A man has been granted an entire page on The Independent’s website to explain how he ‘fell into’ downloading sexually exploitative images of young teenage girls.
This was his chance to atone for his actions; to apologise to his many victims; to make some sort of pledge to campaign against such images being made and distributed. He didn’t take this chance. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to justify his actions to himself and to others, making it plain that he considers himself to be hard done by. He feels such sorrow for himself, yet no such sorrow is expressed for even one of the children who were harmed in the making of the images he viewed and downloaded. Viewing images of child sexual abuse is not a victimless crime, but it is clear that the only victim in this man’s mind is himself.
I have reproduced his story below, duly edited to replace all euphemistic terminology. I have also added a few bits (in italics):
looked at wanked off to adult pornography images of women being raped for some time and I found it easy felt entitled to go across from that to younger teenage girls.
I went through a period where I was a bit depressed, a bit lonely and stressed at work and
I was hooked on it for a year or so, that is my spineless excuse for downloading images. I was under the impression there were a lot of people men doing it. I would binge wank off to images of child sexual abuse, fuelled by loneliness and a few glasses of wine. Then I would think this was disgusting, but three or four weeks would go by and I would be looking at images children being abused again and thinking I shouldn’t be doing this. There are two lines, legal and moral. You know it’s an illegal image, but I thought, a bit like doing 35mph in a 30mph zone, that it was tolerated and understood. You can marry and have a family with a 16-year old but a lot of people don’t realise that looking at images of a 17-year-old is illegal. Here, I was about to compare downloading images of child sexual abuse with exceeding the speed limit slightly, but then I thought it would be crass in the extreme to compare children being exploited for my sexual kicks with a minor traffic offence. So I didn’t.
It is easy – on Google you are within a couple of clicks away from
crossing a boundary accessing images of children being sexually exploited. It is a fantasy rapetastic world you lock yourself into, often late at night. I was divorced from reality. I wasn’t in touch with anyone else or paying for images and I never spoke about it. It never transferred into real life. I didn’t do anyone any harm, because those children in the images I was wanking off to aren’t human, right?
escapism wanking to images of children being sexually exploited but it was curiosity, loneliness and anger – some suppressed from issues with my parents –that drove me on male entitlement and the sanctity of my all-important erection and subsequent orgasm that drove me on. And anyway, it’s all my mum’s fault.
I was looking for
something, I think trying to recapture my lost youth, perhaps through images of girls I would have gone after as a teenager. images of girls to wank off to because even when I was young, the hot girls would never let me anywhere near them. It’s their fault I’m like this. It is the idea of just one more click wank – let’s see what’s in this file which children are being sexually exploited in this file.
A lot of the teenage stuff I did find
stimulating gave me an erection. I was curious, a bit like car crashes and deaths on the internet (although I’ve never wanked off to those. What do you think I am, a pervert?) There’s a fatal fascination.
I got hooked on collecting images; it was almost a hobby. Just like stamp-collecting, you know?
There’s a satisfaction in hunting images down and collecting them for future wanks.
Sometimes there would be encrypted files and you had to wait three days for the password. It’s like a detective hunt. I would often be left for days, slavering at the mouth, just waiting for more images of children being sexually exploited so I could have a good, satisfying wank. The pictures were there; a lot of them I deleted, of course, as a father concerned about images of children being sexually exploited, but they were still there. Ninety-five per cent of my stuff was level one, images of erotic posing, with no sexual activity. We all have our own moral boundaries, and they don’t always accord with the moral boundaries we think we have. No child was actually harmed in the making of the images I wanked off to. In fact, those children just breezed into a sleazy photographer’s studio one day, stripped off all their clothes and volunteered to pose for sexy images, all of their own free will.
The internet has the same sense of detachment as TV for me – it is called disinhibition, acting differently on your own –
like picking your nose. we all know that secretly downloading images of children being sexually exploited is the same as secretly picking your nose. When on your own, on the internet at night, you do things you shouldn’t do. But on the computer you can find yourself doing something illegal wanking off to images of child sexual abuse quite quickly. When I was out there on the street looking at children it never occurred to me to look at them the same way. I am good with children and never had a problem with my three. I was pleased I didn’t have any feelings for children. I didn’t like seeing children being upset. I feel bad when I see a child being smacked in a supermarket. I am a father and an all round good guy. I don’t abuse children and I never have done. I just downloaded exploitative images of children for my masturbatory pleasure.
