“The serial killer has the same personality characteristics as the sex offender against children” -Dr. Mace Knapp, Nevada State Prison Psychologist
Usually sex crimes do not result in homicide. But in some cases they are deemed worse than murder both morally and legally. In “Understanding the Predatory Nature of Sexual Violence”, Dr. David Lisak of the University of Massachusetts Boston points out: “In Senate Bill 218, the low end of the range for the most serious sex offences is higher than the mandatory minimum or low end of presumptive sentences for some crimes that result in death – Death has always been seen as the greatest harm that could be inflicted by an offender. But death can be caused by reckless conduct. Sex offences are not reckless – they are at the very least knowing and often intentional”.
Those who survive a brutal form of sexual assault, battery or abuse often live with that experience for the rest of their lives. Their trust in others is shaky, their ability to be intimate with a long term partner is hugely challenged and a myriad of mental health problems, from post traumatic stress and anxiety to depression and addictions may result.
In a few cases, those who have been victimised during their childhood become sexual offenders as teens or adults creating a vicious cycle. However, it may surprise you to know that sexual pleasure is not always the motivation behind a sexual offender’s crimes.
Types of Sex Crimes
When most people hear the term ‘sex crime’, their mind generally thinks of either rape or child molestation. While these unfortunately are prevalent sexual offences, there are several other categories of sex crimes.
Exhibitionism/Indecent Exposure: Someone guilty of indecent exposure or exhibitionism has exposed him or herself (i.e. his or her genitals) in public or to an unwilling stranger.
Child Pornography: Producing, possessing and/or distributing child pornography is illegal. Generally, child pornography refers to images, such as videos or photographs, of minors under 18 years of age; the images are deemed pornography if they are characterised by a sexual nature. Nude photographs are not necessarily considered pornography, such as the case of a parent taking a photo of baby’s first bath.
Voyeurism: Generally voyeurism involves observing or watching one or more non-consenting individuals in a sexual manner, i.e. if they are undressing or engaging in private sexual acts. In some cases those guilty of voyeurism will masturbate as they watch.
Frotteurism: Frotteurism refers to an offender touching or rubbing his or her body against an unwilling or unsuspecting individual.
Prostitution: While legislation regarding prostitution varies, there are numerous criminal offences related to this area, such as pandering (pimping), solicitation and sex trafficking.
Internet Sex Crimes: Since the dawn of the digital age, the Internet has become a domain for sexual crimes. Internet sex crimes include watching or distributing child pornography or luring a juvenile to meet in person for sexual acts.
Rape: The legal definition of rape may vary according to state laws, but generally it refers forcing someone to have sex or having sex with a minor or a non-consensual adult. Examples include statutory rape and date rape, says the Criminal Defence Information Centre.
Child Molestation: Child molestation involves an adult performing a range of sexual acts on a juvenile. Depending on state legislation, a juvenile may be under the age of 19, 18, 17, 16, etc.
Incest: According to Fort Lewis College’s Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld (“Misunderstood Crimes”) incest differs from child molestation in that it involves an adult performing sexual acts on a juvenile who is their blood relative.
Sexual Homicide: Dr. Mark S. Carich et al. (in “Sexual Murder and Sexual Serial Killers”) wrote, “It is understood that the vast majority of sexual offenders such as pedophiles and adult rapists do NOT kill their victims”. However, in some cases an offender will commit sexual assault and then murder. Some even become sexual serial killers. Carich et al. add that sexual homicide may also be coupled with heinous acts such as necrophilia or cannibalism.
It is mistakenly believed that sexual offenders are solely motivated by sexual gratification when they commit their crimes. Dr. Nicholas Groth developed three typologies to describe the motivations of rapists, two of which suggest sexual gratification is secondary.
Anger rapists are fuelled by rage towards their victims and rape is their way of seeking violent revenge. According to the Centre for Sex Offender Management (CSOM), these rapists may actually be extremely discontent with another area in their lives and thus take out their frustration on their victims. “Anger rapists tend to use a significant amount of physical force when they subdue their victims – in most cases, far more force than is necessary to perpetrate the abuse,” adds the CSOM. Verbal abuse is also a common component of these types of violations that are generally impulsive – not planned.
Power Rapists on the other hand are less impulsive and rely on psychological manipulation more so than physical violence to subdue and sexually assault their victims. “The power rapist was motivated by his need to control and dominate his victim, and inversely, to avoid being controlled by [the victim],” describes Dr. Lisak. Those who rape their domestic partners are often characterised as power rapists. There are also sadistic rapists who receive sexual or erotic gratification from exerting power and control over the victims they rape. “Because they have an erotic response to power and control, extreme violence and torture often characterise their assaults,” says the CSOM.
Pedophiles are a person over the age of 16 who has a dominating attraction to children, generally who have not yet gone through puberty. Those who carry out their acts fuelled by their attraction to children generally are not impulsive and carefully plan their offences. On the other hand, the situational or regressed child molester is normally attracted to someone who is age appropriate. This type of molester turns to juveniles as a reaction to stress or difficulties going on in their personal life. Amanda L. Cunningham from Missouri Western State University provides some interesting insight into the mind of some child molesters. “They believe that their victims enjoy the attention and care they receive and that what they are doing to the child is acceptable. In addition, child molesters often believe that they are expressing a romantic love and that their victims are returning this love. They believe that the sexual feelings are mutual”. Cunningham adds that many child molesters do however feel they have to keep the relationship a secret and that they view other molesters’ behaviours as wrong and not based on genuine love like their own ‘relationship’.
Does being sexually assaulted as a child lead to becoming a sex offender?
Dr. Lisak states that neglect, physical abuse or sexual abuse during childhood is more common among rapists than non-rapists. The National Institute of Justice adds that those who are arrested for sex crimes were more likely subject to abuse (but not necessarily sexual abuse) during their childhood.
You may be surprised to know that repeat sex offenders do not necessarily target only one category of victim or offend in the same manner. Dr. Lisak explains that a proportion of sexual offenders are ‘non-specialists’. “Multiple studies have now documented that between 33% and 66% of rapists have also sexually attacked children; that up to 82% of child molesters have also sexually attacked adults; and that between 50% and 66% of incest offenders have also sexually attacked children outside their families,” states Dr. Lisak.
Who are the people that use children for their own sexual purposes? There is no one type of person. “We’ve treated high-ranking military officers, physicians, lawyers and plumbers,” said Dr. Fred Berlin, co-director of the clinic for sexual disorders at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. ”Some are highly educated; others are not.” Almost all pedophiles who reach the attention of the courts or who go to prison are men, but experts say that the sexual abuse by women may be more prevalent than reports show. Often a Lifelong Problem
The behaviour of many pedophiles seems a lifelong, uncontrollable compulsion. Pedophiles are often repeating experiences from their past. Dr. Groth said that 80 percent of the sex offenders he had studied had themselves been sexually abused as children.
