Experts – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KOCHI: Covering up behind the excuse of being on medication for exhibitionism may not pay off in court for actor Sreejith Ravi who was arrested on Thursday, experts have said. Medical disorder is no excuse in such cases, as strict laws are in place to penalize those who engage in paraphilic activities.

Paraphilias—persistent and recurring sexual interests, urges, fantasies, or behaviors of marked intensity involving atypical objects, activities, or even situations—have been repeatedly invoked to explain deviant and criminal behavior.

Pedophilia, voyeurism and exhibitionism are all forms of paraphilia. All of this is socially unacceptable and subject to criminal penalties.

“This disorder is widely present in the community. Exhibitionist disorder is considered here as a disease and a crime at the same time. Since these cases fall under the category of crimes, it is quite difficult to investigate or study this aspect. But there is a limited chance that the defendant will be excused due to this disorder,” said Dr Arun B Nair, a reputable psychiatrist based in Thiruvananthapuram.

“Two questions arise: have you exhibited your genitals in front of another person? Do you know that exposing your genitals in public is a crime? If the answer is yes to both questions, he is responsible. It is not an act of insanity,” Dr Arun said. Dr TR John, a Kochi-based psychiatrist, said exhibitionist disorder can be treated with medication and behavioral therapies.

“In some cases, exhibitionism could be a symptom of an underlying psychological problem,” he said.

As early as adolescence, this disorder could be present in a person, says Dr. Arun. “In this particular case, maybe for 10 to 30 years, he could present the disorder.

As age and time since disease onset increase, medications and treatments also vary. The intensity of the disease could be reduced with medication and behavioral therapy,” he said.

The defendant’s claim that skipping the meds for a day triggered his action was “unbelievable”, the doctors said.

“Skipping the drug for a day made him do it, that’s a pretty hard claim to believe. But for any psychological problem, we can’t fix the period during which the urge would return if someone stopped taking the medication. It depends on the intensity and severity of the disease. If it is serious, then there is such a possibility,” said a psychiatrist from Ernakulam Medical College Hospital.

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