“I am a pedophile. So? I am doing great!”

A young woman on the road to accepting her pedophilic feelings

Twenty three year old Evi had a violent youth, was involuntarily outed as lesbian and realised she also has sexual feelings for very young boys. All of this led to a difficult adolescence full of challenges and obstacles. After several years of therapy Evi now looks to the future with confidence. She shares her story for the first time with Pedofilie.nl a Dutch platform for support and information on pedophilia.

by Ben Kirssen, January 2020

Four years ago on an ice cold December morning, Evi is looking for a quiet bench in an abandoned park. For the past few weeks her life had been leading up to this moment. It had to be today. It was time. It was time to make that call.

“I could not do this by myself any longer. I had already realised some time before this moment I had explicit sexual fantasies about boys from the age of four. But there was no one I could talk to. For a long while I thought I was the only one with these feelings. The media confronted me on an almost daily basis with child sexual abuse. It made me feel like a monster and I started to cut myself. No one noticed. My family didn’t pay much attention to me anyway. I was the quiet child and everyone assumed: she’ll be fine.”

Discovering these feelings came with the will to experiment and the fear of doing something wrong.

Once Evi became aware her sexual fantasies weren’t temporary she panicked. “I didn’t want to do anything with these feelings, you know. With discovering these feelings came the will to experiment and the fear of doing something wrong. I still believe I would not have crossed that line, but just the fear was almost paralyzing me. If radio and TV were right, then abuse seemed only a matter of time. And that really wasn’t the direction I wanted to go with my life.”

“Good morning, Stop it Now! How can I help you?”

Stop it Now! is an organisation for people that worry about their own or other people’s sexual feelings or behaviour towards minors. In 2018 the Dutch branch of Stop it Now! was contacted by 276 people who were worried about their own behaviour. Of those callers 29 were women.

Evi had difficulty starting the conversation. “I was terrified that they would inform the police. So I started asking a lot of questions about my anonymity and privacy. I grew up in a strict and violent family. Social services intervened and arranged a therapist for me. At one point this therapist decided to share my file with my parents without my consent. It contained information about my lesbian orientation, my cutting and much more. Ever since I was worried if therapists could be trusted.”

Ellen Janssen is a forensic psychologist at Stop it Now! She recognizes the concern for privacy. “Stop it Now! operates anonymous and confidential. A caller does not have to reveal his or her identity. Our number is shielded and will not appear on a phone bill. Only when we have a serious suspicion that a minor is in immediate danger, will we alert the appropriate authorities. We can only do this if we have enough personal information to go by. And we only report future danger and no acts from the past.”

My little brother was in my mind at moments that I absolutely didn’t want him to be there.

With all the questions about anonymity and privacy answered the Stop it Now! operator asked what was troubling Evi. She tells about her explicit sexual fantasies with young boys. “It wasn’t really a problem of restraint. I was more concerned about the intense fantasies of sex with very young boys. And they kept getting more and more uncomfortable. Listen, I love my little brother to bits, but he appeared in my mind at moments when I absolutely didn’t want him to be there.”

Stop it Now! and Evi agree that she will call at a pre-arranged time with a therapist specialized in forensic psychiatry. That telephone call resulted in therapy which lasted four years. “The therapist was a godsend. He listened without judgement and had no taboos at all. He explicitly asked about my thoughts and fantasies. In the beginning he was very reluctant to put labels on what I said. We started with investigating what I really felt and what resulted from other experiences. Together we took the time we needed to get my thoughts together and he let me reflect independently on my feelings. The result was that I managed to process the violent experiences from my childhood and I learned to accept my lesbian feelings as well as my sexual feelings for boys. Some specific fantasies have disappeared since. The sexual attraction to young boys did not disappear, that remained. I have to deal with that. It is not as if I have a choice in the matter.”

There are very few women who share these feelings. I sometimes feel so alone with this.

As yet Evi is one of the few women who openly speak of their pedophilic feelings. “For a long time I have felt very lonely and thought I was the only one with this attraction without sexually abusing children. There are very few women who share their thoughts on this. That is so unfortunate. I sometimes feel so alone with this.”

“Looking back the discovery of my attraction to young boys was a blessing in disguise. I might never had gone into therapy and then all my issues would have remained untreated. It is because of the excellent therapy that I am doing quite well. Conversations with other pedophiles at the online chat of Pedofilie.nl also helped. It is good to have a normal conversation with people who from experience understand what it is like to have these feelings. My life is great now, I’m studying again and I even found the courage to tell some of my friends.”

“Sometimes I think back to that ice cold loneliness in the park. I am very proud of how I am doing today. I stepped up to my responsibility and I started to realise that I am much more than my attractions alone. I don’t consider myself to be a monster anymore. I am a person. Yes, a person with a pseudonym. The name is inspired by the woman I talked to on the phone in that park. Her name was Eva and she was at the beginning of my most valuable personal growth to date. For this I am very grateful to her.”

Evi and Ben Kirssen are pseudonyms.
Ben Kirssen is a team member of Pedofilie.nl.
The orignal Dutch language version of this article can be found here.

Peer support groups:
Dutch (website)Dutch (online chat)

Stop it Now!
The NetherlandsBelgium United Kingdom & IrelandWales Scotland United States

Organisations for the prevention of child sexual abuse
France Germany Denmark Austria Sweden Norway Finland Estonia Latvia Ireland Switzerland (German)Switzerland (French)LuxemborgCanada

Links have been copied from the Belgian Stop it Now website.

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