Dear Margo: Every Problem Does Not Have a Solution

How do you explain that when a criminal is family, you still love them? Margo Howard’s advice

Every Problem Does Not Have a Solution

Dear Margo: Many years ago, I got a call informing me that my son was arrested and being held on $1 million bail. That was when I first learned that he is a pedophile.

He has just completed his 20-year prison sentence, and during that time I learned a great deal about this insidious disease. Everyone hates a pedophile, and they’re unable to separate the person from the crime. As with any crime, when the person who committed the crime is a family member, you still love him or her. Like alcoholism, no one chooses to be a pedophile. Inside prison, it is awful for convicted pedophiles. Inmates hate snitches and pedophiles. If they are not killed in prison, they are beaten up regularly. Inmates “clean the yard” by beating up a sex offender so badly that the person is transferred to another facility.

There is no cure for this illness, nor has a cause been determined. The only way a pedophile can survive is to hide the fact that he is one. Until society finds a cure for pedophilia, we will create more pedophiles each day, only to warehouse the ones we catch in prison. Do you believe there will ever be hope for this particular mental and behavioral illness? — Distraught Dad

Dear Dis: Pedophilia has the “distinction” of being both a disease and a crime. Alas, I don’t see a cure in the future because it is a mental aberration — much more serious, but on the order of pathological lying. The inclination is just there. The recidivism rate for pedophilia is high, even after therapy. When you consider that so many priests have been revealed to be pedophiles — and they are servants of God, no less — that sort of gives you your answer. — Margo, historically

Spilled Milk and All That

Dear Margo: I’m a recent college grad in an uncomfortable situation. I studied abroad during college and made friends with a large group of students from all over the world. During our time together, seven of us became closer than the rest, and before we left, we all made a pact to reunite at one another’s weddings. I usually don’t put too much stock in grand promises like that, but I figured these were all good people and we would at least extend invitations to one another.

It’s been a few years, and two of the people in the group have gotten engaged. I admit we haven’t been in close contact, but we did keep up with milestones in one another’s lives — birthdays, holidays, deaths in the family, etc. Now I find out that one couple is getting married next fall, and they’re inviting everyone from our smaller group except me.

I am hurt, since apparently the pact was made for everyone but me, and I am unsure how to address it. Should I speak to one of our mutual friends about it? I don’t think I could address the bride without making her feel she has to invite me, and the only thing worse than being excluded is being issued a pity invitation. In the good old days, this would have gone undetected, but with Facebook, I see updates about travel plans, engagement photos, etc. Can I still send them a card wishing them well, or would that seem passive-aggressive? — Disappointed

Dear Dis: I guess you could call this a slap in the Facebook. It is thoughtless, if you’re being exclusionary, to go public with all kinds of details. Their bad … or maybe their dumb. For whatever reason, you were not considered to be a real part of the group, though you thought otherwise. You might ask a mutual friend for an opinion about the situation, just to satisfy your curiosity. And by all means send a card. They will feel awful. — Margo, regrettably

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2012 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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129 comments so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  I don’t know what to say.  Your son is a criminal. There were victims. 

    LW#2:  A similar thing happened to me after graduate school.  A group of us were very close friends and I found out that one woman was getting married (this was within a year or so after our graduation and in a town 2 hours from me).  I was not invited although I know it was a big fancy society wedding befitting the debutante she had been.  I guess she just wasn’t that into me.  I seriously considered sending not only a card but a gift and to this day I sort of regret that I did not when I think of it…which I  do about once every 10 years after hearing a story like yours.   Some friendships, like time, just pass away. 

  2. avatar ch says:

    LW#2

    I would guess the group of people on Facebook were just thougtless; how sad for them. Perhaps caught up in all the preparation. I wish it had been different for you.

    Be true to yourself: ONLY send a card if you really mean it, and want to wish the couple joy, no matter how you think they may feel about you. If you truly don’t wish them well, or are too hurt, be true to yourself and just don’t.

    Then, whatever you decide, send loving thoughts to yourself, and move on. 

    Friendships do fade over time. The hurt feelings will to, if you let them.

