Legally, frotteurism is treated as a sexual assault or battery in most jurisdictions. A sexual assault is a criminal offense and therefore carries potentially serious penalties. Depending upon the particular circumstances, frotteurism may constitute a misdemeanor or a felony criminal offense. However, it is usually classified as a misdemeanor. As a result, legal penalties are often minor. It is difficult to prosecute frotteurs as intent to touch is difficult to prove. In their defense statements, the accused often claim that the contact was accidental. Conviction may result in a sentence including prison/jail time, compulsory psychiatric treatment, and registration as a sexual offender. Additionally, a victim of frotteurism may file a private civil lawsuit in order to seek monetary damages from the frotteur.
The prognosis for eliminating frotteurism is poor as most frotteurs have no desire to change their behavior. They most probably will not change. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to change a person's sexual activity preferences. Without treatment, individuals with paraphilias, including frotteurism, can have a recidivism rate of 100%. In order for treatment to be successful, a frotteur must admit that they have a problem and want to change. Most often, a desire or need for change comes from a court order. Acts of frotteurism appear to wane after the age of 25, however, true sexual compulsivity doesn't wane. It's more likely that frotteurs simply move on to other types of compulsive behavior.
Treatment options for all paraphilias include; behavioral therapy, aversive conditioning, confrontation, victim empathy, assertiveness training, desensitization, social skills training, orgasmic reconditioning, 12-step programs, group therapy, relapse prevention, and/or medications. Antiandrogens such as Depo-Provera are used to lower the sex drive. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Zoloft may be prescribed to treat associated compulsive sexual disorders and/or to gain benefit from libido-lowering sexual side effects. Chemical castration may be achieved by shots of Leuprolide which dramatically decreases testosterone levels; this may completely abolish deviant sexual tendencies.
What is most pathetic about frotteurs is the underhandedness and sneakiness of their actions. Additionally, women are reluctant to come forward with reports of frotteurism. In India, frotteurism is called “Eve Chasing”, and is considered “a little rape”. Unfortunately, victims can do little to protect themselves from this form of molestation/assault. Vigilance related to your surroundings and vulnerability is your best defense. In Japan women are encouraged to carry a small pin to stab whatever offending appendage a frotteur presents them with.
Victims of any sexual assault often experience a number of common effects. These may include: flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty falling or staying asleep, anger and rage, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilence , anxiety and panic, self-blame, guilt, and shame, emotional numbing.
Go ahead and give your significant other a love tap or a little squeeze if they are willing…. However, any unwanted touching, groping or rubbing represents a sexual assault to a citizen on your beat. They deserve to be protected and served.
About The Author:
Pamela Kulbarsh, RN, BSW has been a psychiatric nurse for over 25 years. She has worked with law enforcement in crisis intervention for the past ten years. She has worked in patrol with officers and deputies as a member of San Diego's Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) and at the Pima County Detention Center in Tucson. Pam has been a frequent guest speaker related to psychiatric emergencies and has published articles in both law enforcement and nursing magazines.