Saturday, August 26, 2006

Unkind Deeds and Cover-Ups in Everyday Life

I've written a book called On Being a Sh--: Unkind Deeds and Cover-Ups in Everyday Life. It is a serious book, but I use humor to lighten things. I also spoof academic writing. A few people have told me to vacuum out the academic language and not to puff myself up so much. The self-puffery was part of the spoof of academic writing, but for some my jokes fall flat. Would you read an excerpt and let me know what you think?

On Being a Sh--: Unkind Deeds and Cover-Ups in Everyday Life
by Fiona MacCool

Chapter 1:

Shedding Light in Dark Places

No matter where we go, we run into other mortals who practice the art and craft of being a shit. We are awash in execrable behaviors. Everyone contributes to them. They’re such a part of our everyday lives that we fail to notice them and accordingly take them for granted. Some practitioners have reached that state of perfection where recipients think they are at fault.

Getting others to believe it is their fault is a crowning achievement of being a shit. Without the cooperation of others, being a shit would exceed the grasp of human aspiration and would only exist in the prevaricating imaginations of those with aforementioned inclinations.

There are three general and somewhat overlapping categories of being a shit: those who react without forethought and thus do not realize the nature of their enactments, those who enact being a shit and believe their own concoctions, and, those who know exactly what they are doing and enjoy themselves while doing so. Each of these three types has a better chance of success when social customs and traditions support enactors in their malfeasances.

Being a shit dates back to antiquity and perhaps to the dawn of human history. Yet, we know little about it, humanity’s long acquaintance not withstanding. Those who misapprehend the true nature of their deportments cannot enlighten because their behaviors are automatic and nonreflexive, the roots of which may originate in the subconscious, perhaps in heretofore unknown areas of the lower brain, the seat of unmediated thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

Cognitive neuroscience suggests that their automatic responses by-pass the brain’s neocortex, which is the site of reasoning, and the cingulate gyrus, which is the seat of caring and empathy. Typically, their responses also by-pass areas of the brain associated with a sense of humor.

Instead, these individuals react without thinking and are unable to report to others why they behave as they do. I call such behaviors Type 1 enactments and the persons who actuate them Reactors. Reactors are the least reflective and least skilled of the enactors of being a shit, yet, paradoxically, they could be the most common. Self-focused and accordingly clueless about the effects of their behaviors on others, Reactors cannot inform others about their reasoning because they have none.

Those who believe their own concoctions represent the second style of being a shit. They cannot contribute to a theory of being a shit because they have limited capacities to explore the meanings of their behaviors and the purposes they serve since from their perspectives the meanings and import of their conduct are self evident. They feel no need to explain themselves nor do they tolerate explanations that are alternatives to their own.

Captivated by their own perspectives, they view recipients’ responses to the misdeeds as inappropriate and unjustifiable. Bereft of a sense of humor about themselves, they mistake mockery of others for humor. They may respond with indignation and even outrage when others challenge their points of view.

From a neurological point of view, their brain circuitry involves engagement of only a fraction of their higher order reasoning, which results in short-sighted rather than broad and multifaceted understandings of their own behaviors and how these behaviors affect other persons. In addition, their thought patterns by-pass the cingulate gyrus where capacities for empathy are encoded and sites in the brain where a sense of humor is stored.

Thus, unlike Reactors who have few or no reasons for why they do what they do, this second type of enactor has explanations of their behaviors that are logical to them, but to others their explanations are partial and distorted. Therefore, they, too, cannot shed light on the true nature of the comportments and thus cannot contribute to a fair and balanced theory of being a shit. I call these comportments Type 2 enactments and those who evidence them True Believers.

The characteristic behaviors of True Believers are rather uncouth and blunt, compared to the third type, those who know exactly what they are doing and enjoy themselves while doing so. This third type of enactor will not contribute to a theory of being a shit because they are loath to relinquish the pleasures, joys, and other advantages that adhere therein.

Not only do they have thought processes that engage the brain’s seat of reasoning to a much larger degree than those of True Believers, but they also have well-developed capacities for humor, irony, bluffing, bullshit, obfuscation, prevarication, and other higher order talents, while they are deficient in sympathy and compassion.

They have advanced capacities for a special type of empathy in that they intuit the vulnerabilities of others, but instead of sympathizing, they take advantage of these vulnerabilities for their own gain. These enactors are more complex and some may say more interesting than True Believers and Reactors whose strategies are typically the in-your-face style. I call this third style of enactments those of Clever Foxes.

On their own, these three styles—Reactors, True Believers, and Clever Foxes—cannot accomplish being a shit because being a shit requires recipients who believe they are responsible for the conduct of others, or, they somehow are implicated in the unkind deeds or cover-ups of others. Recipients therefore flounder in confusion, blind to the moral, pragmatic, and philosophical dimensions of what it means to be a shit. Thus, they become unwitting enablers.

Their shame and confusion silences them as to the deeds and cover-ups that are at the root of their malaise. Unwittingly, they enable the continuation of said behaviors that can only flourish when recipients are too flummoxed to demand accountability on the part of enactors.

Theories on the meanings of being a shit that come from recipients do not enlighten because they dissertate upon what individuals do to deserve shitty conduct and accordingly are constructed upon the false premise that shitty behaviors are based on good faith when in fact enactors seek to evade, deceive, distort, obfuscate, and confuse others as to the true natures of their behaviors.

False premises about the meanings and implications of shitty conduct are invitations to question our capacities as moral agents and guardians of truth. When recipients of shitty behaviors take on a mantle of blame and shame, not only are they self-deceptive, but they are cooperating with those who target them as recipients of unkind deeds and cover-ups, otherwise known as being a shit. Such cooperation enables shitty behaviors.

Any theories that recipients set forth will give insight into the thought processes and experiences of enablers but will not enlighten as to the true nature of being a shit. The accounts of recipients reflect their own confusion. Clarity dawns when recipients see unkind deeds and cover-ups for what they are, refuse buy-in, and demand accountability.

For these reasons, we know very little about being a shit. We have only just begun to categorize the major types, what purposes being a shit serves, or what being a shit means to practitioners of that art and craft. We know little about the roles of recipients in enabling these behaviors. As a consequence, we have partial but untrustworthy explanations of the dimensions and contours of being a shit. To my knowledge, this present investigation is the first attempt to develop systematic knowledge about being a shit, further testimony to the neglect of this important topic.

The construction of a trustworthy theory, no matter how tentative, requires a specialized approach. As mentioned, the approach I have chosen is deductive qualitative analysis (DQA), which involves the construction of a preliminary conceptual framework that sometimes is both crude and partial, the testing of the framework on exemplars, and the modification and reformulation of the framework to fit the exemplars. My final product will be a theory of being a shit that has been tested and refined. My efforts might obfuscate rather than enlighten but may also shed light in dark cracks and crevices.

In taking on this job, I first engaged the time-honored procedures of scholarly inquiry where I consulted etymological dictionaries to ascertain whether the origins and meanings of the word shit could shed light upon the human condition that is the subject of the present investigation. I then deliberated upon the many meanings and manifestations of the word in the English language as well as some related ancient and contemporary languages. Finally, I searched the writings of philosophers, scholars, and other commentators on related human conditions such as humbug, bullshit, and lying.

Based upon this scholarship, I constructed a conceptual framework that I used to analyze a series of exemplars that typified being a shit. After extensive testing, I constructed the revised theory of being a shit. I concluded my work with a discussion of the implications of the revised theory.

I anticipate that my final product that may be satisfying in some respects but sorely lacking in others. If my theorizing moves others to think of meanings, strategies, and implications of being a shit that I have overlooked, then my efforts will have not have been in vain. Accordingly, in the time-tested spirit of philosophizing about weighty matters, I welcome the opinions of others.
Some may augment the conjectures I set forward. Others may refute them and formulate their own. Some may dump on the entire venture. They even might let loose with strategies of enacting being a shit that did not find their way into these pages. If this becomes an actuality, I would be uplifted into a state of gratitude for I invite loads of responses to my conjectures with the aspiration that, if others respond with sufficient weightiness, we will one day arrive at an understanding of the nature of being a shit that goes beyond my present initial endeavors.


copyright 2006

Stories Perpetrators Tell



I'm writing a book based on stories perpetrators of violence told me. I'd like to know if these stories help you understand violence better. Here I tell stories about incest. Please let me know what you think.

Stories Perpetrators Tell
by Fiona MacCool

Incest

I begin with stories of incest that fathers, stepfathers, older brothers, and one older sister perpetrated. By reading these stories, you will learn what perpetrators do, think, and feel when they commit incest. We can only imagine what the children experienced.

It’s hard to put into words

Leo, 37, who was the size of a major league football player, was sexual with his daughter Maddie for 3 years, starting when she was nine. He said he and his wife had a very active sex life.

I don’t know why I actually started acting out. It started out just as playing, goofing around on the bed with all of the kids. Then it was like she’s the one that came back all the time. The boys wanted to watch cartoons. She’d come and jump around. Just like one thing led to another.

There’s things I didn’t do with Maddie that I would do with my wife because with Maddie there was just heavy petting and that. There was like playing, a lot of laughter. It was like being a little kid again, playing doctor type thing. It was like my whole mind just went way, way, regressed way back.

I think it was more than a game. The orgasm, I could go masturbate and have an orgasm. That was secondary. I guess it was more of a game. It’s hard to put into words.

