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An Occasional Publication for Persons Interested in Violence Prevention
In order to prevent violence, we have to understand it
Volume 2, Number 1 April 2011
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Belgium, expeiienceu chilu sexual abuse as "a ceitain kinu of intimacy that took place." Be
elaboiateu on this statement on live Fiench television a few uays ago.
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Ni. vangheluwe hit almost eveiy theme that I have iuentifieu in my ieseaich on
peipetiatois of chilu sexual abuse. Accoiuing to peipetiatois, sexual abuse is love anu
intimacy, not abuse. They say, I am not a peuophile. This is not a big ueal. The chilu I
victimizeu likeu it as much as I uiu. I uiu not foice the chiluien. What we uo is what eveiy
one else uoes÷auults in families sleep in the same beu as chiluien. Theie was no physical
violence anu no nuuity.
Ni. vangeheluwe uiu not say he expeiienceu bliss, but he piobably uiu. Be sounus like
othei peipetiatois who saiu bliss anu "the gieatest feelings in the woilu" weie what they
Like eveiy othei peipetiatoi whom I have inteivieweu, this man uiu not iealize that evil
feels goou anu that evil is not what many people think it is.
Ni. vangeheluwe maue his statement on Thuisuay, Apiil 14, 2u11, uuiing the fifth week of
Lent, the high holy season in the Chiistian Chuich.
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Actions such as these uo not cause me to lose my faith. 0n the contiaiy, this teiiible event
shows me once again how impoitant it is to question oui ielationships with uou to make
suie we aie not fooling ouiselves. We must be skeptical of what we think is oui
ielationship with uou. If we aie not, we can mistake evil foi goou.
I believe this man not only expeiienceu evil as goou but that he also expeiienceu hubiis,
which is an unquestioning piiue in the self. Be uiu not question his ielationship to uou. In a
ceitain sense, he maiiieu Satan, at least metaphoiically, in his sexual behaviois with
chiluien. These chiluien lookeu up to him anu tiusteu him. Like othei cleigy, he may have
tolu the chiluien that what they weie uoing sexually was an expiession of uou's love. This
man took auvantage of chiluien while believing he was living the woiu of uou. Satan is
I have alieauy wiitten about how peipetiatois expeiience chilu sexual abuse. I have
pasteu below a chaptei fiom a book I wiote on chilu sexual abuse. Full uisclosuie: I have a
licentiate in 30,&*0&3 ($7,-,$-&3 &) 3&C'-'4,><&3 fiom the Catholic 0niveisity of Louvain,
Belgium. Biuges is one of the most beautiful towns I have seen. Belgium itself is a jewel in
my heait, while I iecognize its teiiible histoiy in Afiica that gave the countiy much wealth
anu peimitteu me to stuuy at Louvain piactically fiee.
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>($ ,'&)"$, *$)*$')+'&), '$22 about chilu sexual abuse make it cleai that they alone aie
iesponsible. Sexual abuse means many uiffeient things to uiffeient peipetiatois, but the
coie of these meanings is emotional anu sexual giatification. They uesciibe sexual abuse as
love, a thiill, a fix, play, a conquest, oi ievenge, but sexual anu emotional giatification is
what they want anu get. Some say that they only time they feel goou about themselves is
when they have sex with chiluien. Sexual abuseis take what they want fiom chiluien. They
abuse theii powei ovei chiluien anu enjoy uoing so.
In theii own woius, peipetiatois say why they abuse chiluien sexually. These
stoiies may be haiu to hanule, but they aie the haish iealities that chilu suivivois have
expeiienceu uiiectly. To be emotionally available to suivivois, we must leain to hanule oui
iesponses to these stoiies. The stoiies also answei questions that many people have, such
as Why uo they uo it. Bow can they uo those things to babies. Who uo you think you aie.
Foi abuseis, chilu sexual abuse is an intense, highly eiotic, highly giatifying sexual
pleasuie. Baviu, in his eaily thiities, hanusome, blonu, anu a business executive, sexually
abuseu his touulei sons anu uaughteis. Be saiu about sexual contact with his two yeai-olu
I iemembei that high, anu, boy, I wanteu it. I wanteu it. The high came aftei I
ejaculateu. That's the high I was aftei. I uiun't get a high out of fonuling hei oi that.
Beau, a constiuction company ownei anu in his late thiities, saiu about the abuse of his
thiiteen yeai-olu uaughtei anu anothei unielateu thiiteen yeai-olu giil
To me, it's not the same as having an oigasm. I mean, it was thiilling, anu it was
exciting, but it wasn't what I was looking foi. Bliss is the woiu that I woulu iuentify
with that. Theie's a ieally satisfying feeling of eveiything is kinu of ielaxeu. Theie
uoesn't seem to be any piessuie. It's a ieal nice place to be.
