Monday, June 10, 2013

Understanding Sexual Abuse: One Man's Story

It's almost impossible for anyone to understand sexual abuse.

The victim, the perpetrator, and the victim's loved ones all have an understanding, in some form, of some aspect of sexual abuse.  Often those who suffer in one form of another, for one reason or another, believe that no one can understand what they are going through, and the "get over it" mentality seems to only add an acute frustration to the victim, moving the psychological damage to a new level.

Since it is all but impossible to understand sexual abuse, this will be the first in a series of articles to address some specifics in abuse.  All quotes are accurate, and all stories are true,  but have been de-indentified carefully.

A man from a big city in the west coast of the United States, has a history of sexually abusing young boys yet is not in prison.  He is deemed so dangerous as an offender, that he cannot be alone, even for a moment in time.  He is not in a cage, behind bars, keeping the public safe from him, because, when he was 16 years old, he had poor grades in school, never studied, and had himself a "good ole time" at the expense of his teachers.

He was given a test, designed by someone I don't know, in which the results were of a certain score which then cost taxpayers more money:  the school district received more tax payer dollars, and, subsequent payments were made by the government directly to him, due to the test score.

As one who claimed to be "genetically" designed to be sexually attracted to young boys, he was given money, each month, therefore, he did not have to hold a job, giving him lots of free time.

He sexually molested little boys, effectively causing them, and so many others (as future articles will show), for the rest of their lives.  Some of his victims may commit suicide to escape the pain.

This continued for years as upon conviction, judges suspended his sentence of punishment (and keeping the public safe) in exchange for, what they called, "help." This took the financial aspect of this story to an entirely new level.

Everything about this man's existence came from tax payers.  Everything.  By this time, the boys he had molested families paid for his existence.  He did not have to do anything to earn this money, and what was provided to him was everything, from his clothing to his access to the internet.  He was delighted to hear politicians call cell phones a "right", as he knew that most modern cell phones had cameras.

He loved cameras.

The government chose to "save" him, rather than punish him, and this meant that they needed to do something about his free time.

They decided to take even more tax payer dollars to pay for him to see a therapist, beginning at once per week (including cab fare, sans tip, to and from the therapist), but building up to three times per week, but this was not all.

They also decided to pay people to wait upon him, hand and foot, 24 hours per day.

He had his own low paid servant.

Now 35 years old, he has never known a day of work in his life.  As a teen, he did not hold a job, and laughed at his friends having to work.  He did not have to do his home work, and the school teachers were told to pass him, just the same.

He holds a high school diploma.

He has a small apartment, 2 bedrooms, with his bedroom filled with computer supplies, stereo, a small piano keyboard and the second bedroom is where is personal servant lives.  (He has several as they work around the clock, changing shifts.  If he wants ice cream at 2 o'clock in the morning, he gets it.  If he does not like a particular staff, he gets the staff terminated. They work unceasingly, just above minimum wage, to meet all of his needs, while he spends his days walking through parks, inching closer and closer to schools, taking pictures, surfing the internet and sleeping in whenever it pleases him.

One day while walking through the park, he told his new staff that he had to go to the bathroom.  The staff looked around the empty park and said, "okay, I'll wait outside."  The new staff did not think it necessary to follow him into the bathroom since the park seemed so empty, and it really is not such a pleasant duty, after all.

When a few minutes passed without the man coming out of the public park, the staff became nervous and finally, rushing into the bathroom, banged on the door of the stall.

"Just a minute, man!" the pedophile yelled back, but the staff heard the sound of a young boy.

Shoving open the door of the stall, he found a little boy with his pants and underwear around his ankles, staring off blankly.

The end result?

1.  The staff person was fired.
2.  The little boy's life is destroyed.
3.  There is no consequence to the perpetrator.

Parents, it only takes a minute or so of neglect to allow the pedophile to touch your child.

Do you recall the states' health and human services teaching of "good touch; bad touch" to children?  This was the government program to teach youngsters about sexual abuse, but after a few years of actually teaching this, they realized that many of the "touches" did not inflict pain, and the idea of "bad touch" was confusing to 3, 4 and 5 year olds.

The stupidity is mind blowing.

Question:  What happens when a child is touched, sexually, even when there is no infliction of physical pain?

Answer:  The consequences of such an action are myriad.

I don't know where to even begin.  There are some standards of which we may go by, but we know that every case is different, and each child reacts differently.

