Gecko, this stat came from a study I found, but the actual percent is irrelevant to me. Every study has slightly different findings... Most likely based in part on how questions are worded (i.e. did they specify child SEXUAL abuse versus child abuse / neglect / emotional abandonment as one study that included these types of child abuse had the number up closer to 70%).
The most important part I wanted taken from the stats part of my post is how the statistics boil down. A lot of people, when they hear that if 35% (or whatever) of pedophiles were abused assume this same 35% is applied backwards on the survivors and that a survivor is 35% at risk for abusing. This is simply not how the math works and I just wanted that to be clarified.
Again, the overarching point of my post is the same as yours. I do not believe that being a victim makes someone predisposed to being an offender... I am not saying it doesn't ever happen, but not necessarily because of their own abuse.
Gecko, as you likely know, abuse is about power, dominance and humiliation. These are the things that drive the predator's sexual gratification. This is not a sexual preference. These are not lifestyle choices nor are they driven by socio-economic influences. Perhaps
someone who was raised in a neglectful environment may not learn to be the best caretaker for their own children, but this is often due to ignorance... not due to purposeful cruelty. Being a sexual predator is not something anyone does by accident, from ignorance or by environment. It is purposeful and cruel. It is perpetrated by individuals at all levels of society and it breeds in an environment of secrecy, societal fear, and ignorance about the facts. People do not want to talk about this. It is an ugly part of society that people hope will never touch them and they don't want to discuss it in an open, healthy, head-on way with other adults or with their children.
Organizations like MS, 1 in 6, Parenting Safe Children and Voice Found here in Canada are trying to raise awareness, but it is a tough go. Most people only think about this problem after it impacts their life directly. I hope this changes. I am not sure what the legal environment is for perps in various States, but I can tell you that Canada's most recent "tough on crime" changes to child molestation raised
maximum sentencing to 12 years. This is a joke! Most only get 2-3 years with allowance for time already served. Really doesn't make it worthwhile for survivors to go through the pain of reporting.
Wrldtrvlr, I have to apologize for hijacking your post. I am very passionate about this and have been known to ramble!
Please do not feel judged for having these fears. You are still learning and probably knew nothing about this before the discovery of your BF's abuse.
I sense in your posts that you are feeling a lot of guilt about how you discovered this. Please let yourself off the hook for this. I am not saying you should snoop in the future, but what is done is done and it is a positive thing that this is now in the open. Obviously, there was something that you sensed was wrong and that is why you went looking in the first place. Secrecy and even lies are things my H fights in himself daily. He was programmed to do this. His instinct to lie is automatic - even about silly irrelevant things. Whenever he is leaving a store, he has this OCD like compulsion to empty his pockets so no one suspects he might have stolen something. This is a 45 year old professional man! He is just so paralyzed with guilt and shame that it has seeped into many, many unrelated behaviours.
So, how do you get him to talk? I don't think you can. This must be his choice. I am still not privy to all the details of my H's abuse, even after 13 years together. I think as partners who are separate and distinct from each other, all we have a right to expect is found in behaviour. Emotional connectedness, honesty, healthy intimacy, kindness, care and a life without any self-harm, self-humiliating behaviours. My H seemed well adjusted and easy going in the first few years together. Maybe he got a little more drunk than I liked at times, but he didn't drink all the time, so I thought nothing of it. His acting out worsened after we had children. The reality of loving and caring for a child that was as vulnerable as he was at the time of his abuse was very triggering for him. Another trigger for him was hitting 40. Many survivors manage to keep the lid on things until their middle life, then things start to unravel. Not sure why, but very common.
My insistence that certain behaviours end and my openness about why I thought those behaviours existed finally brought my H to begin talking to a therapist. He had tried a number of times to get the behaviours under control without this step, but kept reverting to them because the core issue was never addressed. When he realized he was risking driving me and his children away, he finally chose to seek recovery. I did not threaten or force this choice, but I did set my boundary firmly and let go of the outcome
. It was in his hands to decide if he wanted a life moving forward with us or if he wanted to remain stuck in his abuse. I love him dearly, so am thrilled he made the choice he did, but I also love and respect myself and my children's needs enough to have let go if he could not move forward. I remain patient and expect we will still face pitfalls, but as long as the overall trend is upward, then I am a happy wife!
Again, all the best to you Wrldtrvlr.