Inside the Mind of Atlanta's Flasher
ALISON STEWART, Host:
All right, if you get a group of women together in New York City, or I bet in any city - Rachel, are you with me on this one? There's a chance that someone has a story about some guy...
RACHEL MARTIN: Totally.
STEWART: ...exposing himself in the subway or in a park, right?
MARTIN: Yup, definitely (unintelligible).
STEWART: You know this has happened.
MARTIN: It's not a pretty part of urban life, but it happens.
STEWART: That's kind of scary. It's weird. People kind of joke about flashers. But it's a serious issue.
MARTIN: It's a really serious issue. And it's not very fun when you encounter them.
STEWART: Thanks for being with us, Alex.
ALEX YUFIK: Good morning. Thank you for having me.
STEWART: So exhibitionism is grouped with other - I think it's called paraphilias. Am I saying it right?
YUFIK: Correct. Paraphilia, exactly.
STEWART: Now, it's a deviant sexual behavior like pedophilia or sadism. So where does exhibitionism fit in with these more dangerous sex perversions, like pedophilia?
YUFIK: Oh, generally, exhibitionists do not engage in other kinds of behavior that we considered dangerous. They're kind of a no hands-on kind of an offense. So the person will expose themselves or expose their genitals to the opposite sex and kind of leave it at that. So it's not considered as dangerous as other things, for example, as pedophilia, which is often times acted out, which is, of course, when you have an abnormal attraction to children, and engage in sexual behavior with children.
STEWART: Now, is it a crime of opportunity, or is it premeditated?
YUFIK: It's very difficult to say, because each case is different. Some people will take extraordinary pains to prepare for the act and actually will find a particular target. And other times, they will really expose themselves to the first person available.
STEWART: Now, do they understand that what they're doing is wrong? Is there an awareness?
YUFIK: Now, for some people, that kind of fantasy is the only way that they're able to achieve any kind of a sexual satisfaction. For others, it's only kind of intermittent sexual fantasy which they need from time to time. So it really depends.
STEWART: Let's talk about this Georgia flasher. The witnesses have described him as a white male, between the ages of 20 and 40. Is that a profile of an exhibitionist? Is there one?
YUFIK: However, recidivism is attached to people that are of lower educational value, that have lower education, and there - do accompany other kinds of criminal acts. So if you have two of those things together, for example, if it's accompanied with, say, an assault, then the recidivism rate does go up again, and also, if it is untreated. So people that do receive some form of treatment, the recidivism rate does go down. But that's as close of a pattern as you're going to get.
MARTIN: Alex, what are you supposed to do if you encounter a flasher, if you're the victim of this kind of situation? You say there's a power dynamic. If you look shock, that's what they want you do. But you can't really prevent that, I suppose. What are you supposed to do?
YUFIK: So they are not coming from a place of power. They're trying to reestablish that. And oftentimes, and this is not, of course, all the time, but from sort of as a general rule, that these kind of people have felt that throughout their lives, they haven't been able to make very much of an impact on others around them. They're - they feel kind of powerless. And generally speaking, they are not dangerous.
YUFIK: So, of course, I think the first thing you should do is try to leave the situation, of course, and contact the authorities right away and describe the person in as much detail as you can, and see if you can bring this person to justice. Because, of course...
STEWART: And get them help, I'm guessing, as well.
YUFIK: Absolutely. Absolutely, because most of the time, I would probably say the majority of the cases, people like this do not seek help on their own, and they're really - the only time they ever seek help is when they are faced with the criminal justice proceeding.
STEWART: Forensic psychologist Alex Yufik. Thanks for being with us.
YUFIK: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
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