“As a boy Cody (23) used to be active and busy. He was always moving” says Elise. “That changed suddenly. He became a quiet and introvert adolescent.” Elise has asked herself many times what caused that change in her son. One evening, after dinner, she unexpectedly obtains a piece of the puzzle for which she had been looking for all these years. Cody tells her what has been bothering him all these years. It turns out he has pedophilic feelings for young boys.
Cody is a young man with a stylish beard. He is in his final year of technical college. A month ago he came out of the closet for the first time. At first he came out to his mother and several days later to his father. The family agrees to be interviewed for Pedofilie.nl, a Dutch platform for pedophilia.
Can you describe your sexual orientation?
Cody: “I fancy women of my own age as well as boys from 8 to 12. Those two different orientations are more or less equally divided, say 50/50. My attraction towards women is significantly less though than that of guys that are 100% straight. I notice this when I walk through town with my brother and my friends. They spot beautiful women a lot quicker and a lot more often than I do. However they don’t notice the beautiful boys. I do. But to be honest, I would rather not have had this sexual orientation.”
How did you discover that you were a pedophile?
“At twelve years old I used to babysit the boys next door. They were wonderful seven year old boys. They were very lively and I loved being with them. The boys didn’t seem ashamed of anything. They would show me their buttocks and much of the rest. I regularly had to talk to them about their behavior. About two years later I noticed that I increasingly enjoyed their stripping. I then realised what that meant. I have pedophilic feelings. I am sick, I thought to myself.
I tried to surpress my feelings. Of course that didn’t work and I slowly went into a severe depression. It felt terrible. I became more and more quiet and focussed on myself. I was increasingly annoyed with people complaining about how difficult life is. Quietly I would think to myself: “Oh please, you have no idea how difficult life is!” I still have some feelings of depression but since I told my parents that feeling has decreased considerably.
I read all kinds of stories about coming out of the closet. That encouraged me.
Why did you come out of the closet?
When I realised that I was a pedophile I said to myself: “I am taking this into my grave. This will never come out.” As I grew older I noticed this is very hard to keep to yourself. On Pedofilie.nl I read all kinds of stories about coming out of the closet. That encouraged me. With my hands shaking I wrote my own story on the website. For a long time after that I regularly checked the website for responses. It was such a relief when I received normal and humane responses.”
Did you then decide to come out to your parents?
“No. Actually I wanted to write them a letter. My father was away on a business trip for a few day and I had a fun day with my mother. That evening, after dinner, I suddenly felt very depressed. I couldn’t do anything but stare at my glass. “Are you contemplating your sins?” my mother asked. Meanwhile my respiration increased. It was like I was in some sort of trance, staring at my glass. While I was sitting there I thought: “Am I really going to say it?” In the years before I had carefully considered all kinds of possible scenarios of a coming out. And now it seemed as if coming out could no longer be avoided. By now my mother realized something was seriously wrong. “What is it? What is it?” she asked me repeatedly. “Honey, whatever it is, I will always love you and you will always be my son.” Even then it took minutes before I could say: “Mom, I have a big problem. I feel a strong attraction towards young boys.”
Elise is visibly emotional. The coming out of Cody has rocked their world. Several days after his coming out to his mother, Cody also told his father. At first Joost reacted surprised at Cody’s story. “He told his story in bits and pieces. But you can’t do anything about a sexual orientation. It is not a disease or something.”
How sad is a coming out like this for a parent?
Elise: “Quite sad. I was thunderstruck for a while. I never thought that Cody could be a pedophile. I know people that were sexually abused as children. That thankfully isn’t the case with Cody. But Cody’s story is completely new to me. I never knew that this could be one of the possibilties. That is why it was such a big revelation. The first few days it was on my mind constantly, every minute of the day. I really needed to talk with my best friend. I wanted to shout to her: “You have to come over NOW. I have something to say.” But I didn’t and I haven’t told her. Cody’s coming out obliges me to secrecy.”
Joost: “We want to protect Cody. So we rather keep this to ourselves. I asked him many questions after his coming out. I asked him what it feels like to be a pedophile and about sexuality. I understand how he can be moved by children. The fact that he is a pedophile is something he and I can’t do much about. You either have this orientation or you don’t. What I find absolutely awful is that he had to keep this to himself for so many years.”
How did you experience the coming out itself?
Elise: “I held Cody for at least an hour. One of the first questions I asked was if he was or would be sexually active. He had quite a definite answer on that: “That will never happen. Never.” I trust him on that. Thankfully Cody answered all my questions that evening. That makes a difference because I was reassured the same evening. Cody specifically invited us to ask questions. During the evening a whole new world opened up to me, a new dimension that I did not know existed. After three to four hours of talking I said to Cody: “Go out to town and go have yourself a drink”. I too had a drink that evening.”
I never read about this in women’s magazines or magazines about parenting.
Did it change your views on pedophilia?
Elise: “Yes, 100%. I always automatically assumed: pedophiles are evil. They sexually abuse children. I have learned now that pedophiles are by far not the largest group of child sex abusers. That your own child could be a pedophile is never discussed. I wish that people understand the impact it has when your son confronts you with this. A lot more attention should be paid to this subject. I never read about this in women’s magazines or magazines about parenting. You only read about abuse. That your own child can be a pedophile, without being an abuser, should be discussed openly. That is why I am here.”
What are your views on the future?
Joost: “I hope that Cody can fit this into his life. He is a stable young man. I know he is not going to be a sex offender. I am convinced he has that morality. But even so, this is not something you wish for you child. It would have been easier if he was gay.”
Elise: “It is his choice how he will shape his life. He is the one that has to make something of it. I would love to help him with that. But to be honest, I have my fears. The fear that my child will not be happy.”
Cody: “In school I hear my fellow students talking and judging. I realize I belong to the outcasts of this world. To use an understatement: that isn’t much fun. I try not to let it get to me too much. I have no fear that I will break the law. The last thing I want to do is hurt a child. My hope for the future is to have a girlfriend. That would be nice.”
Coming out is such a relief. It is a world of difference.
What would you recommend young pedophiles that struggle with telling their parents or others?
Joost: “This is big. Very big. All things considerd I can’t tell someone else to do a coming out. Everyone should make his own choices in this. If you are going to tell, tell it to people you trust for the full 100%. Cody’s coming out turned out really well for him and for us. I am happy to know what is going on.”
Cody: “Coming out is such a relief. It is a world of difference. Even just the coming out on Pedofilie.nl. I had a euforic feeling when I shared my story. Of course I also received some criticism and sharp questions from my parents. That is fine. That too needs to be discussed. It is however especially nice to see that even than the dialogue remains. If I were to advice parents I would say talk as much as possible about pedophilia after the coming out. Ask your son questions and remember: pedophiles are not by definition bad people.”
The coming out of Cody was four weeks prior to this interview. In the weeks following his coming out Cody’s parents were able to get some perspective on the matter. They can even make jokes about it. Cody’s story is also giving Elise some hope for the future. “We often talk about it. For me lots of pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place. It explains the change of the spirited teen into the quiet young man. I hope I will get my son back again.”
by Ben Kirssen, The Netherlands, April 2016
The names Cody, Elise and Joost are pseudonyms. That also applies to the name of the author.
The Dutch version of this article can be found here on Pedofilie.nl.