IF YOU ARE SOMEONE WHO HAS A SEXUAL ATTRACTION TO CHILDREN, OR IF YOU CARE ABOUT OR WORK WITH SOMEONE WITH SUCH AN ATTRACTION, MY BOOKS ARE RESEARCHED AND WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU, as well as being readable and helpful to the general reader who just wishes to understand more about this troubling phenomenon.
Here are quotes from two readers (one a paedophile, one a sister of a paedophile) who have emailed me with their comments. I reproduce them below with their permission. (There are further comments on my work below):
"I just finished reading your book Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children. As a college student slowly coming to terms with my own attraction to children, your book was a godsend. It was amazing to find someone who approached pedophilia and those living with it with compassion and understanding instead of fear and damnation. For so long I've felt completely lost and alone trying to comprehend what was happening to me.
When I was younger, I was terrified that if I asked for help people would assume I had molested a child even though that was truly the last thing I would ever do. I spent about two years in complete denial about it before finally admitting to myself that I was a pedophile. This realization sent me spiraling into an even deeper depression than the one I had been living with for years. It's been only in the past 10 months or so that I've been able to find people online, both fellow pedophiles and non-pedophiles, that have really been there for me as I try to figure out how to live with this. With their support I've finally been able to examine my attractions, make sense of them, and find some peace with myself, my faith, and my work with kids. Even so, the pain of having to keep such a massive secret is often overwhelming, and I wish that I could be honest about what I'm going through, but I know that I can't. Thank you so much for the work you're doing. The fact that there are people such as yourself giving us a voice fills me with hope. Perhaps one day society will be more accepting of people such as myself who are attracted to minors but have no desire to hurt a child by acting on them, and we can actually find support and understanding from those around us.
It has been very difficult coming to terms with the fact that I'm a pedophile, but for the most part, it doesn't really bother me anymore. The part that still really bothers me is how people would react, but I try to remember that I'm not lying to them about my intentions or putting on some sort of act. I really am the person they believe me to be so I have nothing to be ashamed of. For quite a long time I never really believed I'd ever be happy and yet here I am excited about my life and what the future may hold. Its awesome.
People, especially young people, who find themselves attracted to children need to be able to reach out and get help in order to deal with it before they offend. When I first started to realize I was attracted to kids I freaked out. The only view of pedophilia I had at the time was that they were all monsters. I didn't want to think of myself as a monster so I went into denial for years instead of dealing with it. During this time, I had a lot of access to children, many of whom I knew would have been too young to say anything. I'm so thankful that my parents instilled in me such a strong set of values so that even when I found myself in very tempting situations it never occurred to me that I should act on my desires. It quite disturbing to think about what might have happened had I not known what I was doing.
Now, I've learned to avoid such temptation so that its become almost instinctive. Still, its difficult knowing that all the people who love and adore me now would undoubtedly abandon me if they found out about my attractions. Nothing I've done in the past to avoid temptation, none of the good that I've done in kids' lives, none of that would matter. I would simply be a monster in their eyes, nothing more. I can't really blame them because they have to protect their kids, but these are people who've known me for years and I've never done anything even remotely inappropriate. Shouldn't that count for something?
That's why I'm so grateful to you for working so hard to tell spread this message. It'll take time to break through the hatred surrounding this issue, but I believe that as long as we don't give up the day will come where people like myself won't have to live in the shadows. At the very least I think your work can help people struggling with pedophilia and the depression and fear that go with it come to terms with their attraction and learn to live with themselves. I know that when I was younger such a book would have seriously helped me accept myself."
"At the end of May, my brother was arrested in a sting operation for soliciting sex with a boy. To say this was a huge shock to our family would be an understatement. His wife and children are devastated (the boys report that no untoward behavior ever occurred) and my mom and I (who live near each other) are struggling to understand. I found your book, Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children, on Amazon, and have read every word with great interest and growing understanding. It has helped me, and by extension my mom, with whom I shared what I have gleaned, immeasurably.
The most useful parts for me were the initial testimonial from "David," the information about how prevalent this tendency is (a psychiatrist I know estimates that 10% of men are attracted to children to some degree; she sees many in her practice), the chapter about the Internet communities, how you convey so succinctly the exact ways in which children are harmed (which I will use to counter any arguments I may hear from my brother about the rights of children to make their own decisions, etc.), and the ways in which family and community can help pedophiles to never have inappropriate contact with a child. Before I read your book, I saw a bleak outlook for my brother when he gets out of prison (in 10 or so years), but now I think we can influence him to keep his fantasy life only in his head.
I cannot emphasize enough the huge impact your book has had on me and how much it is helping me process this intensely difficult situation.I think your work is very important. Before this happened with my brother, I used to think pedophiles were in the same class as serial killers and should be put in jail and the key thrown away. Now that a member of my family has become an "MAA," of course the situation becomes more complex. It has gone from black and white to many many shades of gray. The difference between acting and not acting is of course the most important thing. As my daughter, who looks at the world in an unfailingly generous way, says, 'I give people a lot of credit who have this compulsion and have the strength to not act on it. It must take a lot of self-control.'"
QUOTES ABOUT 'UNDERSTANDING AND ADDRESSING ADULT SEXUAL ATTRACTION TO CHILDREN':
'Profoundly helpful and useful.'
Dr Judith Reisman, author of Kinsey: Crimes and Consequences
"I finished reading your book on minor-attracted persons, and I continue to be impressed by the breadth of vision and depth of humanity that you
manifest there. The recommendations in the last chapter on how to address the problems that might possibly arise from attraction to minors is a
masterpiece of sensitivity and sagacity."
Joseph Owens, SJ
"This is an extremely valuable piece of research and is very useful to those trying to understand some of the complexities around child sexual
attraction and child sexual offending."
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ashthorpe Hamsphire Constabulary Public Protection
"Sarah Goode successfully balances objectivity and humanness in her book, Understanding and Addressing Adult Sexual Attraction to Children.
Backed up by her innovative study, she calls into question the assumption that anyone with sexual interest in children has acted on their thoughts.
Both the general public and researchers will be called on to consider her findings related to this very under-researched population. Information
gleaned from this study is critical to prevention planning for us at Stop It Now!."
Deborah Donovan Rice, Executive Director - Stop It Now!
"I felt that your treatment of MAA's was very decent and empathetic, but that at the end of the day your work is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse, and not at making life easier for MAA's. As such it was always going to disappoint some readers who saw you as a potential advocate.(Personally, i think you made some points in our favour quite forcefully and showed some courage.)"
"To be afraid to step out of the shadow is to live life hoping someone will save you - until you realise we are all in the shadow of fear and only
together can we be free. Sarah's book is a much needed and serious discussion that brings us a step closer."
(Quick note: if you come across a product description of my book which says it aims to 'stop paedophilia', please ignore it! I did not write that, it is obviously silly and I got it corrected on some sites but did not manage to get it corrected on all. My aim is not to 'stop paedophilia' but to confront and reduce the sexual abuse of children while providing a deeper understanding of adult sexual attraction to children.)
If you've read my book, please do post a review. Thank you!