I think that for those who wonder if there is a God, and if we are deliberately created, rather than just an atomic happenstance of sorts, this may be the proof you seek:  is sexual abuse an assault in the Image bearer of God that is so utterly insulting that the child's very being is assaulted, and wounded, who will then never heal, but only hope to mitigate the suffering for the next 70 or 80 years?

This is something for us to consider later, as we look at cultural responses to sexual abuse in future articles.

Boys and Girls.

Boys and girls are different.

As strange as this sounds to modernity's waxy ears, it is nonetheless true, and "most" boys react one way while "most" girls react another, though, at times, the behavioral observations noted by us can blur.

Boys have a tendency to punish others for what has happened, while girls have a tendency to seek to punish their own selves for what has happened to them.

In both cases, strangely enough, boys and girls feel guilt and responsibility for the actions of the pedophile.

No amount of reason seems to penetrate the deeply held view, even from those who, as adults, know, intellectually, that what happened at age 5, was the fault of the perpetrator, yet the grown woman still blames herself.

It is, at times, maddening.

There have been cases where an infant was sexually molested (yes, an infant) and the molestation did not inflict injury or known physical pain, or discomfort, yet the child suffered for his or her entire life, with some acting out in the same month (or season) in which the perpetration took place, year after year after year.

I spoke to one man who was close to retirement who talked about his children.  One was a Presbyterian minister with his doctorate, while another was practicing law.  His third child was in and out of jail, and on drugs.

He said, "we did our best with our son..." and I caught the word "our" as part of "our son" and asked, "Was he adopted?"

He was. But, he protested, "we got him while very young still."

I then asked if he has suffered known abuse before the adoption.  He said, "yes, why?"

I asked if he knew whether or not his son had been sexually abused as an infant.  He said, "the social worker told us that he had been, but that since he was so young, he would not remember. "
He continued with a heart-breaking story of how all three children were raised the same way, with love, but upon further questioning, he was able to identify that, suddenly, with the onset of puberty, the adopted child dramatically changed.

This is so often the story.

The hormones kick in, and, in some way, the errant behavior, so often self destructive, kicks in.

As I have heard and often repeated:  the body remembers even when the person cannot.

Boys will act out and, once molested, cannot even go to the bathroom alone, without supervision, or the child may act out what was done to him, upon a school mate.  In some schools, it has become "epidemic." The boys act out and appear to be seeking to be punished.

Girls will sometimes, too, but more often will seek to punish themselves rather than wait to be punished.  Self destructive behavior leads to risk taking.

Did you ever meet a woman who was repeatedly sexually abused in life?

In cases like these, the woman is not always believed.  "No one can be that unlucky.  Sorry, no way."

It is not that the woman is "unlucky" or bucking the odds, it is very likely that, upon being molested in childhood, the youngster and eventual teenager, sought to punish herself and conciously or subconsiously put herself in dangerous situations where more assaults took place.

Within her heart, there is a deep shame where she literally holds herself responsible for being sexually abused, and puts herself in places where she can be punished, with the hope of "paying" for her "sins."

This often shows itself in promiscuity and in substance abuse, while at times in a form of self neutering, or just confusion.  

Help can be given, or at least attempted, but it should be in a safe environment only, such as prison, not where children can be easily reached.

Not all that are molested go on to offend, but those who offend were likely molested, themselves. The shame the victim feels must be addressed.  It is not fair.


Anonymous said...

I understand "The mind may not remember, but the body does", but I don't know why I do. Is it another way to say that these are unconscious memories?

Anonymous said...

I had a friend around 1990 who told me that she had been assaulted by a male caretaker when she was 6 months of age, that her little body was bruised from her ankles to her pelvis. I was so horrified, I'd never heard of such a thing :(
I never understood how she remembered it, but I believed her that she did. I don't think her parents ever told her. But, maybe they did.

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd put a warning in the above post. I'm sorry.
**Possible trigger above**

Skeptical said...

Take a look at the child stars of Hollywood. In an interview several years ago, Corey Feldman indicated that it is populated with pedophiles who say who will be in a movie and who won't depending upon the compliance of the child. He intimated that he, Cory Haim and McCauley Culkin had all paid the price of sexual abuse for their careers. Considering the trajectory their lives have taken, I believe him.

Trigger said...

"She literally holds herself responsible for being sexually abused"

She has adults and family members who hold her responsible for being sexually abused also, and point the finger at her, even though she screamed for help, begged her abuser to stop, and was left in a state of shock afer the abuse, but was too small to fight off the abuser.

Trigger said...