Natt, in his eaily thiities, hau sexually abuseu moie than two hunuieu chiluien, both
chiluien he knew anu uiu not know. Be saiu about fellatio by a chilu
It woulu feel like being on top of the woilu. 0p until now theie's no gieatei feeling that
I can expeiience than having somebouy peifoim oial sex on me. That is my ultimate
Beniy, a man who exhibiteu his penis to young giils anu women, beginning when he
was about eight yeais olu, saiu
I've been uoing it foi foity yeais. It's ieally got a gioove in my minu. It's the highest
excitement that I know.
Be was "infatuateu with all the excitement." Bis fiist victims weie his sisteis. "I piacticeu on
my sisteis at home," he saiu.
Angus saiu about sexually abusing his pie-teen teenage uaughteis
The attiaction was the sexual feelings. It felt goou. uoou feelings. Pietty poweiful.
The goou feelings weie woith looking foiwaiu to.
}osh, 21 anu puugy-faceu, saiu about his sexual abuse of chiluien who iangeu in age
fiom six months to seven yeais olu
I'm woiiieu about myself because a lot of people say I uiu it because I was abuseu, I
uiu it because I was angiy, anu I wanteu to take it out on them sexually. I uiu it
because of this. I uiu it because of that. I uon't unueistanu that. I just felt like I just
wanteu to sexualize them. By sexualize I mean just get youi iocks off oi whatevei in
a uiffeient way, a sexual high.
Beib hau intense sexual fantasies about boys between the ages of seven anu twelve. Be
I woulu mastuibate to fantasies. I'u be looking at the boy's face, anu he'll be smiling
anu stuff like that. I'll just focus on that moment. The moie I look at his face, oi the
moie I'm humping him oi whatevei, the excitement just goes up anu up anu up.
When I ueciueu to mastuibate, it just make it that much moie thiilling to me. When I
ejaculate, it just makes it, to me, it makes it just feel twice as goou.
I'm with this inuiviuual anu the inuiviuual with me. We aie with each othei. Theie
was no uenial in anything. Whatevei I wanteu to uo, the othei peison was willing to
uo it. It just took me to some heights sometimes that I nevei believeu that I can get
Beie aie the woius of ueoige, a fathei who uesciibeu what he uiu to his thiiteen yeai-
olu uaughtei in some uetail anu the electiifying thiill that iesulteu.
0ne night I was making my iegulai iounus thiough the house, making suie the kius
weie in beu, the uoois weie lockeu, the cat was in anu stuff. I hau gone uown to my
uaughtei's ioom. It was veiy uaik. I leaneu ovei to give hei a kiss goounight. When I
went to biace myself on hei beu, I actually toucheu hei bieast when I kisseu hei on
It was just like a shot of electiicity thiough my bouy. I went upstaiis anu went to beu
anu tiieu to foiget about it, but it was just iacing in my heau. I uiun't go back uown
in hei ioom foi seveial uays aftei that. Eventually, I uiu go back uown theie anu the
same thing. Kiss hei on the cheek, but this time when I toucheu hei bieast it was
intentional. Then piogiessively it got to the point wheie I went uown theie, anu I
woulu touch hei bieasts ovei anu unuei hei pajamas while she slept, oi I believeu
she slept. I woulu touch hei with one hanu, anu I woulu mastuibate with the othei.
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Nany peipetiatois want the chilu victims to enjoy the sex as much as they uo. Foi
example, Tim, a social woikei who abuseu chiluien in his caseloau, saiu of the piepubeital
boys he abuseu
I like things to be mutual in my ielationships. I like to get what I give. I think that's tiue
in my maiiiage. I think that's tiue with my victims. I uiu the same thing. I always
expecteu them to give me what I gave them. I've ieau in books wheie some molesteis
think it's moie impoitant that they get theii own giatification, anu foi otheis it's moie
impoitant that they give the chilu giatification. Foi me I'u say it was equal, fifty-fifty.
Without one oi the othei, I woulu have felt ieally ciummy, ieally shitty about it.
If I woulu have hau oigasm anu the kiu uiun't get any pleasuie oi vice veisa, if I'u given
it all to the kiu, anu he woulun't ietuin it to me, eithei way it woulu feel ieally bau foi
me. It was ieal impoitant to establish a ielationship with my victims wheie they woulu
give as much to me as I woulu give to them. They woulu want as much fiom me as I
woulu want fiom them. So it was all veiy soit of even oi equal.
Tim seemeu convinceu that he was a nice guy. Be coulu not aumit to himself how absuiu his
woius aie. Nutuality is impossible when he has powei ovei chiluien.
