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1st Post

Postby OnTheTurningAway » Thu May 03, 2012 1:26 am

Hi,
I have been reading the posts on this forum for a while. I am a forensic psychologist specialising in the risk and rehab of sexual offenders. I have worked in prisons and continue to work with sex offenders in the community. I have been extensively trained in this field and until coming here, perceived I had an extremely indepth knowledge in this area... you guys have taught me so much. It's opened my eyes to matters I previously overlooked or did not consider. It's also made me question a great deal of the "research" that has been regurgitated and thrust down the throats of professionals via academia.
Thanks.
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Re: 1st Post

Postby Musicman » Fri May 04, 2012 1:48 am

Hey, and thanks for your post. It really means a lot to me that you're able to see past the blanket of lies and shame that society thrusts upon us. I am a 17-year-old, nonexclusive pedophile, I am not an offender, and I would kill myself if that's what it took to prevent myself from harming a child. I genuinely love children (boys and girls), and my biggest dream is to someday have a family. There's honestly nothing I want more in this world, and I'm a little scared that I may not ever allow myself to do that because I wouldn't dare bring a child into this world if there was even a doubt that I wouldn't harm him/her.

I am depressed, and the demonizing of pedophiles that's so rampant in the media and the rest of society is, in large part, responsible for that. There was a particularly long period I had when I think I came rather close to ending it all. Thankfully, I found other pedophiles my age who were/are going through the same problems that I suffer with, and we've been an excellent support for each other over the last year. I also have an excellent therapist, who never fails to remind me that he has the utmost respect for me because I saw I was heading down a very dangerous, harmful path, and I knew I had to stop it by seeking help. I've been on SSRIs for a while now, and now that we've found a good dose, my life has turned around. I'm still depressed, and I still have several anxieties (social anxiety being the worst), but I'm far better off than I used to be.

When people like you come forward and tell us that you understand we're not all evil monsters, it gives me hope in the world. It makes me feel that there may someday be a future where therapists are more understanding of pedophiles, and willing to help. I have a horror story about my first therapist, and I assure you that I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Unfortunately, it seems all too common for the few pedophiles who are able to work up the courage to even attend therapy. Society wants to protect children, and I do just as much, if not more. Demonizing us is not only useless in accomplishing that outcome, it makes things much worse. A pedophile who understands that he will get proper help and not be shamed by a therapist is far more likely to get help, and in turn not molest. On the other hand, a pedophile who is under the constant stress of stigma and outright fear that society would hill him if they knew is more likely to slip and do something regrettable.

Who are the real monsters here: those of us who did not choose our attractions, but must live with them, or those who will stop at no end to have us all wiped off the face of the earth, only because the terms pedophile and child molester have become synonymous? Many pedophiles are aware of what they are at a young age. I only realized I was a pedophile a little over a year ago, but thinking back, I can see the attractions having been there since I was 11. If I'd have gone through with suicide last year, everyone would have thought it a very sad, unfortunate accident, and doubtless, they'd have wished they could have helped. That is unless it came out that I was a pedophile. I doubt most people would experience even a second of regret.
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Re: 1st Post

Postby OnTheTurningAway » Fri May 04, 2012 8:52 am

Hi Musicman,
I agree, education of the masses is paramount to helping paedophiles control their fantasies and creating a safer society. However, that's a difficult feat when the majority of professionals cannot differentiate between a paedophile and a child sex offender!
I respect anyone who has the courage to confront the shadow aspect of themselves. I do not respect people who harm children, however, in therapy if an offender owns their crime and confronts all that encompasses understanding the underpinnings so as to reduce their level of risk, I can respect that.
A prisoner once taught me that prison culture is merely a reflection of society magnified by 100. In prison, child sexual offenders are seen as the lowest of the low. From what I could ascertain from my observations during my prison time: offenders of a different genre (anything thing other than child sex offenders) need someone to focus their loathing on so as to not have to confront what they are; what does that say about society?
I admire your courage. Keep strong.
J
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Re: 1st Post

Postby jacquelynheat » Sat May 05, 2012 12:49 am

I'm new to psychforums, so I've been spending some time perusing the various topics and learning about stuff. I'd basically just like to echo OnTheTurningAway's sentiments, and express my respect and support. I don't really have anything to add to the conversation atm, but I know every voice of support is important, so I wanted to put mine out there :)
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Re: 1st Post

Postby revolutionex » Sat May 05, 2012 9:54 am

Hello, OnTurningAway. It's great to hear from someone who specializes in the field, particularly a person who is willing to take a second look at what they've been taught. I know it must not be easy in the field of professional psychology sometimes to disagree with your peers, or even to realize that perhaps things are much different from what you thought you knew. I myself once thought I knew everything there was to know about people attracted to children until I found this site, and it's been some time since I began to come to terms with what I am as well.