"The mind may not remember, but the body does"

I went to extremes trying to put the memories of my sexual abuse somewhere where I couldn't remember them.

It was the only way that I could escape the shame and pain. My body reacted in ways that I couldn't ignore until I sought therapy and recovery.

Anne said...

It is hard to explain to some people that sexual abuse can happen in a busy living room filled with other people. A hug with a slip of the hand brushing the breasts. A hug in the hallway with hands grabbing.
I was in a position to know confidential information when my children were young. When I see a child sitting at the same table as my child and I know this child is troubled and has acted out it almost makes you freeze in fear.
When you hear of the many sexual assaults on the playground what do you do? Some people don't even want to believe it ever even happens! The child on child sexual assaults are happening more often than most people even realize.

At my house I kept an open door policy when kids were visiting.
I watched carefully over interactions with my children and family as I knew molestation could happen when someone leaves the room long enough to get a glass of water.
I hate playgrounds with tunnels and such where there isn't a clear view. (Many bad things happen on playgrounds)
I ended up volunteering at the school. (this is another issue, I saw children displaying behavior that needed addressed but wasn't, the teacher asked me "Do you want me to take care of that and spend all day on it or do you want me to try and teach the other 24 kids in here?")

I don't know what the answer is, I do know sexual abuse has left it's own mark on me. Personally I feel awareness of what is out there and the understanding of how quick things can happen helps.

Children are our future, and I think we as a country do a poor job of protecting them legally. More money and help to the perps (who by the way almost always reoffend) than help or money for the victims.

Another issue: Sometimes it is available access vs preference. By this I mean: If adult male were to take young girls fishing all day out in the woods people might notice, not so much when taking a group of boys. I am not saying women don't offend just that it can come down to the perp offending where he/she can. I have had more trouble having people I talk this issue over with believing or even thinking about young boys being abused than the same type of offenses happening with girls.


Anne said...

I forgot to say that I agree with Peter's article and I am so glad he is speaking out regarding this issue and all the horrible effects sexual abuse has on the victim and all the people surrounding the victim for generations.
This topic is so personal and upsetting to me, if there were one thing in the world I could change, I would make our children safe.

Just getting people to believe it happens so often and not just in the news is a start.

Anonymous said...

Anne, I so relate to your post. I try not to pass on my fears and issues to my children, but I am cautious too. I don't allow my kids to be in rooms with closed doors unless they are alone. I don't allow them to spend the night with friends, but we have their friends at our house instead. When my daughter has her friends stay the night, they sleep on cots in the living room while I stay awake and keep watch. I only go to bed after they are asleep and make sure I'm the first one awake in the morning.

We are getting ready to move into an apartment complex. I have told my daughter she may not go into any other apartment for any reason. I've told her that if an adult claims to need assistance, whether it be a lost pet, alleged injury, etc... they do not need that assistance from a child and they only appropriate thing for her to do is get me. I've told her that she is not going to play outside without me, ever, and to not bother asking. We know people that live there that are "free range" parents and let their kids run all over without supervision. I don't want my daughter to ever have the idea that it is ok. My son is almost 17 and much more cautious by nature but I've also told him he is not allowed to go into apartments for any reason.

AnonyMouse said...

I was anon 2:18. I meant to add, "the mind may not remember but the body does" is known by some as a traumaversary or physical memory. I'm a firm believer.

Peter, you have seen many different situations through your career. I only have my personal experience and what I've learned by others to go by, is there anything else you would suggest I discuss with my kids, especially since we will be living in an apartment.

Anne said...

In response to Anon at 2:18,

I think once you are aware and have experienced certain situations you have an awareness/caution/fear and need to prevent sexual abuse from happening to someone else especially your children and others.
I overheared a parent snapping at her kid because she changed her mind and didn't want to spend the night at a friends house.
It is a bad idea to ever do this to a child. It makes me so mad when people tell children "if something doesn't feel right tell me" then get mad when a child feels uncomfortable or wants to come home.
I had a "you will never be in trouble for that rule" I think sometimes kids do feel uncomfortable but don't have the skills/knowledge to know why. I would immediately pick up my kids from anywhere if they called. I also had a phrase, if for any reason they felt they couldn't talk freely, they were to ask me to feed the hamster (we didn't have one) or similar options. I had a deal I would either come and get them or they could say I needed them home. I also gave them permission to say I needed them home anytime.
There just isn't anyway to completely protect them, all we can do is try.
I found out recently one of my cousins abused his sister, when she was young. There was a day he had access to my children, it scares me where literally it can be a close call. Even though I didn't leave my kids with him, my kids were too close to danger.
Sexual abuse can happen in a moment sometimes in view, for example an adult hugging a child from behind, and the mom can't see where the hands are.
These perpetrators are conniving, manipulative, grooming, sociopaths. They don't care about the harm they cause to the child or the family for generations.
This country needs to start with prioritizing the child, lock the offenders up.
Sadly sometimes it is the opposite and the mother who was abused as a child doesn't protect her kids, she brings the abuser into her home.
I'm more into the DNT - do not trust, just wait till your kids are older. Don't risk it.

