Author Archives: randy
I began my healing by telling my story to a therapist. In hindsight I realize that took real courage. I began shedding my shame a piece at a time. Once the walls built by my shame started coming down, I began feeling lots of emotions. In letting go of my fear, I found courage to tell my story and risk being imperfect (vulnerable) in the world.
When we are strong enough to be vulnerable we find that everything is connected and in living those connections is a life of truth, worth and joy. And yes, it includes tears and pain as well, but it is good just to feel after living numb for so long.
Read the full article here.
About eight years ago some friends invited my wife and I to go to an artist’s studio sale. I had never done anything like that before and I’ve got to admit I was intimidated. I was in awe walking through a husband and wife’s artist studio looking at paintings and clay sculptures they made with their own hands. People good enough to make a living selling what they made. Not only was the building filled with their artwork but they had built the building itself as well. It was a straw bale structure that looked and felt like a hobbits home.
As I was walking around looking at their amazing work I turned around and found myself staring into the face of a human bust with a ceramic funnel in his chest. It oozed painful emotion. The sign underneath it said, “Refilling the Empty Heart.” The price of $1300 was crossed out and it was marked $85. Somehow I did not believe that, and I was scared to ask for fear of looking stupid. No way that statue was only $85. I walked around the studio looking at interesting little pieces but I my mind kept walking over and looking at the Man. I whispered to my wife about how cool it was and she said just ask. I waited until no one else was around and I asked the woman about the statue. She told me her husband had made it as a self-portrait ten years earlier. It was a particularly low period in his life. The funnel had an original poem on it.
Then I asked the big question, “Is that price for real?” She said yes. She told me they had been hauling that 100 pound statue around to art shows for a decade and it never spoke to anyone. I told her it spoke to me and she said, “then we would be happy to have you take it home, but you have to carry it to your car on your own.” I really could not believe I bought it, but I was really happy about my great score.
I never gave one thought to what appealed to me about it. I took it home and put it on a bookcase. My family nicknamed the man George and the dog barked at it. It was probably two or three years later that I started counseling for the sexual abuse I suffered as a teenager. The deeper I delved into my abuse the lower my mood went. Then one day as I was coming out the other side of my depression I looked at that statue and I realized it was me. It was time to refill my empty heart.
I don’t know if you believe in karma or fate, but I don’t know what else to call going to an art sale for the first and only time, and walking out with a piece that would later come to represent my life. George is me, and I am George. So that is the story of this statue.
I hope that if you are on a healing path you will picture George and what he can mean to you. I allowed myself to be vulnerable the day I bought George, and again later in recovery to be able to begin refilling my heart. Is your heart empty? Are you willing to be vulnerable to refill it?
“This is probably the most complicated and least understood aspect of child sex abuse. 90 percent of all perpetrators are known to the victims, with 30 – 40 percent coming from the victim’s immediate family and only 10 percent strangers.”
“In my mind, I believed that I had brought on the abuse, leaving the real offender off the hook. I had completely separated the abusive behavior from the person whom I loved and looked up to. And even though I eventually realized this just wasn’t true—and that blaming myself hurt me in the long run. At the time though, it helped me avoid facing the truth and kept me sane. I had to see the offender almost daily, so now with the abuse locked away under my guard, I could “normalize” my relationship with him When I was around my abuser in public everything was normal, so no one would suspect what I thought I had done. The interesting part is that on every other level I had great respect and deeply loved my abuser and as long as I keep the secret locked away, it was easy to show love for him.”
Read the whole article here:
This is dedicated to all those survivors of sexual or physical violence as a child that continue to fight to “break out,” of their now self imposed box. Alcoholics Anonymous says to just take it one day at a time. I think there are some of us that need to break it down more than that. So here’s to keeping it small and feeling good about yourself for the next hour. May it be so.
I am not good enough
I am never enough
Who do you think you are?
