In this blog, I share what perpetrators of child sexual abuses say about sexual abuse. It brings them joy, pleasure, and bliss. Some even believe the abuse is love and that children are equal partners. Some stress the importance of pleasing the children sexually. This is a chapter from the book: Child Sexual Abuse: From Harsh Realities to Hope.
Sexual abuse means many different things to different perpetrators, but the core of these meanings is emotional and sexual gratification. They describe sexual abuse as love, a thrill, a fix, play, a conquest, or revenge, but sexual and emotional gratification is what they want and get. Some say that the only time they feel good about themselves is when they have sex with children. Sexual abusers take what they want from children. They abuse their power over children and enjoy doing so.
In this article, perpetrators say in their own words why they abuse children sexually. These stories may be hard to handle, but they are the harsh realities that child survivors have experienced directly. To be emotionally available to survivors, we must learn to handle our responses to these stories. The stories also answer questions that many people have, such as Why do they do it? How can they do those things to babies? Who do you think you are?
For abusers, child sexual abuse is an intense, highly erotic, highly gratifying sexual pleasure. David, in his early thirties, handsome, blond, and a business executive, sexually abused his toddler sons and daughters. He said about sexual contact with his two year-old daughter
I remember that high, and, boy, I wanted it. I wanted it. The high came after I ejaculated. That’s the high I was after. I didn’t get a high out of fondling her or that.
Beau, a construction company owner in his late thirties, said about the abuse of his thirteen year-old daughter and another unrelated thirteen year-old girl
To me, it’s not the same as having an orgasm. I mean, it was thrilling, and it was exciting, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. Bliss is the word that I would identify with that. There’s a really satisfying feeling of everything is kind of relaxed. There doesn’t seem to be any pressure. It’s a real nice place to be.
Matt, in his early thirties, had sexually abused more than two hundred children, both children he knew and did not know. He said about fellatio by a child
It would feel like being on top of the world. Up until now there’s no greater feeling that I can experience than having somebody perform oral sex on me. That is my ultimate feeling.
Henry, a man who exhibited his penis to young girls and women, beginning when he was about eight years old, said
I’ve been doing it for forty years. It’s really got a groove in my mind. It’s the highest excitement that I know.
He was “infatuated with all the excitement.” His first victims were his sisters. “I practiced on my sisters at home,” he said.
Angus said about sexually abusing his pre-teen teenage daughters
The attraction was the sexual feelings. It felt good. Good feelings. Pretty powerful. The good feelings were worth looking forward to.
Josh, 21 and pudgy-faced, said about his sexual abuse of children who ranged in age from six months to seven years old
I’m worried about myself because a lot of people say I did it because I was abused, I did it because I was angry, and I wanted to take it out on them sexually. I did it because of this. I did it because of that. I don’t understand that. I just felt like I just wanted to sexualize them. By sexualize I mean just get your rocks off or whatever in a different way, a sexual high.
Herb had intense sexual fantasies about boys between the ages of seven and twelve. He said
I would masturbate to fantasies. I’d be looking at the boy’s face, and he’ll be smiling and stuff like that. I’ll just focus on that moment. The more I look at his face, or the more I’m humping him or whatever, the excitement just goes up and up and up. When I decided to masturbate, it just make it that much more thrilling to me. When I ejaculate, it just makes it, to me, it makes it just feel twice as good.
I’m with this individual and the individual with me. We are with each other. There was no denial in anything. Whatever I wanted to do, the other person was willing to do it. It just took me to some heights sometimes that I never believed that I can get that high.
Here are the words of George, a father who described what he did to his thirteen year-old daughter in some detail and the electrifying thrill that resulted.
One night I was making my regular rounds through the house, making sure the kids were in bed, the doors were locked, the cat was in and stuff. I had gone down to my daughter’s room. It was very dark. I leaned over to give her a kiss goodnight. When I went to brace myself on her bed, I actually touched her breast when I kissed her on her cheek.
It was just like a shot of electricity through my body. I went upstairs and went to bed and tried to forget about it, but it was just racing in my head. I didn’t go back down in her room for several days after that. Eventually, I did go back down there and the same thing. Kiss her on the cheek, but this time when I touched her breast it was intentional. Then progressively it got to the point where I went down there, and I would touch her breasts over and under her pajamas while she slept, or I believed she slept. I would touch her with one hand, and I would masturbate with the other.