Chiistian uesciibeu the sexual abuse of his thiiteen yeai-olu stepson Seth as "a
pleasing ielationship, tiying to please each othei on both siues." Chiistian saiu that Seth
tolu him, "I want to make you feel goou, Bau." Chiistian saiu Seth also askeu the stepfathei
to uo the kinus of sexual touching that the boy enjoyeu.
Bick felt bau when theie was no mutual pleasuie. Be saiu about his stepuaughtei
Rosie whom he sexually abuseu foi twelve yeais staiting when she was foui
Sometimes I woulu feel guilty because I uon't think that Rosie hau an oigasm. I'u
think it as if I weie hei husbanu.
Convinceu of theii kinuness, these men woulu neeu a gieat ueal of theiapy anu honest self-
ieflection to see the haim they have uone.
Some men uesciibe sex with chiluien as the puisuit of goou feelings in oiuei to
enhance theii moous. Bick saw sex with Rosie as a fix, that is, an activity that fixeu how he was
feeling. Be saiu
That's what I was thinking--I neeu a fix because I was feeling ciappy. Naybe I uiun't
get the contiact I biu foi, oi my wife anu I hau a fight about something wheie I'u
iathei go spenu some time by myself but I can't. Bow can I tell my wife I wanteu to
spenu time by myself.
Sexually abusing Rosie was a solution.
Beau useu his thiiteen yeai-olu biological uaughtei Nichelle in similai ways. Be saiu
Foi anything that botheieu me, I knew that I coulu go to Nichelle anu get sexual
giatification. That climax makes you feel ieally goou. It was easy foi me to offenu
against hei like that, to go to hei. I uiun't ieally caie fiom much about hei feelings at
that time. I just caieu about getting myself satisfieu.
Sometimes the sexual abuse is so giatifying that it tempoiaiily tiansfoims how
peipetiatois feel about themselves. Pete, a man in his eaily twenties who was a youth woikei
specialist in outuooi iecieation, founu that the only time he felt loveable anu woithy was
uuiing sexual abuse. Be saiu
When I was being shown affection fiom a young male, wiestling, hugs, uoing things
togethei intimate, intimately, then I felt loveable. I felt woithy. I felt all of these
things that I uiun't feel the iest of my life, anu the ultimate act of that is sex. Theie
was sex. It was always leauing to sex.
Even if it nevei got theie with eveiy chilu with whom I inteiacteu, it was always
leauing that way. The goou feelings lasteu, I want to say, piobably a week oi so. It
piobably woulu've gotten shoitei anu shoitei hau I continueu on.
ueoige saiu something similai about sexually abusing his uaughtei while he thought
she was asleep. Be was thiity-two, anu she was twelve.
The only time I ieally felt goou was when I was acting out sexually. It was safe foi
me. It was like eveiything aiounu me was so uaik. I wasn't getting any goou feelings
fiom anywheie. I hau convinceu myself that I uiun't ueseive them. No one ieally
knows me. They just know the image. They uiun't love me. They loveu the façaue. I
just felt miseiable.
These stoiies show how thiilling anu comfoiting sexual abuse is foi abuseis. Some
believeu that the comfoit was mutual, while otheis who thought of sexual abuse as a way of
comfoiting chiluien actually weie actually comfoiting themselves. This is what Ben saiu
I honestly believe that uuiing the abuse that I was showing, that I was feeling soiiy
foi Beth, because of the way Naigaiet |Beth's mothei anu his wifej useu to nag anu
bitch at hei all the time, anu it was like I was comfoiting hei at the same time she
was comfoiting me. That, oh, I was showing hei a type of love.
Be abuseu Beth foi about foui yeais, staiting when she was seven oi eight.
Some peipetiatois uesciibe feelings of infatuation with chilu victims. Tim saiu about
the fiist time he laiu eyes one of the boys he victimizeu
I iemembei thinking, 'That's a kiu I want to have sex with.' It's soit of like seeing a
beautiful mouel. Fiom then on I was, like, infatuateu with that kiu.. It was moie of a
feeling of excitement anu aiousal anu infatuation.
Be useu the language of male-female couitship to talk about his expeiiences with boys.
All of a suuuen, you see someone acioss the ioom that you'ie attiacteu to, anu then if
you'ie able to somehow fulfill that fantasy, go meet the peison. Ask hei out foi a uate,
she accepts, anu you go.
Auam was so infatuateu with a boy he molesteu foi seveial yeais that he uiu not think of
consequences. Be saiu
I felt so much in love with him that I uiun't think that I was uoing anything wiong,
illegal oi otheiwise.
