Hello, hello —
I have a question for YOU today.
If you could ask a sex offender a question — any question — what would you ask them?
I have had the privilege of interviewing an experienced sex offender therapist.
I asked this person all kinds of questions, and I wanted to also get some good ideas from you all. I won’t be speaking with any sex offenders directly — just with a mental health professional who has years of experience working to promote healing and accountability in the offender population.
So…. what would you like to know? What questions come to your mind?
What would you need to hear in order to feel more at peace, and more resolution, and more healing from the trauma you experienced?
Your thoughts and comments are welcome.
WATCH THIS SPACE: A VIDEO of this interview will be available soon.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
I wonder if my abusers ever considered me–what their sexual abuse would do to me as a human being.
I was sexually abused by nine people in a 14-year period, from age 4 to 18. My life has been so hard; I’ve attempted suicide several times over the last decade. Two of those attempts landed me in ICU in a coma.
They were both near fatal attempts. I thought I had DID a few times over the years, but it wasn’t until 2022 that I was diagnosed. I’m 56 now. I have spent most of my life dealing with severe depression, severe anxiety, CPTSD, chronic suicidality, dissociation, and chronic pain. Those abusers ruined my life, especially when the abuse came from my parents and their friends. When I left home the day after graduation from HS, I prayed that would be the end of it, but it wasn’t. I had been trained and groomed to be a quiet, pleasing target.
So many broken people…
One of my abusers was diagnosed as a psychopathic narcissist. I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams ever wanting to ask him anything or get close enough to let his shadow cross my path. After I left he followed me for almost two decades trying to destroy me financially, mentally, spiritually, socially.
I have no questions for such a one as that. No questions at all.
Other abusers? I have no questions for them either. I hope they find healing so they are not soul-tortured and so they do not break anyone else. I just don’t care to know why they did what they did or what they were thinking. It would not help me heal. And I don’t really know if they care one way or another. Maybe if someone really DID care and want to heal I would feel differently. My abusers could not have cared less. In one instance it took me several years to plot my escape. I have no desire to crawl inside that person’s mind.
Wren, who dared to fly away.
I agree Wren.
I have absolutely nothing to say to abusers. Any abuser.
When your life, your personality, your identity, has been shattered, intentionally, by those more powerful who are only gratifying their own needs through the use of a child’s mind and body, there is absolutely nothing left to say.
No words can justify or excuse or fix the harm that was done. No amount of understanding their perspective will heal my dissociation or integrate my parts.
I have spent years of my life trying to piece my *self* together because of the damage done to me.
I have absolutely no desire to give any abuser more of my time, energy, or emotional and mental focus. They have taken enough from me. They deserve nothing more from me.
I’d First ask.. Were you once a victim yourself?
Hi. This is my first post. My therapist and I have read many articles but I have never posted.
I would want to know from the offenders that were themselves abused as children, when they first began thinking of offending. Were they devastated by the thought? Did they know how much harm they could cause? If so, was it just time that allowed them to acclimate and push further towards more and more offensive things until they needed an actual live victim? I don’t typically feel angry or view perpetrators as evil. It often feels like it’ would be healthier to feel irate. But, I tend to feel more curiosity, pity, sorrow.
I am not entirely convinced that sex offenders have been sexually abused as they frequently claim. I can’t help but question that they use this excuse simply to try and justify what they know is wrong. I personally knew someone who I later discovered was a paedophile. He initially told me that he had been raped at school. At that point I had no reason to disbelieve him. Later on he told me that he had been sexually assaulted by his mum and a cousin. At this point I started to become sceptical about his story. Then shortly before I ended our acquaintance, he told me and another friend at his birthday party that he was raped at school, ‘but I don’t go bragging about it,’ in his words. The story didn’t add up. Little did we know that he was due up in crown court all this time for his illicit offences.
Beth Kalfa says
I would like to ask my abuser, who was my spouse at the time, at what point did I become seen as your property and not your partner?
Do you remember what you did to me, do you ever think about it? Does it haunt you as it does me? What pleasure did you get out of causing so much physical and emotional harm to me?
Jennifer Erickson says
I guess my biggest question would be do you realize how bad you are hurting your victim? If you didn’t realize the impact of damage do you feel guilty now? Are you trying to make yourself a better person?
What makes you choose someone to abuse? Why is one person a target but not another.
What would have made you stop?
