Image © Copyright Garry Cook
Frans, 67 when this image was taken, paedophile. Photographed in Deventer, The Netherlands
A husband, a father, a grandfather, a foster parent, a paedophile.
Frans has had several sexual relationships with teenage boys. Though he still enjoys the company of children he has not had a sexual relationship with anyone under the age of consent for almost two decades.
He is part of self-help group for paedophiles, JON, which aims to help those with strong sexual feelings for children control their feelings. Research has found that as many as 25 percent of men have paedophilic feelings, though the majority do not act on them.
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I have raised and cared for many foster children in the past, when I was married and after my divorce. I live alone here. Public opinion is once a
paedophile, always a paedophile, for life –
always dangerous – everyone who has feelings, sexual feelings for children, will always also act on them. That is the politically correct view.
The most important thing is to make the
differentiation between feelings and acts. Paedophile and paedosexual. It’s a very great difference. If you don’t accept this difference we cannot talk in a reasonable way. The public does not make this difference. They say all paedophiles are all the same. They say every paedophile is paedosexual. That is not true. There are lots of people with paedophile
feelings who do not act on it.
People are able to change. Change
themselves change their acts. It’s very
important. In the newspapers you read and hear always, ‘oh, recidivism is very high’. This is not true. It is not, especially after treatment. They say recidivism is about 70 per cent. It’s less, not more.
You can distinguish kinds of people with paedophile feelings in groups. Many of them do not allow themselves any contact with any child any way. They withdraw from children. Other people, like me, have contacts with children, but have displanted themselves to keep also some distance. So, small but short contacts, not bodily. And surely not sexually.
Other people have young friends. I know
several people and they have young friends. They play with them they talk with them. But they avoid sexuality. And then a very small group does not avoid sexuality.
I had a short period with sexual contacts. I changed my mind after that – more than 20 years ago, several children. Some of them I had more intimate contact with, sometimes also sexual, male, around ten to 14 years old. Just after I split up with my wife. Exactly after that period. They were consensual.
Children search for love and intimacy. They need it and they feel it is possible. If they lodge at your home, they shower and sleep, it’s a very short way to sexuality. It’s around the corner.
Yes I have been prosecuted and convicted and sentenced. Five months. An accusation against me, 12 years later, when the boy was in his 20s and had lots of problems. Some of the children are adults now and don’t express any complaint, does not tell [of] any harm.
If you have a doubt here inside you can put it under the table. Feelings of guilt. But doubts are irrational and sexual relationships are bodily and emotional, so two sides of the human way are in conflict.
Most people who have conscious
paedophile feelings report that they have had such feelings from their childhood. The mean age of consciousness is nine years old.
That’s from a research report. Before the age of ten there is some confusion, maybe not a word for it, but there is a feeling for desire for contact with children, maybe desire for intimate sexual contact with children and the feelings of being attracted to youngsters. So it’s early in life that it starts. So it must be, if not genetic, then developed in early childhood.
There came a younger child, maybe eight years. And then I thought I cannot combine this, it’s not good. I have to stop. It’s not good for him, not good for me. I have to try and retire myself, disview myself. He was always in my house.
It was my opinion, my morality, my ethics. And society was changing around me. Especially in the eighties. In the midst of the eighties there was a switch in society. In the Netherlands about 1984, in Germany about 1987. There was a switch in public opinion in society and laws and general feelings about it. I have to live in this society, and when society changes I have to adapt.
The switch was too great. From tolerance to a very great intolerance. I reject behaviourial therapy because it only concerns the
behaviourial outside of the human and not the inner side of the human. They neglect the inner side. The source is within you, not in your behaviour. But they want to control behaviour. Not good in my opinion.
People in their thirties and students join the group. They are in the age of seeking a partner and a lot of them in their life they see boy/girl, boy/girl, boy/girl, boy/girl. And their parents ask, ‘do they have a girl? Did you meet a nice girl?’ And they feel different. In their mind comes a kind of panic. They feel, ‘I’m now on the wrong way’. And they feel frequently isolated.
They withdraw themselves and then they come to the group. The group has been going for nearly 30 years. We have monthly talks and meetings. During the meetings people are asked to speak, ‘I feel this, I have had this experience’. Paedophilia is not a dysfunction. A
paedophile can very well do his job and family and finances and study and live quite good.
The feelings are not yours. Concerning the feelings, you have the choice: I accept them or I reject them. That is the conscious choice you have to make. Then I act on them or I do not act on them. And how to act or not to act. They are choices. But the feelings themselves they come up and they are there. You don’t choose your feelings. You choose to accept them or not.
It’s an inner process, self control. The way to conduct an obsession is first to accept yourself as you are. And that’s what we do in the group. Talk with each other. We don’t condemn each other, we don’t convict each other. We accept each other. New members have to accept their feelings, have to accept themselves as they are. If you accept yourself you can proceed.
You have to realise that in the relationship sex is only a tiny part of it. Sex maybe only one or two or three times in five or six or seven years. So I don’t regret relationships, only the sexual part of it.
My daughter knows everything of my
feelings and relationships and conviction I have had. With my brothers and sisters I am as open as is possible.
A researcher in the United Kingdom was not allowed to publish [his report] because it tells about positive experiences and relationships between men and boys. That’s forbidden to say.
If you suppress the feelings sooner or later the feelings will find a gate and burst. And then it’s wrong. If you give room for your feelings, not all but a certain amount you can live more happier and without frustration.
I have sometimes some contacts with
children but always short contacts and no bodily contacts and I can live. Now I walk with the dog and I see children I say hello and I walk off. And then I’m happy. Quite easy. Small contacts. I have learnt to keep the right distance, who is accepted by society.