I am nothing
You can’t succeed
He said it
She said it
I say it
I feel weak
It’s too hard
I don’t fit in the big picture
It’s not worth it
I don’t count
It’s too big
I feel small
If I make my world small like me
Then everything is small
I can deal with small
One small thing at a time
The Wonderful and Wacky World of Science just got a lot less wonderful and a whole lot more wacky: Pedophilia is a sexual orientation. Really? So according to this article in the LA Times, now pedophilia should stand beside heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual etc. as the way we are born. I am pretty sure I will end up regretting writing this article, but I just have to. I am so consumed by protecting kids, children who are precious and undeveloped humans that I cannot just ignore this.
I have read and been told for years that many child molesters are just wired wrong. Their treatment is, in part, to teach them that it is not okay to rape or molest children (they obviously don’t see it that way). I have also read that more often than not, child molestation or adult rape for that matter is not about sex, but power and control. Are these people born with a gene for those issues?
Now I can see a young adult in their late teens or early twenties having an affectionate attraction to someone in their early or mid teens. Hell, I can even imagine an older adult meeting a teenager and going “wow”. And then their next thought is, I wish I were 20 years younger. But here we are talking about an adult being attracted or in love with a pre-teen. Like we are talking 8-9- 10 years old? And we are going to call that a natural orientation like there is something normal about it?
I’m sorry, but I believe nature is beautiful and it always seeks balance. If one species becomes too plentiful a predator or disease shows up to put things back in balance. Left alone nature will even clean up the pollution caused by humans. My simple mind can see absolutely nothing balanced about an adult being sexually aroused by a child. It is out of order.
The article talks about a man who molested his pre-pubescent stepdaughter and the day before sentencing he landed in the hospital where they discovered a brain tumor. They removed the tumor and no more molesting. A year later he began fixating on children again and they discovered the tumor was growing again. Alright, this I can grasp. There is a serious problem in the brain and you do something you would not normally do. But to use that as proof of this being normal biological development I cannot handle.
I understand there is an organization called the North American Man/Boy Love Association, NAMBLA, who desires laws change to legally allow men to “have sex” with boys. I don’t think so. Can you say rape? In this country our laws state that a child is undeveloped and not responsible for their actions and therefore cannot consent to a legally binding contract, or consent to sex. Nada, no way. Anybody else see self-interest and smell a great big pile of dung?
As much as I cannot imagine it, I want to say that I empathize with individuals, who I’m sure exist, who for one reason or another find themselves turned on by a child. Just don’t put it off as something natural and compare it to healthy sexuality. Each of us is attracted to certain traits or looks in others; male, female, trans, light, dark, big, small whatever. I don’t know if we are born with these predispositions or if we develop them over time. But I do know these are natural differences that at least on the surface are healthy and promote balance.
Everybody should have the opportunity to love and partner with another human being by mutual consent. Just don’t tell me you want to bond with a child and it’s okay, you were born that way. I really don’t want to hear it.
“The control issues I developed kept me from being a successful parent, partner to my wife, employee and friend to others. I was driven by fear (which I thought was strength) to control everything and everybody around me, and I guess I thought that using alcohol and drugs would ease the pain inside. Just getting through the day without anyone getting too close or threatening me in any way seemed to be the goal.”
Read the full article from 1in6 here
I’m not telling you it is going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it! If you need help getting started check out the resources available on the 1in6 website or Malesurvivor. Take the chance and reach out. You will find you are not alone and there are many of us walking the path who will help you along the way.
A week ago I posted an article I wrote on standing up for victims and breaking free from the auto response of defending the accused. That part went over okay. The part that people got stuck on and pushed back hard on was this:
“So here is a new reality check: We must find a way to accept that people who do offend are more than the crime. The result becomes one where both the perpetrator and the victim can be held within the community.
Offenders should always be held accountable for their behavior while still being part of the community with safe parameters. The victim can be supported and held in love for the maximum opportunity for a return to health. If we can accomplish this, healing becomes possible for everyone, including the community itself.”
A lot of you obviously don’t like that idea and cannot go there. You don’t have to! As I read your comments and had some new cases come up this week that are close to home, I totally understand the anger at this concept. One of the cases was a minister I knew, that on one hand was an amazing spiritual leader known and loved by thousands. On the other hand, it turns out he was a serial perpetrator of kids. Does one validate the other or conversely invalidate the other? He was in fact both. I think it is important we recognize he was both and then each of us decide how we feel about all he did.
