Saturday, February 23, 2013

once again: if it weren't your husband...

Upon hearing about a man convicted on child pornography charges, many women declare that if it were their husband, they know exactly what they would do. They would turn him in themselves, they would hold him at gunpoint, they would hate him forever, they would kick him out of the house, they would damage or remove his testicles, they would abandon him without thinking twice, they would never let him see the children again. He would be so gone.

Perhaps these women know themselves very well and this is exactly what they would do. I will take them at their sometimes bloodthirsty word. 

My favorites, though, are the ones who say they are glad they will never have to worry about their husbands looking at child porn. They are just that sure. For their sake, I hope they are right. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, not even those who think CPS should come take my kids because I didn't leave my husband. 

Those of us who have husbands in trouble for child pornography, well, we were caught off guard. We didn't have time to concoct elaborate plans. And if we had elaborate plans for such an unthinkable day, the unthinkable day trashed our plans. Seeing our husbands in trouble, seeing our husbands facing the worst trouble imaginable--facing unimaginable trouble!--we reacted as if these men truly were our husbands. These were the men we promised to love and cherish. How could we abandon them? These are the men we do love and cherish.

How could we tell our children that the father they love--the father who taught them to ride a bike, who takes them fishing, who reads bedtime stories, who knows how to explain math, who never once touched them inappropriately--is just so much mud to be wiped off their shoes?

Here's the thing: It isn't always your husband who gets caught

What if your brother were going to prison? Would you abandon him? What about your father? Love isn't a garden hose. You cannot simply turn a spigot and stop the love.

What if it were your son? Could you leave your son to deal with the justice system on his own?

It isn't always the husband. Life is funny that way.

29 comments:

willow said...

We all are human. None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes, some small, some huge, intentional or unintentional. Some get caught and many don't. I am one of those people, just like the rest of you, who isn't perfect. I made an unintentional mistake, got caught, and will pay a huge price. My family, friends and everyone who knows me, all love and care about me, and all have stood right by me. This doesn't mean they think what I did was right, or somehow ok. It just means they care about me no matter what. No matter how "human" I am and what mistakes I make. They want to be there to help me through the horrible situation I have created. And knowing that people still care about me helps me survive, and hopefully get through it and be a better person afterwards. For all you people out there who's attitude is just throw away someone who isn't perfect, think about it. It could be your loved one, your close friend, your dad, son, brother, or anyone you might care about. No matter what they did they are still the same person and they still need you. If you are so quick to just throw them aside then you must have not cared much about them to begin with. Just remember, the next time you judge someone else for standing by their loved one who isn't perfect, you could be the next person it happens to.

DL said...

"I made an unintentional mistake" is a really different thing from "I repeatedly downloaded pictures of children in horrific, abusive situations so that I could experience sexual pleasure.

"No matter what they did they are still the same person" - yes exactly. The person Marie describes in this blog is a man who chose to put his family at great risk by actively seeking out, downloading and using child pornography, which is not only absolutely and unquestionably illegal but morally reprehensible.

That she continues to defend his actions as being different from actually raping a child just shows that she does not get it in the slightest. I was raped, and photographed as a child. The rape was undoubtably worse in some ways, but the idea that there are a whole bunch of people out there that find it erotic and continue to violate my privacy and dignity by using a terrible experience to get pleasure is terrible. The women who support all those men, who fail to protect their children are culpable as well.

Did Marie think her husband was capable of getting arrested for child pornography possession? Probably not. _Now that she knows_ THAT is the person he is AS WELL does she protect her kids? The other kids in her community who may have appeared in those pictures? Does she give her sons and daughters the message that seeking out pictures of kids in horrible situations to get off on is wrong enough that YOU LOSE the right to be treated AS IF you were someone who DIDN'T do that? No. She blames law enforcement and everyone else, stating that child pornography is not assault.

Well no, it's not, that's why he was prosecuted the way that he was.

I really don't get the argument that people we know and love should be treated differently when they commit crimes. Would I love my son if he were to commit such a terrible crime? Yes, but I would not like him or feel the same way about him. I would expect him to serve his time. I would expect my daughter-in-law to prevent him from seeing his children without supervision. I would expect her to divorce him and not have to have custody. I would expect her to put the kids first.

m515 said...

I want you to think for one second, if your children's pictures had been found on another man's computer. I am sure you would be unspeakably horrified (or at least I hope you would) and would not hope that a wife "stand by her man" in that case. This is delusional behavior.