Dr. Groth, who has written several books on people who sexually abuse children, categorises pedophiles into ”fixated” or ”regressed” types. He defines ”fixated” pedophiles as those who become fixated on children as sex objects in adolescence, who usually stay single and who often have important sexual relations only with children. Of 175 sex offenders studied, Dr. Groth found almost half to be in this category. Of these 83 men, 35 had sexual relations only with boys; 28 only with girls and 20 with both boys and girls.
This group makes ”a narcissistic object choice,” Dr. Groth said. Another type of pedophile, who Dr. Groth classifies as ”regressed,” regresses to sexual interest in children after a serious personal setback, such as marital problems, a death in the family or physical disablement. Alcohol abuse is much more likely to be involved in this group. This pedophile, who may be married, is often seeking a substitute for a woman and treats the child ”as a pseudo-adult” Dr. Groth said. Of 92 such men studied, 65 had sexual relations only with girls; 15 only with boys and 12 with both boys and girls.
About 10 percent of those Dr. Groth has studied who abuse children use rape or other physical force on children, and Dr. Groth sees these men as motivated by anger or hostility toward the child or what the child represents.
Many of the abused children are seduced by people they know and trust, including close family members. Those who succumb without force are often persuaded by a combination of affection and bribery and are often lonely children themselves.
On asking a convicted pedophile how he found his victims, he was told: ”I would look at a schoolyard and find the child who was standing alone. The child who had thin clothes in winter, the child who was not as clean because the parents weren’t taking good care of him.”
The pedophile often tells himself that he is doing the child a favour by providing more care and affection than the child would otherwise receive. ”Children are taught to cooperate with adults, and a child can cooperate without consenting,” he said. The pedophiles ”capitalise on the vulnerability of children.
Some of the few people who publicly support sexual relations between adults and children point to prior periods when such practices were prevalent, such as in ancient Greece. Sexuality experts, however, note that the unions then were between men and adolescents, not younger children. Moreover, the relationship was institutionalised as a ”mentorship,” and the boys were supposed to leave this period of their lives to resume heterosexual development.
While there may be some debate over whether sexual relations between adults and adolescents are always harmful, there is strong agreement among experts that sexual relations between adults and preadolescent children are destructive. Abused children miss the valuable period of childhood where they are sexually left alone to develop on their own.
”Kids have an expectation that adults will protect them,” said Dr. Suzanne Sgroi, co-director of the St. Joseph College Institute for the Treatment and Control of Child Sexual Abuse in West Hartford, Conn.
Even when the pedophile uses no force, ”on balance, it’s a very negative experience,” Dr. Sgroi said. Dr. Sgroi, who has worked with hundreds of sexually abused children, said, ”I never encounter people who say ‘It didn’t hurt me,’ ”Often the hurt has come from the child’s being passive, of not saying ”no” to a degrading experience.
Difficult to Treat Pedophilia
Pedophilia is difficult to treat and is more likely to be chronic among men with a homosexual orientation than among heterosexual pedophiles, according to the American Psychiatric Association, which lists pedophilia as a ”psychosexual disorder” in its ”Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.”
By: Sam Vaknin
Pedophiles seem to have narcissistic and antisocial (psychopathic) traits. They lack empathy for their victims and express no remorse for their actions. They are in denial and, being pathological confabulators, they rationalise their transgressions, claiming that the children were merely being educated for their own good and, anyhow, derived great pleasure from it.
The pedophile’s ego-syntony rests on his alloplastic defences. He generally tends to blame others (or the world or the “system”) for his misfortunes, failures, and deficiencies. Pedophiles frequently accuse their victims of acting promiscuously, of “coming on to them”, of actively tempting, provoking, and luring (or even trapping) them.
The pedophile – similar to the autistic patient – misinterprets the child’s body language and inter-personal cues. His social communication skills are impaired and he fails to adjust information gained to the surrounding circumstances (for instance, to the kid’s age and maturity).
Coupled with his lack of empathy, this recurrent inability to truly comprehend others cause the pedophile to objectify the targets of his lasciviousness. Pedophilia is, in essence, auto-erotic. The pedophile uses children’s bodies to masturbate with. Hence the success of the Internet among pedophiles: it offers disembodied, anonymous, masturbatory sex. Children in cyberspace are mere representations – often nothing more than erotic photos and screen names.
It is crucial to realise that pedophiles are not enticed by the children themselves, by their bodies, or by their budding and nubile sexuality (remember Nabokov’s Lolita?). Rather, pedophiles are drawn to what children symbolise, to what preadolescents stand for and represent.
To the pedophile …
I. Sex with children is “free” and “daring”
Sex with subteens implies freedom of action with impunity. It enhances the pedophile’s magical sense of omnipotence and immunity. By defying the authority of the state and the edicts of his culture and society, the pedophile experiences an adrenaline rush to which he gradually becomes addicted. Illicit sex becomes the outlet for his urgent need to live dangerously and recklessly.
The pedophile is on a quest to reassert control over his life. Studies have consistently shown that pedophilia is associated with anomic states (war, famine, epidemics) and with major life crises (failure, relocation, infidelity of spouse, separation, divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy, illness, death of the offender’s nearest and dearest).
It is likely that the typical pedophile is depressive and with a borderline personality. Pedophiles are reckless and emotionally labile. The pedophile’s sense of self-worth is volatile and dysregulated. He is likely to suffer from abandonment anxiety and be a codependent or counter-dependent.
Paradoxically, it is by seemingly losing control in one aspect of his life (sex) that the pedophile re-acquires a sense of mastery. The same mechanism is at work in the development of eating disorders. An inhibitory deficit is somehow magically perceived as omnipotence.
II. Sex with children is corrupt and decadent
The pedophile makes frequent (though unconscious) use of projection and projective identification in his relationships with children. He makes his victims treat him the way he views himself – or attributes to them traits and behaviours that are truly his.
The pedophile is aware of society’s view of his actions as vile, corrupt, forbidden, evil, and decadent (especially if the pedophiliac act involves incest). He derives pleasure from the sleazy nature of his pursuits because it tends to sustain his view of himself as “bad”, “a failure”, “deserving of punishment”, and “guilty”.
In extreme (mercifully uncommon) cases, the pedophile projects these torturous feelings and self-perceptions onto his victims. The children defiled and abused by his sexual attentions thus become “rotten”, “bad objects”, guilty and punishable. This leads to sexual sadism, lust rape, and snuff murders.
III. Sex with children is a reenactment of a painful past
Many pedophile truly bond with their prey. To them, children are the reification of innocence, genuineness, trust, and faithfulness – qualities that the pedophile wishes to nostalgically recapture.