    I understand how you feel, I was in college when the girl in the room next to me got engaged. The large group of girls in our floor of the dorm wanted to throw her a party, and as I was an art major at the time, they came to me to not only get a money donation for her present (which was an expensive musical instrument), they asked me to do the artwork for the festivities. Of course I did. Big party, decorations, music, presents, a lot of happy celebrating.  Two months later when I got engaged as well, not a word from anyone. I came back from class one day to find someone’s used plastic necklace with a hastily scribbled note that said: “Congratulations” left lying on my bed (it was probably my friend of 11 years that slipped me what she could.) Nobody ever congratulated me, or said anything. It wasn’t that the others weren’t friends;  it was around Christmas and everybody was scrambling to get through multiple concerts, snowy conditions and head home. Yes, it was thoughtless, and it hurt. I wish it had been different.

    Good luck. Do what is right for YOU, and the hurt will ease if you get in touch with your feelings and act from honesty.

    ^_^

    • avatar John Lee says:

      Be true to yourself: ONLY send a card if you really mean it, and want to wish the couple joy, no matter how you think they may feel about you. If you truly don’t wish them well, or are too hurt, be true to yourself and just don’t… Friendships do fade over time.
      Well said!

      I think many of us have also been on the other side, the side where we chose to not invite some old/former friends due to cost, or simply the friendship fading.

      I had a pretty good friend in college who never kept in touch with me after college.  Not a big deal so I didn’t invite him.  Ends up I found out he was pretty mad that he wasn’t invited.  Weird since literally in 10 years since college, I spoke to him once, maybe twice.

      The other situation was a casual friend who happened to be in the same college friend group.  However, because we lived in the same area after college, he and I ended up in occassional get-togethers though I never invited him nor he invited me to anything that didn’t include the entire group.  Anyhow, he felt quite slighted that he didn’t get invited to my wedding (and I declined his wedding invite, but I did send a gift).

      Most couples have limited budgets, someone has to be skipped unfortunately.

  3. avatar G T says:

    “I admit we haven’t been in close contact, but we did keep up with milestones in one another’s lives”
     
    I’m sorta guessing that YOU haven’t been in close contact and that you merely kept up with milestones, but that the other six have made more of an effort to stay close and in contact with each other.  Hence they got invitations and you did not.  They’re still good people, you’re still a good person, but you’re not as close to the bride to be as you once were. 
     
    Now if you had been keeping in close touch all this time, then I’d say something is not cool, or someone offended someone else, etc.

  4. avatar AOT says:

    Dear LW#1 – This has to be one of the most horrible situations a parent can find themselves in. Although there is no way I can “understand”, you have all my sympathy.
    I hope your son can keep himself out of trouble now. I know there are sexual-depressant treatments, sometimes referred to as “chemical castration”. Perhaps this might be a solution. It would destroy his sexual urges, but apart from that he would be able to lead something like a normal life.

    • avatar Grace Malat says:

      The problem with chemical or some other type of castration or something to minimize the sex drive is that the crime is not just about sex. It is also about emotions, and physiology and so much more, sex is just a part of it. And then there’s the problem that props can stand in for what is ‘no longer’ working if you get my drift.
      I’m not sorry to say this but I’m so tired of people making excuses for alcoholics, drug addicts and now pedophiles that it’s an illness and they can’t help it. There may be an underlying illness or propensity for a behavior but a person each of us has choices we make and each of us should be held accountable for those actions. And that’s a huge part of what is going wrong in the US today no one takes responsibility for their actions and behaviors it’s always due to an illness or how they were raised and on and on come the excuses.
      I did not have a happy childhood, don’t have one good memory of growing up, but you know what? I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, I don’t engage in risky behavior I didn’t beat my children who ended up graduating with honors and going off to college and becoming law abiding citizens. My childhood was a horror story and I got through it and so do many others.
      I do also understand that some people who drink and abuse drugs are self medicating and that’s because mental illness has such a bad reputation. In my mind there are two types there are people with brain disorders such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, and others, there are misfiring in their brains and those are brain disorders. These people have no control over their condition, it’s a condition of the brain. Then we have the others psychopaths, sociopaths, pedophiles, cold hearted/blooded killers with no conscience they are mentally ill and no amount of drugs or therapy will cure them or make them productive members of society.
      There are also different types of pedophiles, and some people who have been labled as such actually don’t deserve the label. But studies and research have shown fr the true pedophile by the time he is caught there are at minimum 25 children that he molested, and that the recidivism rate is so high that they can’t be cured and they do need to be locked up somewhere securely where they won’t be hurt by others but also where they can never harm another child. When a child is molested their innocence, their childhood is stolen from them. A part of them dies.
      I’m sorry your family is going through this as it must be quite difficult but already you are making excuses and trying to reason out his behavior, and I realize you’re doing this as a way to cope, But don’t make the mistake that by castrating him or making him take a magic pill will help, it won’t. He’ll need to be in intense therapy for the rest of his life and under constant supervision.

