I am a survivor of child sexual assault. I am pretty sure this isn't "news",as I have been fairly open about my experiences...once I came to terms with them and stopped fearing the stigma of the brand "victim".
With the internet in an uproar about the self published book on Amazon about pedophilia ( for which I will not be providing a link, if you don't know of what I speak, google it), it cracked open a few doors in my brain.
Was my father a pedophile? My Uncle? My Male Cousins? They were certainly using children for their own sexual gratification, but not exclusively. They also had access to consenting adult female partners. My uncle, in particular, has fathered at least 10 or 11 children that we KNOW about. They all seemed heterosexual* in their orientation, so I have always assumed they only perpetrated against my female cousins and myself. Always girls....at least what I know about, often pried out of them in fits and starts and over the course of years only to be spoken after people died or moved so far away there was no fear of reprisal.
(I am not implying that one has to be hetero or homo sexually oriented to be a sexual predator - only that in my own family, it seemed that the perpetrators were all heterosexually oriented, as they chose the girls...that I know of. In hindsight, I really wonder since so many of the older boys seemed to step into the pattern so easily. Were they also being abused and said nothing or was it a culture of of opportunistic abuse? I just don't know)
Of course, as an adult I have often wondered who perpetrated against THEM. For I know that the cycle of sexual abuse tends to be just that - a cycle. One begets another, who in turn eventually begets another. Like a ponzi scheme of dysfunctional family sexuality, the logical part of my brain knows that this little "habit" didn't simply start spontaneously with the generation of myself and my female cousins. You need flies to lay maggots, after all.
But I don't know.
But I can tell you what I do know. I was the person who helped to manage the Child Abuse and Neglect Registry for the State of New Hampshire from about 2002 until 2005. I entered cases into the registry. I cross checked matches to make sure it was the same individual. I read and entered cases into the files to make sure they were accurate against the notes in the computer systems and then I closed them.
In short, I read a lot of terrible, terrible shit. Some of the shit was so terrible that I would go home at night and tell Terrance to sleep out on the couch because I needed to have Emily in bed with me. I needed her body next to mine so I knew she was all right.
Occasionally, I would come across children I Knew. Families I knew. Suspicions would be confirmed and I would feel helpless and bitterly Angry. Sometimes I would cry because I had held those children. I had diapered them or washed their faces.
More often, these were not children or families I knew. Bad decisions were made about leaving kids in cars in the the winter while Mom/Dad went inside sex shops, or kids in cars when parents were busted for drug deals, or parents who simply did not have the resources - emotionally, mentally, physically or otherwise to care for their children's bodies needs. The sexual abuse cases, however, nearly Always Always Always involved people whom the children KNEW.
Cases in which a child is sexually abused by an "unknown Perp" are comparatively rare. That isn't to say it doesn't happen, it just happens much less rarely that for a child to be sexually abused by people the child knows.
Because, you see, that is how the pedophile, or person who targets children, gets Away with it. The child invests in the relationship. If it is Dad, or Uncle, or Grandpa, or Best Family Friend, or your best friends Dad or Moms Boyfriend, then the child has an investment in keeping the perpetrator SAFE. After all, MOST of the time, that person might be nice to them...Extra Nice in fact. Or if the perpetrator is your Dad , well then , he is your hero, isn't he? The man who keeps you safe and the monsters away from your bedroom, the one who can beat up other kids Dads in school yard taunts. The one who puts food on your table and clothes on your back. You are tied to him. To give him up would be to cut off your lifeline, and children are uniquely wired for their own self preservation when it comes to protecting their parents/family/loved ones.
So while this idiot self publishes a book on Amazon and brings the fury of a million terrified mothers on his head, I am here to tell you that it isn't the people who "Out" themselves who are the potential abusers of Your children.
Oh No. It isn't the pervy guy in the park who is hunting for your kids, or the crazy people who kidnap children out of bedrooms at night. Nope.
The monsters we have to watch for are those we invite into our homes. Maybe even those we live with or next to or go to visit. They are invested in keeping themselves low profile and hidden from sight. I used to joke that it was only the stupid or reckless ones who got caught, a sort of gallows humor for me in a job that was exceptionally difficult.
So were my father and uncle and cousins pedophiles? I don't think they were in the classic definition of only being aroused by children. Were they simply men who sexually assaulted based on opportunity and availability - or what is called non-exclusive sexual offenders? Most Likely.
I will never be able to trace the fissures of destruction that their actions, and the actions of their victims, and the actions of their possible perpetrators began. I will never know when it started, and with whom.
All I can do is watch the other adults in the life of my daughter, and her friends and respond when my "gut" tells me something is off. Because my gut is Never wrong.