The relationship with the child provides the pedophile with a “safe passage” to his own, repressed and fearful, inner child. It is a fantasy-like second chance to reenact his childhood.
IV. Sex with children is a shared psychosis
The pedophile treats “his” chosen child as an object, an extension of himself, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs. He finds the child’s submissiveness and gullibility gratifying. He frowns on any sign of personal autonomy and regards it as a threat. By intimidating, cajoling, charming, and making false promises, the abuser isolates his prey from his family, school, peers, and from the rest of society and, thus, makes the child’s dependence on him total.
The pedophile erroneously feels that the child will never betray and abandon him, therefore guaranteeing “object constancy”.
The pedophile stealthily but unfailingly exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological makeup of his victim. The child may have low self-esteem, a fluctuating sense of self-worth, primitive defence mechanisms, phobias and mental health problems. In extreme and rare cases the victim becomes a masochist, possessed of an urge to seek ill-treatment and pain.
The pedophile demands complete obedience from his “partner”. He feels entitled to adulation and special treatment by his child-mate. He punishes the wayward and the straying lambs. He enforces discipline.
The child finds himself in a twilight zone. The pedophile imposes on him a shared psychosis, replete with persecutory delusions, “enemies”, mythical narratives, and apocalyptic scenarios if he is flouted. The child is rendered the joint guardian of a horrible secret.
The pedophile’s control is based on ambiguity, unpredictability, fuzziness, and ambient abuse. His ever-shifting whims exclusively define right versus wrong, desirable and unwanted, what is to be pursued and what to be avoided. He alone determines rights and obligations and alters them at will.
The typical pedophile is a micro-manager. He exerts control over the minutest details and behaviours. He punishes severely and abuses withholders of information and those who fail to conform to his wishes and goals.
The pedophile does not respect the boundaries and privacy of the child. He ignores his or her wishes and treats children as objects or instruments of gratification. He seeks to control both situations and people compulsively.
The pedophile acts in a patronising and condescending manner and criticises often. He alternates between emphasising the minutest faults (devalues) and exaggerating the looks, talents, traits, and skills (idealises) of the child. He is wildly unrealistic in his expectations which legitimises his subsequent abusive conduct.
Narcissistic pedophiles claim to be infallible, superior, talented, skilful, omnipotent, and omniscient. They often lie and confabulate to support these unfounded claims and to justify their actions. Most pedophiles suffer from cognitive deficits and reinterpret reality to fit their fantasies.
In extreme cases, the pedophile feels above the law, any kind of law. This grandiose and haughty conviction leads to criminal acts, incestuous or polygamous relationships, and recurrent friction with the authorities.
V. The pedophile regards sex with children as an ego-booster
Subteen children are, by definition, “inferior”. They are physically weaker, dependent on others for the fulfilment of many of their needs, cognitively and emotionally immature, and easily manipulated. Their fund of knowledge is limited and their skills restricted. His relationships with children buttress the pedophile’s twin grandiose delusions of omnipotence and omniscience. Compared to his victims, the pedophiles is always the stronger, the wiser, the most skilful and well-informed.
VI. Sex with children guarantees companionship
Inevitably, the pedophile considers his child-victims to be his best friends and companions. Pedophiles are lonely, erotomanic, people. (Erotomania is a type of delusional disorder where the affected person believes that another person is in love with him or her. This belief is usually applied to someone with higher status or a famous person, but can also be applied to a complete stranger. http://https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotomania)
The pedophile believes that he is in love with (or simply loves) the child. Sex is merely one way to communicate his affection and caring. But there are other venues.
To show his keen interest, the common pedophile keeps calling the child, dropping by, writing e-mails, giving gifts, providing services, doing unsolicited errands “on the kid’s behalf”, getting into relationships with the preteen’s parents, friends, teachers, and peers, and, in general, making himself available (stalking) at all times. The pedophile feels free to make legal, financial, and emotional decisions for the child.
The pedophile intrudes on the victim’s privacy, disrespects the child’s express wishes and personal boundaries and ignores his or her emotions, needs, and preferences. To the pedophile, “love” means enmeshment and clinging coupled with an overpowering separation anxiety (fear of being abandoned).
Moreover, no amount of denials, chastising, threats, and even outright hostile actions convince the erotomaniac that the child not in love with him. He knows better and will make the world see the light as well. The child and his guardians are simply unaware of what is good for the kid. The pedophile determinedly sees it as his or her task to bring life and happiness into the child’s dreary and unhappy existence.
Thus, regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the pedophile is convinced that his feelings are reciprocated – in other words, that the child is equally infatuated with him or her. He interprets everything the child does (or refrains from doing) as coded messages confessing to and conveying the child’s interest in and eternal devotion to the pedophile and to the “relationship”.
Consequently, pedophiles react badly to any perceived rejection by their victims. They turn on a dime and become dangerously vindictive, out to destroy the source of their mounting frustration. When the “relationship” looks hopeless, some pedophiles violently embark on a spree of self-destruction.
Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism:
1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may re-inflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimise the other person.
5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favourable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognise that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between self and other.
A person with antisocial personality disorder. Probably the most widely recognised personality disorder. A sociopath is often well liked because of their charm and high charisma, but they do not usually care about other people. They think mainly of themselves and often blame others for the things that they do. They have a complete disregard for rules and lie constantly. They seldom feel guilt or learn from punishments. Though some sociopaths have become murders, most reveal their sociopathy through less deadly and sensational means.
The Abel and Harlow child molestation prevention study (2001) of 15,508 male adults in 41 US states having committed sexual boundary violations. The authors analysed using 3,952 adults, out of the 15,508, who admitted to sexually molesting children 13 years and younger.
1. Demographics: Child molester match the U.S. population in education, percentage married or formerly married, and religious observance.
2. Ethnicity: Child molester occur in various ethnic groups: Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and American Indian.
3. Low-risk children: Only 10% of child molesters molest children they don’t know.
4. High-risk children: The overwhelming majority of molesters (68%) sexually abuse children in their own families – Children whom they parent, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren. As teenagers they molest much younger siblings.
5. Children in the social circle: The next largest number of molesters (40%) abuse children of families in their social circle. Some molesters molest children in their own families and children in their social circle.
9. Sexually abused boys who become molesters: Being abused as a boy appears to increase the risk that the abused child will himself eventually molest a child. More than 47% of the admitted child molesters had been sexually abused as children.
10. Severely sexually abused boys: Adult molesters who, as children, were sexually abused more than 50 times have triple the number of child victims compared to child molesters who were never sexually molested. Of those sexually abused more than 50 times, 82% can be categorised as pedophiles.