We Shared Something Special

Ben, 34, a big bear of man, first thought about sexually abusing much younger children when he was ten years old. When he was in his early twenties and his daughter Martha was an infant, he began thinking about sexually abusing his daughter. He held off until she reached puberty.
Then he abused her for three years until she told her mother who called the police.

Sometimes I’d go into my daughter’s room at night. I’d ask her if she’d want to come in my room and watch TV. Sometimes she’d say yes. Sometimes she’d say, “I don’t know,” or she’d say no. I’d tickle her and goof around with her. Then I’d pick her up and carry her into our room

I honestly believe that during the abuse that I was feeling sorry for my daughter because of the way my wife used to nag and bitch at her all the time. I was like I was comforting her at the same time she was comforting me. I was showing her a type of love.

I viewed what was between my daughter and me was something really special, something that was just ours, that maybe it really wasn’t wrong. The guy right across the street was an attorney. He abused his daughter. It came out in trial that he had abused another daughter in a previous marriage, too. I found it real disgusting.

A Nice Guy

Bailey, 35, who looked liked a mechanic at the neighborhood service station station, sexually abused his daughter Patty and his son Harold for about two years beginning when Patty was three and Harold was two. This is how he described what he did.

It started out with just fondling Patty. From there it went to Harold. The only reason I included Harold was so he wouldn’t feel left out. My older brother paid more attention to one of his kids than the other. He showed favoritism. I determined in my mind that I wasn’t going to do that with my two kids.

That’s part of the main reason I included Harold. It started out fondling, and I would have them fondle me. Then I went to rubbing my penis on Patty’s vagina. There’d be times when we would be sitting on the couch watching television. It wasn’t uncommon for my wife Helen to lay down and go to sleep, or sometimes she’d go to the store. The kids were usually sitting on the couch with me and Helen, all cuddled up. They were running around there either in their underclothes or nothing at all most of the time.

I would have Patty sit on my lap. I’d start playing with her. It was very convenient. From there it went to performing oral sex on her—on both Patty and Harold--and having them do it to me. That’s as far as it went. Well, there were a couple of times that I tried to have anal sex with Harold. He put up such a fuss about that that I figured, no, I wasn’t going to push that too much. Then I started having anal sex with Patty. That’s basically as far as it went. That was just before I got arrested.

In fact, it really was the last time that I had contact, sexual contact, with Patty. There’s been a number of times that I played right around the hole of her vagina with my finger, but I never really tried to penetrate. The last time I had contact with Patty, I was playing around there. My finger slipped in real easy. I started fingering a little bit. In my mind I was thinking down the road in the future I’d have vaginal intercourse with her. Up to that point, I didn’t because I didn’t want to hurt her. I knew it would.

The anal intercourse didn’t seem to bother Patty. At first it did, but it didn’t seem to bother her that much. The way I justified it in my mind that it wasn’t hurting her that much is because I’d seen some of the turds that come of that kid. I felt that if it would stretch far enough for that it would stretch far enough for me. That’s how I justified it.

There were times when I was in the act of anal penetration when I was concerned enough for Patty that I didn’t want to hurt her physically, but at the same time, I was after more of what I wanted for myself rather than anything for her. I knew that if she said “ouch,” it was hurting. What I would do is say, “Okay. We’ll wait a minute, and then we’ll try again” and just continue like that until I finally got what I wanted, kind of getting her used to it. At the same time it was somewhat considerate of her feelings in that I wasn’t just going to “boom,” you know, ram her all at once.

That was incest to me

Beau, 33, a Cary Grant look-alike, molested his biological daughter Michelle for a year and a half, starting when she was 13.

I never had full intercourse with my daughter. I did everything else with her but I never had full penile penetration with her, but digital penetration. I had gotten her a vibrator and had oral sex with her, and she had it with me. I said you can use the vibrator when you want to be sexual. You don’t have to go out and get a boyfriend and pick some guy up in school. You can use this instead. If you wake up at night—I taught her some things---if you’re feeling frustrated, or you feel angry, this’ll always calm you down.

I recognized it at that time, that some of those things can be satisfied through sexual means. [Beau was teaching his daughter how to avoid dealing directly with negative emotions and to use the rush of an orgasm to feel better. This is how he handled his negative emotions.] I told her that. I showed her how to use it. We never had penile intercourses. I don’t know why. I have it stuck in my brain that I couldn’t have that. That was incest to me.

For anything that bothered me, I knew that I could go to Michelle and get sexual gratification. That climax makes you feel really good. It was easy for me to offend against her like that, to go to her. I didn’t really care from much about her feelings at that time. I just cared about getting myself satisfied.

I can still have flashbacks of those times, like when I can remember her choking when I was trying to put my penis down her throat and so forth. When I flashback that’s where I kind of go first. I kept trying to get as much of my penis into her mouth and down her throat as I could. I can remember her, ah, her gagging and choking. I continued stroking her head and telling her to work through that., that once she got used to it, this is what she had to do.

I didn’t care that she was gagging. I didn’t take it out. I’d withdraw a little bit, and then I would try to force it further down her throat. What I put her through was terrible. That went on for a long time, until she had learned to accept and would get in the position where she could accept all my penis down her mouth.

To me, it’s not the same thing as having an orgasm. I mean, it was thrilling, and it was exciting, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Bliss is the word I would identify with that. There’s a really satisfying feeling of everything is kind of relaxed. There doesn’t seem to be any pressure. It’s a real nice place to be.

My ultimate fantasy with Michelle was when she got to be of age, which was twenty-one to me, that we would be married. It would be easy because our names would remain the same. We would have children together, and that they’d be beautiful children. They’d be all blond-headed, and they’d all have real deep blue eyes. We’d live happily ever after. I’ve never told anyone except my therapist and you. I loved her very, very much.

I need this

Ray, 60, with his gray hair and wire-rimmed glasses, looked liked a bookkeeper from a Victorian novel. He said about his incest, “I went after my daughter,” whom he molested for three years, from the time she was 13 until she turned 16. Fifteen years later, he also molested his granddaughter for about two years from when she was 10 until she was about 12. He described his granddaughter as the aggressor.

My wife went shopping or something. I was left alone with my daughter. These weird feelings would come over myself. It was weird. Sexual feelings. Geez, I can do this now. Then after it was over with I’d be so hurt that I’d sit there and cry.

I tried to please my daughter, but it never happened. I’d ejaculate before I’d get even near that point, but I never did penetrate her. There was no intention of hurting. It was only the intention of pleasing. .

When my daughter had a fight with her mother, then she’d come to me for protection. She would be asking me if there was something that I could do about her mother who beat her. Me being passive, there was nothing that I could think of to stop it. I would say, “I’ll see what I can do, but, I need this.” That would be the abuse.


I let my granddaughter please herself. She would use my belly and do what she wanted, but sexually I couldn’t do anything. I was impotent.

Don’t get too close

George, 47, tall and slightly overweight, explained how he began to sexually abuse his three month-old son.

There was a statement that was made by my wife when I was feeding my son. She, said, “Don’t get your penis close to him. Otherwise he’ll be sucking on it.” I never thought about that. So
that’s what happened, you know.

She’s mine and always will be

Mike, 32, tall, blonde hair and blue eyes, drop dead handsome, sexually abused his stepdaughter, June, from the time she was two until she was 10 years old.

The last couple of times were really scary for her. I tried penetrating her. It was more a rape than a molestation--attempted rape. I never penetrated. I think it was more physical that I just couldn't do it. It wasn't that I didn't want to because I wanted to. June said it hurt and started crying.

That was pretty much when I stopped. The incident that was the one that they tried me on but didn't convict me on. I don't know why. That was the one that was probably the most damaging to her. They all were. That one's probably the scariest for her because I was more angry. I showed a lot more anger that time, I think. I threw her on the bed. A lot of times I was gentle with her, or I tried to be. This time I wasn’t.

I don’t think about why I did it too much. There's lot of different reasons why I did it. Number one was because I liked it. I liked the control and what I felt was intimacy or whatever. Her and I didn't have anybody else.

It was like a challenge, too, to get her alone. That part was almost more exciting than actually having sex with her, setting everything up just to get her alone. It took a lot of my time and a lot of my energy to do that, a lot of preoccupation, a lot of planning involved in it.

I had to think what time her mother gets home for sure. She worked part-time. So she got off different times. Knowing if I had to pick her up or if she is getting a ride some. So she may come walking in.

Keeping June scared, more or less. What's going to happen to her if she tells. A lot of
awareness of where the kids are. I always knew where they were at. I used a lot of verbal threats. Mom would leave or something.

At the beginning I guess I used to think that it was good to do this. She was younger. She believed me then. When she started to resist, it turned into threats and manipulation with money. Or “You're grounded,” or “You're not going to get anything.” “You can't go there. You can't go here, if you don't do this for me.” That nobody would want her, stuff like that. I used a lot of shaming. So it went from caring, what I felt was caring, down to more stronger forcing, towards the last three or four years, actually. June was convenient. She was always there.

There’s no stopping once, I started. There was no turning back after that. I just figured that I enjoyed it and why stop. Why tell anybody because I’d get thrown in prison then.

The actual sex—I liked that. Then the control, being in control of her life completely was a thrill for me. I thought about it more than I thought about my wife. She occupied a lot of
my time. I don’t think of people’s feelings. I still have a hard time with that. I’m pretty insensitive about other people. I’m really self-centered. It’s just selfish, sexual gratification and that’s all. That’s about all there is to it.