Do you care that you have destroyed so much of a person: of their life? Does anything matter to you but what you want?
thank you, Kathy. we’re trying. like a lot of the other people who were saying that they would like your forum to open again, i think we would benefit from that too. we’ve been with my therapist for about 10 years and never told her about all of us. in october, we finally did and it has been chaos inside ever since. she specializes in DID and she said she suspected it the whole time but didn’t want to be pushy about it because it would have been detrimental. she did bring it up sometimes, but we would deny it because it’s scary and i don’t think anybody else in my life would’ve supported the diagnosis. it seems weird to feel so lost and alone when there are so many people inside with me. anyway, you don’t have to post this on this blog question. i just wanted to say thank you for the kind words.
i know it’s over already, but i woulda asked if they thought the tears in my eyes and the pain in my voice meant that i liked it.
Kathy Broady says
Thank you for your comment, discarded. It’s not too late. And it’s important to voice seriously painful things like what you said.
I will be in ongoing contact with the above mentioned counselor, and there will likely be several more interviews yet to come.
I appreciate your participation here at this blog. Please keep reading.
And I wish you the comfort in your healing journey.
Thanks for doing this, look forward to hearing the answers to the many questions we all have.
1. What type of children do they look for?
2. Do they ever feel shame or guilt afterwards?
3. Were they sexually abused as children?
4. If they are married, does the spouse know? If so, why don’t they tell?
My question would be
Were you abused too? Is that why you are abusing others now?
Are you ashamed of your crimes? Or do you feel guilty?
Kathy Broady says
These are all excellent questions — thank you!!
I had a very interesting experience speaking with this mental health counselor.
I will be saying more about it soon.
Oh! And there will definitely be more interviews ahead, so please do keep posting your thoughts and comments on this topic.
Glad your interview went well. Thanks for speaking for us.
My question would be:
What would have stopped you from offending?
Jennifer Woody says
Is there a section where a person can ask you to discuss certain issues.or maybe get your feedback if by chance you dont discuss requested topics. Thanks.
Did it make you feel big and powerful? You are nothing!
I would ask what an offender most needed to learn so s/he wouldn’t re-offend. My brother is a sex offender but still makes many inappropriate comments. It tells me that he still has the “mindset” but recognizes the legal consequences of his actions if not the harm it does to the victim. What would most help him have that empathy and make sure he wouldn’t offend again?
I’m a convicted sex offender. My victim was my best friend’s 10 year old son, not to mention my godson. Several things came into play in my situation. I’d been molested myself at age 9 – an experience I don’t remember being negative. I am also gay. Because I was so ultra shy, I was scared to go out and explore the Gay lifestyle. I chose my godson because we were “buddies” and because with him, I didn’t suffer the anxiety I felt in the adult world, and because i didn’t feel like I had to prove myself to him. I also thought that because he willingly accepted the advances I was making, that he was capable of making a decision he was comfortable with. Wrong. Little did I know, a child that age is absolutely incapable of processing anything sexual beyond the pure physical sensation.
If you hate, please stop. It has the effect of causing those of us on a sincere and genuine path to understanding wonder why we bother.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Wow, DJ. That just took a lot of courage, and thank you for posting that.
I truly do hope you continue to work a genuine path for your own healing, for your own growth, and for finding and making positive healthy changes in your life.
YOUR changes makes the world a safer place too. Well done.
Thank you for sharing.
Shelley Jones says
hello DJ, i’m a social work student and i am having to do a paper over a population that i would be least comfortable working with. I have chosen sex offenders for personal reasons and would like to know if you would share some information with me so i will be able to work clients of this nature in a respectful and effective manner. I hop i am not out of place with this request and that it doesn’t offend anyone thanks
For me, it would have to be, “what hurt you first?”
Followed by “do you think about the peripheral people you have hurt? The future partners, future children, future men walking behind her that she doesn’t trust… do you realise just how far reaching abuse goes?”
Why did they steal my childhood, my adulthood, my life and my womanhood
How do they know how to pick their victims? What type of traits do they look for? We have always felt we must have had something tattooed on our forehead saying pick me……How do they know that you/child will keep the secret even with the threats?
Do they ever feel remorse or guilt after? We don’t understand why if they were hurt as children themselves, why they would even consider doing that to someone else? What makes them start?
Marianne Shalkowsky says
Hello, I’ve told my story to men who cruise the streets looking for sex from prostitutes.
Because I’ve been there enslaved by a pimp in prostitutiion when I was a teenager and adult.
And I spoke at,” John School”, about the devastating effects of sexual and physical abuse from the men.