11. Sexual orientation: More than 70% of the men who molest boys rate themselves as heterosexual in their adult sexual preferences. In addition, 9% report that they are equally heterosexual and homosexual. Only 8% report that they are exclusively homosexual. The majority of the men who molest boys are also married, divorced, widowed, or living with an adult partner. Only 7% of child molesters show no sexual interest in adults.
12. Crossing multiple sex boundaries: More than 60% of pedophiles have other paraphilias. Many are also exhibitionists or voyeurs. Of the pedophiles who molest girls, 21% also molest boys. Of the pedophiles who molest boys, 53% also molest girls. More men molest girls; than fewer men molest boys, but have a larger number of boy victims.
Number of child victims and acts per molester of boys only average 10.7 victims per molester and 52 acts. Those molesting girls only average 5.2 victims and 34.2 acts. Those who reported molesting both boys and girls averaged 27.3 victims and 120.9 acts.
Estimated Number of child molestation victims in the U.S. 1999:
This ratio was applied to Finkelhor’s percentages of sexually abused girls by age group, and in turn applied to the male population as given in the 1999 U.S. Census Statistical Abstract. The final estimated number: 2,231,372 sexually abused girls and 1,004,117 sexually abused boys. Child molestation, because of its large numbers of victims and because of the extent of its damage to the health of its victims, is a national public health problem.
There could be as many as 11 million victims of sexual abuse in the UK – constituting a “national health epidemic” – an expert appointed to a government inquiry has said.
Graham Wilmer, founder of the Lantern Project, said his estimation was based on “prevalence rates published by the government”, and he called for better support for victims.
Wilmer, an abuse victim himself, told Sky News: “There are potentially about 11.7 million victims out there at the moment who have not disclosed and many of those people will start to come forward in very significant numbers.”
“You are dealing with a massive, massive problem. From what we have seen, if you don’t provide the right level of support and intervention to support people when they come forward you see very significant health problems – mental health and physical health – which have a direct cost to us as a society.
“We look upon child abuse and its impact now as a national health epidemic.”
According to Sky News, statistics show one in six boys under 16 have been sexually abused, while for girls the figure is one in four. The children’s charity NSPCC estimates that one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused.
An exploration of incest in the childhood development of serial rapists and serial killers.
This paper explores the phenomenon of male incest in a sample of 41 incarcerated serial rapists. Of 31 men who reported childhood sexual abuse (penetration, exploitation, and/or witnessing), just over half were victims of incest. All incestuous experiences occurred before puberty, and the majority of the experiences were protracted in nature. Incest victims were significantly more likely than non-incest victims to re-enact sexually abusive behaviour within the family. This finding suggests that clinical discoveries of sibling sexual activity should alert clinicians that other incestuous activities may be occurring or have taken place.
Chronic maltreatment defined as “recurrent incidents of maltreatment over a prolonged period of time” (Bromfield & Higgins, 2005, p. 39) has been linked to worse outcomes than transitory or isolated incidents of maltreatment (e.g., Ethier, Lemelin, & Lacharite, 2004; Graham et al., 2010; Johnson-Reid, Kohl, & Drake, 2012).
Research suggests that maltreatment types are interrelated, that is, a large proportion of adults who experience childhood abuse or neglect are exposed to more than one type of abuse (known as multi-type maltreatment). Further to this, other forms of victimisation (known as poly-victimisation) such as bullying or assault by a peer have often been found to co-occur with child maltreatment (Finkelhor, Ormrod, & Turner, 2007). Research indicates that those who experience multi-type maltreatment and/or poly-victimisation are more likely to experience high levels of trauma symptoms and worse outcomes as adults than those who are exposed to no maltreatment or only one type (Finkelhor et al., 2007; Higgins & McCabe, 2001; Richmond, Elliot, Pierce, Aspelmeier, & Alexander, 2009).
Mass murder, serial killing, serial raping, pedophilia – Examples of child sexualization’s fatal casualties:
Anders Behring Breivik (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɑnːəʂ ˈbeːrɪŋ ˈbrɛiviːk]; born 13 February 1979) is a Norwegian far-right terrorist and the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks. On 22 July 2011, he killed eight people by setting off a van bomb amid the government quarter Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, then murdered 69 participants of a Workers’ Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya. In August 2012, he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.
When Breivik was 4-years-old, living in Fritzners gate, Oslo, two reports were filed expressing concern about his mental health, concluding that Anders ought to be removed from parental care. One psychologist in one of the reports made a note of the boy’s peculiar smile, suggesting it was not anchored in his emotions but was rather a deliberate response to his environment. In another report by psychologists from Norway’s centre for child and youth psychiatry (SSBU) concerns were raised about how his mother treated him: “She ‘sexualised’ the young Breivik, hit him, and frequently told him that she wished that he were dead.” In the report Wenche Behring is described as “a woman with an extremely difficult upbringing, borderline personality structure and an all-encompassing if only partially visible depression” who “projects her primitive aggressive and sexual fantasies onto him [Breivik]”.
Aileen Carol Wuornos (February 29, 1956 – October 9, 2002) was an American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990. Her mother, Diane Wuornos (born 1939), was 14 years old when she married Aileen’s father, Leo Dale Pittman (1937–1969), on June 3, 1954. Less than two years later, and two months before Aileen was born, Diane filed for divorce. Aileen’s older brother Keith was born on March 14, 1955. Wuornos never met her father; he was incarcerated at the time of her birth. Pittman was diagnosed with schizophrenia, later convicted of sex crimes against children, and eventually hanged himself in prison on January 30, 1969. In January 1960, when Wuornos was almost four years old, Diane abandoned her children, leaving them with their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos, who legally adopted Keith and Aileen on March 18, 1960.
By the age of 11, Wuornos began engaging in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. She had also engaged in sexual activities with her brother. Wuornos claimed that her alcoholic grandfather had sexually assaulted and beaten her when she was a child; before beating her, he would force her to strip out of her clothes. In 1970, at age 14, she became pregnant, having been raped by a friend of her grandfather’s.
CHARLESTON, ILL. — Anthony Mertz, convicted in the 2001 murder and rape of an Eastern Illinois University student, testified at his sentencing hearing Monday that he was sexually and physically abused as a child.
Mary Flora Bell (born 26 May 1957) is a British woman who, in 1968, as a child, strangled to death two little boys in Scotswood, an inner-city suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne. She was convicted in December 1968, at the age of 11, of the manslaughter of the two boys, Martin Brown (aged 4) and Brian Howe (aged 3).
Bell’s mother Betty (née McCrickett) was a prostitute. Mary says she was subjected to repeated sexual abuse, her mother forcing her from the age of four to engage in sexual acts with men.