She was a pretty girl--no question. I mean, other people say that, too. I looked at her at her other than just an object--also as a pretty girl. Then it would run in my head that she's not just a girl. She's mine and always will be. It would run in my head that she always will be mine.

I eventually think I would have run off with her. I thought about that. I would someday.
That's where a lot of pornography and stuff comes in with people like child molesting and stuff, that they control ‑ it controls their life so much that they finally get involved with child pornography nd stuff like that, where they can manipulate the kids into doing things to make money for them. I think that was the road I was traveling.

We’d talk about sex abuse all the time at work, stories on tv and all that stuff. We talked about that. Here I was doing the same thing. Anyway, I took a real hard line on it with him, that they weren’t fit to be alive, stuff like that. I was doing the same thing.

I love Sophie

Marty, 42, short, muscular, and intense, molested his 12 year-old stepdaughter, Sophie for about two years.

I love Sophie. I know she loves me. When it was going on, she certainly wasn't a stepdaughter. I didn't have that at all. It was, oh, let me see, a thing. I could never look at her while she was doing it, not at her face. I could look at her breasts because when I was looking at those, that's something that turns me on. I can remember some times when she was masturbating me.

Somehow I'd make eye contact with her, and I'd lose my erection.
Sophie was just a good kid. She fit into our family. She was good for our family. She was a lot like her mother as far as neatness and stuff went. She was probably the neatest one of the kids as far as cleaning up her room and very caring.

Once the physical contact started, it was in my mind that Sophie was no longer my stepdaughter. I mean I saw a hand on my penis. I'd have her pull up her bra, and I would just look at her breasts and that's it until it was done. Then, I just walked away. There was no sharing. What a fucked up word. There was no conversation, or no nothing. I just left.

I get so irritated and so angry still, when I think about [He didn’t finish the sentence.] I don't take this lightly. I had everything I wanted, and I fucked it up. I want to be able to tell her how sorry I am for what happened and that I do care about her and that we love her very much.

I feel like a piece of shit when I start talking about that because it's so fucked up. I had a wife that would. [He didn’t finish his sentence] I have a wife, thank God I still got a wife. I love her, too, sticking with me. We're going to make it through this. I had a wife that, I have a wife that would, would have oral sex with me. I'd have oral sex with her. Make love in any position at any time. Why in the hell [He didn’t finish his sentence.]. Then I had to have it from my stepdaughter every so often, the masturbating part of it. Then there was a secretary that I had at work. Actually there were two of them. One was Mary and the other was Jeanette. Now Mary was this girl just out of high school, 19 years old, a little short, built like a brick shithouse. We'd go out drinking together. We never had sex. I would masturbate after she was gone. That’s crazy.

The initial engagement

Troy, 41, rugged and articulate, committed incest with his stepdaughter Flora for four years,
beginning when she was 10 years-old. In this excerpt, he describes Flora as the initiator of the first instance of sexual abuse. He offered no explanation as to why the abuse continued for four years.

The initial engagement came from my stepdaughter. When you talk about a child, my vision of a child is a small person. My stepdaughter is six feet tall, 200 pounds, big breasts, and very sexually active. I think the real connection is the need to love. I think she was looking for someone to appreciate her, and I believe I was looking for someone to appreciate me. At one point she tried to give me oral sex with my wife in the bed, wide awake. I said, “What are you doing?”

I remember the first time she performed oral sex on me. I couldn’t believe what had happened. I had a sinus infection, and it knocked me off. During my sleep, I remember someone performing oral sex on me. I remember getting up in the morning. I smiled at her. I said, “Wow. Look what she did.” That evening I asked my stepdaughter to do something in the house. She made a comment about, “Did you enjoy that?” Enjoy what? Then it hit. I put two and two together. I was like Oh, my God. That wasn’t my wife. What am I going to do?

Herb, 37, who had the look of a man who enjoyed books, was small in stature with the graceful movements of an athlete. In prison for sexually abusing his nine year-old stepson, JohnJohn, in the stories that follow, he talked about that assault and the time he sexually assaulted his brother, who was 12 years younger than him. Though he said his brother was his last victim, he was not.

The second time that I had molested JohnJohn--the first time was up under the bridge--I took him to the same bridge that I had molested his older brother. The second time was in the garage, an empty garage. I was belly to belly with him. I was kissing him and rubbing his face and rubbing his body and stuff. I think I told him to pull his pants down. He said, “No, I'm not going let you do that to me anymore.”

Then all of a sudden I grabbed him in the face just that quick. I think that's why I don't like being told no. Squeezing. Left some fingernail prints in his face. Then, I looked around and there was this old rotting mattress standing, laying upside the wall.

I let him go. I went and I placed the mattress and stuff on the ground. I think part of me was hoping that he would run, go home, run and tell his mom, but he didn't. After I put the mattress on the ground I dusted it off. It was like in the winter time. I dusted it off to get the dirt off. I told him to pull off his clothes and lay on it. He did.

My love for him--I don't know where it went after he told me that he wasn't going let me
do that anymore. It wasn’t there. What was there—I don’t know, but it wasn’t love. It could be lust. When the urges come up, nothing else matters. Nothing else matters.

I would look at JohnJohn and sometimes I'd just see an innocent kid. I would see somebody that I think that if there was anyway that he can make me his daddy that he would. There wasn't any doubt about that. Sometimes I'd look at him, and I’d say, “Damn, that boy looks good.” Then I'd get the feeling that's totally different from the other feeling as to I want him to grow up to be somebody. I want him to learn how to work for a living and not hurt anybody, etc. Then I can look at him, on the other hand, and say, “I got to have him.”

My last victim was my baby brother. With him, I can remember. I can see us. I’m getting out of the water because we were swimming just me and him. It was the same place where I had had sex at with other boys when I was a kid. I’m sitting on the bench smoking a cigarette. My brother’s lying down in the sand. He’s real dark-skinned, you know. I think I’m looking at him. I’m butt watching him because he’s lying on his stomach. I’m getting all excited and stuff. Then I just went for it.

I said, Well, I’m going to get this anyway. I’m his brother. He’s going to be all right. He isn’t going to hate me for it. If he sees me again, he isn’t going to run from me, etc. He won’t be afraid of me.” That’s what I did. I haven’t seen him again until the last time I had seen him again. It was in his coffin.

As I was butt watching him my fantasy was more or less consisted of the same as other times. He’s going to like it, etc. As he was lying down in the sand, I went over in a bushy area. I told him to come on. I had him help me spread out a spot. I told him to lie own on his stomach. He said, “Why?” I said, “Don’t ask any questions.”

I put my penis in his, in his anus. He was crying and saying that I was doing it too hard. I think I told him to either hold on to something or to hold my hand. I think I told him to hold my hand, and if I’m hurting too much to just squeeze my hand and then I would stop.

There were a few times that he had squeezed my hand very hard, but, at my excitement stage I, I didn’t care too much anyway. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do and get it over with. When it was over with, that’s where I really felt some shame, some guilt. I couldn’t even start to tell him why I did that. I know one thing in particular-- that I couldn’t even look him in the face.

So we walked on up. He was talking about this and talking about that. Then, when we came to the highway to go back to his house, and I have to turn up to my right to go back to where I live, that was the last time I saw him. I think I looked back a couple of times. I asked myself, Well, is he still going to be my brother, or something like that. That was the last time I saw him, alive, anyway. He was twelve, going on thirteen. He died at 24 from an overdose of drugs. He was in prison at the time.

All judgment went out the window

Woody, 39, intense and fidgety, served eight years in prison for sexually abusing his daughter. He failed a prison treatment program for fighting. A condition of his release from prison was community-based therapy, which he was doing. He lost everything—his plumbing business, his wife, his contact with his three children. He was on disability at the time of the interview. He said at least some of his behaviors might have been linked to a mental illness and some to his own long-term experience of being sexually abused. He wanted to take responsibility for his sexual abuse.

I was taking a bath and my daughter came in. That’s what put that in my mind--of her seeing me and asking, “What’s that?” I didn’t answer her inappropriately at the time, but it got me thinking. Then when I got manic, all judgment and everything went out the window. That’s when I acted out because I didn’t think about it a lot.

Basically, I’d been a pretty sexual person my whole life. I can think about something without acting out. I knew that I could do that. It wasn’t like I was fantasizing and constantly thinking about my daughter.I just had thoughts about it, but that was like a couple days before I got manic. When I did sexually abuse my daughter it was all within a week. Four times in six days.

My daughter told my wife. My wife asked me if I did it, and I said yes. She said she was calling to get me help. Whoever she called reported it. I don’t know that she even knew that if she called anyone, and I didn’t oppose her calling anyone,that they would be required to turn me in. The police came about fifteen minutes later.

The police asked me, “Did you do this?” I said yes. I was still manic. Them asking me questions, I don't know if you know anything about mania, but I probably told them more than I should have.

I pled guilty to first degree criminal sexual assault because I did that and because I didn’t want in any way my daughter to have to testify or talk to someone to prove that I did that. I didn’t want to drag anyone else into it. I did it, and I didn’t want to cause anyone else to have to testify. I was in prison for eight years.

I didn’t know what the consequences were. I had no idea. The police asked me what I did and I had told them. In my historical thing with mania, my thinking often turns toward sexual things. Even now, about having relationships with adult women, but I would not act because the medication I take just kind of takes that away from me. When I think that I sexually abused my daughter, I think why didn’t I go out with a woman? Why would I do that? I knew I was very sick for doing that and even having thoughts of having sex with the children prior to getting manic.

