Friday, May 22, 2015

Abuse and Responsibility

Say what?

I have not yet had very many vitriolic comments directed at me. There has been a handful of particularly negative ones- even a death threat. But I am writing this in anticipation of more. On social media, there is only so much you can say. Twitter has character limits, Google Plus has formatting issues, but on a blog I can write things out in paragraphs and make sense. My policy on those types of comments is to not respond. If there is an argument, an idea that must be challenged, I will challenge it. But I do not respond to insults.


The fact is, I abused a child sexually. It is not something I condone. I am not at all proud of it. It is an ongoing source of shame. I am sure that many might see some of my comments in my posts, or some of my comments on news articles, or Tweets, and think that I see my actions a certain way. That is, that I have some sort of thought process justifying what I did, or something.

Full responsibility

I do see my actions a certain way. What I did to my victim was manipulative, cruel, and mean. I have the benefit of knowing the situation, if that can really be called a benefit. I know that my actions only involved hand to genital contact, and did not involve anything physically damaging. However, my actions still had psychological effects on my victim.

I do not excuse what I did, and I never will. It was solely my fault and my responsibility. I make many points in my blog about how abuse can be prevented, and how people can be helped before an offense can happen. Many times, I use my own situation and my own choices as examples of why parents or others should watch for certain things. I also use the failings in my situation as an example for why abuse is preventable.

For example, I often bring up the fact that I sought help before I abused a child, and the 'help' I received drove me to keep my attractions to children a complete secret for four years. I talk about how individual people and the community I was in failed me. I do so because the decision to abuse a child does not happen in a vacuum, and to point out that there are ways to intervene before that decision is made.

In no way am I blaming the individuals and community for my actions. Again, my decisions were mine. Could they have been different? Yes. That is why "What if?" is permanently linked. One of the biggest enablers of abuse is secrecy. The worst thing society can do is to not talk about child sexual abuse, pedophilia, and the mental health, criminal justice, and victim/survivor health issues and topics. Secrecy serves no purpose other than allowing abuse to continue.

Worth it?

I think it is possible to take full responsibility for my actions, and yet learn lessons from them. That is why this blog exists. Yes, I molested a child. It was not a Romeo and Juliet situation. He was eight years old, and I was fresh out of college. There was, is, and never will be any justification for my actions. But the best thing I can do is make sure that I do my share in sharing the lessons from my situation. If one child is spared the pain of child sexual abuse because I have the courage to admit that I abused a child and why, then the death threats, vitriol, hate mail, rudeness, accusations of bias... if that is what I have to read or hear in order to make the statement that child sexual abuse can be prevented before it happens, so be it. I do not believe anyone can read my blog and hear only that I sexually abused a child and nothing else.

MAP Followers, Pedophile Followers

I suppose someone could say that I have a few followers on Twitter... who are pedophiles, or minor attracted people (MAP). It is true. To be frank, that is exactly the group of people I originally intended to reach with my blog. There are some who do not need my resources or help managing their attraction, or rather, the stigma against them. There are some that have coped just fine. But my blog, my Twitter, TNF 13... it is there for those who want or need help. Even if that is just a support system, I want this blog to be a resource for them just as much as for parents, victims, and the average person.

There is no secret plot to change consent laws (I think I recently wrote about why I avoid that issue). There is no conspiracy to make child sex acceptable (even many of my MAP followers directly say there is a high risk for harm, so avoid it). It has the high potential for harm, and in most cases it is harmful. Like any extremely negative/traumatic event, child sexual abuse has victims who were not all that affected by the abuse itself. I am one of them. I have said and always will that child sexual abuse is just that, abuse.

I also do not think that there is some kind of conspiracy by most MAP activists and pedophile activists to change consent laws, or allow free love or whatever the go-to conspiracy term is these days (with NAMBLA (North American Boy Love Association), it was 'boylove'). I presume there are some, but I try to steer clear of them. I know what to look for.

But my guess is that most of these people are people who are forced to deal with their attraction the best way they know how, and just want people to recognize that their attraction is not a choice. I did not choose to be attracted to young children either, and I can see why that is a hot-button issue. Also, to have that attraction automatically means to most people that you abused a child, regardless of reality, is infuriating and disgusting. For some, the word pedophile evokes a visceral response that all pedophiles are liars, rapists, and scum. I want to challenge that, because it is that very response that can enable child sexual abuse by driving pedophiles further into secrecy, shame, and desperation (the very emotions that can lead to hurting a child).

I support my MAP and pedophile followers so long as they make the statement that sexual contact with children is harmful and must be avoided. I support them because the average person will not. I was always a sucker for underdog stories. I cannot think of a more hated, bullied, and harassed group of people. For the Christians in the room: They are the lepers of our time, and all they did to earn leper status was exist. 

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