  5. avatar naomi4312 says:

    Margo’s actually not correct about pedophilia being forever incurable. Many psychologists and psychiatrists are beginning to look at pedophilia as a mental illness to see if they can reduce recidivism rates and prevent those who haven’t offended from ever offending. Personally, I have hope that some sort of chemical impulse control or castration will provide a solution someday.
    There are a lot of pedophiles out there, perhaps even more than we know of, considering at least some never harm children. But they do struggle with what they know are immoral desires, and they have nowhere to turn because they are afraid they will be sent to jail instead of getting help. Personally, I would rather these sick people have somewhere to turn instead of struggling with their feelings without help or support. That’s the sort of desperation that can lead someone to eventually act on their desires.
    LW#1 is right to call attention to the fact that, if we want to eliminate pedophilia, we have to start thinking of it as a disease that can be cured. Her son, now that he’s out of jail, will have to work hard every day of his life so that he never acts on the disgusting desires he can’t help having.
    Right now, if you have something like depression or cancer — or even if you’re a pathological liar — there are treatment options that, though not yet 100% successful, can help many people suffering from these conditions get on with their lives in productive ways. But even though there’s no option like that for pedophilia right now doesn’t mean there won’t be in the future (just as treatments for depression, cancer, and pathological lying will continue to improve).

    • avatar Lila says:

      Naomi, I agree that castration should be available to those who voluntarily choose it.  Unfortunately, some human-rights groups consider this barbaric and bring a lot of pressure to prevent it, so it is very controversial and not widely done.  I think their efforts are misplaced – they are preventing men from having this as an effective voluntary option in treating their condition, which keeps them either locked up and beaten up, or out in society struggling with themselves and treated like a pariah by others.

    • avatar bobkat says:

      I believe that pedophilia is actually more a sexual orientation. These unfortunate people are sexually attracted to children. Those who never actually act on their impulses have my respect. What a huge battle they must fight with themselves every day. Those who do molest children I have no sympathy for, because they know it’s wrong and it damages the child(ren) for life.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        I strongly disagree. Sorry but pedophilia is way more complicated than just being a “sexual orientation”. Gay, Straight, Bi and Asexual are sexual orientations. Pedophilia is preying on, controlling and doing damage to the defenseless. Really, really big difference.
         

      • avatar elizabeth says:

        It was my impression that “chemical castration” causes a lack of sexual excitement. A victim can still be penetrated by other objects and can still be placed in a powerless situation by a more powerful predator.
        To LW1: I know you love your child. You will always love your child, even if you cannot help him. You don’t have to like what he is doing, or has done, but you still love him. I hope that he tries every treatment that might have possibility of working, as long as it doesn’t harm his own health. I wish you peace in your own heart.

    • avatar emptysack says:

      As a man who has lost both testicles I can assure you that with testosterone replacement therapy – apart from a few side effects – I am fully functional. The only reminder of being ball-less is my empty sack. 

  6. avatar normadesmond says:

     And by all means send a card. They will feel awful. 

    perfection in an answer. 

    • avatar toni says:

      They’re not going to feel awful. They’re not going to care and will be relieved if they even notice. LW 2 don’t take it so personally.

  7. avatar ann penn says:

    re LW2 – Is it possible you were invited but the invitation never reached you?  Perhaps a mutual friend could ask on your behalf.

    If you were sent an invitation that you did not receive, they could assume it is you ignoring them. 

    • avatar Anais P says:

      This reminds me of a situation a relative was in many years ago. She and her family did not receive an invitation to another relative’s wedding. They were hurt, but hid the hurt. Later, the bride’s family said they HAD invited my relative’s family, but the invitation never arrived. The USPS is not the error-free institution it once was assumed to be many years ago, when this incident happened. So ann penn, I think you are on to something and LW2 should ask someone if there was a problem. If not, she should do as Margo suggests: send a card. They will feel awful. (Bravo, Margo!)