The whole situation was very complicated as far as what was going on in my marriage, what was going on with my business—working sixty to eighty hours a week, just coming back home after a separation from my wife and family because I kept having affairs with adult women. I was dealing with my mental health besides.

As I was doing the sexual abuse of my daughter, I don’t remember having any feelings of regret or of shame, or anything. I remember pleasure. I remember sexual gratification. After I came down from the mania, I had lots of feelings of regret and shame.

I wouldn’t say that mania is necessarily painful at least not for me. It was euphoric and not thinking about consequences and very often doing things that I would not do when I wasn’t manic and the lack of having any kind of negative feelings or realistic feelings of shame and guilt and things like that. They didn’t happen because you don’t think like that.

I didn’t force her to do anything. I was not mean to her. I mean it was mean what I did and it was terrible, what I did. But it wasn’t, I didn’t, yell at her or do anything like that. It was more like a game and not threatening. I don't know exactly what I was thinking. I have some idea that I might’ve looked at her as an adult. I don’t understand that. I don't think I’ve ever done that before.

Even to have an idea to have sex with my daughter, even in mania, something else was going on. I’m not sure exactly what. I was very much abused when I was between four to fourteen. Maybe five percent or ten percent of my sexual abuse of my daughter is because it happened to me. Most of it is because I made the decision to do it.

I didn’t abuse children sexually until my daughter. From about fifteen, I tried to drink myself to death and drug myself to death. I did that until got out of the military and then got sober. I medicated my feelings. I was an alcoholic at fifteen. The frame of mind that I was in, I was very violent and mean to people.

It’s not hard to give up sexually abusing children. I’m not attracted to children sexually. I very much would like to never do anything like that again. I have my doubts that I ever would.
As long as I stay on the medication and I go through the treatment and finish the treatment, just to make sure that I can learn some coping skills even when I’m not manic.

The state calls me a pedophile regardless of whether I went outside of my house. I have to register, and the forms that they send said pedophile.

I thought I wanted to stop

Angus, 41, well-educated and interested in the arts, began sexually abusing his two daughters during a “hard summer,” when he felt distanced from his wife and had a hard time with his jobs. For years before the abuse began, he avoided intimacy with his wife. When she went to bed, he watched porn and masturbated in the family room on another floor of their home.

There were moments when I thought I want to stop this, especially when I was sexually abusing my two daughters. In the cycle of the abuse, at the end of an abusive session, I knew what I was doing was wrong. It was way out of line. I needed help. I needed to stop it, but then the cycle would start up. I would look forward to the next session, look forward to the next opportunity. I was reluctant to stop.

I knew I had an anger problem. I wasn’t open to asking for help about it. I thought the behavior was not cool. It was definitely wrong what I was doing. There was something wrong with me that I was engaging in that kind of behavior.

The attraction was the sexual feelings. It felt good. Good feelings. Pretty powerful. The good feelings were worth looking forward to. For a brief moment it felt good but then the shame kicked in and then I felt even worse than before. It felt good temporarily.

Ever since boyhood I had used masturbation and pornography as my fix, as my drug, to medicate the pain that I was feeling. It was analogous to a drug abuser. I was unhappy with my marriage. We had just arrived in a whole new city. I was switching jobs. It was hard to get off the ground. I didn’t have any savings to fall back on. My wife got a job as a store manager. She would leave before 6 am to open the store. I finally found a factory job working 2nd shift.

My wife and I passed in the night. We saw each other half an hour a day. I’d get back home midnight, 1 am and have to get up to get kids off to school when I was not quite wide awake. I was angry that I had to do that, cut into my sleep time to get the kids off to school. I said my wife is not meeting my needs. So I’ll do it another way. It was a hard summer.

I groped my older daughter for a year and a half. My second daughter for about three months. One daughter told one of my sons who told neighbors next door. My older daughter has autism that began with epilepsy. Her illness is life-long deal with no known cure.

When I was abusing my older daughter, I gave her a choice. Masturbate me or do a chore. I was hoping she’d choose the masturbation. What kid likes to do chores? I’d promise her extra money, some treat, whether it’s an ice cream sundae or something nice. It just created havoc in the family.

Back then my primary concern was what I could get. At times I would think about the consequences, I’ve got to stop this. This is wrong. Several times, I thought I’d got to quit doing this, but I couldn’t stop it. Those thoughts didn’t last long. I believed I could get away with it. I wouldn’t be found out. My kids wouldn’t tell.

That would take the cake

Juice, 27, a weight lifter with heavily muscled shoulders and arms, sexually abused 9 year-old Petal, who was his live-in girlfriend Marguerite’s daughter, the day after his girlfriend gave birth to their son. He gave many reasons for the abuse, including being attracted to underage girls and wanting to hurt Petal’s mother. He also made contradictory statements, such as he wanted someone to interrupt him as he assaulted his step daughter but he would’ve done it again.

I had a lot of anger towards Marguerite, towards her kids, towards myself, towards life. There were times where I wanted to break up with her. I used to do stuff to just for her to tell me to get out of the house. For some reason I just couldn't tell her that I'm leaving her. I wanted her to be the one to kick me out so I could use the excuse, “Well you're the one that kicked me out. Now you just deal with the loss.” I used to do little things. I used to take things from her. I used to take money from her and give it to her sister.

All the times Petal saw me beat up her mom, by pulling the knife on the kids that time and told them to get back when they be trying to help their mom when we were fighting. I just figured that she saw me when I fought her mom. All the times I hollered at them and threatened them, that she wouldn't tell on me fearing that I would do the same to her.

I guess that morning my only thoughts were to get up at eight o'clock, go pick up Marguerite from the hospital, take her over to her sister’s house, stay a few minutes with them, and go kicking with my cousin.

I started thinking like I got another one. You know what I'm saying? As far as another mother for one of my kids. I didn't really think the baby was going to make it because of all the fights we used to have. I used to kick her in the back. I didn't think the baby was going to make it, but when the baby did make it then I was going to go pick them up. I was telling the kids to get ready. I was thinking, I got another one, another one I can fall back on.

I didn't really plan, plan to abuse Petal that day. The other days that I did plan to abuse her I would get scared and go do something to distract myself or get away from the house or go work on the car.

That day I was sitting there smoking marijuana. I knew the kids were in the other room asleep. Petal was lying on the floor watching tv with me. Marguerite was in the hospital. I was just sitting there, and there was something on tv that caught my attention, I can't remember what show it was. I can't remember exactly what show that was.

Whatever was on tv brought me back fantasizing about Petal. I was looking on the floor. I got to sexualizing her and her buttocks. I said the hell with it. I knew the downstairs door was locked. I knew the door to the apartment was locked. I knew the old people downstairs--they were senile. They couldn't hear anything. I just said the hell with it. Just sexually abused her.

While I was abusing her, I was hoping like hell someone would come into the household, somebody beat on the bottom door to stop me. The weed didn’t have any effect. I was high, but I was very conscious of what I was doing. I remember thinking that I hope somebody just knocked on the door, just stop me right now. I was just hoping that somebody either bam on the bottom door for me to come unlock it or, or one of the kids come out of the room or, I believe if she would have told me to get up, I believe I would've got up. I really believe that because at that time I just couldn't personally pull myself up, to get up.

I was just hoping that somebody would come and knock on the door, like they usually do. We had a downstairs door lock. They'd beat on the door for us to come down and unlock it. Or just anything, for her to even to tell me to stop, or anything. I believe that I would've got up.
I remember waking up throughout that night. I was telling myself that Marguerite’s going to know not to fuck with me if she knew what I was doing to her daughter. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, telling myself that, that she'd know not to fuck with me if she knew what I was doing to her daughter, but I did feel sorry for having to use Petal that way.

I knew that Marguerite loved her kids with all her heart. I knew she loved her kids more than anything. I knew that right there would take the cake. It hurt her, way that I thought it would. I wanted to. Like I said when I stepped into the house the day after I abused Petal and she had told her grandma. When I saw everybody crying I felt kind of good at that moment. Seeing everybody falling out the way I thought they would, expected it to be. Even now, being honest with myself and about my thinking, I hate myself for being honest with the things that I, that I thought back then about things.

String them up

David, 30, boyishly good-looking, abused children in his family, beginning with his three-year-old sister in adolescence. He abused his biological daughters and sons, as well, primarily Mia, beginning when she was three years old. This is how he described the abuse of the children, first his younger sister, then his sons, and then one of his daughters.

Have a Playboy book at home? No way. So I had to rely on those doggone thoughts. See? My mind would go right back to that damn book, and, boy, no problem getting an erection then. After that, after the thoughts wore off, that's when I started going to my sister, my younger sister. She was, oh probably, three, four years old. Then I would fondle her, get an erection and masturbate in front of her.

It was like it’s ok to go to a sister, but to bring a Playboy book into the house? No way. : She's part of the family. What I'm doing is not wrong. I would tell myself that. To touch and explore the body. I didn't think that was wrong. I shouldn't say that. I knew it was wrong. What did I tell myself because I had to give myself permission? I don't know. I remember feeling guilty and I knew morally and religiously it’s wrong, but yet, I'd still do it.

When I abused my sister, I remember that high, and , boy, I wanted it. I wanted it. The high came after I ejaculated. That’s the high I was after. I didn’t get a high out of fondling her or that. The high came when I ejaculated. She was just there as a, I don't want to say object. She was there to stimulate me and get me an erection so that I could masturbate.