Anonymous said...

Peter: OT
This interview with missing child mom seems very disturbing. What do you think?

Angela Steinfurth - Interview Transcript 6/4
Posted: Jun 07, 2013 8:17 PM GST Updated: Jun 07, 2013 8:42 PM GST
By WTOL Staff - email

(Toledo News Now) -

Toledo News Now: What have you been going through the last three days?

Angela Steinfurth, mother of missing girl: A nervous wreck. I just want her home in one piece, I wanna know that she's okay. It's very hard not having her around. My other daughter's going insane without her sister. They need to be together.

Toledo News Now: When you see the outpour of support, does that help at all?

Angela: It does, but it still doesn't bring her home. It doesn't bring her home at all. I appreciate the support of everybody being here but it does not bring her back at all.

Toledo News Now: What can you hope that tonight's vigil will do?

Angela: Put an end to this so she can come home. I'm hoping someone just gives up and brings her back to me and her father where she needs to be. She has problems, and me and him are the only ones that can handle those problems for her.

Toledo News Now: What is she like? Tell me about her.

Angela: She's shy, she's quiet, she's a momma's girl over a thousand percent….She does like men, but she'll see you for a couple minutes if you're a guy, but overall it's ‘mommy mommy mommy.' That's the way she's been since she was born. She's a perfect little angel, I wouldn't ask her to be any other way.

Toledo News Now: I can't even imagine what this has all been like for you, a nightmare?

Angela: Yeah, I've been like this for 3 days, shaking. It's hard. It is very hard. I just want her home.

Toledo News Now: Is there anything else you wanna add?

Angela: Just whoever has her, to bring her home. She needs to be home with her parents.

Horrified said...

Our laws are going in the wrong direction! Snippets from articles. See links to read them in full.

"Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals"
"Claim unfair to be stigmatized for sexual orientation"

"In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences.”

"Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term."


"Pedophilia Is A Sexual Orientation Under CA Bill[?]"

"California Congresswoman, Rep. Jackie Speier CA (D), wants to federalize a state law to prohibit counseling to change a person’s sexual orientation. That doesn’t sound that extreme, but pedophilia is a sexual orientation according to this bill as well."

"Recently, a United States District Court Judge, William Shubb, sided with Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) by granting their plaintiffs a preliminary injunction against the legislation, which is known as California SB 1172."

"Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that, “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation.” However, the Democrats defeated the amendment. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law, and accordingly decided that pedophilia is a sexual orientation that should be equally as embraced as homosexuality."

Horrified said...

APA = American Psychological Association

Anonymous said...

I meant unlawful Conduct, not content. Sorry. Anon-J

Anonymous said...

By George Bennett
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
A woman who worked for U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, on an international commission claims in a lawsuit that he subjected her to "unwelcome sexual advances," crude comments and unwanted hugging over a two-year period and retaliated against her when she complained.
Hastings denied the "ludicrous allegations" in the lawsuit filed Monday by attorneys from the conservative group Judicial Watch on behalf of plaintiff Winsome Packer.
Packer's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, names Hastings as a defendant along with the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the commission's former staff director, Fred Turner.
"I have never sexually harassed anyone," Hastings said in a statement. "In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, 'How bizarre!' "

Anonymous said...

Since my daughter got abus## my life has been shite im a "father"and wish i was give my life to remove her ordeal.

katydid said...

I agree with Skeptical. I do think many young actors were abused by casting directors and producers and older actors.

shmi said...

In response to Anne,
Thanks for your post. I used your idea of having a code and told my son to call anytime he feels uncomfortable. No matter where he is, I will immeiately come get him.

Unknown said...

No one could understand how hard it is to suffer from sexual abuse unless one has experienced it. That is why most victims spend the rest of their lives in silence, in fear that no one might understand them. The case tore his life apart. However, it shouldn't be bottled up for that long. Every victim should learn how to confront it so that they would be able to move on with their lives.