Seeking Mutual Enjoyment
Many perpetrators want the child victims to enjoy the sex as much as they do. For example, Tim, a social worker who abused children in his caseload, said of the prepubertal boys he abused
I like things to be mutual in my relationships. I like to get what I give. I think that’s true in my marriage. I think that's true with my victims. I did the same thing. I always expected them to give me what I gave them. I’ve read in books where some molesters think it’s more important that they get their own gratification, and for others it's more important that they give the child gratification. For me I’d say it was equal, fifty-fifty. Without one or the other, I would have felt really crummy, really shitty about it.
If I would have had orgasm and the kid didn’t get any pleasure or vice versa, if I’d given it all to the kid, and he wouldn't return it to me, either way it would feel really bad for me. It was real important to establish a relationship with my victims where they would give as much to me as I would give to them. They would want as much from me as I would want from them. So it was all very sort of even or equal.
Tim seemed convinced that he was a nice guy. He could not admit to himself how absurd his words are. Mutuality is impossible when he has power over children.
Christian described the sexual abuse of his thirteen year-old stepson Seth as “a pleasing relationship, trying to please each other on both sides.” Christian said that Seth told him, “I want to make you feel good, Dad.” Christian said Seth also asked the stepfather to do the kinds of sexual touching that the boy enjoyed.
Dick felt bad when there was no mutual pleasure. He said about his stepdaughter Rosie whom he sexually abused for twelve years starting when she was four
Sometimes I would feel guilty because I don’t think that Rosie had an orgasm. I’d think it as if I were her husband.
Convinced of their kindness, these men would need a great deal of therapy and honest self-reflection to see the harm they have done.
Some men describe sex with children as the pursuit of good feelings in order to enhance their moods. Dick saw sex with Rosie as a fix, that is, an activity that fixed how he was feeling. He said
That’s what I was thinking--I need a fix because I was feeling crappy. Maybe I didn’t get the contract I bid for, or my wife and I had a fight about something where I’d rather go spend some time by myself but I can’t. How can I tell my wife I wanted to spend time by myself?
Sexually abusing Rosie was a solution.
Beau used his thirteen year-old biological daughter Michelle in similar ways. He said
For anything that bothered me, I knew that I could go to Michelle and get sexual gratification. That climax makes you feel really good. It was easy for me to offend against her like that, to go to her. I didn’t really care from much about her feelings at that time. I just cared about getting myself satisfied.
Sometimes the sexual abuse is so gratifying that it temporarily transforms how perpetrators feel about themselves. Pete, a man in his early twenties who was a youth worker specialist in outdoor recreation, found that the only time he felt loveable and worthy was during sexual abuse. He said
When I was being shown affection from a young male, wrestling, hugs, doing things together intimate, intimately, then I felt loveable. I felt worthy. I felt all of these things that I didn’t feel the rest of my life, and the ultimate act of that is sex. There was sex. It was always leading to sex.
Even if it never got there with every child with whom I interacted, it was always leading that way. The good feelings lasted, I want to say, probably a week or so. It probably would’ve gotten shorter and shorter had I continued on.
George said something similar about sexually abusing his daughter while he thought she was asleep. He was thirty-two, and she was twelve.
The only time I really felt good was when I was acting out sexually. It was safe for me. It was like everything around me was so dark. I wasn’t getting any good feelings from anywhere. I had convinced myself that I didn’t deserve them. No one really knows me. They just know the image. They didn’t love me. They loved the façade. I just felt miserable.
These stories show how thrilling and comforting sexual abuse is for abusers. Some believed that the comfort was mutual, while others who thought of sexual abuse as a way of comforting children actually were actually comforting themselves. This is what Ben said
I honestly believe that during the abuse that I was showing, that I was feeling sorry for Beth, because of the way Margaret [Beth’s mother and his wife] used to nag and bitch at her all the time, and it was like I was comforting her at the same time she was comforting me. That, oh, I was showing her a type of love.
He abused Beth for about four years, starting when she was seven or eight.
Some perpetrators describe feelings of infatuation with child victims. Tim said about the first time he laid eyes one of the boys he victimized
I remember thinking, ‘That’s a kid I want to have sex with.’ It’s sort of like seeing a beautiful model. From then on I was, like, infatuated with that kid…. It was more of a feeling of excitement and arousal and infatuation.