When I abused our kids, my wife would have to be gone. She would have to be getting a loaf of bread or away at the store. Something that was planned, timed so that I would have enough time. It didn't have to be anything emotionally right with me or wrong with me. It didn't depend on work. When the setting, when the opportunity was there most of all, but not when they are asleep. I don't ever remember once going to the kids when they were asleep. It was always when they were awake and able to participate, be a part of it. There is something about being asleep, peaceful and quiet. That wouldn't be the time for me.

I didn't know what the hell that was. That stuff would hit the paper. I would say, “String them up. They ought to cut them off.” What I was doing, that was ok. I was loving them. That was my way of showing love.

That's the part that confuses me too because I know it is wrong. With my religious upbringing I know it is wrong. Yet I remember towards the end, asking Mia whether she loved me or not, that connection. It is like a sick, sick sense of warped thinking. I don’t know where I got that from because I can never remember my mom touching me or fondling me. I remember Dad leaving a lot. Dad would be in the National Guard and be gone once a month for a weekend. I remember my brother and I hoping in bed with Mom. Kids always get up before moms and go run into the bed. There is our little security blanket. I can never remember mom touching. That is a natural

When I was abusing my older daughter, a couple of times my sons wanted to know what was going on, so I involved them. They watched. I made them touch, kind of, to ease my guilt, that they were part of it. Then that would make it ok. It’s confusing. I don't know why I felt my youngest son had to be drawn in. I don't know if it was a fear that hat the son I was abusing would tell him and now I had to include him in on that or like if he's part of it then he'll shut up. I don't really remember feeling the sexual attraction to him, not like I did to his brother.

I am confused about the love bit with Mia. Why would I have equated that is totally confusing to me. I don't understand that, but the feeling was, it’s not a feeling. It’s a thought. The thought was so doggone strong about making that connection with Mia, that she understands that this is love.

It was like I brought myself down to her level, back down to a kid, because I did not feel
like an adult, like I would with my wife. Do you love me? It was like I was a little kid talking. It confused the hell out of me. In fact it scared me, not at the time, but afterwards, thinking back on it. What the hell was that all about? Where did that come from? Wow, it was strong.

I felt very, very lonely. It was like I wanted to cry. Very, very lonely. Empty pit. That feeling was so damn strong. I don't know. It just scares me. Kind of sad to think about it. Where the hell did that come from? Looking back at all those years of growing up I can't, I can't remember that feeling, that young. Certainly I remembered it later, that same empty feeling.

I remember holding her a lot, rocking a lot, telling stories, playing games. I liked doing that stuff. She liked the attention. We'd do animals. She loves animals. Then I'd take her on these fantasy trips. She'd say, ‘Oh, Daddy, tell me about taking me to the zoo.’ I would start off, ‘There was this girl named Mia, and a guy named David. They would go off to the zoo.’ I'd take her on the whole trip. We'd name all the animals. I'd say now what does a giraffe say? We'd make the giraffe sound. She loved that.

Lots of stories to tell her. Lots of stories. I enjoyed that. I remember my mom reading stories too at bedtime and I liked that. Yeah. Lots of games. We played building blocks and all sorts of games. That was like, in a way when I look back on it, that's the way I relaxed, too. I felt in a weird way more of a relationship with Mia than I did with my wife. I can’t explain that.

I need a fix

Dick, 41, tall with regular features, sexually abused his stepdaughter Rosie from the time she was about four years old until she was 16 and ran away from home.

I haven't wasted my time thinking about why. Just the fact that I know I did. I mean I felt close to Rosie. Me and Rosie was close. I never really went back and thought any more about it or tried to sort through exactly what were the feelings. It had happened but not why did it happen and what were the feelings.

I think it's being dependent on each other even though there's, for whatever the reason the dependency on each other is there, I think. For me it was, she was young, and she could always be in my life. It isn't like having a wife because if you have a wife, wives and husbands divorce and go their separate ways. Some of the things that wives do to husbands and husbands do to wives aren't what I wanted.

I think for her it was “He isn't my dad, but most of the time he treats me like he is my dad. He isn’t going to go anyplace. He'll always be in my life.” I think that that's the taking care of each other. Being there because there were times when she would stand up to people for me. If my wife would start getting on her, I would say, “No, leave her alone” and that type of thing.

I used her. I mean I cared for her physically. I cared for her clothing and food and stuff like that. I think I liked her. I used sex as a survival tool. I don't remember what I said to myself about it.

That's what I was thinking--I need a fix because I was feeling crappy. Maybe I didn’t get the contract I bid for, or my wife and I had a fight about something where I’d rather go spend some time by myself but I can’t. How can I tell my wife I wanted to spend time by myself?

I acted out sexually because I couldn't act out verbally. I was being a caretaker. I don't know if that sounds right. I was a caretaker to Rosie and to my wife both. I felt like I was a caretaker. I couldn't just say to my wife I want to go spend some time by myself because I needed to spend time on myself. Then I would have to explain why I needed time by myself. The fact that I needed the time by myself would be gone, would be out of the picture.

She would say, “Oh, you're trying to spend time by yourself because you don't love me or you don't want to be with me?” Does that make sense? Taking care of other peoples' feelings versus taking care of your own feelings to make to make me feel good about me. Does that sound right?

Sometimes I would feel guilty because I don't think that Rosie had an orgasm. I'd think it as if I was her husband. Then I would say things like that to myself. Then it would hit me that you're not. You are her father, and you should be in the first place.

A couple of times, my wife would say, “If I ever found out you were touching the girls, I’d kill you.” She’d say that in front of Rosie, the victim, and the abuser, and the victim feeling close to the abuser. She’d think, Well, I sure am not going to say anything because if I say anything now,
Ma will kill Dad.

Then when Rosie got into ninth grade, I think that’s when she said she had a sex education class where they were saying a father shouldn’t, saying a father shouldn't. So, then the sex was more erratic or it wasn't as often. Then it seemed there was always some, “We shouldn't do this.” I'd tell her, “I know that I'm sick. Someday I'll get help.” That was a con. If I'd tell her that then she would usually let her guard down and that we'd [He didn’t finish his sentence.].

It was kind of like we were boyfriend and girlfriend or man or wife or whatever. I look at it now, and I know that that's the way it was. If somebody would have said you're acting like man and wife, I'd just said you're nuts. That's my daughter. But it was like this two levels of reality.

I told her it was wrong just because that's what I thought she wanted to hear. I didn't really feel it was wrong. I know there was points there where I thought I could leave my wife and take Rosie with me, and we would go off to wherever. It was like I had two wives.

From the time it started until she was about seven, I wanted to tell my wife. There were times when I really felt real bad, sick, disgusted with myself about not wanting to tell my wife but I couldn’t tell her because I couldn’t tell that I had abused her daughter. The longer it went and then the more older Rosie got, the less I wanted to tell my wife.

Rosie had some kidney infection or some bladder infection. We went to the doctor. We’d had sex just a little bit before that. I was positive that some of the sperm would show up in her urine. Then there would be something about it. I was scared and was trying to think of what excuse there would be for it being there without sexual contact from me. I never thought about the guilt while the sexual activity's going on.

Rosie had just turned four right before I met my wife. Maybe she just turned five. When the first sexual incident happened after I had given Rosie and her younger sister a bath. I was surprised that a child would do that, would touch an adult. It was really surprising where she learned to. I remember some of the other things I felt. It was sexual for me. I was embarrassed, too. I felt guilty that I was letting a child be sexual with me. It lasted maybe for about ten minutes. I came. She made me with just her hands.

I know that she was abused before but I didn’t know who. A babysitter, my wife’s brother, her own father. I never did ask Rosie or Judy. Judy told me Rosie had been abused before.
After it happened, I just told her to get, to go away. I thought afterwards I shouldn't have done it, and I should have told my wife about it. I should have. It was a period of couple weeks or so that went by there. I was thinking about it. I thought why didn't I tell, but how do you tell your spouse that your daughter and that you let her. It didn't consume my mind at the beginning like it did at the end

I went through alcohol treatment twice. When I took the Fifth Step both times I never, the incest never came out. I never had the urge to, never even thought about talking about it as was part of the recovery program. A lot of it I've talked about before, but some if it is a little difficult to talk about.

Making love to my son

Christian, 53, broad shouldered with big hands, described his sexual abuse of his stepson Seth. The abuse continued for about four years, starting when Seth was 11. He also molested his stepdaughter, who was younger than Seth.

I was in the sleeping bag but I had my shorts on. I wasn't naked. I had shorts on. Seth came in and got in the sleeping bag with me. He snuggled up because it was pretty chilly. It was the latter part of May in Montana. That isn’t very warm. The break-up of the ice had only been about two weeks prior to that. Crystal Creek had just thawed out. It's about a two-hour walk back there.

I knew we were alone so I wasn't worried about that. He snuggled up to me. His back was to me. I reached around him and fondled him. I asked him if he liked that. He said he did. Then he fondled me and that's when our mutual masturbation started. It probably never happened more than maybe once a month for the first year or so. I didn't call it molesting. It was making love to my son.

There was a caring there. We used to talk while we were doing it. I'd ask him if he enjoyed this or that. He'd say, “Yes, Dad. I love it.” I'd say, “Do you want me to quit? Do you want us to stop?” He'd say, “No.”