  8. avatar Lila says:

    For Disappointed:  if this is a group of foreign friends from different countries – the exclusion may have arisen from the fact that you are American.  Sadly, Americans have not made themselves the most popular nationality on the globe lately.  It’s possible that the parents or other relatives of the marrying couple told their child that they didn’t want an American guest at the wedding.
     
    When I was in Russia, I was occasionally “interrogated” none too politely at parties, and the tone was generally accusatory: “Why did you bomb Kosovo?” as if I personally had a hand in the decision.  Even my German friends – who had been so supportive after 9/11 – could not understand the decision to invade Iraq, and when the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib stuff came to light, they pretty much stopped talking to me.  If this is how Europeans react, imagine how Middle Easterners and Central Asians must feel.  We really have sparked a good bit of hostility out there. 
     
    For your friend, I’d send a card with good wishes and a neutral phrase like, “Sorry I missed it!” which does not lay blame for the lack of an invitation… although obviously, they know you didn’t get one.

    • avatar KL says:

      Lila — this has to be one of the saddest comments I’ve seen in a while.  I don’t doubt your experience and can totally see that happening, but how sad.  It’s like never talking to a German again if you’re Jewish because of WWII or never talking to someone from certain countries in the middle east because of 9/11.  I just can’t imagine that I’d literally never invite some of my middle eastern friends to my wedding because I disagree with their country’s political choices.  I’d like to think I can separate out the individuals from the country’s policies.  

      Now, if the individuals supported the policies, well, then you might have a greater difference of opinion that would make the friendship unsaveable.  But once again, I disagree with people on political issues all the time and am still able to remain friends.

      If the bridal couple is doing that for the comfort of others (like their families), then at the very least they owe the LW an explanation.  If they’re doing it for themselves because they now no longer consider the LW a friend due to being an American, I’d say good riddance.  The US certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on bigots and closed-minded fools.

      I really hope there is another reason than this — just growing apart that the LW may not have fully appreciated. 

      • avatar Lila says:

        KL, I have seen it go the other way as well.  I know quite a few  Americans right now who think all Muslims are suspect and that Islam is inherently and unavoidably violent.  And my ex-father-in-law was adamant (and loud) that all Germans were “militaristic” – and he wasn’t even old enough to remember WWII!  Must have been indoctrinated by his parents.
         
        For the record, we do still have OTHER German friends who see us as individual friends and not some kind of bad-US-policy figureheads.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Oops.  My brother’s ex-father-in-law.

      • avatar KL says:

        Oh, I don’t doubt it goes both ways. I just find it particularly funny when people are judging others as being too small-minded do similarly small-minded things.  Like I said, the US doesn’t have a monopoly on bigots or small-minded fools.  There are plenty both domestically and abroad!!!

  9. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW2: Alas it apparently it was a Close Circle of Six, not seven in the bride’s view.    
    Being scratched from a list always hurts whether it’s from a kindergarten party, a wedding or a 50th anniversary bash. Rare is the person who escapes the sting of exclusion, so chalk this up as a warm-up for what you’ll encounter at intervals in adult life. What makes it worse (believe me, I know) is the steady grinding of Facebook reminders in the run-up or post-event prattle online. Do send a card, but only after the wedding so it doesn’t look like you’re fishing for a late-breaking bid. Confide, if you like, on your disappointment to one of the circle, if you think it would help your psyche. Also, “hide” the bride (or the entire circle) on FB for a while, and look a their posts only when you’re feeling up to it.   

  10. avatar JCF4612 says:

    LW2: Trailing thought: Could it be that you are not the only circle member not in the wedding loop? Or is it possibly that others know or at least have met the groom and you haven’t?

  11. avatar Briana Baran says:

    A long time ago, over a decade, perhaps, either Abby or Ann Landers featured a letter from a man in his seventies who was a pedophile. He knew this because of the impulses and urges he felt when he viewed small children of either sex, the dreams and waking fantasies he experienced, and his inability to have a normal sexual relationship with either a man or a woman without imaginings that he cold not control. He never touched a child. At family gatherings, he never sat down, so as to never let a child climb into his lap, or allowed himself to be alone with his nieces or nephews, and he sought work that kept him away from children. He didn’t indulge in child pornography. His question to the advice columnist was simple: Would he still go to Hell when he died because of what he was, even after living as a virtual recluse in order to never, even virtually, to cause harm to a child? Her answer was a resounding, “No, you’ve done all you could, you can’t be punished for your thoughts”.
     
