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Flashing: why do they do it?

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March 10, 2019 by admin

A middle-aged man in red and black boxer shorts flashing young girls on Emerald Beach, in northern NSW.
Nanjing Night Net

A man aged in his 60s exposing himself in a discount store in Sydney’s west.

A man in his early-30s wearing a fluoro work vest flashing two young girls as they walked past a park bench in Melbourne’s inner-west.

A man flashing while riding a bike in a park north-west of Melbourne.

Last month there was a spate of similar incidents of exposure, which forensic and clinical psychologist Georgina O’Donnell says is the most common form of illegal sexual behaviour.

It is, she says, motivated by gratification from a stranger who does not consent.

So what is behind this behaviour which has recently targeted both women and young children?

Flashers, who can be men and women but are most often men in their adolescence and early adulthood, may have a sexual disorder called exhibitionism or paraphilia, characterised by having repeated urges to expose themselves to a stranger, Dr O’Donnell said.

“Exhibitionism is defined by a pattern of sexual arousal which may be expressed in exhibitionistic behaviour,” Dr O’Donnell, from Hobart’s ForensiClinic, said.

“Exhibitionistic behaviour by definition is non-contact, and there is usually no intention of further sexual behaviour towards the stranger.”

There are many theories about what causes the urges, but generally people who flash do so because they find it arousing, Dr O’Donnell said.

“Some people have a conscious desire to upset or shock the stranger, while others may fantasise that the stranger will become sexually aroused by their display.

“Others are not aware of, or concerned about, the stranger’s response at all.”

Women can also be diagnosed with exhibitionism, she said.

“Female exhibitionistic acts may include habitually undressing at a window that can be seen by the public for the purpose of experiencing sexual gratification from the attention of onlookers.”

Exhibitionist behaviour is illegal and in NSW obscene exposure carries a penalty of up to six months in jail.

There were a total of 284 sexual offences in the category of indecent assault, acts of indecency and other sexual offences reported to police in inner-Sydney in 2011, according to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

“Exhibitionistic acts may be perceived as a less serious nuisance act, however for some victims the behaviour can be very distressing and fear-evoking,” Dr O’Donnell said.

After a man exposed himself to a young girl at a discount store in St Mary’s, in Sydney’s west, on August 4 local police warned parents to be vigilant.

“It’s very important that parents properly supervise their children when visiting public places, like shopping centres, to ensure their safety and minimise the risk of this type of incident happening,” Crime Manager Detective Inspector Darryl Jobson said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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