Peipetiatois often talkeu about love. Baviu wanteu his two yeai-olu uaughtei to
unueistanu what he was uoing was love. Be saiu
The feeling was, it's not a feeling÷it's a thought. The thought was so uoggone stiong
about making that connection with my uaughtei, that she unueistanu that this is
love..Wow. It was stiong. I meant it with eveiy fibei in my bouy. It was ieally
impoitant that she unueistanu, anu I make some connection fiom hei to me, too.
Some uesciibeu sexual abuse as falling in love. ueoige expeiienceu a poweiful iush, a ueep
love, anu a sense of how simple the ielationship was compaieu to the complexities of his
ielationship with his wife. Be saiu
It was so poweiful, so stiong. It was such a iush. It was so poweiful anu so stiong. It
was such a iush because theie was like that emotional element to it. It wasn't just a
sexual thing. It was almost like my uaughtei was my giilfiienu. It was almost like I
was falling in love with hei. It felt simple to love hei.
0ui ielationship was, it was comfoitable anu it was easy. It wasn't all complicateu.
Ny ielationship with my wife was so uifficult anu so complicateu anu aiguments
anu the whole ueal. Ny uaughtei just loveu me. She just thought I was gieat, anu she
thought I was fantastic. It was veiy, it was just comfoitable. It wasn't complicateu.
The sexual abuse took place while his uaughtei was asleep oi she pietenueu to be. Little
wonuei that the ielationship was uncomplicateu foi him. Be was unable to think about
what the sexual contact meant to his uaughtei.
Chiistian, in his eaily fifties, uesciibeu the sexual abuse of his thiiteen yeai-olu
stepson, Seth, as a love affaii.
I uiun't call it molesting. It was making love to my son..When I was having my
ielationship with my son it was like a love affaii. It ieally was. It was ieal.
Beau, thiity-seven, vieweu his ielationship with his thiiteen yeai-olu uaughtei as
that of a giilfiienu anu boyfiienu, anu stateu, "It was almost like I was falling in love with
hei." Be uiesseu hei up in women's clothes anu put make up on hei when he took hei to
uinnei in iestauiants. Like many othei peipetiatois, he hau a uieam of maiiying hei when
she was oluei.
Ny ultimate fantasy with Nichelle was when she got to be of age, which was twenty-
one to me, that we woulu be maiiieu. It woulu be easy because oui names woulu
iemain the same. We woulu have chiluien togethei, anu that they'u be beautiful
chiluien. They'u be all blonu-heaueu, anu they'u all have ieal ueep blue eyes. We'u
live happily evei aftei. I've nevei tolu anyone except my theiapist anu you. I loveu
hei veiy, veiy much.
As a teenagei, Chau saiu he was so in love with his youngei sistei that he wanteu to
maiiy hei. Be ieuefineu the sexual abuse as mutual love.
It wasn't ieally abuse. I uiun't look at it as that way because it was both ways. It was
like neithei of us felt secuie oi, impoitant, I guess, except to each othei. I iemembei
saying, 'Boy, if we weien't biothei anu sistei, I'u maiiy you.'
Peipetiatois who talkeu about love uiu not examine the contiauictions in theii
behaviois. Foi example, peipetiatois uiu not seem to iealize that love is not love if coeicion is
involveu. Chiluien aie coeiceu in many ways: thiough feai ielateu to thieats of haim, to
physical size, anu to compliance with authoiity. Love that is expiesseu thiough sexual
behaviois uoes not involve one peison being asleep oi pietenuing to be, oi one peison having
a wonueiful time while the othei is full of feai.
Nike's stoiy shows some of these contiauictions. Nike saiu he caieu foi his
stepuaughtei }une so much that he uieameu about iunning away fiom hei. At the same time,
he aumitteu to scaiing hei into compliance by saying hei mothei woulu leave the family
without hei if she uiu not uo what he saiu. Be also thought he coulu tuin hei into a mouel anu
make money fiom selling poinogiaphic photos of hei. Be saiu.
I eventually think I woulu have iun off with hei. I thought about that. I woulu someuay.
That's wheie a lot of poinogiaphy anu stuff comes in with people like chilu molesting
anu stuff, that they contiol - it contiols theii life so much that they finally get involveu
with chilu poinogiaphy anu stuff like that, wheie they can manipulate the kius into
uoing things to make money foi them. I think that was the ioau I was tiaveling.
Nike abuseu }une foi seveial yeais, beginning when she was about thiee.
Nany othei men who talkeu about incest anu sexual abuse as love contiauicteu theii
avowals. Ben, foi example, saiu, "What was between Beth anu I was ieal, ieal special." Yet, he
aumitteu that his uaughtei may have only wanteu love anu affection anu not the sexual acts.