He used the language of male-female courtship to talk about his experiences with boys.
All of a sudden, you see someone across the room that you’re attracted to, and then if you’re able to somehow fulfill that fantasy, go meet the person. Ask her out for a date, she accepts, and you go.
Adam was so infatuated with a boy he molested for several years that he did not think of consequences. He said
I felt so much in love with him that I didn’t think that I was doing anything wrong, illegal or otherwise.
Perpetrators often talked about love. David wanted his two year-old daughter to understand what he was doing was love. He said
The feeling was, it’s not a feeling—it’s a thought. The thought was so doggone strong about making that connection with my daughter, that she understand that this is love….Wow. It was strong. I meant it with every fiber in my body. It was really important that she understand, and I make some connection from her to me, too.
Some described sexual abuse as falling in love. George experienced a powerful rush, a deep love, and a sense of how simple the relationship was compared to the complexities of his relationship with his wife. He said
It was so powerful, so strong. It was such a rush. It was so powerful and so strong. It was such a rush because there was like that emotional element to it. It wasn’t just a sexual thing. It was almost like my daughter was my girlfriend. It was almost like I was falling in love with her. It felt simple to love her.
Our relationship was, it was comfortable, and it was easy. It wasn’t all complicated. My relationship with my wife was so difficult and so complicated and arguments and the whole deal. My daughter just loved me. She just thought I was great, and she thought I was fantastic. It was very, it was just comfortable. It wasn’t complicated.
The sexual abuse took place while his daughter was asleep or she pretended to be. Little wonder that the relationship was uncomplicated for him. He was unable to think about what the sexual contact meant to his daughter.
Christian, in his early fifties, described the sexual abuse of his thirteen year-old stepson, Seth, as a love affair.
I didn’t call it molesting. It was making love to my son….When I was having my relationship with my son it was like a love affair. It really was. It was real.
Beau, thirty-seven, viewed his relationship with his thirteen year-old daughter as that of a girlfriend and boyfriend, and stated, “It was almost like I was falling in love with her.” He dressed her up in women’s clothes and put make up on her when he took her to dinner in restaurants. Like many other perpetrators, he had a dream of marrying her when she was older.
My ultimate fantasy with Michelle was when she got to be of age, which was twenty-one to me, that we would be married. It would be easy because our names would remain the same. We would have children together, and that they’d be beautiful children. They’d be all blond-headed, and they’d all have real deep blue eyes. We’d live happily ever after. I’ve never told anyone except my therapist and you. I loved her very, very much.
As a teenager, Chad said he was so in love with his younger sister that he wanted to marry her. He redefined the sexual abuse as mutual love.
It wasn’t really abuse. I didn’t look at it as that way because it was both ways. It was like neither of us felt secure or, important, I guess, except to each other. I remember saying, ‘Boy, if we weren’t brother and sister, I’d marry you.’
Perpetrators who talked about love did not examine the contradictions in their behaviors. For example, perpetrators did not seem to realize that love is not love if coercion is involved. Children are coerced in many ways: through fear related to threats of harm, to physical size, and to compliance with authority. Love that is expressed through sexual behaviors does not involve one person being asleep or pretending to be, or one person having a wonderful time while the other is full of fear.
Mike’s story shows some of these contradictions. Mike said he cared for his stepdaughter June so much that he dreamed about running away from her. At the same time, he admitted to scaring her into compliance by saying her mother would leave the family without her if she did not do what he said. He also thought he could turn her into a model and make money from selling pornographic photos of her. He said
I eventually think I would have run off with her. I thought about that. I would someday. That’s where a lot of pornography and stuff comes in with people like child molesting and stuff, that they control, it controls their life so much that they finally get involved with child pornography and stuff like that, where they can manipulate the kids into doing things to make money for them. I think that was the road I was traveling.
Mike abused June for several years, beginning when she was about three.
Many other men who talked about incest and sexual abuse as love contradicted their avowals. Ben, for example, said, “What was between Beth and I was real, real special.” Yet, he admitted that his daughter may have only wanted love and affection and not the sexual acts. Sometimes she did not want to go with him into his bed, but he picked her up and carried her there anyway. This is how Ben described what he did
I’d go into Beth’s room at night, you know, and I’d ask if she’d want to come in to watch TV in my room. Sometimes she’d say, ‘Yes,’ and she’d come. Sometimes she’d say, ‘Well, I don’t know.’ I’d tickle her, and goof around with her a little bit, and then I’d pick her up and carry her into our room.