The following response from a psychopathic rapists when asked why they didn’t empathise with their victims: “They are frightened, right? But, you see, I don’t really understand it. I’ve been frightened myself, and it wasn’t unpleasant.” –Hare, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us
Jimmy Savile argued the images of child pornography found on Gary Glitter, pedophile’s computer were: “for his own gratification and whether that’s right or wrong is, of course, up to him as a person.”
I was taken aback and suggested that Gary Glitter, real name Paul Gadd, the disgraced singer, had gone much further than downloading images – as evidenced by his 2007 conviction for obscene acts with minors in Vietnam.
Jimmy Savile answered: “Are you telling me that some evil person didn’t stick little ‘birds’ into him?”
France African Raped white woman (He was sexualised from age 6 by his white stepfather.) (5:59)
Too Young To Kill – 15 Shocking Crimes Part 8
Derek and Alex King (6:31)
Too Young To Kill – 15 Shocking Crimes Part 12
The murder of Eddy Warner (6:07)
Trainer’s Resource Handout The Traumatic Impact of Child Sexual Abuse: A Conceptualisation Centre for Sex Offender Management
The Traumatic Impact of Child Sexual Abuse: A Conceptualisation
by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., and Angela Browne, Ph.D.
Sexual abuse experiences can vary dramatically in terms of the amount and kind of traumatic sexualization they provoke. Experiences in which the offender makes an effort to evoke the child’s sexual response, for example, are probably more sexualising than those in which an offender simply uses a passive child to masturbate with. Experiences in which the child is enticed to participate are also likely to be more sexualising than those in which brute force is used. However, even with the use of force, a form of traumatic sexualization may occur as a result of the fear that becomes associated with sex in the wake of such an experience. The degree of a child’s understanding may also affect the degree of sexualization. Experiences in which the child, because of early age or developmental level, understands few of the sexual implications of the activities may be less sexualising than those involving a child with greater awareness. Children who have been traumatically sexualised emerge from their experiences with inappropriate repertoires of sexual behaviour, with confusions and misconceptions about their sexual self-concepts, and with unusual emotional associations to sexual activities.
But psychological science has a more nuanced view of adolescence as a separate stage, between childhood and adulthood. This view is supported by neuroscience, which shows that the frontal cortex—the seat of judgment, self-control, and sensible planning—matures very gradually into early adulthood. It is out of sync with the early development of the emotional brain, and as a result there is a gap between early sensation seeking and later self-discipline.
Bonnie and Scott do make some suggestions. Consider teenage drinking, for example, which is a form of sensation seeking and risk taking. It’s been argued that 18-year-olds should be permitted to drink, since they are considered old enough to go to war and assume other adult responsibilities. But the teenage brain is vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, and research has shown that the age at which teens start drinking—and the intensity of this drinking—are strong predictors of alcohol abuse and addiction later in life.
Current research on sexual addiction within the context of the reward-reinforcement model indicates that it is well-characterised as an addiction (in this context, a compulsive behaviour) and that it develops through the same bimolecular mechanisms that induce drug addictions;specifically, sexual activity has been shown to be highly rewarding and naturally reinforcing. Excessive activation of the associated reward-reinforcement mechanisms has been directly implicated in the development of compulsive (i.e., an addiction to) sexual behaviour.
Dr. Victor Cline, a nationally renowned clinical psychologist who specialises in sexual addiction, pornography addiction is a process that undergoes four phases. First, addiction, resulting from early and repeated exposure accompanied by masturbation. Second, escalation, during which the addict requires more frequent porn exposure to achieve the same “highs” and may learn to prefer porn to sexual intercourse. Third, desensitisation, during which the addict views as normal what was once considered repulsive or immoral. And finally, the acting-out phase, during which the addict runs an increased risk of making the leap from screen to real life.
This behaviour may manifest itself in the form of promiscuity, voyeurism, exhibitionism, group sex, rape, sadomasochism, or even child molestation. The final phase may also be characterised by one or more extramarital affairs. A 2004 study published in Social Science Quarterly found that Internet users who had had an extramarital affair were 3.18 times more likely to have used online porn than Internet users who had not had an affair.
Defenders of pornography argue that it is not harmful, and thus should not be regulated or banned. Citing the 1970 Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, they conclude that there is no relationship between exposure to erotic material and subsequent behaviour. But two subsequent decades of research based on the increased production of more explicit and violent forms of pornography has shown the profound effects pornography can have on human behaviour.
Psychologist Edward Donnerstein (University of Wisconsin) found that brief exposure to violent forms of pornography can lead to anti-social attitudes and behaviour. Male viewers tend to be more aggressive towards women, less responsive to pain and suffering of rape victims, and more willing to accept various myths about rape.1
Dr. Dolf Zimmerman and Dr. Jennings Bryant showed that continued exposure to pornography had serious adverse effects on beliefs about sexuality in general and on attitudes toward women in particular. They also found that pornography desensitises people to rape as a criminal offence.
These researchers also found that massive exposure to pornography encourages a desire for increasingly deviant materials which involve violence, like sadomasochism and rape.3
Feminist author Diana Russell notes in her book Rape and Marriage the correlation between deviant behaviour (including abuse) and pornography.
Researcher Victor Cline (University of Utah) has documented in his research how men become addicted to pornographic materials, begin to desire more explicit or deviant material, and end up acting out what they have seen.
According to Charles Keating of Citizens for Decency Through Law, research reveals that 77 percent of child molesters of boys and 87 percent of child molesters of girls admitted imitating the sexual behaviour they had seen modelled in pornography.
Sociologists Murray Straus and Larry Baron (University of New Hampshire) found that rape rates are highest in states which have high sales of sex magazines and lax enforcement of pornography laws.
Michigan state police detective Darrell Pope found that of the 38,000 sexual assault cases in Michigan (1956-1979), in 41 percent of the cases pornographic material was viewed just prior to or during the crime. This agrees with research done by psychotherapist David Scott who found that “half the rapists studied used pornography to arouse themselves immediately prior to seeking out a victim.”
The Final Report of the 1986 Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography lists a full chapter of testimony (197-223) from victims whose assailants had previously viewed pornographic materials. The adverse effects range from physical harm (rape, torture, murder, sexually transmitted disease) to psychological harm (suicidal thoughts, fear, shame, nightmares).
A day-care director, now serving three years for three counts of first-degree sexual assault, confessed the he had “started picking up pornographic materials occasionally, going to bookstores … no one knew, not even my wife … now I do recognise fully the shocking facts about pornography and how it will draw you into its clutches away from God into sinful fantasies …”
The SAP scale
The 2002 case of Regina v. Oliver in the Court of Appeal established a scale by which indecent images of children could be “graded”. The five point scale, established by UK’s Sentencing Advisory Panel and adopted in 2002, is known as the SAP scale. It is based on COPINE terminology and is often mistakenly referred to as such.
