I could be Robert Kraft: Soliciting Sex from Sex-Trafficked Women

Addictions, Asian Shame0 comments

When one of my clients first heard the news about New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly paying for sex from an Asian massage parlor, it reminded him of his not-too distant past where he felt addicted to going to massage parlors for illicit sexual activity.

On Tuesday this week, Kraft, requested to have a jury trial after being recently charged with 2 prostitution-related charges after Jupiter Police in Florida claim he paid for sex acts at an Asian massage parlor.  

The 77 year old billionaire insists he has done nothing illegal despite police records which indicate on January 19th he was chauffeured to the massage parlor in a Bentley where officers said they secretly videotaped him engaging in a sex act and then handed over an undetermined amount of cash.  Detectives said he returned 17 hours later and was caught on tape again paying for more sex acts.

This past weekend, Kraft released a statement to the public:

“I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard…throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.”

While this incident is likely to cast a pall on Kraft, for my client he felt it validated his own struggles.  As Kraft acknowledged in his apology statement, he knows his actions are contrary to his beliefs and values both against women and humanity at large.  My client feels the same way.  He never wanted to hurt his long-time spouse yet he was caught in a compulsive sexual behavior which he felt was “out of control”.

UnSplash/Maru Lombardo

In my work with him and others struggling with addictions and/or compulsive behaviors, one of the hardest aspects for all involved is comprehending how such well-meaning people can get caught in negative, damaging, and sometimes perverse behaviors.  My client like Kraft said he never wanted to hurt women but later through therapy recognized his ability to compartmentalize and justify his behaviors.  While it’s still unclear if the women involved with Kraft were trafficked, my client was aware that the possibility existed in his experiences but told me he would just block that from his mind.  He and others will often tell me they can’t think about the women as possible mothers, daughters, sisters, or wives.  In other words, they must use what we call “cognitive distortions” to distort reality and justify their behaviors as inconsequential or not being able to view these women as real human beings.

They may know in their heads that their behaviors are contributing to the global issue of sex trafficking, may want to stop, but because it’s more of an intellectual understanding as opposed to a “heart understanding” connected with feelings of empathy, they will often continue on until one day they are “caught”.

Ever since my client was caught, he no longer needs to live in his past shadow of secrecy and shame but instead get confronted with the reality of responsibility.  And it’s this level of person responsibility and ownership that brings about repentance and true change beyond anything else.

And with Kraft, it remains to be seen if he’s truly repentant or if his current desire to fight all the charges and request a jury trial is one to solely absolve his name of any wrong-doing.

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