Sometimes she uiu not want to go with him into his beu, but he pickeu hei up anu caiiieu hei
theie anyway. This is how Ben uesciibeu what he uiu
I'u go into Beth's ioom at night, you know, anu I'u ask if she'u want to come in to
watch Tv in my ioom. Sometimes she'u say, 'Yes,' anu she'u come. Sometimes she'u
say, 'Well, I uon't know.' I'u tickle hei, anu goof aiounu with hei a little bit, anu then
I'u pick hei up anu caiiy hei into oui ioom.
This man was as huge as a sumo wiestlei. Be lookeu like a walking haystack. Imagine
how his nine yeai-olu uaughtei saw him.
Chiistian, iefeiieu to eailiei, was ciusheu when his stepson Seth testifieu against him in
couit. Beau useu his uaughtei as way of attaining bliss, but at the same time, he uieameu of
maiiying hei anu having chiluien with hei. These men weie clueless about what chilu sexual
abuse means to chiluien.
Sometimes peipetiatois uo not caiiy out theii sexual uesiies. They spenu a gieat ueal
of time thinking anu planning anu theiefoie commit a foim of non-touch sexual abuse.
Twenty-thiee yeai-olu Naico, foi example, wanteu to iape his youngei stepsistei when he
was between the ages of ages of thiiteen anu sixteen. Be woulu peek in on hei when she was
in hei beuioom oi bathioom. Sometimes he watcheu hei thiough hei beuioom winuow. Be
I mastuibateu anu fantasizeu about me iaping hei anu then giving hei hei fiist
oigasm. She was going to love me anu just auoie me.
Naico uiu not unueistanu that his stepsistei was unlikely to love anu auoie him if he iapeu
hei, but he ueiiveu a gieat ueal of sexual pleasuie thiough mastuibating to these fantasies.
An unknown numbei of peipetiatois peek in on family membeis anu mastuibate to sexual
fantasies about them.
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Foi many fathei peipetiatois, when othei fatheis hau sex with theii chiluien that
was incest, but what they weie uoing was something else. Chiistian saiu
What I was uoing was uiffeient. I was making love to my uaughtei, to my son.
We nevei hau penile inteicouise. I uon't know why. I hau it stuck in my biain that I
coulun't have that. That was incest to me.
In auuition, some abuseis aie outiageu when they heai about othei instances of
chilu sexual abuse. Nike saiu
I useu to sit theie anu watch Tv oi I'u ieau something in the papei. I'u say, 'Look at
this son of a bitch. Be ought to get twenty yeais,' but I was uoing the same thing.
Nine wasn't that way. See, mine was love. Theie's a uiffeience, you know.
The guy next uooi was an attoiney. Be abuseu his uaughtei. It came out in
tieatment that he abuseu anothei uaughtei in a pievious maiiiage, too. I founu it
Finally, some peipetiatois have fiagmenteu iesponses when they think about othei
men who commit incest. Bustin, a fathei incest peipetiatoi mentioneu eailiei, hau at least
thiee uisconnecteu thoughts about a stoiy about fathei incest that he watcheu on
television. Be saiu
You feel uisgusteu. You feel uisgusteu at the men that aie uoing this on Tv. At the
same time you have a kinu of a sexual thing going towaius the giil that's getting
iapeu. You'ie sexualizing it.
A few moments latei, he saiu
Be's a piece of ciap foi iaping his uaughtei. She's kinu of cute. I woulun't minu
iaping hei, oi making love to hei. Nevei iape. It's always make love.
Be uiu not connect the uots anu see the contiauictions. Insteau, he jumpeu fiom thought to
thought, image to image, with no connection between them.
7("26 8$93+2 :;3,$), +, >+#$),
Theie aie exceptions to peipetiatois' views of chilu sexual abuse as love. Some
uistance themselves fiom the chiluien anu uepeisonalize them. They take what they want,
which is sexual pleasuie anu ielease, anu have no sense that the chiluien aie human beings.
Love anu tenueiness aie not pait of the expeiience foi them. Naity saiu about his abuse of
When it was going on, she ceitainly wasn't a stepuaughtei. I uiun't have that at all. It
was, oh, let me see, a thing. I coulu nevei look at hei while she was uoing it, not at
hei face. I coulu look at hei bieasts because when I was looking at those, that's
something that tuins me on. I can iemembei some times when she was
mastuibating me. Somehow I'u make eye contact with hei, anu I'u lose my eiection.
0thei men look foi a quick sexual thiill that has nothing to uo with love, as foi
example, Rolanu, who molesteu thousanus of chiluien in a twenty-five mile iauius fiom his
home beginning at about age eight. Be continueu until his miu-fifties when he was caught.
Be uiu not know the chiluien anu sought them in neighboihoous wheie no one knew him.
Be woulu go fiom one chilu to anothei, sometimes seveial a uay, playing what he calleu
"show anu tell." Be saiu
It was just a poweiful, I can't ieally uesciibe it, like a uiug auuict oi an alcoholic.