The SAP Scale
1 Nudity or erotic posing with no sexual activity
2 Sexual activity between children, or solo masturbation by a child
3 Non-penetrative sexual activity between adult(s) and child(ren)
4 Penetrative sexual activity between child(ren) and adult(s)
Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline
From 1 April 2014, a new scale, replacing the SAP scale, will be adopted for UK sentencing for crimes relating to indecent images of children, put into place by page 75 of the Sentencing Council’s Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline.
Sexual Offences Definitive Guideline
Category A Images involving penetrative sexual activity and/or images involving sexual activity with an animal or sadism
Category B Images involving non-penetrative sexual activity
Category C Other indecent images not falling within categories A or B
The survivors’ struggle.
The relationship between child sexual abuse and adult psychopathology tended initially to be conceptualised in terms of a chronic form of post traumatic stress disorder (Lindberg and Distad 1985; Bryer et al. 1987; Craine et al. 1988). This model focused on trauma-induced symptoms, most particularly dissociative disorders such as desensitisation, amnesias, fugues and even multiple personality. The idea was that the stress induced symptoms engendered in the process of the abuse and have reverberated down the years to produce a post-abuse syndrome in adult life.
A study of a random community sample of 2,250 New Zealand women revealed: Those reporting child sexual abuse involving sexual penetration were significantly more likely to report consensual intercourse with peers prior to 16 years of age.
The nature of the advocacy movement which placed child sexual abuse firmly on the social agenda provide an almost exclusive emphasis on female victims and incestuous abuse. The implications remain largely unexplored of the abuse of boys (which for abuse of the most intrusive kinds involving penetration rivals in frequency that of girls).
Trauma and early negative experiences affect the development and even structure of the brain. Women who were sexually abused as children show significantly diminished brain volume on brain scans. The structure and function of the hippocampus (responsible for learning and memory), for example, are different when compared to individuals who weren’t traumatised. The medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and other neural circuitry of the brain are also changed. The brain shows a sustained and pervasive stress response as the child grows, and this has a long-term effect on immune function. Brain wave patterns change. The brain’s response to inflammation and healing is altered. Neurotransmitter levels adapt to these new abnormal levels. The biological changes in the brain are even more profound if the abuse was early, pervasive, or severe.
The Long-term Health Outcomes of Childhood Abuse
Kristen W Springer, MPH, MA,1 Jennifer Sheridan, PhD,1,2 Daphne Kuo, PhD,1,4 and Molly Carnes, MD, MS2,3
Childhood abuse has been associated with a plethora of psychological and somatic symptoms, as well as psychiatric and medical diagnoses including depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel. Compared with non abused adults, those who experienced childhood abuse are more likely to engage in high-risk health behaviours including smoking, alcohol and drug use, and unsafe sex; to report an overall lower health status; and to use more health services. Viewing these various health conditions and behaviours as the outcome and abuse in childhood as the exposure, many of the criteria for a causal relationship are met.
Childhood abuse is positively related to adult depression, aggression, hostility, anger, fear, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. At least 3 meta-analyses on the effects of childhood sexual abuse find clear and convincing evidence of a link between such abuse and a host of adult psychological symptoms.
Children need protecting
Giuseppe Ressa, 34, is behind bars without bond after his arrest Monday in Addison. He was under surveillance before his arrest. Ressa was able to touch the girl while she played on a slide, authorities said, while he offered the boy toys if he came over to the alleged deviant’s vehicle.
On Monday, Ressa approached a group of three kids, a 4-year-old boy, and 6-year-old and 7-year-old girls, in Addison and gave them candy. With cops watching, one girl ran to tell her mother, while the other two walked over to the apartment entrance with the alleged predator, who started to rub the 7-year-old girl’s thigh before authorities swooped in and made the arrest.
Child Predator Social Experiment: Would YOUR KID Take Candy From a Stranger? (6:14)
Home Invasion (Social Experiment) – Child Predator Social Experiment (3:26)
Child Abduction on Halloween (Social Experiment) – Child Predator Dangers (3:25)
Child Abduction in Nice Car (Social Experiment) – Kidnapping Children (3:53)
FEMALE ABDUCTION (Social Experiment) The Dangers Of Online Dating (8:19)
Message from Laura A. Ahearn, LMSW and Executive Director of Parents for Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims Centre neighbour:
Convicted sex offenders tell us that “Parents are so naïve. Know that we will use any way we can to get to children.”
Most child sexual abuse, up to 90%, occurs with someone a child has an established and trusting relationship with, whether known or not by the parent, and who is often a person in a position of authority. Teaching your children about stranger danger is misleading and does not address the reality that most children know and trust those who abuse them.
Stories from Young People
‘I thought it was my fault too . . .’
My father used to touch me in a horrible way when mum was at work at night. I was 10 years old when it started. I felt so sick when I knew it was a night that mum had to work, worrying about what would happen. I was tense and stressing out all the time.
I was scared to tell anyone – I thought it was my fault too because I didn’t stop it. He used to say I shouldn’t tell anyone and that mum would kick me out if she found out. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want anyone at school finding out, because I felt like they’d all look down on me.
This has been going on for the last 4 years. This year we had a health class, and someone came to our school to talk about abuse. I knew that what they were talking about was what was happening to me.
The real story: Victim of sexual abuse speaks out
“I am a 19 year old girl and I am a victim of child sex abuse and child pornography.”
So begins the powerful “Statement by Amy,” read in a packed court of law in front of the child’s uncle, a man she was trying to prevent being released from prison.
“I am still discovering all the ways that the abuse and exploitation I suffer has hurt me, has set my life on the wrong course, and destroyed the normal childhood, teenage years, and early adulthood that everyone deserves.”
One of the rare victims of child pornography to publicly speak out against her abuser, “Amy”—as she asked to be called to protect her privacy—was a victim depicted in a collection of sexual abuse images and videos shot by her uncle.
The collection, featuring Amy in various ages of development, begins with sexually explicit images and videos of a four-year-old Amy, and ends with Amy as a nine-year-old 3rd grader.
Despite Amy’s young age, she remembers her abuse vividly.
“At first he showed me pornographic movies and then he started doing things to me. When I was with him I did not have clothes on and that sometimes he made me dress up in lingerie. And I remember the pictures.”
In Amy’s own words: “I am being exploited and used every day and every night somewhere in the world by someone.”
