The Real Problem with Pedophiles

“In those days, it was very spontaneous and casual, and it did not seem really wrong. . .The only thing I can assure you of was that everything I did was in warmth and affection and not a power play,” he said. “I may have crossed societal boundaries. If I did, I am sorry.”
No, this isn’t a Jerry Sandusky confession. It’s from a former Horace Mann School teacher who’s quoted in today’s Sunday Times. Now 88 years old, the former Horace Mann English teacher thinks having sex with his teenaged students was not wrong, just perhaps a crossing of societal boundaries.
While most of us would strongly disagree with the English teacher, most pedophiles think this way. In their twisted, sick thinking it’s how they show love and affection. I’ve taken enough depositions of sexual abusers and those who covered up for them to know this is true. They’ve actually said similar words.
What is perhaps more disturbing is the confusion and pain caused to the survivors of sexual abuse who’ve been so traumatized by their abusers they are at times unable to recognize the severity of their own suffering. The NY Times article describes the reaction of three students who were sexually abused by the teacher-“All three students cited Mr. Lin as a positive influence in their lives, even today, and seemed reluctant to speak, not wanting to hurt the reputation of a man who had opened their eyes to philosophy and literature, and whose strict grammar rules they remembered today.”
Sadly, I’ve also encountered this same reluctance from survivors. While disturbing, the story provides ample evidence that the real damage done by sexual abuse is not physical. It’s emotional and spiritual because it damages and distorts one’s ability to relate to others as well as form a healthy view of self. These damages can last a lifetime and the suffering is still all too often done in silence.