Monday, January 11, 2016

Why?

I have been wracking my brain a bit lately to come up with a new idea for a blog post, and in talking with one of my friends today, one came to me. Why? Why this blog? Why advocacy? What do I want to see happen? What is my end goal? Why would a sex offender who molested a child engage in advocacy to prevent child sex abuse?

One idea that has been expressed to me many times is that if my blog, the information I put out there, if that can save one child from knowing abuse, that is enough. I do not buy into that. One child is not enough. I have said in many different venues that child sex abuse is completely preventable, and what I mean by that is that it does not need to happen. It is completely avoidable, because the resources that assist child molesters to rebuilding their lives- one free from further abuse- are out there. The resources are out there, and they are clearly effective. That is what the statistics say- the low recidivism, the high proportion (95%) of new crime being committed by first-time offenders- they say loudly and clearly that treatment works.

Yet it is only readily available after a crime has happened. That is disgustingly pathetic. In all of our wisdom, all of our knowledge, all of our easy access to facts, studies and statistics, and we put in place a system where effective mental health help is more available to those who commit sex crimes than those at risk for committing them- then shun these healthier people. It is disgracefully pathetic. Worse, we put in place a system that assumes myths that the facts do not reflect.

One child is not enough, it will never be enough. The reason I put this blog together, the reason I compile these resources, the reason I do any of this is in the hope that one day there can be a nationwide system where teenagers are screened for mental health issues, and offer them the opportunity to address them. Any issue is fair game, including sexual issues: Concerns about rape fantasies, abuse fantasies, attractions/fantasies involving children, attractions/fantasies involving animals... all of it.

What I have learned from my situation, from my treatment program, from my friends, and from my choices is that my decisions could have been different if I had received the resources I have now, five, even ten years ago. If it could have been different for me, then it can be different in every single sex crime case out there. I am no better or worse an offender than Jerry Sandusky or Jared Fogle. The only difference is how I responded to my crime, and how they responded to theirs. I deserve no more credit than the thousands of other offenders who have taken the opportunity to benefit from their mandated treatment programs and turn things around. My actions deserve no less condemnation than Jerry Sanduskys', Jimmy Seville, or any other child molester.

It is a simple social science exercise to pick a pivotal moment in my life, and wonder how things could have been different if that moment played out differently. What if I was never abused? What if I did not have Asperger's? Would I have abused a child then? Would I have developed an attraction to children? There is any amount of speculation to these questions and more, and to be frank there is nothing to stop an ongoing attraction to children from affecting anyone around you.

You, dear reader, are the only one who knows if you have attractions to children. And you have a choice, if you do, of what you can do with that. You can make the choices I did. You can get help to manage them, and to open up to people about it. You could take it a step further and become an advocate for the primary prevention of child sexual abuse. I have a phrase I have used at least a thousand times: Knowledge is useless unless you use it. Get out there and use the information in this blog.

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