John, now 21, was sexually assaulted by a teacher in a small school in the country. The assaults began when he was about nine and continued, about two or three times a week, for about two years. The perpetrator was not only his class teacher but also the Headmaster. John found it impossible to tell his parents. The teacher was a good friend of the family and a popular and respected member of the local community. Unaware of all this, John’s parents used to urge him to visit the teacher who also gave individual music lessons. At the time John felt very angry with his parents for what seemed to him to be “handing me back to this guy.” John remembers later finding out that the same teacher was also sexually assaulting other boys. At some stage the teacher was forced to leave the school. He just disappeared; nothing was ever said. John says his parents heard the rumours going around at that time but could not believe them. This also made him angry and bitter. John did not disclose to anyone until he was 19 when he told his girlfriend. He had begun to have flashbacks during sex and could not cope with being touched. At this point, “everything began to fall apart.” John says that, although he tried to suppress the memories and go on as though nothing had happened, this did not work. Previously a high-achieving university student, he began to fail his exams and could not understand why. He had always felt uncomfortable around other men and safer in the company of women. Now, he was buffeted by some very powerful emotions. He was consumed by shame and anger at having been abused by a man and worried that he might be gay. He remembers erupting unexpectedly in anger when male friends teased him. He still harbours feelings of shame and guilt and cannot bring himself to talk about the details of the abuse, even with those closest to him.
When I was 9, my gran’s neighbour began to abuse me. My parents divorced around that time, and my granddad also died. My gran then remarried the neighbour, so I spent a lot of time around him. What the neighbour did to me was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do about it, so I did nothing. It stopped when my gran finally threw him out of the house when I was 12 because his drinking became too much of a problem. And until this summer, I never realised how much it had shaped my life. When I read about the issues that other people have, I realise that’s me – I’m angry at myself and my parents for not protecting me better, I’m ashamed, it has made it difficult for me to trust anyone, especially men, I don’t sleep very well because of it, and I recently discovered I have a mild form of startle syndrome, I just never knew there was a name for it!
I Still Have My Voice. I’m writing this as a 28 year old man.
After 8 years of a solid drinking problem, from the age of 18-25, I’m slowly but surely starting to try and deal with all those issues I was trying to cover up with the alcohol. The main issue, being sexually abused as a child.
I went to a licensed daycare, from 1st through 6th grade. The daycare owner’s son was five years older than me, and he sexually abused me on at least a hundred different occasions. I’m emphasising “sexually abused”, because growing up, my mind told me, maybe it wasn’t sexual abuse if we were both underage? No, it was. He made sure to hide me in closets, touch me under tables, under water, in bathrooms, and even having a friend watch out for his mom while he abused me. Regardless of his age, he clearly knew what he was doing was wrong. This man is now a police officer, who also runs a children’s program in a different state. I am overtaken by the thoughts of “What if he never stopped, because I let him get away with it” numerous times a day, so I decided to do something, not only for myself, but for any future victims of his, and spoke with investigators three days ago. I had to know I’d done and said everything in my power to make sure he has stopped.
“Emma” [not her real name], now aged 24, says she was 12 when she was first approached by a group of young men in an arcade in Rotherham. The boys, who she says were of “school age”, began talking to her and struck up a friendship with her.
What she did not realise at the time was that she was being groomed for sexual abuse, she says.
The grooming went on for about a year, during which time she began going to Rotherham town centre where she was introduced to “grown men”.
“They started introducing alcohol and soft drugs to me and then, when I was 13, I was sexually exploited by them,” she says.
“Up until this point they had never tried to touch me, they had not made me ever feel uncomfortable or ever feel unsafe or that they could harm me.
“I trusted them, they were my friends as I saw it, until one night my main perpetrator raped me, quite brutally as well, in front of a number of people.
“From then on I would get raped once a week, every week.”
She says her abusers began to force her to have sex with “whoever wanted to come and have sex with me”.
Speaking to BBC Panorama, she tells of one incident when she was taken to a flat, locked inside a bedroom and repeatedly raped by different men.
“I just had to sit and wait until they sent man after man in and whatever they wanted, I had to give them,” she says.
“I can remember begging one of the perpetrators who I knew quite well not to send anybody else into that room and to just let me go home and them just laughing at me, telling me to get up and basically just get on with it.”
She says she reported her abuse to the police “three months after my sexual exploitation started”.
Emma says she saved the clothes she had been wearing during the attacks and handed the items to police as evidence. “The police lost the clothing, so there was no evidence,” she says.
After that, Emma says she was told it was “my word against his” and that the case “probably wouldn’t result in a conviction, or even get to court”.
I was an innocent little 13 year old girl, I basically knew nothing about sex.
I was doing the cash register, it was a Sunday, so liquor sales didn’t start until noon. Lawrence and Ziyad sat in the office. Lawrence and I traded places. For the longest time Ziyad and I sat in the office talking and getting to know each other. At about 2:30, Lawrence sent me and Ziyad into that back room to do some work. I was back there, minding my own business and doing my thing. Ziyad grabbed me by my arms and drug me into the bathroom. I screamed. He put this hand over my mouth and started to undo his pants. Knowing what was about to happen I froze. My whole body went numb. I couldn’t move. After he was done, he got dressed and walked out of the bathroom like nothing happened. He left me there with my tears. When he walked out the door, he took with him my pride, my security and my virginity. I had so many thoughts going through my mind. What if I tell someone and they don’t believe me? Was it my fault? Not to mention the multiple feelings I had. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Fear. But most of all disbelief. How could this happen to me?
I told my sister what happened. She told me I had to tell my parents. We pressed charges.
All I wanted to do was sit in my room and listen to the radio so loud I couldn’t even hear myself breathe. I had to go to the police station for more questioning. I found out that Ziyad had told a different story quite a few times. It was consensual. I gave him oral sex. I gave him oral sex and then had sex with him. I forced him. With those different stories, don’t you think that would make it obvious that he did it? I mean, he couldn’t even keep his story straight. It wasn’t. The police took my case to the state prosecutor – before the rape kit results came back. They said there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute and dropped my case.
The following is taken from the address given by Mark Tedeschi QC, Senior Crown Prosecutor, NSW on launching: Innocence Revisited
This book is a roadmap for other victims of child sexual abuse who are facing the trauma of dealing with events that happened many years earlier. It is a strong message of hope for those staring death in the face, those who cannot see a way forward into a life of health, those who face rejection of their memories from family and friends, those who daily revisit terror and abject physical cruelty they experienced as children, and those who fear they are losing their minds and descending into madness. The book is a very harrowing account of child sexual abuse and the protracted period of time that Cathy Kezelman spent recalling her childhood abuse more than 40 years after the events. More than a memoir by a victim of child sexual assault it is more than anything a vivid and emotionally poignant portrayal in the first person of the intricate psychological and emotional contortions that a child will go through in an attempt to ensure the child’s psychic survival during a time of abject terror. It is also a dramatic and detailed description of the psychological processes involved in an adult striving for the state of health that comes from exhuming those memories of child sexual abuse that were deeply buried so many years previously.