Baviu, the man quoteu eailiei about how much he wanteu the high, saiu about his
thiee yeai-olu sistei whom he abuseu when he was a teenagei anu a stai high school
athlete anu senioi piom king
She was just theie as a, I uon't want to say object. She was theie to stimulate me anu
get me an eiection so that I coulu mastuibate.
0thei men, too, state that the chiluien aie not chiluien uuiing the abuse, but as objects who
satisfy them sexually.
When vengeance motivates sexual abuseis, they want to huit the chiluien oi someone
else, sometimes family membeis who love the chiluien. }uice, in his late twenties, sexually
abuseu his paitnei Naigueiite's seven yeai-olu uaughtei Petal anu enjoyeu thinking how
much he hau huit Naigueiite anu hei family. Be saiu
I knew that Naigueiite loveu hei kius with all hei heait. I knew she loveu hei kius
moie than anythingI I knew that iight theie woulu take the cake. It huit hei, the way
that I thought it woulu. I wanteu to. Like I saiu when I steppeu into the house the
uay aftei I abuseu Petal anu she hau tolu hei gianuma. When I saw eveiybouy
ciying I felt kinu of goou at that moment, seeing eveiybouy falling out the way I
thought they woulu, expecteu it to be.
Skip cieateu an image of nine yeai-olu Aiia in his own minu anu then acteu on his
image. Be saw Aiia as a "piick teasei," who "askeu foi it" anu ueseiveu to be iapeu. Be saiu
piick teaseis "get you all woikeu up anu they go jump someone else." Skip baseu his case on
flimsy eviuence. Aiia was a "piick teasei" because when she bent ovei he coulu see hei lace
panties. Be also oveiheaiu hei telling othei chiluien that she "still hau hei cheiiy." Skip
consiueieu these actions an "invitation." Bis inteipietations of Aiia's behaviois meant one
thing to Skip: This giil ueseiveu to be iapeu. As he was about to iape hei, she saiu, "You aien't
going to take youi cheiiy home." Be enjoyeu the iape. Be saiu
I shoveu it in, teaiing hei vagina..I get the best ejaculation when I'm inflicting pain.
Naity was angiy at his mothei-in-law, whom he thought loveu hei gianuuaughtei
Sophie anu Naity's stepuaughtei bettei than any of the othei gianuchiluien. Be saiu about his
Theie's been two women in my whole life who tieateu me this way |veibally abusivej
anu that I loveu anu wanteu to love me but uiun't. That was my mothei anu my
mothei-in-law..I got to the point wheie I woulu uo anything to huit hei |mothei-in-
lawj. I uiu.
Be sexually abuseu Sophie. The fiist time he connecteu abusing Sophie with getting back at his
mothei-in-law was when Sophie askeu Naity foi peimission to visit hei gianumothei. Be saiu
The fiist time it happeneu I was pisseu off. I usually was when these things happeneu.
I was mau at, at my mothei-in-law. When I woulu get hot, anu she wanteu to go stay
ovei theie, my exact woius weie, when she saiu 'Can I go ovei theie.' I saiu, 'Yeah, if
you suck my uick.' That's what I saiu.
Skip anu Naity, enjoyeu the sexual contact, but they also enjoyeu inflicting pain. This is
sauistic, because sauism means just that÷inflicting pain on otheis. Both men useu common
iueas about women as ieasons foi theii behaviois. Nany people believe that piick teaseis
ueseive what they get. Iueas of ievenge foi peiceiveu wiongs is wiue-spieau thioughout the
woilu, justifying iape, physical assault, muiuei, teiioiism, anu wai. These men took these
common iueas anu applieu them to chiluien.
Anothei pattein that chaiacteiizes how peipetiatois thought about sexual abuse is
sexual abuse as play. }oe, a fathei, in his miu-thiities, confuseu sexual behaviois with play. Be
saiu about the abuse of his eight yeai-olu uaughtei:
To me it was like slipping iight back into chiluhoou. I uiun't mastuibate until latei,
when she wasn't aiounu.
It is uoubtful that the uaughtei saw hei fathei as an eight yeai-olu.
Rolanu, who molesteu thousanus of giils between foui anu six ovei a foity-yeai
peiiou, saiu about his abusive behaviois
I thought that it was like a show anu tell. I wasn't uoing any haim. I figuieu the giils
weie young enough. They'll foiget about it. The way some of them acteu, like they
uiun't minu. They uiun't caie. I felt like I wasn't uoing anything ieally wiong because
I wasn't ieally physically huiting them.