How I was sexually abused as s child, youth and adult by my family and strangers.
How I escaped,how I became a criminal, an addict etc…
And how I’m a human being deserving of respect and how their behaviour hurt me mentally, physically and spiritually.
And left me with life long illnesses of which I’ll be on medication for.
I spoke about sex addiction and how the 12 step program of A.A and how Sex Addicts can get help.
I also told them there is hope and recovery.
I’m a recovering alcoholic, drug , relationship and sex addict.
Loving yourself comes first.
I’d like to call them every name in the book/ and stab them to death for how badly I hurt.
And ask them why me, why did you do it, what were you thinking, don’t you know sexual abuse caused my D.I.D?
But I have to remain composed and go through with my hour long speech .
There is good and evil are around us.
Which side did you choose?
Wy you dint jus let me di rit then the frist tim
Bless your heart. So sorry for your pain. Thinking of you.
1 Do you see your victim as a person? Or do you imagine she’s something else–object, animal, somehow less-than?
2 How did you convince yourself that your desires took precedence over my sense of self and safety?
–this is such a hard topic. Some of us feel compassion for offenders, who obviously have a skewed sense of their place in the world, and who must carry so much confusion and pain. But others of us can’t bear the thought of hearing any of the poison coming from their mouths, and hate the culture of violence and ownership that allows offenders to keep offending as long as they aren’t caught. And we hate how those of us who are victims bear so much of the burden of shame, fear, pain–and mental illness.
What was your/their level of awareness about the impact of their actions? (Is all of this suffering intentional?)
Were you/they continuing on the cycle of abuse? (were they hurt themselves?)
Is the subsequent denial of their actions conscious or intentional, generally speaking?
La Quemada says
My theory about the men who have violated me at various stages of my life is that they think what they are doing does no real harm, it’s no big deal, and that they would be surprised to know how much anguish they have caused me over decades. I would be interested to know from the therapist whether she thinks this accurately describes the type of abuser who is not necessarily sadistic but who pushes sexual experiences on very young girls.
Shamanic High Priestess of Women's Sacred Mysteries says
Hi Cathy, my question is are there any characteristics, behaviors or prevailing attitudes of sex offenders?
Also, I’m curious about mental illness, is it common for sex offenders to have either an undiagnosed mental illness or a diagnosis of mentail illness? Is it mandatory for sex offenders to be screened once a crime has been committed?
Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions
That was meant to say a semi-normal life
Oooops. And do the know that I’m an awesome warrior for still being alive and having a seminar male life even though I have to fight a battle everyday because of what they did to me?
Hannah C. Rosenblatt says
It depens on what the person have done.
Some we’d like to ask, if they could see later after the act, that there would be an other way to get, what they wanted and some we’d like to ask, how long the time was between the idea of doing what they made them a “sex offender” (btw: really is that the right for it? don’t think its about “sex”) and really doing it. The last group we’d like to ask, if there would be an option to talk about those ideas and plans, to not do it, if they were able to take them. (If not: what could have been helpful?)
best wishes for that interview 🙂
What the fuck are they thinking? Do they have any idea of what that sexual abuse did to me?
Roxanne Holmes says
My name is Roxanne Holmes
My question to a sex offender would be :
2- what makes you think you have the right to abuse another?
3- do you realise the damage you are causing?
Author “Roxanne my extraordinary life ”
Sent from my iPhone
Ms Tiger Holmes
Thank you for getting back to me. I’ve been advocating for the incarcerated mentally ill for 15 years and receive a lot of letters. I’ve had the tremendous challenge of responding to convicted sex offenders of all types. I’m not shy with them. I reveal my DID. Then, I gradually engage in a conversation about their crime. I ask them why they did it and tell them the devastation they’ve caused. I guess I do this in a way that doesn’t cause them to run because I’ve written some of them for years. Believe it or not, several are multiples. I have been cursed and hated even by prominent prisoner activists for my willingness to help a sex offender (especially pedophiles). Two of the prisoners I had advocated for killed themselves in prison last year. Because I was able to befriend them despite their crime, their suicides devastated me.
I’d like to respond to your question. But, I feel my comment might upset others. If you could, please let me know if my answer to you would be screened before being openly published here.
Kathy Broady says
Very pleased to hear your thoughts!
And yes, Erika, all comments are screened first, all the time, all posts. This is a particularly spicy topic, so other than keeping graphic details to a minimum, I’m guessing that lots of folks will relate to most any question you put out there….
Keep the questions coming……