When he would masturbate me or fellate me he would tell me, “I'm going to make you feel good, Dad,” I never had an orgasm with Seth other than he would fellate me until I'd be close to climax. Then I'd masturbate and would come on the floor.

I think Seth did have feelings. I know he enjoyed it because he used to tell me different styles that he enjoyed in masturbation or in fellatio. I always tried to do what he wanted me to do. He did for me also.

The last time we had contact was on my birthday three years ago in the shed out behind the house. We used to go out there and he'd tell his mother he was going to come out and help me sharpen the chain saw because I'd cut trees down and cut them up on weekends. The kids would carry the wood in the house, or they were supposed to during the week.

We made it so we could lock the door from the inside because Seth, just a little boy, used to come out there and wonder what Dad was doing. I'd come home, and it was cold. We got an electric heater that we used to plug in a fifty foot cord from the house out to the shed because we didn't have heat or lights in there. Seth would go out. I’d call my wife from work and tell her when I was coming home.

When I got home Seth always had the heater in the shed going. It's the first thing he'd say when I'd come in the house. He'd say, “Dad I've got the heater plugged in.” He just as well said, “Dad I'm ready to go make love.”

So it was a pleasing relationship, trying to please relationship on both sides. That don't make it right, Jane. I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is that I did not forcibly tie the boy and make love to him.

I can't say I didn't attempt, but there was never any sodomy. I tried sodomy one time and it hurt and I stopped right away. That's the way it was. I' not trying to say that to make it all right saying what I'm saying, I'm just telling you what happened.

When I was having my relationship with my son it was like a love affair. It really was. It was real. It had to be real or I couldn't do what I did. I used to sit there and watch tv or I'd read something in the paper. I'd say, "Look at this son of a bitch. He ought to get twenty years,”
but I was doing the same thing. Mine wasn't that way. See, mine was love. There's a difference, you know.

I'm not telling you this because I'm blaming this on that but I was having a lot of trouble with impotence and, due to the fact that I had cancer then and didn't even know it. The doctors didn't know it. I was having a lot of trouble with impotence. My love affair with my wife was very nil.

Like I told you she, in the latter years of our marriage she got to where she didn't take care of her body cleanliness.

I mean she took a shower but I don't think the woman knew what a douche was the last two years. To perform cunnilingus on a person like that is very hard to do. It's the only way I could satisfy her because I couldn't get an erection, but with Seth I could get an erection.

That’s strange. I always asked. I always told Joseph, and that's what makes it so hard for me that he explained in all his testimony and everything that I forced him to do things. I always asked him if he wanted to. Then they said, "Well force is you being the parent figure. That's enough force." But there's times that Joseph set up the meetings the same as I did. To do things, to manipulate to get us alone together so we could have our relationship. I thought it was a good relationship, as sick as that may sound I think it was a good relationship.

I knew it was wrong. I wanted to quit and I couldn't. The sexual part was wrong. It's not right for men to make love to one another even though it feels good. It's not normal. This is a heterosexual world. The Bible tells us that's the way we're supposed to be. My family was quite religiously oriented. My wife was raised in a religious family. They're all quite religious. She's got quite a few relatives that are pastors and active in the church. I used to think that queers were sick people. According to our society they are sick people.

I used to pray, in fact. About three weeks before it I came out in the open I got on my knees and asked God to break up the relationship at all costs because I couldn't do it on my own. I knew it was wrong. I was teaching my son a homosexual lifestyle. That's what was wrong. I was afraid that he would be a homosexual when he grew up. If Seth does go the homosexual route, he'll always attribute it to me and what we did.

No matter what these people say I love my kids. I wouldn't do a thing in this world to hurt them. I believe that. I know what I did was terrible, but, God, I didn't want to hurt them. I didn't mean to hurt them. If there was some way I could go back and do it over, I don't know how I'd do it, I really don't. I know it was important to me that Seth and his sister loved me as their dad.

I just felt I didn't get that love. I used to come home from work, and my little boy, Seth was only what? Seven? The first thing he'd say is, “What'd we get in the mail today, Dad?” He didn't care about the mail. He wanted to know whether he'd got a letter from his real dad or not.
His real dad never wrote to him. He never sent them Christmas presents. He never did anything. I hate the son of a bitch for that. I hate him for not writing to his kids because they are beautiful children. They're good children.

Making Everything Better

Rock, 43, energetic and charismatic, sexually abused his daughter Marva when Marva was nine to 12 years old. He said he was very cruel to her, both beating her and verbally abusing her. Having sex with her was his way of making up with her. When Marva’s mother was 14 or 15, Rock had sexually abused her and then married her. His wife and Marva’s mother had been the daughter of Rock’s live-in companion.

That’s the biggest problem. You don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know what’s right or wrong totally. You know you’re wrong but you’re in this kind of a limbo world.

You don’t know what to do. You just don’t have a clue. After the offense you kind of numb out. So like you don’t feel it.

You know something’s wrong. Like when you’re watching tv or something, let’s say a program like Law and Order. They’re doing something on a father raping his daughter.

I mean it hits you. It’s really hard to watch. That’s as much as you can take. That’s as much as I could take. You stop watching it or when they’re talking about that you’re looking someplace else.

I knew what I was doing. I wanted my daughter to love me. It got into a connection between sex and love. I wanted so badly for my daughter to love me. I beat my daughter. I’d neglect my daughter. I emotionally abused my daughter. Tell her she’s stupid and dumb and all this. I’d feel bad about it. You want your daughter to like you. With me it was sex and love are the same.

I never told her, “Don’t tell Mom” or “I’ll kill you if you tell Mom” or anything like that. I would molest. I would go into her room. I’d molest her. I’d leave. There wasn’t much conversation at that point. She would just pretend she was sleeping. Didn’t want to deal with it.
I can’t blame her. Then I’d leave. So there was never an idle threat that I’ll kill you or something like that.

Now I would wait until my wife was out shopping. My wife was never home. She was always out shopping or with friends. I always thought that she had a boyfriend or something like that.
I never had a, a close relationship with my daughter. It wasn’t like let’s go for a walk or ride a bicycle. I never did that stuff well. Occasionally I would try, but it just wouldn’t work. I was real good at being authoritative--do your homework, clean the house, that type of thing.

I was raped multiple times when I was a child. it was a couple different guys. That happened later when I was eleven and twelve. Then the drunken father who comes home and beats the kids. You try to make up for it anyway you can. The molestation was me trying to make up for it.

At the same time, I was disgusted by what I was seeing on tv. I have to wonder was I’m being disgusted on myself. You do turn away. You don’t feel a lot of pain. You never feel a lot of pain back then. You don’t feel anything. If you felt, how could you do it? You feel something. You feel disgusted. You feel disgusted at the men that is doing this on tv. At the same time you have a, kind of a sexual thing going at the same time towards the girl that’s getting raped. You are sexualizing it. I am.

He’s a piece of crap for raping his daughter. She’s kind of cute, I wouldn’t mind raping her or making love to her. Never rape. It’s always make love.

She’s not the only person I molested. There’s others. I had sexual relationships in the Far East with many girls who were fourteen, fifteen. There was my wife. I started having sexual relations with her, when she was fifteen--fourteen, fifteen, around there. Her sister. I molested her sister when she was, I don't know, maybe twelve.

My relationship with this family has been really odd. I’ve been the giver and the giver and the giver and the giver and the giver. Granted my actions, my final actions void a lot of that, but I was giving you everything I had, taking care, blah, blah, blah. There was a lot of price to pay for that giving. I have quite an affection for my family, still, in this family.

What the heck

Chad, 38, intense and athletic, had an incestuous relationship with his sister, Marisa, who was about a year younger. He also sexually victimized Bunny, who was seven years younger.
I don't really remember what, but that's how the sex, sex abuse started in, with me and Marisa. It wasn't really abuse. I didn't look at it as that way because it was both ways. It was like neither of us felt secure or, important, I guess, except to each other.

I remember saying, “Boy, if we weren't brother and sister I'd marry you,” and stuff like
that. I was real young, didn't really know what that meant other than that's what marriage looked like to us, was supposed to be, was two people that were really close.
Then, there was the sex. We had sex together. It wasn't intercourse or anything--just oral sex, masturbation, or whatever. That was probably the closest a person can be to another person is through sex.

I also know it was wrong. So it felt, I felt guilty, too. I felt ashamed because I knew it wasn't right. I knew it wasn't. There was things that people made jokes about in school that were just about like being gay. People could joke about the people being gay but they really weren't.
People would joke about having sex with their sister. They really weren't, but I was.
Then the drugs came in—the speed. That even motivated the sex even more. If I was up for a couple, three days, then it was tweaked out or whatever. So I was masturbating all the time, as many times as possible.

Having sex with my sister Marisa, and Bunny would be watching and stuff like that. It just got really weird.

Marisa was thirteen and I was about fourteen, I guess. I was sneaking drinks by then. Marisa was too. She was doing drugs, too, at that time. I didn't really know it. We used to party with the same people. So I should've known but I just didn't think.

Then Bunny, she really got heavy into dope. I mean she, she was young. She was about twelve or thirteen. She was doing angel dust and all the heavy shit that not even I would do. I was trying to get her away from that stuff.

She made an advance or whatever you want to call it—sexual. It was like I could use her drug abuse to satisfy my sexual needs. Instead of helping her I let her continue doing it.

