Tuesday, March 6, 2012

divorce him? not on your life

The third response to my comment here:
Wow! That’s one BIG deal breaker for me. Don’t care how long I’ve been married, I’d divorce him in a second for having watched, and gone back for more, child porn. No excuse for that. Good luck to you and your kids.
First, thank you for your compassionate good wishes. Wishing the kids and me well means more than you know. I agree that there is "no excuse for that."


If you had asked me years ago what I would do if my husband were investigated for child porn, I would have said that I would divorce him. Easy. It is easy to know what you would do in a hypothetical situation. It is easy to know what you would do if you were married to a pervert like mine, especially when your husband is definitely not interested in illegal images. Now, turn and look at someone you love absolutely--your spouse, your child, your brother, your father. Imagine learning that he (it is usually a "he") is in trouble for child porn. Could you really turn your back on him? Just walk away and leave him to deal with it alone? I could not.

Many men consider, and some accomplish, suicide when they are in trouble for something so incredibly shameful. The guilt and shame is extremely difficult to bear. And you know what? They don't even need to be guilty of using child porn to feel that way. They need only to be accused. Walk away from the father of my children when he's desperate enough to consider suicide? What kind of monster would I be?

Walking away from the marriage would not have saved me the heartache, the worry, or the shame of being associated with such awful stuff. It would not have saved the kids from the terror, the confusion, the humiliation. The best way to protect the kids was to stay together. Our family is stronger together and we will be even stronger when we have gotten through this.

His interest in porn does not define him. Surely you know people who are good people, even if they have some pretty awful shortcomings. Many of us, for example, know alcoholics who are stellar beings--intelligent, loyal, loving--except for when they are drinking. It is the same with porn addicts. My husband is a wonderful husband and father. The porn is a very small piece of him.

If I had left him, I would have missed the joy of watching him tackle his porn addiction head-on. I would have missed seeing his determination to get out of bed every single day, do what he needed to do for our family every single day, even when doing so must have been excruciatingly painful. I would have missed watching his slow progress from suicidal despair to a confidence in his ability to be a better man. 

I wouldn't have missed that for anything.

15 comments:

L. said...

You keep calling this a porn addiction but it's pedophilia.

I have often wondered how women who stay with pedophiles when they have children, or even when they don't, justify it. I have read a lot of your blog and now I see one way is using weasely language like "porn addiction", and another way is focusing bizarrely on the faults of other - the occasional failures of the justice system broadly, for example - rather than looking at their own situation head-

So once again: your husband is not a good man. He spent hours of his time getting aroused by pictures of children being stripped of their dignity and being used by others. Maybe he can go on to recover, although most don't and it is not like he did anything about it until he got caught. But he needs not excuses but serious consequences. You need to protect your kids.

I can tell you don't get it by some of your posts. The idea that juries look at the pictures so it's not abuse? Is nuts. I let a guy stick a knife in my kid...because he was a surgeon. Context matters. Your husband spent his time fantasizing and getting off on kids exactly like yours being raped.

Amil said...

Your husband is a pedophile who uses child porn to get his sexual jollies. Quit the denial.

Lori Dixon said...

"Porn addiction" is one thing, while arousal from the abuse of children is another. Your husband is obviously into the latter. Porn is something created by consenting adults. Child porn is NOT. There is a HUGE difference. You truly, truly need a lot of help. Maybe you are codependent or are a victim of abuse yourself, but whatever it is I really hope you get the help you need. I mean that. Do it for your kids if not yourself.

Alison Cummins said...

There’s no need to demonize a man or think of him as evil, but as a parent it’s important to be able to put your children’s needs first. Your husband is a grown man and less dependent and helpless than they are.

Living with a pedophile is risky for children. Being divorced and having custody of your children would put you in a better position to protect them if necessary.

If the only person who can support your husband is you — if your husband has no friends and family — that’s a problem. It might simply mean that you and your husband are both introverts and homebodies, but it might also be a sign that one of you is deliberately isolating the other to make them dependent. Even not-so-deliberately.

You can still love your [ex] husband, still wish him well, still acknowledge his good qualities. But raising your children in his house is a risk that is not fair to them.

I haven’t read your whole blog so things may have changed since you wrote this. However, I did want to address some of your either/or thinking.

Marie said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Allison. I am always happy when someone declines to demonize my husband or say that he's evil.

Your concern for the kids is touching but they were always quite safe with my husband and will be quite safe with him again when he returns to us. He looked at pictures. Pictures that we all--including him--wish he had not looked at. Tell me this: if your husband looks at pornography, do you fear for the safety of your women friends when they are around him? Do you assume that he will lose control of himself and suddenly sexually assault one of them? Probably not. Why, then, do you assume that someone who looks at child porn will lose control and assault children?

You call my husband a pedophile because you think someone who looks at child porn is a pedophile. While there is plenty wrong with looking at those images, it doesn't automatically follow that the viewer is a pedophile. My husband has been evaluated and in therapy with two different psychologists/therapists and both of them say he is not a pedophile. Something else to consider is that even true pedophiles are able to--and regularly DO--refrain from assaulting children.

Raising my children "in his house"? Are you one of those people who think the house belongs only to the husband? I am not. I am raising the children in our home. THEIR home. Their home includes a dad and a mom who love each other and them.

To divorce a husband who is and was no danger just to please someone who imagines he is dangerous...that would be cowardly.

K Mest said...

All of these comments show how the public opinion has been tainted by the falsehoods and lies in the media and by politicians. Like drugs, drinking, and gambling, the pleasure some people get from legal porn pushes them further and further to the limits when before they know it, even if they were not looking for it, they find themselves looking at underage photos. So yes, it is an addiction. The research shows that most hands on, true pedophiles don't even bother with porn. They prefer the real thing so to make the jump that porn leads to a hands on crime is a scientifically proven falsehood.

