In the ask Dr. Bob thread, there was much academic discussion of damage caused by pedophilia. I thought I should give an additional viewpoint.
There is a man, let's call him Phyllis, who had four children with his wife and then they had an ugly divorce. In the settlement, she got full custody of the kids and Phyllis had them for a weekend twice a month, and two weeks in the summer. Phyllis had a job as an over the road truck driver and made a good buck, so he kept up with the child support. I married Phyllis' ex-wife six years after they split up.
He also took the kids to Catholic church in the small town he lived in every time he had them and was very active in his church. He moved in with his mom after the divorce and kept seeing the "other woman", let's call her Zelda, who inspired the divorce in the first place. She had 3 kids of her own. Phyllis and Zelda were dating for 8 years, and finally decided to get a house together.
About 2 months after they moved in together, on Dec. 23rd, Phyllis stayed home, and Zelda's 10 year old daughter had the day off of school. It turned out that this was the first time he was alone with any 10 year old girl in many years and he convinced the little girl to pose for some pictures--sans clothing.
A couple hours later, she told my 15 year old stepdaughter (Phyllis' biological daughter) what had happened in an emotional state, crying and asking if she had done something wrong.
When my wife and I were told of it, we immediately called Zelda, the grandparents (Zelda's mom and dad). We let Phyllis know that we knew what had happened, and since he did not turn himself in after 2 days, I went to the small town he lives in and reported him to the police.
By the time they went to investigate, there were no images on the camera he used, and they eventually dropped the case because it was the little girls word against his, and he denied it. About 2 years later, Phyllis and Zelda were married, and the poor little girl was forced to live in the house of the man who did this to her.
All of this was around 8 years ago. The little girl moved out right after her 18th birthday and just had her first child with her boyfriend. My stepkids didn't see their father for about 3 years, but eventually could not keep themselves from him and the oldest boy now lives with him. The other three mostly keep their distance. Phyllis' actions ruined at least 15 lives in many different and disparate ways, and Zelda's looking the other way only made it worse.
I'm not going back into my old research on pedophiles, but here is some of what I learned:
Writing this post was difficult, I have never put it in writing like this before. I am sitting here crying right now. The story is unfortunately true, and the bullet points are important to anyone who works with kids, or needs information on pedophilia.
Phyllis was very tight with his church, and I believe he went to counselling with them after the incident. I am quite sure that his priest knows whats up and that Phyllis has been absolved of his sins. But in a twist that seems like it should be fiction, I just found out from my stepson that Phyllis retired from truck driving, and is now the janitor of the high school in the small town he lives in. If it weren't for my 3rd point above, I would have went back down to that town and fucked up his life.
I am also divorced from the mom (about 5 years now), although I am no longer officially anything to my stepchildren, I treat them as if they are my own. They are all grown, all of them were seriously affected by this incident, and there are effects to this day.
One other point I want to add, pedophiles realize that their entire lifestyles, income, and futures are on the line if they are found out. So lying, misdirection, and all forms of deceit are to be expected.
Yes, and given the rather extreme response they can expect, I'm sure that pedos are sometimes motivated kill (by making them disappear somehow) the one witness to their crime.
We need a better way of dealing with pedophiles.
kill (by making them disappear somehow) the one witness to their crime
Yeah, especially in cases of abduction.
One has to face up to three facts: The recidivism rate is high, approaching 100%; there is no "cure"; and we can't execute them unless they murder a child.
Suppose we put them on a sort of Devil's Island where they could watch all of the photorealistic computer-generated kiddie porn to their heart's delight. Porn that doesn't injure of reinjure a child. Basically, lock 'em up and throw away the key and stop trying to play psychological engineer on their brains.
If you ask, why not punish them? Much like homosexuals, they probably discovered their taste in childhood and became sure of it in their teen years. Punishment won't change that, so what's the point of punishment?
stop trying to play psychological engineer on their brains
I'll bet they have a detectable neuropathology of some kind. With new research coming, it could even be discovered accidentally.
