Oprah Interviews Child Molesters

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

I am not an Oprah fan but I found her candid interview with four child molesters informing. (My friend Samira mentioned it on FB.)  Possibly parents, grandparents, caretakers, teachers and coaches can learn something from what the convicts had to say.

Since you likely do not have two hours to watch the interview (which gets boring and sensational in some places), I took notes to pass along.  However, if you would like to see it in its entirety, my news station has posted it on the website:  Just click here.

Offender 1 molested a five year old girl when he was in his 60s.  He said he was very close to her and she even called him "grandpa."  He helped her with her homework and spent more time with her than he did with the adults when they were around.  He says he did a lot of "babysitting" for the parents and since his wife had severe Cancer, she wasn't always around.  He finally got caught when the mother walked in just after he performed oral sex on the victim.  After he got out of prison, he molested a seven year old girl who lived in his neighborhood.  He invited her into his RV one afternoon to play his computer.  She was fond of the Disney computer game and that was the hook.  Offender 1 says he thought he was just bringing pleasure to the victim.

TAKEAWAY:  With the five year old, the man was spending more time alone with the little girl than with the adults.  That is a warning sign.  Victims are molested by people they know 90% of the time.  The second victim was out roaming a neighborhood alone and felt comfortable enough to be lured into a stranger's RV. 

Offender 2 molested his own daughter.  He says he began fantasizing about her when she turned 12.  He was estranged from her mother and she would come to stay with him because of shared custody.  He had her sleep in his bedroom and while she was "asleep" he would molest her.  His daughter told her mother what was happening and the Offender convinced the mother she was lying.  She asked him to stop but he repeated the abuse over 2 months.  He admits he looked at pornography every day, several times a day since his teenage years and thought it was perfectly normal.  Offender 2 says he thought what he was doing to his daughter made her feel good.

TAKEAWAY:  The mom did not believe the daughter when she reported the abuse.  Why not?  The daughter was made to stay with the father and abused on a higher level for another two months.   This offender says he never understood sexual addiction and thought his repeated masterbation to "barely legal" pornography was normal.  Perhaps, culturally, pornography shouldn't be something we make light of and joke about.

Offender 3 molested a younger family member for 12 years.  He says he started abusing her when she was five and he was eight.  He saw her naked when she was five and began a game called "playing doctor" with her.  That progressed to him raping her when she was 11 and he was 14.  He was able to control and manipulate the little girl, he says, because no one paid attention to her and he was the only one she had.  When she would try to get away from the abuse, he would ignore her and withdraw attention which would draw her back in and she would allow him to abuse her.  He says she never consented.  Once her mother walked into the bedroom when the offender was getting out of bed from molesting her.  He explained they were playing but the little girl told the truth.  The mother confronted him the next day and he lied his way out of it.  Nothing really happened.  The abuse continued for years after that.  Offender 3 said, "I was able to molest my victim because she was severely neglected."

TAKEAWAY:  If parents, teachers, caretakers, aunts and uncles do not pay attention to their children, someone else will.  Children thrive on attention and if they cannot get positive attention, they'll settle for negative attention.  Did anyone notice that this little girl was withdrawn, upset, scared?  Why didn't the mother push to protect her daughter?  Why didn't she believe her daughter when she told on the offender?  She could have prevented the rape and the abuse that went on for another 6 years.

Offender 4 raped three victims.  His first victims were 17 and 16.  After he got out of prison for the first two rapes, he raped a 15 year old.  He says his victims were "Just angry.  They were angry with their parents."  He was able to manipulate them because of their vulnerability.  The 16 year old he raped was a runaway.  This guy didn't seem very bright at all...none of the offenders did. 

TAKEAWAY:  Offender 4 says he was able to convince his first vicitm to go down to the river with him where he could rape her without anyone overhearing them.  His victims trusted him and he took advantage of that. 

OVERALL TAKEAWAY:   I was shocked to see the sense of entitlement these men seemed to have.  Most molestations began after elaborate fantasies.  At a certain point, the men just decided they had to have the victim.  They knew they could control the victim and they did.  Simple as that.  Oprah asked why some got to the point where they thought it was okay to abuse.  None of them even thought about the abuse as being "wrong" they just didn't care about anything other than the payoff. 

Ours is still a male-dominated culture.  Some men are raised (possibly inadvertently these days) to believe they are powerful and can/should control women.  The churches I went to preached that often, "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:23-24  Boys raised in families where women and girls are regarded as objects or secondary within the family circle believe they have power.  Clearly not everyone that grows up this way will be an abuser but sexism is also hurtful to the progress of our society.

Many of the offenders said they thought they were pleasuring their victims.  How could they EVER have gotten that idea?  Possibly because our culture propagates that men are sexual beings, gods and desirable by all women. When in reality, the men Oprah talked to were ugly, selfish and sick. 

Why not peacefully protest sexist television shows, sexist jokes, sexist fundamentalist religion and sexist politics?  It's okay to not laugh when someone tells a joke about pornography.  It's okay to delete emails that make you feel small.  How about taking it one step further by being honest when something offends you?

The men Oprah interviewed had jobs, families and were professional charmers.  In most cases no one noticed anything was going on until the men were caught in the act.

**A gripe:  Oprah said over and over and over, "Well, if you're a good molester the act might feel good to the victim, what about then?  Is that still wrong?"  I found that to be horribly offensive.  The victims did not consent to the act.  They were forced against their will to endure something unsolicited.  There is no such thing as a "good molester."

This is another resource from Oprah's website entitled "Traits of a Sex Offender:"  http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Traits-of-a-Sex-Offender


Ted Stryk said...

I think your point is right on target when it comes to, say, those who abuse a teenager. But when it comes to a five year old, I think it requires something much more sinister and sick, and, dare I say, evil, in a way that goes beyond culture.

Denae said...

Ted - so true! The "grandpa" said he was molested as a child as well. The cycle continues...

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Oprah was repeatedly molested as a child and even became pregnant by the perpetrator. She has said before that having a miscarriage was the greatest gift God has ever given her.
I wonder if the "enjoy" comment has to do with her own perspective...I believe she was 13 or 14 at the time. Really weird, none the less, but she has a perspective I don't.


Denae said...

Oprah did disclose she was sexually abused during the interview so perhaps that was more of a personal question...as you said...from her perspective of abuse.