There will be some people who read this book who will be reluctant to believe that such abject cruelty to a child or young adolescent could happen. As a prosecutor in the criminal courts for more than 25 years, I can tell you that it does happen and that it exists in every segment of our society and most other societies. Some people who read this book will find it hard to believe that such abuse and cruelty could emanate from family friends and family members. As a prosecutor, I can tell you that it frequently does emanate from such people. Some people who read this book may find it hard to believe that a complaint of sexual abuse to a trusted close relative like a parent could be rejected so peremptorily and dismissively and over such a long period of time. As a prosecutor, let me tell you that the reality is that it is extremely common. This dismissal of a child’s complaint represents a double betrayal of the child’s trust and sense of security – the first betrayal by the perpetrator, and the second betrayal by the person who has wantonly dismissed the complaint without making the slightest attempt to seek out the truth. Some people who read this book will find it hard to believe that a child could be a victim of abuse from multiple perpetrators. Let me tell you that statistics clearly show that sexual abuse of a child at a very young age of itself renders that child more susceptible to later sexual abuse by another perpetrator, and also to sexual exploitation as an adult.
For further background information visit www.cathykezelman.com
Ballarat, Australia, a town with a history of endemic child sex abuse.
Tardy redress would hurt victims more
Posted on December 28, 2015
The testimony given to the royal commission sitting in Ballarat provides further insight into the unconscionable human cost of child sexual abuse. The inquiry has revealed that 12 boys have died, allegedly by suicide from a single class of 33 at St Alipius school and 40 suicides related to child sexual assault have occurred within the Ballarat community. Silenced survivors have shown courage coming forward. … To not promptly address their needs would not only be soul-destroying but also life-threatening.
It has been asserted that there were schools in which no child was safe, with periods during which every teacher was an alleged sex offender.
With no safe place or person to tell, these children lived in constant fear of the next assault, powerless and helpless, as those charged with their care abused their power and betrayed them time and again. The possibility of “fight or flight”, a normal physiological response to danger was not available. Where was their community of nurture, care and compassion? And why did no one intervene to protect them?
These survivors, now men, have related heartbreaking stories of lives ruined by disability, welfare dependency, mental illness, substance abuse and relationship breakdown. Many of those who have not paid the ultimate price are living a life sentence imposed by the predatory behaviour of pedophile priests and sealed by a system which protected its own at all costs.
The leadership of the Catholic Church in particular, is now under intense scrutiny. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is prising open a previously secretive and closed network.
Peter Blenkiron, 52, Ballarat, was abused by a Christian Brother when he was 11 years old.
A student at St Patrick’s Secondary School in Ballarat, he said convicted pedophile Edward Dowlan would set difficult homework and then punish him for not being able to complete it.
Dowlan made the students look the other way while he punished them with physical abuse, before comforting and then sexually abusing them.”The worst stuff happened when I hadn’t finished my homework, I was made to go back to his room,” he said.
“When I reflect back on it, it makes me want to throw up, it makes me feel very damaged.”
Stephen Woods, 53, Melbourne, said he was abused by three different men under the Catholic auspice while growing up in Ballarat. Two of his older brothers were also sexually abused.
He said his first abuser was Robert Charles Best, the principal of St Alipius Primary School.
“I was 11 years old, and I was down the back in the classroom sitting on the art table and he came up and sat next to me and started putting his hand down the back of my pants,” he said.”He saw me withdraw and he started to become very violent.”
Mr Woods said the sexual abuse was coupled with verbal abuse.
“He would get me to slowly strip for him while he would masturbate behind his desk. And all the while he would tell me that it was my fault, that I was bad, that I was evil,” he said.
“He would then put me over his knee and then he would have a good feel of my ass and then smack me.” Robert Best was found not guilty by a court of sexually assaulting Mr Woods.However, he has since been found guilty of crimes against more than 10 other boys and is currently serving jail time.
His next abuser was Brother Ted Dowlan, his religious teacher.
“He would feel your penis and testicles through your pants,” Mr Woods said.
“He kept saying my family couldn’t make it and they were awful, so he would really be quite vicious in putting me down while molesting me.”
In his teens, as he begun to develop issues with sex and his sexuality, Mr Woods went to see a priest. It was here that his third abuser, Gerald Ridsdale, preyed on him.
Mr Woods said Ridsdale then began molesting him and forced him to perform a sex act.
“Then he drove me around Lake Wendouree to a toilet block where he dragged me inside, where he raped me,” Mr Woods said.
Both Dowlan and Ridsdale were convicted of sexually abusing Mr Woods and are currently serving time in prison.
“I have had a very disjointed job history, I struggled a lot at school, I only passed year nine and it was years and years later that I forced myself through university.
“I even became a teacher, but my anger started coming out more and started coming out in the classroom. So I had to retire.”
Philip Nagle, 50, Ballarat. “I was sexually abused by Stephen Frances Farrell, a Christian Brother, in 1974,” Mr Nagel said.
“Everything from then on is blanked out – I have no recollections of grade six, only recollections of the sexual assaults and being scared all the time.” Mr Nagle said he was assaulted on the school campus and during camps. The first assault was the most vivid in his memory. “I was taken to the first aid bay by Farrell,” he said. “He wrestled me to the ground, and he took my pants off.”
Aged just nine, Mr Nagle said he did not realise he was being sexually assaulted at the time, only that he did not want it to happen again.
Like many of the victims, Mr Nagle said manipulation and childhood innocence meant it was not until later in life that he realised the severity of the crime, or the scope of abuse going on around him.
“We didn’t actually know what was happening to us, but certainly when you look back now, you just think: how can so many evil Christian Brother pedophiles be in one place at the same time?”
Farrell was convicted of nine counts of assault in 1997 for the abuse of Mr Nagle and his brother. “The court case was an absolutely horrible thing,” he said.
“Farrell had three or four hours of witnesses coming up saying what a good bloke he was.”
Farrell was given a suspended sentence, with no jail time.
Anthony Foster, who dedicated his life to seeking justice for victims of child sex abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church after two of his daughters were repeatedly raped by a priest, has died in a Melbourne hospital, aged 64.
In a two decade-long quest to hold the Catholic Church accountable for crimes against children, Mr Foster and his wife Chrissie told the harrowing story of their family’s treatment at the hands of the church to the media and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The couple’s daughters Emma and Katie were raped by Melbourne pedophile priest Father Kevin O’Donnell when they were in primary school in the 1980s.
Emma suffered from eating disorders, drug addiction and self harm. In 2008 she overdosed on medication and died at the age of 26.
Katie became a binge drinker as she reached adulthood and was hit by a drunk driver in 1999. She was left physically and mentally disabled, requiring 24-hour care.