And for the record: if my brother, father, best friend, etc. got caught with child porn...there isn't a chance in heck I'd stand by them. Something like this isn't an accident. It's someone who made a conscious decision over and over again to do something disgusting, morally incomprehensible and illegal. Some things are not forgivable.

m515 said...

Defending a person (husband or not) who looks at child porn (repeatedly and purposefully) is incomprehensible to me. I'd like you to put your children in the same situation. Would you be ok with a grown man looking at pictures of your children? I hardly doubt it. Would you want a wife to "stand by her man" in that situation? I doubt it. You need to remember that by looking at those pictures; your husband violated the innocence of a child. Someone's son, daughter, etc. It's a terrible terrible thing. While your life certainly is difficult now...you are not a victim. Those children are the victims. It's sad and horrifying.

And to your statement; I would 100% NOT stand by someone who was in this situation. I don't care if it was my brother, father, best friend, etc. Some things are just to illegal, disgusting, and morally reprehensible to defend.

Jen said...

I am genuinely curious if you think you would have a different take on the laws regarding child pornography and whether it is harmful if your children were victims? Or do you think you would still feel the way you do now?

Mel said...

Is there a reason you haven't shared the details of his conviction? I understand that you had to keep it to yourself during the investigation and the trial/hearing, but now that the legal action has taken place, you could share. My question is, honestly, fueled partly by curiosity because of all the flak you're getting (and your hardcore stance on the issue.) But I also think if you shared the story, with the details, in an open way, you may get more support. I think many people are pushing back because you have kept so much of this to yourself and therefore people cannot get past the fact that you're protecting someone convicted of owning CP. We both know CP comes in many forms and perhaps sharing more details would help the situation.

cpalmisanodillard said...

You know I'm trying to keep an open mind while reading this as I've never been in your shoes, but I cannot imagine putting my kids or any other kids in danger when my husband has exhibited abusive behavior. And yes, viewing children placed in sexual situations is abuse.

How are you justifying this? I'm not saying you should stop loving him, but do you not see what he did as even a little bit wrong? Is there not even a little fear that he may have done something inappropriate with your kids or their friends?

lucrezaborgia said...

He tripped, fell, and landed into a CP file...could happen to anyone! *rolls eyes*

canyonwren44 said...

This. Exactly. If it was your children in those photos, you would be HORRIFIED. The children in those photos are victims of the most disgusting abuse, made for the "pleasure" of sick fucks like your husband. I *do* judge you for staying married to this person, and you know what? One day your children will too.

BB said...

I feel for you, and someone very close to me is serving time as well for something awful. People go to prison for all kinds of reasons, every day, and yes it is heartbreaking. They're somebody's son and somebody's brother.

The difference to me is that my relative (1) was sorry and (2) admitted it was wrong and (3) got help. All three are important, but I knew that and until that third part, I couldn't risk having him around my kids. I had to be their mother first.

If he isn't sorry and (and you apparently also) doesn't think it's wrong, I don't know how healing can happen. It might just be too early in the process, and after all the trauma of the court process is over, maybe you can be more rational about it. I know, I know, we do time as well when they serve time, it's horrible, and I wish you all the best. I just hope you keep those kids top priority, even when decisions are hard.

Wanderlust said...

Wow, DL. I love you and I love your comment. So brilliantly articulated and just spot-on. I'm tremendously sorry for what you endured as a child, but commend you for your level head and strong voice. xx

Liz Jones said...

Are you for real? Or is your blog an attention seeking joke? You are just as disgusting and pathetic as your husband. And I don't name call lightly. Too bad the authorities left "fear" at your house. Your husband is scary, but you're even more so because you defend him with your young children in the other room. What would I do if it were my husband, brother, father? Be sad, mad, horrified and destroyed......while kicking them out of my life. PERIOD. And yes, I know this as fact.

Marie said...

BB, instead of taking someone's word that "OMG, she doesn't see anything wrong with CP!", how about if you look around my blog and see what I really am saying? My husband 1) was sorry, 2) admitted it, and 3) got help. He would have gotten help earlier if he could have done it without getting turned in.

And as for how I feel about child porn, perhaps you can quote me where I said there isn't anything wrong with it...because I don't remember where I ever said that.

I am sorry that you are in the middle of or on the edges of a mess like mine. Do you also have strangers telling you how wrong you are to love your family member? Do they tell you that your family member is probably going to rape your children? And do they say that in a tone that means they almost hope it happens because that's how you need to learn your lesson?

missy said...