I have a sexual attraction to teenage boys, and I'm probably the last person on earth anyone would suspect this of. I'm the son of a Baptist pastor and I came out as gay when I was 18. Being that I had younger friends around that time, I was attracted to a few of them. This never changed as I got older however, and I'm now 25.

I blame a bit of trauma and perhaps my intense lament for the past on this attraction since my mom died when I was 13, and within a year, my dad got remarried and I got 2 stepsisters and both of our families moved from rural towns to a bigger city and high school. My stepmom is bipolar and for the past 11 years has been the complete opposite of my real mother. My stepsisters and I at one time or another suffered bouts of depression, self-mutilation, and suicide attempts. We all admittedly needed more therapy and family counseling than any of us cared to admit or that we actively sought out thanks to the parents getting married so quickly without any attempts to join us together for healthy quality time together before we all shipped out to another state. We turned out okay for the most part, but there are times we still avoid each other.

In any case, I always and still do remember being attracted to my best friend back in Indiana, and I always wondered what would have come of that. After we moved and I survived all the bullying from high school and got out, I just thought...is this really it? And so started my teenage complex at the age of 18, and I wound up with a bunch of younger friends ranging in age from 14-17 who engaged in all sorts or ridiculous behavior, i.e. stealing and drugs and the like. I should have stopped them at several points, and I did give my advice. Most of them turned out okay and are now in their 20's as well, and they seem happy and were always grateful for me.

But that's what I think made me realize that I honestly love helping people more than anything. I enjoyed playing the role of a mentor on many occasions, working them through their issues with troubled home lives, bad habits, and failed relationships. And I've more or less always been that way, and I've been told I have a rather calming presence and I'm good at comforting people.

That's also what worries me sometimes, because I know how easily sympathy or empathy can be turned into a dangerous weapon. I think we're all familiar with the classic scene of someone distraught over the death of a loved one and the person who comes to comfort them, only to have it turn into a passionate outpouring of emotion with sexual activity often being the end result. But regardless of this, I've always felt that the way I was raised and with my faith and personal values and love and respect for others kept intact, I could never turn down that road.

It's simply not in my nature to want to hurt anyone or justify anything, and so I've been doing a lot of extensive research because just like I'm sure you do, I really want to understand everything about this attraction, how and why it came about, what sort of person it makes me, who I can trust, how I can cope with it, and how I can begin turning my life around. As I said, it's my passion to help other people in whatever ways that I can, because I truly do love kids and teenagers. I enjoy being there for them and helping out people in need.

Fortunately, this attraction isn't exclusive for me and I'm also attracted to people my own age, though I can be quite picky, which of course doesn't often produce the relationships I really want haha.

But regardless, I also don't believe there should be any shame whatsoever in admitting we have these sort of attractions. After all, that is the first step. The trouble with therapists these days however is that some will put you on mind-numbing medications, call the police, or even shut the door in your face even if you haven't done anything wrong. You're just admitting you have a problem, and apparently that in itself is classified as a crime.

I believe there's far too much cultural and societal hysteria about pedophiles in particular to the extend that anyone who coaches ball games at the local park has his behavior endlessly scrutinized. People such as Sandusky at Penn State for example have not only made it worse for children, they have also contributed to creating a chaotic environment of fear because of their actions, and that fear affects everything from scaring children from going outside to turning what used to be rational adults into mistrustful, overprotective fiends.

And moreover, kids NEED that healthy development of lifestyle, they shouldn't have to be afraid of going outside. Boys in particular need encouragement and support from older males, and to deny them that can often have a detrimental effect on their self-esteem and psychological development. But nowadays, if you so much as smile and pat a kid on the back, and god forbid you're male, the mother gives you nasty look and drags her poor child away. I even read a story once about a guy who ran out to pull a kid back from traffic, effectively saving the boy's life while his mother was on her cell phone. When she saw the man touch her kid, she gave him an earful.

