I’ve been trying to decide what to say. Some news reports are so truly shocking, so disgusting, so abhorrent that words seem inadequate to express the outrage one feels.
The mere idea that any man would rape and impregnate a 12-year-old girl makes my blood boil. I know that Alfred Ivey has not yet had a trial and is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty. However, the results of the paternity test leave little room for doubt.
I don’t want to get inside the head of a pedophile rapist. I don’t even want to imagine what drives a person to act in such a reprehensible way. In fact, I would say that I don’t care one whit about their urges, only that they be controlled.
But I do want to get inside the heads of children and the adults who love them.
Without some false layer of security and trust, pedophiles would never be successful. Part of the damage they do is to the psyche of the victim, spinning a web of lies that result in cooperation, intimidation, and/or silence. These are the lies that must be exposed, repudiated and rendered powerless.
Chief among these lies is that child molestation is a rare event and only happens in unusual or extreme circumstances. Parents do not need to neglect their child in order to create the atmosphere favorable to sexual abuse. Sometimes victims are the children of very protective, alert, involved and caring parents.
It only takes an instant for the unthinkable to happen. Molesters and rapists count on the element of surprise. If parents suspected the presence of a pedophile, they would never leave their children vulnerable and unprotected. Most of the time the criminal is a trusted family member or friend.
So then, what is a good parent to do? Suspect everyone? Of course, we can’t do this. But we must be aware of the signals a person may be sexually attracted to children.
Pedophiles show excessive interest in children and childlike things. They have an idealistic view of children and spend inordinate amounts of time “hanging out” with them.
Pedophiles often have limited peer relationships; they seem more at ease with children than adults. They participate in and organize numerous planned events for children, sometimes excluding adults. None of these behaviors when taken alone are proof positive that someone is a pedophile, but when the signs begin to multiply, it’s time to pay attention.
Single moms, beware. The easiest way for a man to gain access to a child is by dating his or her mother. The relief of having someone to help with babysitting, household chores and the daily stress of single parenthood is a powerful numbing agent.
It can make you ignore small signs that something is going horribly wrong.
I am basically a trusting soul. It has taken years of life experience for me to become more realistic about human nature and to realize that there are monsters roaming loose among us.
I can’t stop thinking about the victim of Ivey’s alleged abuse. She would be more than 20 years old now. I’m also thinking about her mother and daughter and what a long road all of them have to regaining the peace, safety and security that has been violated.
I can only hope that bringing this situation to light has empowered them in their quest for healing. I also hope the judicial system sends a clear and chilling message to all would-be child rapists.
It would be nice if we never had to think about this again. Alas, we must.