The Feds do not appear to be in the business of going after people 'looking' at child porn (which is not ok on any level - think if it was your kid being exploited how you would feel), but go after those who 'own, trade, and produce' child porn. It's called Operation Sunflower.

Vickie Kramer said...

I don't think any of us "know this as a fact" until it happens. Why are we so quick to judge someone else's addiction? I read anger, disgust, and judgement and yet, we are only reading an account of one families nightmare. My husband has made some big mistakes in his life, but so have I. Should I ditch him and re-group? Do you know so much about this subject and how you would react that you are sure you are right? Or is it possible that you have more to learn about yourself...

Kristen said...

This is where humans fall short of God's example of grace. Love one another as God loves you, forgive one another as God forgives you. What a load to bear. God's peace and love be with you and your family.

Marie said...

Thank you, Kristen. This rough road teaches us much about forgiveness and God's love, making the pain worthwhile. God bless you and yours, as well.

Cristina Stefanescu said...

I love, love, love your blog :) And not only because the topics. But because of the vehement reactions every one of your words seems to cause. I always wondered how much time people have on their hands. It is funny that out of ALL the blogs in this world they come here to bash. Why? What attracted them here to begin with? What is their connection to your life or that of a SO? Is there anything other than the latest hype? How do they KNOW how they would react when they would have to walk in your shoes (yes, or mine for that matter). Guess what? They don;t. Truth be told, I did not surf the internet looking for SO wives to bash before my husband was charged as a SO. But I did had my "clear" opinions about THEM. The low of the lows. The ones that I was wondering what was wrong with. Things like these don't happen to normal people... And, in his infinite wisdom, God proved me wrong. On all counts. It did happen to me. It did happen under my very own eyes. My husband is not a low life. And yes, I do stick by him. Because people are not perfect. People do make mistakes. That they admit. And correct. And change. And learn. And EARN forgiveness. And one day, come back home to a loving family that awaits them. As for you, the bashing crowd... I pray you don't learn the same lesson. God Bless.
And Marie... hang in there. Life is good <3

Cristina Stefanescu said...

Oh, forgot one little detail. Anyone care to seek the definition of "child pornography"? We are not necessarily talking 6 yo babies here, you understand that, right? Anything under the age of 18 that means... just saying.

Jen said...

@Cristina So in your opinion it's ok to spread these photos of teenagers? They are also children and need protection.

Marie said...

What an odd conclusion to draw from Cristina's comments! She points out that the definition of child porn covers a large age range and you think that means she's okay with spreading pictures of teens? Child porn DOES cover a large age range. Surely you see a difference between someone recording the sexual abuse of a toddler and a teenager recording him or herself? Why is it so hard to acknowledge that some images are not as shocking or as violent as others? People hear the words "child porn" and immediately think of the most lurid images they can imagine. Maybe I should turn the tables and ask why people get such grim satisfaction imagining the worst of the images?

Jen said...

Marie, I was not trying to be confrontational, really. I read Cristina's last comment as saying that it's less serious for teenagers to be in that situation.

I can't answer for everyone, but I can tell you that the reason I picture the worst images is because in the missing and exploited children's field when we use the term "child porn" that is what we mean. Frankly, to me it doesn't much matter whether we're talking child porn or child erotica...whether it is a violent image or one of a child/teen displayed in an erotic way. It is all abuse and horrible for the child who had to have those pictures taken.

I would also like to state (because of comments made by you and others on other posts) that I agree that our justice system is full of problems. I don't agree with certain aspects of the sex offender registry...especially when young men (late teens-early 20s) are put on for sleeping with their 15-17 year old girlfriends for example. It is not fair to ruin their lives when it is obvious that no offense was committed. There are also those falsely accused who's lives are forever ruined. On the other hand, I believe some sentences for child abuse/exploitation are much to short and that more needs to be done to protect children. So many of the victims I've worked with were abused or even murdered by a repeat offender who was let out on parole.

I have never meant to put you on the defensive, Marie, but any replies I've received from you have been defensive sounding. I can't really blame you based on most of the comments you get here. I really have been trying to see things from your side, but it is extremely hard given what I do for a living and what I have seen, just as I'm sure it's hard for you to truly see things from my side based on your own experiences.

BB said...