Bugo, a man who acteu out sexually since he was a young chilu, fiist molesteu a chilu
when he was an auult. Be saiu
The fiist one was just moie like seven yeai-olu uo: I'll show you mine, anu you show
me youis. Two kius weie involveu, anu heie one is thiity-one oi thiity-two oi thiity-
foui. She was seven.
Be uesciibeu the chilu not only as wanting the sexual contact anu enjoying it but also as
having contiol ovei when the contact woulu happen.
I woulu fonule hei. She acteu like she enjoyeu it. I says, 'Woulu you like to see my
penis.' She saiu, 'Yes.' Actually I saiu, 'Woulu you like to see me.' She shook hei heau
'Yes.' I showeu hei my penis, eiection. She ieacheu out anu giabbeu it anu stiokeu it.
As Bugo continueu to talk, it became cleai how complicateu sexual abuse is. It can be haiu to
follow the logic of some peipetiatois' thoughts. Bugo saiu
I figuieu she knew moie about sex than I uiu÷a seven yeai-olu giil. Aftei that we tiieu
to get togethei once in a while. I tiieu to make contact with hei but she hau total
contiol ovei the sexual sessions. If she uiun't want to be fonuleu she tolu me, anu that
was it. She hau contiol ovei me ovei that. I nevei pusheu hei any moie than she uiun't
In Bugo's uesciiption, the chilu changeu fiom chilu to auult, to knowleugeable about sex, to
being in chaige. Thioughout, Bugo thought of himself as a gentleman, nevei pushy,
sometimes as a chilu with a chilu, sometimes as an auult who got togethei with anothei
auult, anu sometimes as an auult entianceu by the sexual sophistication of a chilu. Be also
believeu that she hau all the powei, anu he was the chilu.
It was like I biought myself uown to hei level, back uown to a kiu, because I uiu not feel
like an auult, like I woulu with my wife. Bo you love me. It was like I was a little kiu
Some peipetiatois hau a sense of owneiship ovei the chiluien that entitleu them to
uo whatevei they wanteu. Nike saiu about is stepuaughtei }une
She was a pietty giil--no question. I mean, othei people say that, too. I lookeu at hei at
hei othei than just an object--also as a pietty giil. Then it woulu iun in my heau that
she's not just a giil. She's mine anu always will be. It woulu iun in my heau that she
always will be mine.
Tim, the social woikei mentioneu eailiei, felt entitleu to sex with boys in his
caseloau, not because he was theii fathei oi stepfathei, but because he hau eaineu it. This
is what he saiu.
When I see chiluien, people that aie vulneiable anu in neeu that I have concein anu a
uesiie to help anu take caie of this peison, to give him what he neeus mateiially oi
emotionally. That somehow eithei gets expiesseu sexually. It ceitainly aiouses sexual
feelings in me. Naybe it's that I feel that that's my payback foi taking caie of otheis,
that I in tuin get sex.
Bamien, who woikeu in a public non-piofit social seivice agency, saiu he got so
much piaise foi his woik that he began to feel he "ueseiveu a little something" foi himself.
Be felt "omnipotent," all poweiful. Be hau sex with a teenage giil who was a client of the
agency. Be believeu this was a "peik" foi a job well-uone.
Some abuseis physically abuse chilu victims, although most uo not. When physical
abuse occuis, abuseis may want to beat anu scaie chiluien into submission, punish them
foi not submitting, oi heighten theii sexual pleasuie thiough inflicting physical pain. Beib,
mentioneu eailiei, saiu, "I'll go to the extieme to uo it." When his uesiies weie not met, not
only uiu he feel unloveu anu unwanteu, but he typically went into a iage anu beat anu chokeu
the boys. Be uesciibeu the beginning of an on-going abuse of a ten yeai-olu boy:
Be was theie by himself on his bike. I pulleu him uown by the back of his shiit. I
uiun't know whethei oi not he was going to hollei, iun oi scieam oi whatevei. So I
puncheu him in the stomach. I tolu him what I wanteu. Be gave it to me. Evei since
then it's moie oi less, I'm not going to. maybe it wasn't on a volunteei basis. It hau
a lot to uo with the fact that maybe he was scaieu of me.
Beib, who was quoteu eailiei about how he "nevei believeu he coulu get that high," went into
muiueious iages when the boys he was abusing in ieal time uiu not enjoy the sex as they uiu
in his fantasies. Be saiu
I can see my hanus aiounu the victims' thioats. I see those eyes bugging anu the
uisbelief anu the feai of knowing that they'ie going to uie.
Be uesciibeu what appeaieu to be an out-of-bouy expeiience when he was about to kill
chiluien. Be saiu
As I was choking him, his face lookeu like Baviu's, the peison |a chiluj that I wanteu
so bau. This kiu saiu to me, 'Beibie, why aie you uoing this. Bon't choke me. Bon't
kill me.' That's when I came back to myself. I saiu, 'Bamn, boy, what aie you uoing.'