I’m sure lots of people think my abuser was, and is, a great guy who just made a mistake. Not me. He was a great man to many including me at one point in time. For now I don’t much care about the good he did, what impacted my life was his crime and perversion. That’s what’s important to me. I just want to unwind his tentacles so I can reclaim my good memories without his distortions.
But this is not about forgiving or forgetting or whether offenders are thought of as good or bad. I know some feel offenders should be castrated, locked up with people that will abuse them and then shoot them. I must admit I have had those thoughts too, but I do not believe the long term solution to child sex abuse lies in that direction (except in rare cases!). I believe that often the crime is not reported because the victim does not want to “destroy” the life of a family member, or someone close to them. A couple of points I want to clarify here. I think the victim should ALWAYS be consulted and approve sentencing. Next is the victim need never see or speak to the offender again, nor should they be under any expectation to forgive, nor should the community.
What I am saying is for us to heal our communities we need to find space for everyone, even those we dislike, despise, or even just disagree with. There are some we need to keep locked away for everyone’s protection, but once an offender has answered for their crime and paid whatever penalty the law imposed, it is incumbent on society to find a place for them, with safe parameters. You can choose to not break bread with them if you don’t want to. That’s fine.
So I want to make clear that I feel my number one responsibility is to support survivors in their recovery and seeking justice. The close second is to find effective solutions for prevention of child sex abuse so there are less victims to start with. So as you are able, please explore possible solutions with me and keep letting me know how all this makes you feel. I hope you have a good day today and find something to make you laugh.
If someone lies to you 97 times out of 100 will you believe them next time? Most people would say no. In the children’s tale The Boy Who Cried Wolf, no one believed the boy after just two times lying. The third time the boy cried wolf, no one came to rescue him in his time of need.
So here’s where I get confused. We have multiple studies that tell us that only 1-3 out of 100 children will make a false accusation of sexual abuse. Since perpetrators usually deny the accusation that means they most likely lie 97-99 percent of the time. Knowing these facts can someone explain to me why family and community line up behind accused sex offenders to support these “upstanding citizens”, while throwing the preverbal stink eye at the alleged child victim? Just ask any survivor who has attempted to report their abuse how much support they got versus the public support for their offender.
Case-in-point, a front page headline in local paper, Talent News and Review, “Downtown Coffee House Expansion Nears Completion”, complete with a half page picture of owners Sarah and Dan Goyette. Inside the story talks about eager customers, and how they “want everyone to feel welcome.” We also learn about a great mural being painted on the side of the building by a local artist. The article closes with Mr. Goyette talking about the City of Talent’s “strong sense of community.” He goes on the say that it is his job to help foster that sense of community. “We’re responsible to keep it going.” The End. No more. Nada. Warm fuzzies, right?
Flashback to August of last year Mr. Goyette was investigated for “attempting to use a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct”, which is a class A felony. Mr. Goyette was arrested at the airport, after returning to the area. Police stated that he was tipped off to the investigation and had fled the state. Somewhere along the line Mr. Goyette ran over his computer with his car in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence (or maybe it was just an accident). Evidently Mr. Goyette attempted to convince a teenage (a minor) female relative to go into the woods with him so he could take naked pictures of her. There were comments, but not proven, that this might not have been the first time he did this (ya think?).
In the end Mr. Goyette entered what is called an Alford plea which is a fancy way of saying, “I ain’t sayin’ I did it, but you could probably prove I did it.” Wow, okay. His own female attorney told the judge it was “a horrible violation of trust.” The judge repeated what the victim had called it and said, “I think creepy about sums it up.” And since the victims family wanted to be done with the whole thing, Mr. Goyette was sentenced to three years probation, community service and sex offender evaluation. Now the coups de grace, Mr. Goyette then turned and thanked his wife (evidently for not kicking his ass out); thanked his attorney (probably for getting him off so easily); now here it comes, he turned to his victim and said “I’m sorry. I WANT YOU TO KNOW I AM NOT MAD AT YOU.”