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I am so sorry...can I cry with you? (BIG HUG....) If there's any solace I can offer, it would be my own story. Maybe it will help.
I was first sexually abused at the age of about 6. The first report I ever made to the school and my mom was initially not believed because I was an "imaginative" child. Basically I had learned how to make a lot of stuff up. It was a defense mechanism from living in an abusive home. I did or said anything I needed to in order to survive. I lived in survival mode and I never felt comfortable telling anyone the Truth about anything because I was never accepted for it.
I went on to experience years of sexual abuse. My best friend's step father started talking to me and her about sex and how we should sleep with as many men as possible to get "really good in bed for our husbands some day." He rented us porn movies and bought us alcohol. After a while he told my best friend she couldn't see me anymore because I was a "bad" influence. I took the shame upon myself and truly believed I was a rotten person and held on to the guilt for years after this event. When I met up with her again in my college years I found out that the very night after he cut me out of her life he started having sex with her and making porn movies. He got her hooked on Meth and other "uppers."
She has since made a full recovery and is leading a healthy life.
When I was 15 I started a "relationship" with a person I thought was the love of my life. He was an adult (20/21) and not an innocent man by a long shot. I fell in love with him. I was his victim on and off for 9 years, 3 of which he was incarcerated for several violent felonies to which he was "innocent of and framed by his bitch ex-girlfriend..." I believed him at the time.
I have been in a cycle myself of choosing abusers ever since these events and been raped either by brutal force, coerced verbal manipulation, date rape drugs, or just plain stupidity on my own part throughout my entire adult life. My own ex-husband raped me once even and I swept it under the rug and didn't ever address it...but my point in telling you all of this being that I am now learning (finally) that recovery is possible. The wounds are deep and have had lasting impact on me, physically, emotionally, psychologically...I admit to being pretty crazy...
Once a girl or a boy is sexually assaulted I think the best thing anyone can do for themselves is FACE IT...FACE IT....FACE IT....square on with no blinders on. It's the only way to heal. One of my FAVORITE quotes (favorite this week, lol) "Feelings are emotional energy, they are not personality traits."
Love it. So whatever you are feeling from writing this out for the first time, let yourself feel that, and I would encourage you to encourage the victims of the sexual abuse if you can, to feel their own feelings too and to not pass judgment on them. By holding in those feelings for a long time and pretending that they do not exist is perhaps what prevents a person who experienced trauma from healing. It can lead to unhealthy choices that can have a lasting impact when you least expect it.
My own journey in this regard was after I got pregnant. I buried my OWN feelings and never ever truly dealt with the problems I had until I became pregnant and started to have brutal, violent sexual nightmares almost every single night. After my son was born a lot of physical symptoms started to plague me and I have since been diagnosed with several diseases/disorders that all stem back to unchecked psychological trauma. The ball is unwinding and I am healing but it's a hell of a lot harder to do now than if I had done it years ago, and the list of wounds has increased. I'm also part of a domestic violence support group and every single woman there has a similar story to mine. There's a young girl that recently joined our group who is about 21 and all of us are SOOO happy she's there at her age and we're encouraging her to stay, even though she doesn't have kids or a husband she's going down the same path we did. We all have told her, "What I would GIVE to go back in time and fix myself at 21 instead of waiting until I'm 31...." what a difference 10 years makes...So get help....to any and all victims of sexual abuse who may have swept it all under the rug and pretended like you don't need help...this is my message: IT WILL NOT DISAPPEAR IF YOU IGNORE IT, IT WILL ONLY COME BACK TO BITE YOU IN THE ASS LATER....That's not a negotiable, that's a guarantee...But my promise to you is this. If you do seek help the RIGHT way...get counseling, maybe do some EMDR sessions, or other therapy, get a good support group around you, write down and face your feelings and make a plan for dealing with them in a healthy way, learn proper boundaries, (which goes out the window when you're sexually abused) and learn the value of your own life...if you do these sort of things you WILL heal!!! It will happen...it can happen....and when it does you'll end up being a stronger person than most people you know for having become a Survivor and THEN you can help other people survive....