Is this honestly the behavior of a rational society? Obviously not every stranger is dangerous, but just as with Halloween candy, people are wont to believe there aren't razorblades or poison hidden somewhere, even if it was only one story they heard on the news. Even young teens are developing the intense fear of becoming a pedophile themselves, leading to a form of OCD where they become obsessed with checking themselves for this, so it's not even about the paranoia of adults. Kids are visibly confused that they're not allowed outside as much, being dragged away by their parents the second they're out the door of school, or not allowed to talk to people who only truly care for their well-being and are being kind to them. There are plenty of males who simply enjoy being around children without any sexual attraction or ulterior motives. There are people in this world who are capable of love, who are capable of helping kids and teens to grow, and who genuinely care for them.

But all this suppression by society and shame placed on those who harbor attractions or emotions that are different from the general norm is not good, because it makes everyone mistrustful of each other.

It's why kids are rebelling, it's why there's so much homophobia, it's why there's so much bullying, it's why there's so many sex offenders, it's why people are paranoid.

Nobody feels able or willing to simply just sit down and TALK OPENLY about their issues anymore because they feel shame in doing so, or otherwise they meet bad therapists who prescribe them medication to shut up. And until we can start slowly destroying and stripping away that stigma to once again trust each other, there will always be dissension and there will always be this problem.

Because to be honest, if I felt comfortable in sitting down and talking about this? I would definitely do so and it would be a huge load off my chest. Coming here does that for me in some ways, though I still wish I had friends and a therapist I could meet with. Still, I do what I can. Believe it or not, there are actually a few rational voices on here of those who don't want to hurt anyone and who genuinely care. Some people I disagree with, but of course that happens in any group like this.

We all have our own ways of dealing with our personal inner demons. Mine happens to be writing novels, one of which is coming-of-age story about bullying that I gave to my old high school in the hope it will help someone struggling :D This has taught me much about my attractions as well since I did write the main character Colin (who is also the narrator) as someone who would be a subject of my attraction. Unintentionally through the writing process, I had his best friend Eric (who is gay) turn on him and stab him because he's terrified of being attracted to Colin. I thought that was so strangely symbolic of the way I've felt about my attraction itself...that it's something I wish could die so I could get on with my life and never have to worry about it again. Of course Colin doesn't die and Eric gets sent to juvie, but that's the book haha. Fortunately, it has a happy ending. I hope to have my own someday.

Anyway, I think I've rambled quite long enough. Again, I thank you for coming here, and it always means a lot to us when someone in the psychology field can speak up for what is right and realize the paranoia that's going on. I hope you continue to learn and find what you're looking for, and that maybe you'll convince a few other people that we're not all monsters and don't want to be. As Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world". :wink:
If you love a flower, don't pick it up. Because if you pick it up, it dies, and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation. - Osho
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Re: 1st Post

Postby OnTheTurningAway » Sat May 05, 2012 10:47 am

Hey revolutionex,
thanks for the welcome and the baring of your soul. I would be interested in reading your book if it was something you would be willing to share...?
I want to learn as much as I can for two reasons, assessing risk and aiding rehab. I appreciate your sentiment about the psychology fraternity and I agree that there definitely needs to be more therapists open to discussing the needs of people with paraphilias. However, I can tell you this much, from personal experience MANY professionals take on cases to do with sexual attraction/fantasy and sexual offending and have absolutely ZERO training! It is unethical and appalling.
When I completed my Honours in Psych I reflected on my time at university and thought, "They taught me jack $#%^". I actually went back and started to study marketing but luckily I landed a job as a type of intern in a prison. I learnt more in that job in 2 weeks than all my years at university. Then I started to look at my peers (outside the direct contact with sexual offenders but working with them) and realised none of them had too much of a clue what they were doing. NONE OF THEM!
I see offenders who are high risk being labeled "low" and vice-versa. I see "therapy" being undertaken with no focus on the important components. I see rigidity in that intervention that throws a blanket over all and offers nothing but surface level trite that has no bearing on the potential a person has regarding recidivism. To be honest, it makes me sick!
The reason this happens is because the "science" of psychology has been infiltrated and influenced by the mass media. The discipline of psychology has let society down by accepting propaganda, in particular, about paedohilia in that it has skewed people's understanding via only focussing on sexual offenders. Before coming here, even I had not considered the prospect that a paedophiliac may be attracted to children but not necessarily want to act on it.
I will continue to come here and learn as much as I can. Thanks for your comments and input.
Finally, if I can give anyone on here any advice when selecting a therapist it's this: MAKE SURE THEY HAVE SPECIALISED TRAINING.
J
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Re: 1st Post

Postby Kristoff1235 » Sat May 05, 2012 3:01 pm

i have to admit this topic was great to read and actually helped me some. i have respect to all the people on the paraphillia forum who came seeking help or increased understanding like OnTheTurningAway.
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