At the first report of this crime, community members including city leaders came running to Mr. Goyette’s defense, saying intelligent things like I know Dan and he’s a great guy and he wouldn’t do anything like that. There was also some victim blaming going on, that the girl just might have either instigated it or perhaps was lying. (Child victims tell the truth 97-99 times out of 100)
Flash forward 8 months into Mr. Goyette’s 3 year probation for a sex crime against a minor, and The Talent News and Review presents a local businessman “fostering a sense of community.” No mention of his recent past “creepy” and illegal behavior.
I want to make it clear that I think people are more than single sided. Mr. Goyette is lots of things to lots of people and that is as it should be. But I don’t think as a community we should ever forget what he did to a child’s life. That is in fact the only way we can hold perpetrators accountable.
The part that I find so appalling is that the community and now the Talent News and Review want to pretend and forget. Pretend that 97-99 out of 100 accused perpetrators didn’t do anything wrong, when in fact only 1-3 out of 100 are wrongly accused.
So please, if you live in Talent Oregon or any other City USA, believe and support child victims of sex abuse who tell the truth 97-99 times out of 100. And for justice sake and the protection of the community hold the offender accountable.
NOTE: If you are a newspaper editor, you have no excuse for omitting child sex crimes from a story. It is real clear; either you are supporting child sex offenders and the crimes they commit against children or you can report the facts and support children’s safety. Choose.
Note: If you want to comment to the Sneak Preview paper Contact: Curtis Hayden firstname.lastname@example.org 541-482-0368.
*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau. (1999)
*Oates, R. K., D.P. Jones, D. Denson, A. Sirotnak, N. Gary, and R.D. Krugman: Erroneous Concerns about Child Sexual Abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect 24:149-57, 2000.
My friend Kelly Clark wrote and then spoke these words at the annual OAASIS Survivors Conference in Portland last month. Knowing Kelly as a person, I know how deeply he cares about survivors of Child Sex Abuse, but sometimes I forget how powerfully he can make his point. His career choice of being a litigator is well served by his skills and passion. Not only does he speak to revealing but also justice and what that can and cannot do for survivors.
“You Are Not Alone. We hear this a lot—it is one of OAASIS’ main sayings—but to me it actually means two quite different things, one historical and one prescriptive. The historical fact is that you are not alone in being an abuse survivor: whether because there were others abused by your abuser, or others abused in the same institution—church, youth group, school, or even family—you were not the only one, you are not alone in what you went through. I have certain books on child abuse recovery that I give to clients, and they say: “I feel like that writer has been following me around for the last 20 years, so completely did I read my own story in his book.” Yes. You are not alone. Others went through what you went through. There can be incredible solace in this. I’ve seen grown men shatter into tears of joy, sadness and release to realize that they were not the only ones it happened to. ”
So read these revealing words of experience so well said.
I have often heard it said that child sex abuse kills a person’s soul. I have uttered those words myself. I know now that it does not actually kill the soul, but it definitely damages it and breaks the heart as well.
Recovery from the impact of child abuse for me has included reclaiming my heart and soul. I built walls to protect myself, and kept the secret hidden and stayed broken for four decades, so it is a long road to wholeness. For me going back in time and sifting through the pain and hurt to find the lost child has been the hardest part of the journey. And yet without him, I can never be me. It was so long ago. What was he like before; before the touch; before the lines were all blurred; when there was innocence and playfulness; when there was hope and joy.
As I have sought to rediscover my child self and open myself to the world again I have found some aids. Music, poetry, being in nature and yes, even faith have become part of the support on my path.
I cannot remember who gave me this poem, but it expresses that recovery process so well I want to share it with you. It took a long time to begin to access these feelings, but when I do it fills me up like nothing else. May we all find something that revives the life within.
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt-marvelous error!-
That a spring was breaking
Out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
O water, are you coming to me,
Water of a new life
That I have never drunk?
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt-marvelous error!-
That I had a beehive
Here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
Were making white combs
And sweet honey
From my old failures.
Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt-marvelous error!-
That a fiery sun was giving
Light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
Warmth as from a hearth,
And sun because it gave light
And brought tears to my eyes.
Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt-marvelous error!-
That it was God I had
Here in my heart.
By Antonio Machado (translation Robert Bly)
May it be so.