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Rose-tinted glasses as an example for a mental bias

Imagine you are in love with someone. In this special phase you may perceive the world with an excessively optimistic perspective, or through “rose-tinted glasses.” All gestures and gazes from the object of desire are interpreted as interested, intentional and confirmative although someone without these “glasses” might evaluate the same actions completely differently. It is important to be aware of this, and to “take off” those distorting glasses to regain a clear and objective view.

In regard to sexual assault, mental biases can cause one to shift responsibility from the offender to the victim. If someone abuses a child sexually, those mental biases are actively taking effect before, during and after the assault takes place. These justifications may proceed as follows: “The child wants to experience his/her sexuality the same way as adults do,” “If the child does not resist, he/she must want it,” and “This was the last time.” If you do not succeed in recognizing and modifying those mental biases, you run the risk to (re)commit a sexual assault.

How can you adjust your rose-tinted glasses?

Think about a situation in which you were at high risk to commit an assault or in which you had already committed a sexual assault. Then use the following outline to evaluate yourself:

Reveal the mental bias

  • What was going on in your mind?
  • What was your exact thought in the situation?
  • What did you tell yourself in the situation?

Questioning the mental bias

  • Was your thought logical?
  • Was your thought based on facts?
  • Was there any proof for the correctness of your thought?
  • Was the thought helpful?
  • What was the benefit of thinking in that way? What was the disadvantage?

Developing an appropriate functional thought

  • In retrospect, what do you think could have been another possible thought in the situation?
  • What do you think a friend would have been thinking in that situation?
  • Which interpretation of the situation seems more realistic?
  • What could you tell yourself instead if you get into the same situation again?

Training of functional thoughts

  • Make yourself aware of the benefits of this functional thought.
  • Write down your functional thought on an index card.
  • Repeat this functional thought to yourself over and over.
  • Imagine how you will remind yourself of this functional thought next time you are in a high risk situation.
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