The 25-year-old Kloek speaks softly and formulates deliberate. He seems calm. Due to his large eyes it is as if he takes in the world with a sort of amazement. As if he only contemplates and judges the world. With himself standing at a safe distance.
His study is almost finished. It’s time for a new future. Kloek has choices to make about work, living and whether or not to travel the world. He also has to makes choices about pursuing his dream; starting a family with a wife and children. Or with a lovely man. As long as he doesn’t have to live his life alone. As long as he doesn’t have to be alone. Much to his annoyance Kloek finds that his dream is elusive and slowly fading. Some very different feelings interfere with his desire to settle down. His attraction to boys between the ages of eight and thirteen are upsetting his dream. That one photo, now years ago, of that young boy puts everything in a different perspective. Kloek fell in love. Head over heels. With an underage boy.
The peace that Kloek radiates is a cover for his fierce stress. He holds up his hand to show that he sometimes trembles uncontrollably from the stress. “In recent months I haven’t been thinking clear. Like I wasn’t here for the full 100%. I have had a few lows.” The word low is typical for Kloek. He uses a small word but it represents a very dark period in his life. “Sometimes I’m literally sick of the tension. Maybe it’s more shame for my pedophilic feelings? I look at my sexual orientation almost with horror. For years I denied my feelings for boys. In recent months, I am no longer able to ignore it. The feelings are here. At school, at my internship and with my friends I hide these feelings and insecurities. The most bothersome, I think, is that I hide this for my parents.”
“…the easy way out of a depression…”
The stress has had an effect on his study results. Examinations often had to be retaken. The study plan was updated regularly. Kloek used all kinds of pretexts to sell this to his friends and family. His depression also had a rather large effect on his weight. “I think I lost 10 kilos in the last two months.” Out of shame and out of fear of rejection Kloek finds it difficult to talk about this with other people. “Outwardly I pretend everything is fine. I lie though. I only look like an ordinary man.”
Kloeks’ shame and self-hatred increases. “Until fairly recent self-destructive thoughts appeared during the evenings. My dream was fading so what can I still achieve? What motivation do I have for this life?” These thoughts were becoming more intense. Kloek increasingly thought of “the easy way” out of his depression. As he talks in peaceful manner, he constantly plays with the string of his hoodie. He pulls it. He bites on it. Then he puts it just below his eyes, over his nose. As if to hide behind it; as if he is seeking shelter.
“…a thumping heart and tears in my eyes of relief…”
Kloek is shocked when he realizes that his plan to commit suicide becomes concrete. He considered asking his parents for help but in the end decides not to. “I didn’t want to transfer my pain to my parents. They have plenty of other things to do. Besides I don’t think they even realize that I am going through a tough time. Or do they? Lately my mother calls remarkably often with the question: “Are you doing okay?” I should really go and talk to them sometime soon.”
Kloek decides to call the hotline for pedophiles “Stop it Now”. They offer him a conversation with a psychotherapist and refer him to Pedofilie.nl, an online Dutch platform that provides information, help and a forum. On the website he read the stories of other pedophiles, their struggles and their coming outs. He decides to tell his own story on the forum. Kloek writes: “I end this post with a thumping heart and tears in my eyes of relief.”
The following weeks the events develop rapidly. After his coming out on Pedofilie.nl, Kloek meets digitally and in real life other pedophiles and he visits Joris (a Dutch support group for and by pedophiles). “The stress has been reduced enormously.”
The next step Kloek wants to take is to come out to his parents. “I didn’t sleep last night. I had one of my lows again. Really, I’d better not be alone. I thought about my future, my sexual orientation, but most of all I thought about how to tell my parents. Maybe I should open a conversation by saying that lately I haven’t been feeling all that well. I can then tell them why that is. Or maybe I’ll just ask them: “Have you noticed that I do not fancy women my own age?” I would then let them ask me questions. On what pedophilia is and on the help that I have organized for myself recently. I want them to know that I will not get that depressed again easily. “
After this interview Kloek will be traveling to his parents. He has his parents to himself since there will be no other relatives visiting. He has two days to tell them about his pedophilia. Kloek doesn’t want his child-rich family to know anything about his orientation. He is afraid that they will treat him differently. “My mother speaks a lot about us. We’re a very open family. As is my grandmother. It would absolutely not be a good idea if she knows. It is a matter of time before the whole family will know. She won’t be doing that on purpose, but still.”
“When my parents know I will be doing 100% better.”
Coming out to his parents will be an unnerving climax after a long build up. “It will be very difficult. My mother will probably cry. I don’t know how my father will react. He’ll probably follow my mothers lead. I don’t really know how I will handle it myself. If I tell them in the evening, I might be allright. I am often more relaxed in the evening although it is also the time of day that I have less control over my emotions.”
Kloek has faith in a good outcome. “I think my parents will accept me and I am convinced that when my parents know I will be doing a 100% better. No longer will there be the awkward comments about girlfriends or grandchildren. After my coming out I am going to register on dating sites. I’m going to invest more time in that. I look forward to meeting new people. I hope I will meet some nice people. Maybe I’ll meet someone with whom I can share my life. “
Ben Kirssen, May 2016
The coming out, several days after this interview, didn’t happen. Kloeks’ parents unexpectedly had familly members staying over.
A week later Kloek posts the following on Twitter:
“Hell of a day, told my parents that I fall in love with young boys. They understand it, love me and will help me fight. I’m extremely happy”
The name Kloek is a pseudonym. The same applies for the author.
The Dutch version of this article can be found here on Pedofilie.nl.