She looked at me like I was, I remember her saying, like I was a god. I was her role model, her idol. I always stuck up for her, I know that. For all my sisters, really. We
grew up together and stuff.

When Bunny made the pass, I don’t know what I thought. I guess I wasn’t really thinking. I was doing drugs and stuff then. I remember the night that, that she made the advance or whatever. I was drinking, too.

I remember the night that, that she made the advance. I was drinking too. She was saying that Dad was abusing her. That was the night she came running over to my place. “Oh, my god, he's chasing me!” She was all whacked out on something, I don't know what.

I'm like, “God, Bunny, get in here and be quiet.” Sure as hell, boom, Dad come flying in the driveway. I thought, “What the hell is going on?” “Where's that little bitch?” Dad yelled. She goes, “Just don't tell him I'm here.” I wouldn't let him come in or nothing. He's like, "Goddamnit, I know she's in there. Get out of my way.”

I ended up picking up this blue dumpster. It sits up on four wheels. It was empty, but I picked it up and threw it, tried to smash him between his truck. I smashed his truck all up. Then he just started yelling at me, “Goddamnit, I'll get you back.” “All right, bring it on,” I said. We’re just going at it, man. The neighbors are going, “Shut the fuck up.”

Then I went back in and asked her what the hell is going on. She goes, “He's been sexually abusing me and trying to have sex and stuff. I brought it out in school and, and they called him. They wanted to know what was going on.”

I was drinking. So she started drinking with me. She just came over and grabbed crotch. Then it went off into that. So instead of thinking about her problems, then it was more like, “Well, what the heck.”

She would just adore me

Mark, 24, energetic and well-educated, fantasized about raping his stepsister when she was 13 and he 16. The rape fantasies began within a few months after she moved into the family home and continued after he married and became a father. The fantasies continued even after he married and was raising a family.

I had a spot where her body was going to be. I knew what I was going do to dispose of her body, how, where I was going to put her. I had assumed that she was going to fall in love with me afterwards. If she hadn’t, I had everything planned out.

I never fantasized that [I would kill her]. I never masturbated to that or fantasized about that. I masturbated and fantasized about me raping her and then giving her her first orgasm. She was going to love me and just adore me.

I wouldn’t have to kill her, but logically, and I don’t know how that’s logic, but logically afterward my mind would think, Well, you’re going to have to do something about this because she’s not going to love you. She can’t possibly ever love you. She would never love you. You’re going have to dispose of the body somehow because you don’t want anybody to ever find out that you raped her. I’m not good enough.

I wrote a letter to my stepsister, an anonymous letter, threatening to rape her unless she did what I told her to do.I remember breaking at that point in time for numerous reasons. I broke when I realized what I’d did. I wrote two letter to this girl.

I remember reading her diary. I would go in her room and read her diary later. It was a power trip. I remember reading her diary and seeing the tear drops on her diary as she cried. That broke me. All I could do was think about what pain I had caused her. It hurt so much that I’d caused this much pain.

I went to see my dad’s marriage counselor. He just basically told me God will fix it. Well three or four sessions that just pray, pray, pray, you know, God will fix it. He wasn’t really a counselor.He was a pastor. He didn’t have a counselor background at all. And, and so that, I was able to force it down, control it.

My friend brought it out in me again because it was now okay to talk to someone about this. My friend had got better, and I wasn’t. He saw the problem. We knew there was a problem. We didn’t know what to call it, though. I talked to my friend. Then I talked to another pastor who did know something. He got me connected to good therapy.

I realized I was preying on her at the very beginning stages of getting help. It was month prior to and themonth after I started getting help. I would watch her undress through her bedroom window. I would time her movements. There was a couple times when I would seriously think about stopping at a middle school and trying to follow some girl home. I never did, but the thought entered my mind.

I met my wife when I was fifteen. I needed a woman to love me because my mom didn’t. My wife, my girlfriend, thank God, the only woman I’ve ever made love with. I’ve been very blessed with that. It’s the same for both of us. I needed someone to love me, more than anything else.
She was my mom. She was my mom for our whole relationship.

Everything was better. I had this wonderful, beautiful woman who adored me, wanted me, cared for me and was very willing to be sexual with me. It was a perfect connection. I was fixed. I remember from fifteen to eighteen, I don’t remember acting out that much. She was there to help me. She was there.

I had a lot of issues

Sally Ann, 37, lanky and beautiful enough to be a model, sexually abused her younger brother and the children she babysat while she was a young teenager. She had a lot of therapy by the time of the interview and saw herself as a sexual addict.

I got my younger brother into therapy with one of my therapists. This is why I got him into therapy. One of my roommates woke up to him touching her in the middle of the night. That's really what happened with my father, and it freaked me out. So I got him into therapy. He had a lot of that kind of behavior. I felt guilty. I felt like I did it. I had a lot of issues with that.

He never continued therapy but he went in for a session with me where I told him that I had been sexually abusing him when he was young. He acted like he didn't know. I don't know if he did or not. He was five, six, seven when I sexually abused him--fondling, just touching, sleeping with, touching, sort of a nurturing thing. It wasn’t like my father. It wasn't violent or threatening or scary and those kinds of bad things, but it was something I felt guilty about.

I sorted out what my part in that was but his sexuality really had a lot to do with my father. He never told me that my dad ever touched him. I’m assuming that because my older brother told me. I felt protective toward my younger brother. Momish. Kind of like a mom. I wanted to give him a better life. That kind of closeness.

I also sexually abused kids I babysat, which really freaked me out because they were like babies, young kids. You know what I'm saying? Very young. Which really gave me some clues to
what happened to me that young beause I have no memories of four, five, six, as far as touch. I manipulated their vaginal area, masturbated around them. Yeah, it's really a strange thing, but it was another whole personality.

I think one of the little girls did tell her mother. I think that her mother didn't have me babysit anymore for that reason. That scared me. Yeah, scared me. It made me feel sick. It made me feel sick inside like that she'd know I did such a horrible thing. You know what I mean? Yeah. I think that had a big part in my stopping.

I did it quite often during my teenage years. I don't think it was for years but like, maybe like at twelve years old. It was like for a year. Maybe two different families, fifteen to twenty times. I mean I'd guess about that. Then I just quit.

I'm not sure how old I was when I abused my brother. I think it's about the same age, though. I think it was about the same age. I've not really figured it out as far as years but I think it was about the same time.

I had a lot of sexuality issues to deal with, probably starting at seven or eight, maybe before, probably all my life. I think I was doing what my father did. When he would be on top of me and stuff I would, I would, God, what was it? Lost it. He would like, when I was real, real young he would put his penis in between my legs, and I would come. I mean I would feel pleasure. I don't know if it would be come back then. Do you know what I'm saying? But I would have kind of a release from that. My masturbation was a lot like that. I was trying to give myself that same release which was also what I did with those young kids.

I was try to give myself that same release. Yeah. It got to be where I could just put my legs together really tightly and get that release. Do you know what I'm saying? They were different forms of masturbating. I was addicted to it.

I really don't know why I stopped abusing kids. I really don't know. Probably because I started acting out sexually. Probably masturbating more myself. I was really afraid of getting caught. I wanted to stop because I didn't want to do to anybody else what was done to me.

I remember feeling out of control. I stopped babysitting. You know that's one way I stopped it. I think as my brother got older, I just didn't want to be sexual with him, but I probably was sexual with him up until I left home at 15.

So what I’m saying is that I was afraid of being caught, which of course a lot of men are, too, but men have more of a sexual need than a woman, I think. I mean not a need but they think they do. You know what I'm saying? I had no control over it, really had no control over it. It was like once you thought about getting that release you went after that release. I think I just masturbated more after I quit with the kids.

Excitement outweighed consequences

Sid, 43, well-educated, with gray hair at his temples, and a pipe sticking out of the pocket of his tweed jacket, was a peeping Tom in his own family. The child victim was 14, his second wife’s child.

The incidences were voyeurism, for spying on my stepdaughter in our house. One morning, she actually came to her door and found me crouched outside of her door looking at her in the morning. I had told her I was downstairs exercising or doing something. It was kind of uncomfortable, obviously, for both of us. I never brought it up to my wife. My stepdaughter never told anybody about it, either.

Then probably five or six months later, when school had started again and we were getting ready at the same time in the mornings, I decided to go outside of our house and look through the bathroom window and try to watch her get out of the shower. She saw me and freaked out. That time my stepdaughter brought it up to my wife, too.

So my stepdaughter moved out. She moved out of our house and in with her older sister who was living on her own. There wasn’t any legal action right away, but she started having some panic attacks and things. Started having some panic attacks. She was in high school, involved in soccer.

There was one time where she had a panic attack in the shower at night, and the ambulance came. They were the professionals. They approached her and said, “What’s going on?” Then she said, “Well, it’s my stepfather was spying on me” and this and that. They said, “Well, (chuckle) you know that’s not legal. Have you pressed charges?” or whatever.

So that’s kind of what led to the whole legal ramifications. Probably two or three months after my stepdaughter was in some psychological help and was on some medication and things. That probably ended after two or three months. The panic attacks lasted for maybe six or seven months. I think the medication helped. Get rid of that, but she didn’t pursue a full course of treatment, unfortunately.

Still there’s no reconciliation. I’m still with her mother. There was a no-contact order from the court. I mean, we had to respect that. I don’t go to any family affairs if my stepdaughter is going to be there. I pled guilty to a misdemeanor. I had lots of mixed feelings because you don’t know--misdemeanor, I mean I’m very glad it wasn’t worse. It wasn’t a felony charge or physical contact or anything.