I don't know if that makes you feel better but it's all I got, lol....For you Melvinotis: Thanks for putting it all out there. This too is my first public testimony of some of the shit that's happened to me but I hope to share it to encourage people that recovery is possible. Whew...Now I'm crying.
Belle, real stories like yours break my heart, and as you mention, have lifelong effects and memories.
I will give this one positive spin on my story, the little girl was self aware enough to identify that she was wronged, and was taught well enough to speak to someone right away. So although her life was no peach, her story could have been yours, just brought up to current day. Phyllis avoided sex offender status, but he's not going to be anyones babysitter ever. He maybe the breadwinner in his family, but enough people know about him that he cannot escape and is essentially under lifetime house arrest.
I titled this to be about the Catholic Church as well, and although Dr. Bob is tired of hearing about it, I wanted to show that the reason why we at T/A and frankly the rest of the world cannot let it go is because the facts and figures do not fully encompass the whole story. I mentioned that at least 15 lives were ruined, and I could outline each of them, different for each person. On that day, everyones hopes, dreams, and futures were started over in a way that was sadder than the day before. Disparate people as well; I never had contact with the little girls grandparents before that day, I never had the need.
So that is one of the reasons we cannot let it go.
Further, he would like to step away from it because he thinks it is handled. The authorities are involved, it is so difficult to keep secrets these days, and there is even money at the end for some victims.
But the pedophile factory is still running. Refusal to have women in top posts, unnatural rules that men are not allowed to touch their own dicks (and women their own hoo-hoos), men and women (priests and nuns) not able to have normal sexual relations for decades, for their entire lives. You cannot produce healthy adults in this fashion.
I feel that when the church finally sees its way through, it will find that the rules that are in place today are the equivalent of attempting to deliver castrati.
He knows better, but as Strega mentioned, the cognitive dissonance is breathtaking. And foments a culture that allows for guys like Phyllis and your attackers.
Bob hates that we can't let it go?
I hate that he won't acknowledge the church has a systemic institutional problem, and he comes over here to sing its praises. So he and I are even I guess.
Exactly what he thinks he is accomplishing is anyone's guess; I'd say he's alienating more people than he is influencing in a postive way.
Bob doesn't hate anything.
I myself have never been a victim like @Belle, but like @Melvinotis, I know victims of childhood abuse. In one case of priestly abuse, but the others were family and teachers/coaches. The tales are every bit as heart wrenching. In fact, in one case at least they are worse.
Unlike the two of you, I have also been on the other side as a professional dealing with allegations and coordinating responses with law enforcement and children's services. That offers one a different perspective, because frequently these things are quite complex. @Melvinotis's tale is the norm; often respect for the law means that we let perpetrators get away. My guess is that things have improved as the stigma on reporting has gone away, but the challenge is still very real.
The victims that I know that give me the most heartache and pain personally were not church-related abuse. They were in other youth programs and families. They were betrayed by parents and by school officials and under-funded children's services agencies.
So for me, what you do by focusing exclusively on priestly abuse is you devalue and neglect the children I know who were harmed by others. You seem to dismiss that as irrelevant and not worthy of your time and condemnation and efforts to reform, because it's more in keeping with your worldview to point with alarm at those terrible Catholics. But the pain of those children is so real, and their tales so terrible. Parents and teachers have so much more access to kids than priests do, and the rate and type of abuse is horrible.
Bob, I can summarize your entire comment in a short sentence: "We're not the only ones!"
No, you're not, but you ARE the only ones who, as an organization originally established for the purpose of doing good, has systematically and institutionally protected pedophiles, which is a far cry from weird Uncle Harold playing with his pre-teen nieces, then denying it. An organizational cover-up trumps an individual duck and run every time.
Interesting, your tack last time was, "Hey, it wouldn't be such a big deal if the public were only more accepting, like the ancient Greeks! Now, Melvinotis and Belle tell their stories, and you suddenly recall experiences that were, "heart wrenching"! Not very Greek-like.
What do you do, check to see which way the wind is blowing, and use that to decide which way to tack?