This man was as huge as a sumo wrestler. He looked like a walking haystack. Imagine how his nine year-old daughter saw him.
Christian, referred to earlier, was crushed when his stepson Seth testified against him in court. Beau used his daughter as way of attaining bliss, but at the same time, he dreamed of marrying her and having children with her. These men were clueless about what child sexual abuse means to children.
Sometimes perpetrators do not carry out their sexual desires. They spend a great deal of time thinking and planning and therefore commit a form of non-touch sexual abuse. Twenty-three year-old Marco, for example, wanted to rape his younger stepsister when he was between the ages of ages of thirteen and sixteen. He would peek in on her when she was in her bedroom or bathroom. Sometimes he watched her through her bedroom window. He said
I masturbated and fantasized about me raping her and then giving her her first orgasm. She was going to love me and just adore me.
Marco did not understand that his stepsister was unlikely to love and adore him if he raped her, but he derived a great deal of sexual pleasure through masturbating to these fantasies. An unknown number of perpetrators peek in on family members and masturbate to sexual fantasies about them.
Not Incest but Love
For many father perpetrators, when other fathers had sex with their children that was incest, but what they were doing was something else. Christian said
What I was doing was different. I was making love to my daughter, to my son.
We never had penile intercourse. I don’t know why. I had it stuck in my brain that I couldn't have that. That was incest to me.
In addition, some abusers are outraged when they hear about other instances of child sexual abuse. Mike said
I used to sit there and watch TV or I'd read something in the paper. I’d say, ‘Look at this son of a bitch. He ought to get twenty years,’ but I was doing the same thing. Mine wasn’t that way. See, mine was love. There’s a difference, you know.
The guy next door was an attorney. He abused his daughter. It came out in treatment that he abused another daughter in a previous marriage, too. I found it real disgusting.
Finally, some perpetrators have fragmented responses when they think about other men who commit incest. Dustin, a father incest perpetrator mentioned earlier, had at least three disconnected thoughts about a story about father incest that he watched on television. He said
You feel disgusted. You feel disgusted at the men that are doing this on TV. At the same time you have a kind of a sexual thing going towards the girl that’s getting raped. You’re sexualizing it.
A few moments later, he said
He’s a piece of crap for raping his daughter. She’s kind of cute. I wouldn’t mind raping her, or making love to her. Never rape. It’s always make love.
He did not connect the dots and see the contradictions. Instead, he jumped from thought to thought, image to image, with no connection between them.
There are exceptions to perpetrators’ views of child sexual abuse as love. Some distance themselves from the children and depersonalize them. They take what they want, which is sexual pleasure and release, and have no sense that the children are human beings. Love and tenderness are not part of the experience for them. Marty said about his abuse of pre-teen Sophie
When it was going on, she certainly wasn’t a stepdaughter. I didn’t have that at all. It was, oh, let me see, a thing. I could never look at her while she was doing it, not at her face. I could look at her breasts because when I was looking at those, that’s something that turns me on. I can remember some times when she was masturbating me. Somehow I’d make eye contact with her, and I’d lose my erection.
Other men look for a quick sexual thrill that has nothing to do with love, as for example, Roland, who molested thousands of children in a twenty-five mile radius from his home beginning at about age eight. He continued until his mid-fifties when he was caught. He did not know the children and sought them in neighborhoods where no one knew him. He would go from one child to another, sometimes several a day, playing what he called “show and tell.” He said
It was just a powerful, I can’t really describe it, like a drug addict or an alcoholic.
David, the man quoted earlier about how much he wanted the high, said about his three year-old sister whom he abused when he was a teenager and a star high school athlete and senior prom king
She was just there as a, I don’t want to say object. She was there to stimulate me and get me an erection so that I could masturbate.
Other men, too, state that the children are not children during the abuse, but as objects who satisfy them sexually.
When vengeance motivates sexual abusers, they want to hurt the children or someone else, sometimes family members who love the children. Juice, in his late twenties, sexually abused his partner Marguerite’s seven year-old daughter Petal and enjoyed thinking how much he had hurt Marguerite and her family. He said
I knew that Marguerite loved her kids with all her heart. I knew she loved her kids more than anything. I knew that right there would take the cake. It hurt her, the way that I thought it would. I wanted to. Like I said when I stepped into the house the day after I abused Petal and she had told her grandma. When I saw everybody crying I felt kind of good at that moment, seeing everybody falling out the way I thought they would, expected it to be.