    My point is simple: having a mental illness is not an excuse to act on your compulsions, become a monster, victimize the innocent, or cause suffering and pain. The prisons are full of those whose excuse for brutality, violence and atrocities is that they were sexually abused as children…and the world is full of infinitely more people who have lived through horrors some of those inmates can’t even imagine…and who have never lifted a hand against anyone. There is a responsibility that goes with knowing you have an illness, “incurable”, “untreatable” or otherwise…do no harm.
     
    There is no “cure” for BPS, or schizophrenia…but not everyone who has these diseases shoots people, or yields to the voices in their heads…even when untreated. There is no adequate “cure” or “treatment” for pedophilia…does that mean that a person who knows the nature of the inner temptation should yield because of his compulsion (there are female pedophiles too)? Especially since the victims are truly, completely innocent? Molesting, sexually abusing, raping and torturing children is a crime for a reason…anthropologically and sociologically. Pedophiles are essentially defined as persons 16 years of age or older who prey on prepubescent children, usually 13 or younger. The age difference between abuser and victim must be five years or greater to qualify as pedophilia. That’s the psychiatric definition. In reality, hebephilia , is the more accurate, if out-of-date term for those adults who prefer pubescent children (11-15), and ehebophilia refers to adults who prefer older adolescents ( 15-18). In reality, pedophiles prey on infants. Toddlers, Pre-schoolers and kindergartners. I have seen child pornography films on a special that was run years ago on PBS to educate people…to open the eyes…of those who can’t or won’t believe that these things happen. You only have to see those children suffering once to understand that there is no excuse, no reason, and that no quarter can or should be given.
     
    Recidivism in pedophilia is higher than for any other violent crime against another human. Physical castration has been tried…and it is unsuccessful. Chemical castration has a powerful feminizing effect, and while it destroys the libido and may hinder anger, the impulses and fantasies tend to remain, as well as resentment about the feminization and impotence that result. Constant monitoring and therapy are still necessary.
     
    LW1, while I to an extent feel your pain…I have 21 year old son who I have no control over, who has no impulse control, who is living in an environment that nurtures no boundaries or reality checks, and who I believe is a ticking time bomb…and no one can or will tell me a thing because of HIPAA,…or because his father really wants that disability check…your son indulged in his impulses. It must have been something truly terrible to have a one million dollar bond…and I would guess that he victimized multiple innocents to spend 20 years in prison. All too frequently, pedophiles receive very light sentences…do a Google search. it’s loathsome. I’m sorry, I love my sons…but if one of them decided that raping children was just fine, and he went to prison for it and and spent twenty years getting his attitude readjusted by his fellow inmates I would understand. I would not be acting as if he were a poor, sad, sick baby…because he knowingly victimized children in a way that quite probably ruined their lives on many levels….and being mentally ill is no damn excuse. Your son did something abominable…and he knew what he was doing. This was no psychotic break, he isn’t a victim, and I hope, for the sakes of children everywhere, he isn’t a recidivist.
     
    My son bullied other students in his special needs classes. He is high functioning on the autism scale, with behavioral disorders, malignant narcissism, and bi-polar II. The kids he was victimizing were MR, or had CP and were in wheelchairs, or were LD. I told the school to throw the book at him, and he had his life curtailed seriously at home as a consequence. Sadly, my ex-in-laws and husband think of him as a poor baby, and indulge his every whim…which is why he attacked his six-years younger brother and me one afternoon because I offered to take him to Youth Group. That’s it. Offered to drive him to Youth Group. He has since attacked a police officer and gotten away with it, gone after a truck driver who stopped because he nearly hit him when my son crossed a busy street on his bike without looking…and gotten away with it…and beaten the hell out of his 70+ grandparents who claimed it was only me that he would ever hit. Right. They made the mistake of not doing exactly what he wanted. He’s 6′ tall and 300 lbs. I love him…and someone’s going to get hurt. If he goes to jail I’ll still love him…but if he seriously hurts or kills someone he’ll deserve what happens. 
     