That does not even cover the number of men who are convicted because they like legal porn, but are caught with photos of girls who are underage but look legal. It does not matter that the men did not know the girls real age, it just matters that they had a photo of someone under age.

I would never dream of telling someone else how to build a house if I had no experience in building so it continues to amaze me that people with no experience in this area feel free to tell you how to live your life and what is best for you and your children. Only someone who has walked in your shoes could understand how you feel and would also know that there is no right or wrong answer. You must listen to what is right for you.

Margaret Moon said...

Well said, Kate Mest. I'm also taken aback at all of the posters who deem themselves experts on psycho-sexual diagnoses.
I would appreciate their opinions more if they would list their qualifications. Actual authorities I have heard speak, and whose papers I have read, seem to disagree with them.

joe doe said...

my reply to that person who said your husband is not a good man.
I d like to point out that Jesus answered. "No one is good" Mark 10:18

Anna said...

I have a friend who fostered a child who had been used to make images like the ones your husband would have been looking at. This child was irreparably damaged, both physically and emotionally.
Your husband knew what he was doing was illegal, so it must have been worth the risk of betraying you. He put the thrill of illegal images as a priority over his family safety and long term security. He wasn't concerned that the children in the images where real children who were being hurt and frightened. He was not charged with looking at pictures of babies in a bath. Every moment you condone this and tell people what he did was not so bad, another child is being roped into this industry. Shame on you.

Melissa Finch said...

Your profound denial of the truth astonishes me. Your husband viewed images of children being terribly hurt and victimized. They had no choice in participating. They were forced, possibly drugged, threatened, and physically injured. Your husband liked this...what isn't wrong about that??? What if this were your children? Seriously, what if? What if someone videotaped your kid getting drugged, left on the road and intentionally run over by a car...and people watched that video and got off on it? Wouldn't you think these people are total sickos who need to be kept away from any and all children, and all reasonable and halfway intelligent adults? Having had an experience with a pedophile and the devastating after effects, I can honestly say that your deluded reality is nothing more than pure selfishness. Your kids alone will pay their parents' price.

Marie said...

You have a vivid imagination, Melissa Finch. While child pornography does include the images you are thinking of, it also includes images that have no hint of violence or coercion. My husband is in prison not for "getting off" on the images but for simply having the images in his possession.

Thank you for your concern for my kids. They are doing well.

Stacy Kowtko said...

First, please read through to the end. :-). I am an adult survivor of a child sex ring operation. I was molested from the age of 7 until I moved out at 13. Involvement in the ring began at late-9 and ended when I left to live with my father. While home a few years ago - I was 42 at the time - my step-father tried to sleep with me with my mother downstairs. Story switch - my 17 year old son had his phone confiscated because a 14 year old girl in his class sent him sexy selfies and, with her permission, he shared. Story switch - my ex-brother-in-law (who will always be MY brother, regardless of blood or law) plead guilty to 1 count of lewd act with a minor.

I called my bro-in-law yesterday to tell him... that I love him. That I am proud of him. That I *respect* him, again. If my step-father, just once, had looked at me and said - I am sorry. I know this is wrong. I don't *want* to hurt you (I was never beaten, I mean emotionally). I can't stop myself. Help me.... I would have walked to the ends of the earth to try and help. What my brother-in-law is doing by sparing his former step-daughter court, going to counseling AND a psychiatrist to get help.... for most, this can't just be "turned off." This is a mental illness and will continue to be behind closed doors and not get better until American society can figure out a way to support the mentally ill without blaming them for their illness. At the same time, I understand *some* of the posts here. A porn addiction and a child porn addiction are two different things. It's not my place to suggest that you don't think "child porn addiction" while writing "porn addiction," though. That is for you to decide.

I can't even imagine. If it were me in these men's shoes... how would I do that? Who would I go to and say - I have these thoughts and feelings and I KNOW they are wrong, but I can't stop them. And I do not believe in evil people - at their core. I believe everyone is inherently good (a Buddhist teaching) and it is our biology and environment that shape up into what we experience and display to others and think of ourselves. I wanted to write and commend you for doing the best you can and trying to be the best person you can. And to commend your husband for "taking his medicine," so to speak and fighting to overcome his illness. "Even the least of my children..." Even the least.

Marie said...

Stacy, I always read through to the end and I never expect someone to agree with everything I've said. :-)

Thank you for your comment and for reading my blog...and for recognizing what my husband has done and is doing to change.

Stacy Kowtko said...

I guess I was speaking more to people who... vehemently disagree with what you post. This is so very brave, what you are doing - not just walking this path with him, but... putting your experience out there for families of convicted people... So, thank you - for all of the above.

Lori Merriam said...

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I want to clarify definitions people are using. Pedophilia is the thought of having sex with children, being preferred as a sexual partner. There is no action to it, just a thought. By law, a child in our society is up to the age of 18 years old federally. Now each state has different laws stating the legal age of consent which some are much younger than 18 years of age. Many states will not prosecute a male under 18 yrs who's dating someone a year or more younger than them until they hit 18 years old. Once they turn 18 many are being prosecuted for dating a minor. Just more money for the state. Now, molestation is the action of having sex or sexual contact with a minor, though anyone of any age can molest any one of any age. Those of you who used to be like me, on the band wagon of believing what other's say about meanings, beliefs and definitions, please do your research before continuing to spread more misinformation about things you're very passionate about, as we all are about these types of situations. Find out the true definitions of what you are speaking.