Skip created an image of nine year-old Aria in his own mind and then acted on his image. He saw Aria as a “prick teaser,” who “asked for it” and deserved to be raped. He said prick teasers “get you all worked up and they go jump someone else.” Skip based his case on flimsy evidence. Aria was a “prick teaser” because when she bent over he could see her lace panties. He also overheard her telling other children that she “still had her cherry.” Skip considered these actions an “invitation.” His interpretations of Aria’s behaviors meant one thing to Skip: This girl deserved to be raped. As he was about to rape her, she said, “You aren’t going to take your cherry home.” He enjoyed the rape. He said
I shoved it in, tearing her vagina….I get the best ejaculation when I’m inflicting pain.
Marty was angry at his mother-in-law, whom he thought loved her granddaughter Sophie and Marty’s stepdaughter better than any of the other grandchildren. He said about his mother-in-law
There’s been two women in my whole life who treated me this way [verbally abusive] and that I loved and wanted to love me but didn’t. That was my mother and my mother-in-law….I got to the point where I would do anything to hurt her [mother-in-law]. I did.
He sexually abused Sophie. The first time he connected abusing Sophie with getting back at his mother-in-law was when Sophie asked Marty for permission to visit her grandmother. He said
The first time it happened I was pissed off. I usually was when these things happened. I was mad at, at my mother-in-law. When I would get hot, and she wanted to go stay over there, my exact words were, when she said ‘Can I go over there?’ I said, ‘Yeah, if you suck my dick.’ That’s what I said.
Skip and Marty, enjoyed the sexual contact, but they also enjoyed inflicting pain. This is sadistic, because sadism means just that—inflicting pain on others. Both men used common ideas about women as reasons for their behaviors. Many people believe that prick teasers deserve what they get. Ideas of revenge for perceived wrongs is wide-spread throughout the world, justifying rape, physical assault, murder, terrorism, and war. These men took these common ideas and applied them to children.
Another pattern that characterizes how perpetrators thought about sexual abuse is sexual abuse as play. Joe, a father, in his mid-thirties, confused sexual behaviors with play. He said about the abuse of his eight year-old daughter:
To me it was like slipping right back into childhood. I didn't masturbate until later, when she wasn't around.
It is doubtful that the daughter saw her father as an eight year-old.
Roland, who molested thousands of girls between four and six over a forty-year period, said about his abusive behaviors
I thought that it was like a show and tell. I wasn’t doing any harm. I figured the girls were young enough. They’ll forget about it. The way some of them acted, like they didn’t mind. They didn’t care. I felt like I wasn’t doing anything really wrong because I wasn’t really physically hurting them.
Hugo, a man who acted out sexually since he was a young child, first molested a child when he was an adult. He said
The first one was just more like seven year-old do: I’ll show you mine, and you show me yours. Two kids were involved, and here one is thirty-one or thirty-two or thirty-four. She was seven.
He described the child not only as wanting the sexual contact and enjoying it but also as having control over when the contact would happen.
I would fondle her. She acted like she enjoyed it. I says, ‘Would you like to see my penis?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ Actually I said, ‘Would you like to see me?’ She shook her head ‘Yes.’ I showed her my penis, erection. She reached out and grabbed it and stroked it.
As Hugo continued to talk, it became clear how complicated sexual abuse is. It can be hard to follow the logic of some perpetrators thoughts. Hugo said
I figured she knew more about sex than I did—a seven year-old girl. After that we tried to get together once in a while. I tried to make contact with her but she had total control over the sexual sessions. If she didn’t want to be fondled she told me, and that was it. She had control over me over that. I never pushed her any more than she didn’t want.
In Hugo’s description, the child changed from child to adult, to knowledgeable about sex, to being in charge. Throughout, Hugo thought of himself as a gentleman, never pushy, sometimes as a child with a child, sometimes as an adult who got together with another adult, and sometimes as an adult entranced by the sexual sophistication of a child. He also believed that she had all the power, and he was the child.
It was like I brought myself down to her level, back down to a kid, because I did not feel like an adult, like I would with my wife. Do you love me? It was like I was a little kid talking.
