Paula is a mother of three sons. All three had a relationship with an adult man who soon became a friend of the family. Even now that the children have grown up, the friendship persists. [Comment from Wolf Vogel]
“It developed very naturally,” says Paula. “Just as children who grow up stop kissing their parents goodnight, intimacy disappeared from the relationship.” On purpose, she tries not to use the exact expression and not to tell too many details. “In this rural area, if these friendships were publicly known, it could put us in great danger.” Her sons were eight, twelve and thirteen years old when Paula noticed that something was happening in her house.
“He was the music teacher of our oldest son and came to our home every week. From the behavior of our youngest, who particularly likes to cuddle, I noticed that there was something going on. At first it was just a feeling, then I simply asked the music teacher. He was completely honest, he said: “Yes, I’m a pedophile.” And then you stand there. The fact that we could see how he behaved with our children took a lot off the edge of the discovery. We asked him to tell our kids himself what he felt for them. Then we talked it through with the children, in the presence of the friend. The great openness was very important.
Later he also invited the children to spend the night with him. We agreed, but at first you sit at home and think: Oh dear, did we decide correctly? But we built on the fact that we had been open with them. And the fact that our children were able to reject things they didn’t want. That’s how we raised them, and we hope that it will empower them. And it actually seemed to be the case.
Our youngest spontaneously told us what happened there. Nothing special! We asked the older friend to be careful not to speed things up. It was also good for him to be able to talk about it. I remember that the oldest of my boys told me after a few nights:
“Mommy, I can sleep in the big bed now.” - “Oh”, my husband and I said, “Do you think that’s nice?” Yes, he thought that was wonderful. I could well imagine that of the youngest. He said, “Do you know what I think is great, mom? When he rubs my back.” I said: “Oh, does he do that?” We tried to ask our questions playfully. We already knew from his older friend that our son found rubbing the back nice, but didn’t allow more. Our child said it quite spontaneously: “Only if he gets brushes my pipman, I don’t need that, I think that’s stupid stuff.” We then said: “Ah, shouldn’t he?” We always did this way, because we absolutely didn’t want to attach too much importance to it.
That is the biggest mistake you can make. Because children do not know of the importance that adults attach to sexuality. It’s what make it of it. We are adults in our own world of thought, but that is something completely different from what happens between the pedophile and the child. The most difficult thing is that you have to tell your children to remain silent about such a friendship. But it has to be. Pedophiles can be fired from their jobs, arrested, and even prosecuted. And you have to spare a friend from things like that. But on the other hand you want to let your children know: boys, it’s nothing special, you don’t have to be ashamed. The taboo, the opposition, that’s hard for me. That is also the reason why I became a member of an NVSH Working Group on Pedophilia. (Editor’s note: The NVSH is the Dutch Association for Sexual Reform.) The people I met there, their mentality extortet a lot of respect from me. But you also have to dare to be honest with yourself. Certainly one has doubts, but the children demand their own right. When you think back to your own youth, you mustn’t stick your head in the sand.
I am not afraid of abuse. The presence of a child is often sufficient. Then the older friend will bring the child to bed and caress him. What can be said against it? Parents do that too. Children also crawl into bed with their parents. Then you cuddle with them too. It’s part of her upbringing, I think. There is already enough fear of physical contact. It is fear that creates the emotions. I’m certainly not saying: investigate! But experience shows that this kind of life experience will surprise you.
A pedophile is someone who loves children. He does not want to frighten or disappoint the child. Maybe he makes mistakes subconsciously. But don’t educators do that, too? When we got involved with these things, we were open from the start. Parents should make it clear to their children that they can talk to them about everything, including things that parents don’t quite understand. You can also start a conversation with a pedophile yourself. And if he makes a mistake – does that mean you have to give him the hairy eyball?
I know that many children provoke certain things themselves. We saw that here in the house. It was something like: How far can I get him, the adult?
If this happens to someone who has always had to control himself, yes, then he can go too far. Then you have to stick a stick in front of it, you have to make sure that the child first learns to make contact in a different way. If there is openness, you have the parents in it from the start.”