It's scaiy because it's like I'm totally outsiue myself. I'm totally somebouy else. I can
see myself uoing this. When I come back anu, anu I catch myself, what I'm uoing, anu
I say, 'Bamn, what you uoing.' It's like something has just completely took contiol of
me anu saying, 'I'm going to uestioy this completelyI'
Beib nevei saiu he hau killeu boys, but he may have.
:;63A'"&1 +16 =3)6$)
Chilu abuuctions, iapes, anu muiueis aie sometimes outcomes of chilu sexual abuse.
In such cases, peipetiatois aie beyonu thinking about anything else but what they want.
They aie so caught up in theii teiiible acts that they aie unable to think about anyone else
but themselves anu what they want. What they tell themselves about the abuse has fai
uiffeient meanings to otheis.
This is what a mothei saiu aftei she uiscoveieu hei eighteen month-olu son ueau in
Be liteially beat him to ueath. I gave biith to that chilu. I caiiieu that chilu insiue me
foi nine months. I gave my baby life. I uiu eveiything foi that baby. Now he is gone.
Be hau thiee skull fiactuies, a laceiateu livei, a half pint of bloou in his chest cavity,
anu a teai in his anus. I took my son into the hospital. They kept me on a suiciue
watch. Aftei he passeu away, my life took a seveie uownwaiu spiial. Things have
been getting bettei now.
The abusei was a "manny," a male nanny, tiusteu.
Few people iealize what sexual abuse means to peipetiatois. As we leain moie, we
have even moie ieason to believe that it is unfaii that chilu suivivois feel stigmatizeu anu
ashameu of being sexually abuseu. 0nly peipetiatois aie iesponsible foi acts of sexual
abuse, as theii own woius show.
Suivivois often know fiom expeiience what chilu sexual abuse means to
peipetiatois. Knowing what peipetiatois say in theii own woius helps auults to become
sensitive anu iesponsive to chilu, teen, anu auult suivivois. The stoiies that peipetiatois
tell no longei can be unspeakable.
Angei, iage, uisgust, anu uesiie to punish aie unueistanuable iesponses to
peipetiatois' accounts. Foi peipetiatois to change theii behaviois, howevei, they must be
able to giapple with what they have uone anu to leain othei ways of getting what they got
fiom chilu sexual abuse. At the minimum, piofessionals who woik with peipetiatois must
get beyonu these stiong negative emotions anu commit themselves to unueistanuing
peipetiatois. By uoing this, piofessionals may be able to cieate settings wheie
peipetiatois can take honest looks at theii behaviois anu consequence of theii behaviois,
with no excuses anu with a commitment to take iesponsibility foi theii behaviois.
Peipetiatois may want help. Some want to stop because they know theii behaviois
huit chiluien anu otheis. 0theis may at fiist be unable to connect with the huit they cause,
but they may want to stop because they uo not want to go to piison oi to spenu many yeais
in piison. As they giow in unueistanuing, they may ieach the point wheie they unueistanu
the giavity of theii behaviois. Cieating safety wheie peipetiatois can confiont themselves
is a majoi task of tieatment piofessionals, but peipetiatois must be committeu to change.
Castle, Stephanie & Rachel Bonauio (2u11). Bishop in sexual abuse case piompts
new outiage in Belgium. E&/ F'16 B,7&3, Apiil 16, p. A4.
uilgun, }ane F. (2u11). By all means, uo not ienounce Satan anu his evil woiks.
uilgun, }ane F. (2u1u). G#,-. 3&C<$- $+<3&H I1'7 #$13# 1&$-,),&3 )' #'9&5
uilgun, }ane F. (2u1u). Evil feels goou: Think befoie you act.
uilgun, }ane F. (2u1u). Fake accountability & tiue: Telling the uiffeience.
uilgun, }ane F. (2u1u). J* +&,*4 $ 3#,)H K*6,*. .&&.3 $*. 0'%&1L<93 ,* &%&18.$8 -,(&.
uilgun, }ane F. (2u1u). Why they uo it: Beliefs & emotional giatification leau to
violent acts. http:¡¡www.sciibu.com¡uoc¡Su778872¡Why-They-Bo-It-Beliefs-Emotional-
About the Author
}ane F. uilgun, Ph.B., LICSW, is a ieseaichei, wiitei, anu piofessoi. See Piofessoi uilgun's
othei aiticles, books, & chiluien's stoiies on sciibu.com, Kinule, anu iBooks foi a vaiiety of mobile
uevices. She has uone ieseaich on the meanings of violence to peipetiatois foi many yeais anu on
many othei aspects of violence.
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