During the process of spying on my stepdaughter and things it was something that the excitement and whatever outweighed the consequences. I sure thought about when and if I would ever get caught. I spent time thinking about what a disaster that would be.

I’m active in my church and got to church every Sunday. Other people do things during the week and then go to church on Sunday as well. I guess I don't know if I’m much different than a lot of other people, you know, that wrestle with things.

I try to be rational, but, I mean, I must’ve rationalized wrong in that case. It didn’t seem to be hurting anybody. It seemed to be an anonymous thing. It seemed like something that was lesser of a simple thing to do than going out and physically assaulting somebody.

I think it just added a level of excitement or whatever, just knowing, looking at somebody without them knowing it. I think I probably objectified women, you know, during adolescence and even into my twenties and things, too.

I guess I just didn’t know where to turn. I mean I wasn’t intimate or comfortable enough to talk about it with my wife because, what’s she going to say when I say, “Yeah, I’m spying on your daughter.” I really didn’t have any best friends, male or female. I mean it’s such an icky topic. I probably could’ve gone and talked to my pastor, but again, you know, any time you talk to somebody you know it’s just going to taint their view of you.

That lit my fire

Johnathan, 30, handsome and well-spoken, engaged in voyeurism with his daughters and their girlfriends when they were 12 and 13 years old and moved on to sexually abusing them. For many years before he engaged in these behaviors, he masturbated first to adult pornography and then to child pornography. He had made no mention that the use of child pornography is part of an industry that made money exploiting underage children. I tell his story last because he speaks for many men, both in the extent of the abuse they committed and in their stated motivation to change their behaviors.

The pornography began before I started abusing my daughter. I remember how it first started. This took place over several years. My wife had a niece who was 11 or 12 years old at the time. I found her very sexually attractive at the time. There would be a family gathering at their house. I would steal a pair of panties from her clothes hamper. I would take those home and masturbate with those.

I had been into pornography for many years but it was of adult, adult women. Then I remember a sex store opened up. I just happened to be walking through. There was this whole rack of barely legal, women who had just turned eighteen, and I bought a dozen of them. That just lit my fire. All this time, my oldest daughter started going into puberty. I was more comfortable sexualizing her girlfriends.

I remember there was one time I was voyeuring on my daughter and her girlfriends. They had taken showers and were changing clothes. They were all naked. I remember seeing her and looking away, seeing my daughter and looking away. I looked at her girlfriends. I don’t know.

A few weeks later, another girlfriend had spent the night. I was digging through her overnight bag, what I thought was the girl’s overnight bag. It was actually my daughter’s overnight bag. I had taken her panties out, and I had masturbated with those. It was after that I realized that was actually my daughter’s. I was kind of freaked out by it, but I still got a rush from it. That made it easier for me to cross that line.

The next time I voyeured I did look at her. It was no longer taboo. What happened that I did cross that line to, there were a few things, like she would sit on my lap. We would hug. We’d be swimming and playing tag games and stuff like that I’d accidentally touch her and stuff like that.

Where it actually became more intense, there was one night I was making my regular rounds through the house, making sure the kids were in bed, the doors were locked, the cat was in and stuff. I had gone down to my daughter’s room. It was very dark. I leaned over to give her a kiss goodnight. When I went to brace myself on her bed, but I actually touched her breast when I kissed her on her cheek.

It was just like a shot of electricity through my body. I went upstairs and went to bed and tried to forget about it, but it was just racing in my head. I didn’t go back down in her room for several days after that. Eventually, I did go back down there and the same thing. Kiss her on the cheek, but this time when I touched her breast it was intentional.

Then progressively it got to the point where I went down there, and I would touch her breasts over and under her pajamas while she slept, or I believed she slept. I would touch her with one hand, and I would masturbate with the other. I probably did that maybe six, seven times.

There were a couple of times where she woke up where I was in the room where I was just beginning to touch her and she woke up She went, “What are you doing here?” “I’m just tucking you in. It’s ok, baby. Just go back to sleep.” Then I would leave. I’d also done the same thing to a couple of her girlfriends when they had spent the night. Twice each.

The only time I really felt good was when I was acting out sexually. It was safe for me. It was like everything around me was so dark. I wasn’t getting any good feelings from anywhere. I had convinced myself that I didn’t deserve them. No one really knows me. They just know the image. They didn’t love me. They loved the fa├žade. I just felt miserable.

The only time I felt good, it was so powerful, so strong. It was such a rush. It’s almost like my daughter was my girlfriend. It was almost like I was falling in love with her. It felt simple to love her. It was simple. It was easy. My daughter just loved me. She thought I was great. I was fantastic. I didn’t get anything from her that led me to believe that she would be ok doing anything sexual.

I felt more entitled to act out whenever I would do something really great like I was really big with do it yourself gardening, home improvement. There was one time that basement flooded. The sump pump broke. I was up until 3 o’clock in the morning installing a new sump pump. I had never done anything like that before. I felt really good, accomplished. I deserve a reward.

The reward was I could act out sexually. I could go to the internet and download some pictures. I don’t know if sexually touched daughter in those deserving moments.

It was a combination of I thought that there was something wrong with me like I was mentally ill in combination of that I was evil, like there was something really wrong with me, or broken, or even something genetic, brain. You know what I’m saying? Something wrong with my brain, that I was possessed because I knew what I was doing was wrong.

I didn’t want anybody else to feel what I did. I didn’t want to make anybody else feel bad. Empathy. I guess that sense of compassion and empathy was not strong enough for me to not do what I did. I was able to turn that off.

I think my rationalization was they were sleeping. They don’t know. So I’m not hurting them because they don’t know. With the internet pictures, they don’t know. There just pictures. My downloading these pictures doesn’t hurt anybody. That was my rationalization to get what I wanted without hurting anyone if I did it while they were asleep.

Once I clicked into that that zone, it was almost like I was no longer in control of my own body. I remember walking down the stairs to my daughter’s room praying, God stop me. Please God stop me. I don’t want to do this. Please stop me. That was part of what made me feel like I was insane or possessed or I was mentally ill because my mind is saying stop but I’m still going downstairs. What is heck is that about? Once I got into that zone, it was like the point of no return.

Talk to someone? No. I was too afraid of the consequences. If I could figure out a way to get help without getting in trouble and without destroying the image because, if I come out with this, the image of wonderful father and wonderful guy and wonderful neighbor would be all gone. I was afraid to let people in on the real me.

I told my Sex Addicts Anonymous sponsor first. That was extremely hard. Oh, God, it was so hard. I just cried, and I cried, and I cried. I felt so ashamed. I mean it was like, the whole like thing was like, you know how you get that feeling in your stomach that you’re going to throw up?

Like Oh, God, I don’t want to throw up. But then you get to that point where, God, I wish I would just throw up because I know I would feel better.

This was what this was. I know I will feel better. It was this process of throwing all this stuff up. It was a relief. As crappy as it was, as much as it hurt, and as scary and painful and everything. To finally have that weight lifted off of my shoulders. To let go of that horrible secret--that was incredible.

My older daughter told a friend. The friend told her mother. The mother phoned the police. The police called me on the phone and asked me to come to the station. .My daughter knew something was going on, but didn’t really know what. I told her, “I want you to know that no matter what happens none of this was your fault. I do really love you.” I left, but it was like I was going to the grocery store to get eggs and milk. I never said good-bye to my two little ones. I went to the station and gave a full report of what I had done. They arrested me right on the spot. I went to jail.

When I went down to the police station, I thought it was one of those things were I would give my statement. They’d slap me on my wrists and say, “OK. We’ll get back to you on that.” Do some community service hours. I didn’t think it was as big as it was.

The abuse might have stopped sooner if I had asked for help, but the problem was I didn’t know where to go. I don’t know how to go about getting help. My thought that that the way it would stop I would have to go to prison. Yet, I thought I should go to prison for what I did.

A large part of me at the time thought that’s where I belonged. That I was an animal, a monster, I was evil. That’s exactly what I deserved. I deserved to be locked up, caged up. Who am I to deserve any sort freedom after what I’ve done? I thought that even though I didn’t want to go to prison I really thought I deserved to be punished. I got off easy. Twenty-one months is nothing and getting to go to treatment is nothing in comparison to what I had done. I knew that I wanted to go to treatment, but I thought I deserved to go to prison.

What keeps a lot of people from disclosing is fear of going to prison, fear of getting in trouble, fear of losing their job, fear of losing status, fear of a having a felony record. Those are legitimate fears but there things for me that are much more valuable that I gained. I did lose all those things but I gained things that I think are much more valuable. I have things like positive self esteem. I can look at myself in the mirror and feel good about my self. The relationships I have with people are honest.

I have things like values, morals, integrity. I understood the concept of those things but those weren’t things that I possessed. Those to me now are way more valuable to me than any job or status. I know people who love me love me for who I am—the genuine, real me. What you see is what you get. I am who I am, regardless of where I go. That is very empowering. That is very, very empowering.

I don’t want to be remembered as a man who sexually abused his own children and his children’s friends, who used children and pornography for good sexual feelings. I want to be remembered as a man who was a positive influence in other people’s lives. I want to be remembered as a man who lived his life on a foundation of honesty.

The blog is for witty people who want to build community. In this world that seems to be so full of witless efforts to self-aggrandize, I want to promote the simple idea of human connection.