I remain in a mess as bad or worse than yours, but many, many years later. It will never go away. I agree with you on all kinds of things, mandatory minimums to registration requirements, stuff that I wish I didn't know about. You haven't even gotten to the part where it goes off the rails (parole!!!).

My concern for you is when you post things like all CP is not equal and that my man wasn't looking at that kind of stuff, CP doesn't mean you are a molestor, you don't know what he was looking at, CP isn't even the part that hurts people, it's just a novelty that doesn't mean anything, he'd never touch MY kids. You know, the same stuff I tried to rationalize, like all of us. And then there's, you know, the thoughts you had but couldn't even write out as a mother.

I'm sorry the hateful onlookers are not helpful, I get it, I know. It's a natural stage to be defensive and to work through this in your head. I rationalized all this and more, but without hateful onlookers in a beyond stressful legal process. (Well, my hateful onlookers were all known, at least.) I also never wrote it out like this, so reading it really flashes me back to that place. You often sound like you are in denial, time doesn't seem to have softened that so much. As a mother you can't be part of the denial, long run at least.

Years from now, you will have to make a choice. Take your time. You HAVE to have good counseling, as do your kids. It is not possible to do this alone, I know. If he is in denial, or you are in denial, then you have to be a mother first. I have seen many women choose their man over their kids with logic like yours (and mine), and you have to be a mother first.

GRoberts74 said...

Teenage child-porn is usually self-administered.

Lexie said...

The truth of the matter is that your husband has a sickness and he was convicted and will do his time. Victims of this kind of exploitation their lives are shattered and the effects last a life time. Those who view child pornography are just as sick as the abuser. That isn't just pornography those are photos and videos of sexual abuse. For people to get off on that are obviously sick and to engage in that kind of material is re-victimizing the victim all over again.

One Fine August Day said...

I have quietly read your blog for some time my husband sits in prison due to a child pornography charge as well and I too will forever stand beside him. I am sorry for those who would no longer support there family members who could be charged with such a crime and this is my reason. My husband is serving a 5 year sentence and then will have 10 years supervised release (probation) followed by a lifetime on the registry. Basically both of our lives are ruined and it was due to 1 charge of a video on his computer that both of us were unaware of and it was PROVEN in court the video was NEVER EVEN OPENED. However it is possession. He never even downloaded it or knew it. A "Friend" in Pennsylvania downloaded it and said he did but because my hubby was in possession of it he is doing prison time and considered a sec offender. So by everyone else's standards I should say too bad. Give up on an 18 year long marriage and say hes sick. There are good people who end up making mistakes my husbands mistake....being friends with a jerk.

Danielle said...

"Here's the thing: It isn't always your husband who gets caught.
What if your brother were going to prison? Would you abandon him? What about your father? Love isn't a garden hose. You cannot simply turn a spigot and stop the love."
We discovered earlier this year that a VERY close family member had molested two of our kids when they were younger. This was someone who I loved deeply, and absolutely treasured.
But the second I found out, that switch was turned off completely. Forever. No one hurts my kids like that and gets the privilege of my love and respect ever again.
What I wanted for this person is to face what he did, be held responsible for it according to the law, and get some help. For what it's worth, he confessed to the abuse. He confessed because he thought one of my kids had told. They hadn't. When he realized his "mistake" of confessing, he tried to backpedal and bribe me with money. Lots of it. Like, six figures if I wouldn't tell. Trust me, I did his taxes for years, he had it.
But he was a fucking coward and took his own life just as they were about to arrest him. They asked him to come in for questioning, and instead he hung himself in his bathroom for his wife to find him.
So now my kids were not only molested by someone they loved, they have to deal with his suicide as well.
So, Yes. My love for him- my years of honest to goodness pure love and respect for him? Turned off. Just like that.

Cassie said...

If it were my partner, who knows what he knows about my feelings on any kind of exploitation and rape, I would probably be violently sick on the ground where I stood, then require a trip to the psychiatric ER.

Everything I loved about him would have become fiction by such an admission and, as such, I could no longer love the reality.

Sophie Piper said...

I know this post is really old, but this is the argument i have been having with sooooo many people.
THERE IS NO WAY YOU WOULD KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD DO IN THIS SITUATION UNTIL YOU ARE IN IT!!!
I'm sorry but I am thankful for people like this woman who have the guts to post these types of blogs. She is not alone and her writing is probably help other families dealing with the same thing.
I honestly don't know what I would do in her situation and neither does anyone else.
Seriously people back the fuck off