What are child abusers like to the outside world?
I posted a poll on Twitter. I asked the question:
A total of 84.2% said that their abuser(s) were either a "normal person" or "very friendly and kind."
The sample of 435 Twitter users is large enough to be able to draw a clear conclusion from.
What is glaringly obvious here is that child abusers overwhelmingly are described as being lovely, caring and kind people. They walk among us. They are your friends, your neighbours, maybe even your partner. Unfortunately we tend to judge others by our own standards, and what we present. 'What you see is what you get.'
Yes, that lovely, helpful friend of yours could be a child abuser. He could even be raping his/her own children behind closed doors. Think of Fred and Rose West.
Here are some of the comments that survivors left on the poll. They all gave me their consent to use:
“My abuser was the text book can’t do enough for others kind to others everyone believed him coz he’s “lovely” to them sort”
“The man who attempted to abuse me was my neighbor, married with a baby, attended church and was a deacon. He looked normal to those who were acquainted with him.”
“Mine has recently been made a member of parliament in a different country. I can't stand it. He is a business man, a celebrity and a very loved son, brother, father. Father to my nieces and nephews and I could never tell them the truth about their father.”
“I was abused between 3 and 4 years old and I removed his face but he was either a relative or someone my family trusted.”
“My ex was in a frontline profession yet had a similar empathy 'deficiency'.
… most women took the charming act for his true nature, but then they're more likely to have children with them, aren't they?”
“She was the local babysitter. I believe she was blackmailing others. I was 5.”
“I was 3 years old. It was my female baby sitter. I’m a male btw.”
“There were too many abusers in my life to choose a category, men and women.”
“They are the masters of illusion to the rest of the world.”
“He was the life and soul of the party, mr funny, mr generous and mr popular... a Jackle and Hyde when the front door was closed.”
“The sterotype never matches reality.”
(Ted Bundy: Prior to being convicted for killing and raping countless young women and children, "he had no criminal record and even worked for a suicide prevention hotline";
"One of his ex-girlfriends, even told officers he was the one responsible but police refused to believe someone like him could be behind the disappearances")