Some perpetrators had a sense of ownership over the children that entitled them to do whatever they wanted. Mike said about is stepdaughter June
She was a pretty girl--no question. I mean, other people say that, too. I looked at her at her other than just an object--also as a pretty girl. Then it would run in my head that she's not just a girl. She’s mine and always will be. It would run in my head that she always will be mine.
Tim, the social worker mentioned earlier, felt entitled to sex with boys in his caseload, not because he was their father or stepfather, but because he had earned it. This is what he said.
When I see children, people that are vulnerable and in need that I have concern and a desire to help and take care of this person, to give him what he needs materially or emotionally. That somehow either gets expressed sexually. It certainly arouses sexual feelings in me. Maybe it’s that I feel that that’s my payback for taking care of others, that I in turn get sex.
Damien, who worked in a public non-profit social service agency, said he got so much praise for his work that he began to feel he “deserved a little something” for himself. He felt “omnipotent,” all powerful. He had sex with a teenage girl who was a client of the agency. He believed this was a “perk” for a job well-done.
Some abusers physically abuse child victims, although most do not. When physical abuse occurs, abusers may want to beat and scare children into submission, punish them for not submitting, or heighten their sexual pleasure through inflicting physical pain. Herb, mentioned earlier, said, “I’ll go to the extreme to do it.” When his desires were not met, not only did he feel unloved and unwanted, but he typically went into a rage and beat and choked the boys. He described the beginning of an on-going abuse of a ten year-old boy:
He was there by himself on his bike. I pulled him down by the back of his shirt. I didn’t know whether or not he was going to holler, run or scream or whatever. So I punched him in the stomach. I told him what I wanted. He gave it to me. Ever since then it’s more or less, I’m not going to… maybe it wasn’t on a volunteer basis. It had a lot to do with the fact that maybe he was scared of me.
Herb, who I quoted earlier about how he “never believed he could get that high,” went into murderous rages when the boys he was abusing in real time did not enjoy the sex as they did in his fantasies. He said
I can see my hands around the victims’ throats. I see those eyes bugging and the disbelief and the fear of knowing that they’re going to die.
He described what appeared to be an out-of-body experience when he was about to kill children. He said
As I was choking him, his face looked like David’s, the person [a child] that I wanted so bad. This kid said to me, ‘Herbie, why are you doing this? Don’t choke me. Don’t kill me.’ That’s when I came back to myself. I said, ‘Damn, boy, what are you doing?’
It’s scary because it’s like I’m totally outside myself. I’m totally somebody else. I can see myself doing this. When I come back and, and I catch myself, what I’m doing, and I say, ‘Damn, what you doing?’ It’s like something has just completely took control of me and saying, ‘I’m going to destroy this completely.’
Herb never said he had killed boys, but he may have.
Child abductions, rapes, and murders are sometimes outcomes of child sexual abuse. In such cases, perpetrators are beyond thinking about anything else but what they want. They are so caught up in their terrible acts that they are unable to think about anyone else but themselves and what they want. What they tell themselves about the abuse has far different meanings to others.
This is what a mother said after she discovered her eighteen month-old son dead in his crib.
He literally beat him to death. I gave birth to that child. I carried that child inside me for nine months. I gave my baby life. I did everything for that baby. Now he is gone. He had three skull fractures, a lacerated liver, a half pint of blood in his chest cavity, and a tear in his anus. I took my son into the hospital. They kept me on a suicide watch. After he passed away, my life took a severe downward spiral. Things have been getting better now.
The abuser was a “manny,” a male nanny, trusted.
Perpetrators have many different reasons for sexually abusing children: greatest feelings in the world, bliss, love, control, emotional and sexual gratification, and showing who’s on top are just some of them. These various experiences have self-centeredness in common. It’s all about them. They have callous disregard for the children and for others whom their behaviors hurt.
Child sexual abuse affects the entire family and creates fears in the hearts of parents. Of prime concern is the child or children who have been abused. However, parents, siblings, another family members may have deep and long-lasting reactions that include shock, disbelief, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. All family members require special care.
Wide-spread beliefs influence how survivors and those who love them respond to child sexual abuse. Many of these beliefs blame victims and mothers while protecting perpetrators. These beliefs make light of the abuse itself. As these stories show, perpetrators alone are responsible for child sexual abuse. What they want is all that counts.