it.

We are both pretty open-minded, and he's told me things before (legal, not-a-big-deal but still personal things) that he thought might rub me the wrong way, but didn't. I guess he figured this would be the same, but when I started flipping out and speaking harshly to him, something I've never done in a non-joking matter, he noted that, "You know, when this was just in my mind, it didn't really seem that big of a deal, but now that someone knows about it, suddenly I realize [from my reaction] that it -really- doesn't make me feel good about myself." I don't doubt him about starting to feel remorse one bit, either--he may have bad judgement sometimes, but he is most definitely not dumb.

I think we'll be ok from this point out, though I'm not entirely sure where to go from here. My mind is more at peace now, though, knowing that it hit his conscience.

Posts: 47 | From: WA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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