One day the police turned up and said, ‘We have come to seize your computer and you’. They left me some leaflets and the next day I phoned up the Stop It Now! hotline in acute
distress embarrassment at being found out. I expected to be read the riot act and told what a beast I had been. They said things that were enormously helpful. ‘You have done a bad thing but you are not a bad person’, is something I have clung on to is just what I wanted to hear to justify my actions. They also said that I wasn’t alone the only pervert. They run a course and I enrolled on that – I’m quite intelligent and introverted and I wanted to know why I had done what I had done. I have had therapy for the last two years and have completed an internet sex offenders’ programme. I am a clever guy – I’m not one of your run-of-the-mill child abusers, and it’s ridiculous to even place me in that category. I have had all the help I needed to help me justify why I am not to blame for downloading images of children being sexually abused.
The court case and the sentence were only a small part of it. If I could have gone to jail for six months and then been Mr Joe Normal again – all forgiven and forgotten –
I would have happily done that I would be moaning about it all the more. It is the stigma, people pointing at you, wondering if people know about it. Some people don’t know, some do, and I worry about those who don’t know and I think about if I should tell them or not because you never know, I might find someone else to feel sorry for me.
Telling my children was the hardest thing
I have ever done they have ever had to hear. They were shocked – it is not nice to think about your parents and anything to do with sex father wanking off to children being sexually abused – but eventually understanding.
They understood, deep down, that men
look at pornography wank off to images of women and children being sexually abused and raped. My marriage struggled, my wife was very shocked but stood by me. I am very lucky. I don’t deserve her. The shame Being found out is absolutely awful. It is dreadful. The popular media is convinced the country is swamped by dirty perverts who are going to rape and kill children and stick them in their lofts. You get tarred with that brush. Some people and friends still won’t talk to me any more. I’m excluded from things. My story was in the local paper, I left my job and my children have the stigma of ‘your dad’s a paedo’. However much people tell you that ‘today’s papers are tomorrow’s chip wrappers’, that is not the case with the internet – it is there forever. If only people wouldn’t tar me with the ‘you wank off to images of children being sexually exploited’ brush. I have been called a paedophile, which is grossly unfair. I have to live with it for the rest of my life, whereas those children in the images I downloaded are probably living happily somewhere, unaware of how much this has affected me.
I think the public is struggling to find ways to express the disgust they feel they ought to be expressing, but everyone knows they’re not really disgusted. I just do what every other man with an internet connection does.
I have a lot of
shame and a lot of guilt embarrassment about being caught and anything I say to mitigate it just seems like a pathetic excuse to people. I have told you the truth as I see it. about me downloading images of children being sexually exploited.
It feels terrible, I am shaking now, but I am determined to get over it because I am the victim in all this, after all.
Research has shown that increasing people’s shame just makes them go inside themselves and shut off from the world, and sometimes reoffend. If people don’t stop shaming me, I’ll only do it again and it’ll be ALL THEIR FAULT. My guilt waxes and wanes, Sometimes I feel really disgusted with myself but then I just think: I have done something wrong, I have been punished, it is some time ago, I have learnt, and I’m not going to do it again. but mostly I just feel sorry for myself.
Occasionally it is a bit tricky to stop myself from clicking on images of children being sexually abused. With Google you are literally a couple of clicks away from those images. If warning signs, like they have in Sweden saying you are entering an illegal site, had come up I wouldn’t have gone there (even though I’ve already said above that I knew it was illegal). If there had been a warning that
police were going to track me down I’d have been caught out, there is no way I would have done it. If there had been more publicity about how my internet movements could be tracked, there is no way I would have done it – and if the internet hadn’t have been there, there is no way I would have done it I’d have just bought a few magazines instead.
engenders curiosity makes it easier to view pornographic images, that is what it is for – it is ‘See what you can find’. Porn Wanking off to images of child sexual abuse is one avenue that’s easy to go down and harder to turn back from. After all, what price children?