    And people, please spare me the “You’re so cruel” BS. Watch a child pornography film. Just. Once. It’ll give you a whole knew perspective on agony, breech of trust and loss of innocence, and feeling of being filthy that will be hard to wash away. You won’t like being human very much…and trust me, the perpetrators are human, not any other sort of “animal”.

    • avatar KarrinCooper says:

      Why would I watch something like that? Seriously? Wow.
      Aside from that – this is this mans son. Parental love has no bounds. At least he does have his father, as most families would totally shun him. I feel for you LW #1. This will be a tough road for both of you. While being a pedo is abhorrant, and I can’t say otherwise, if he sticks with his therapy and knows his triggers and how to avoid them, I think there is hope. As for those who advocate castration – wow. That in itself is not a solution. Just because a pedo can’t get it up does not mean the sexual abuse can not continue. So rethink that one ok?
       
      Kar’rin

      • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

        I disagree Karrin, parental love should have bounds, that what teaches civility.  Briana is right.  LW1 needs to get a grip on who his son is and not let him off the hook.  If more parents did that, there would not be so much crime in the world.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Why would you watch something like that? Because it’s an excellent reality check. I wonder if LW1 has ever watched one. I saw mine on a special program on PBS a long time ago. It was controversial…because people thought it would be “titillating”. Only if you’re a pedophile. For anyone else, the images should sere themselves into the brain forever…so that you never forget exactly what is done to those children. Ever. And the expressions on their faces.
         
        Chemical castration does not just cause impotence. It also reduces aggression, feminizes, and defuses sexual thinking. It does not stop the fantasies, only the desire associated with them. Actual castration is useless…and rapists as well as pedophiles know this. Rape is a crime of violence acted out through sex…and rapists who can’t use their most convenient weapon can be exceedingly creative with objects.

      • avatar toni says:

        It is ILLEGAL to watch. Are you flipping insane? Sick. As usual.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        toni: I am not “sick”. You seem to be joining in the recent attacks. I saw the pornography I refer to on a PBS special that was produced because far too many people really don’t get the extent of what is involved in child pornography. After reading some of the comments on this thread, pleading mental illness, sympathy, and asking for patience, compassion and forgiveness for a convicted pedophile who was held on a one million dollar bond for his crimes, then sentenced to twenty years in prison (a huge bond and a heavy sentence for a pedophile who is not a murderer as well…do your research, most get out with nothing more than a slap on the wrist), it’s screamingly clear that many of the readers here are absolutely clueless. Completely, utterly, totally in lala land. Poor son of LW1…he just needs help.
         
        It is illegal to purchase or watch child pornography as a consumer. Thousands of psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, law enforcement officers, attorneys, doctors, nurses and other people watch it ever day as part of their jobs. It sickens them just as it sickens me, and they know precisely the kind of abominable humans they are dealing with because they have the strength to face reality…not throw accusations at each other saying that they are “sick” for knowing the enemy by learning,and accepting, just how terrible, destructive and disgusting it is.
         
        Take your accusations and ignorance and shove them in that hole in the ground your head is jammed so firmly into. I’m a victim of sexual assault as a minor…I would never harm a child, and have reported instances of suspected child abuse. Go to hell.

      • avatar Maggie Tenser says:

        While it is true that there are people who watch child pornography during the course of their work, it is illegal (in the US) to view or possess child pornography as a general citizen.   

        And I think, Briana, as in all things justice needs to be tempered by mercy.  Of course the LW loves his son, and I’d say that this both sets him up to do either great good or great harm.  If LW’s son is unrepentant (e.g. sees himself as a “victim” who’s been unfairly treated), then the LW needs to make sure that his love doesn’t make him blind and permissive with respect to his son’s crimes.  But, if his son is sincerely repentant and truly trying to not reoffend, then the LW can use that love as a support for his son, and, not only help his son, but also other innocents who might be potential victims.  It’s about keeping a clear head and loving without giving up on his own reason.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        ” it is illegal (in the US) to view or possess child pornography as a general citizen.”
         
        I said that. I used different words. What is it with the people on this site? As for LW1, to reiterate: he spoke not one damn word of compassion for his son’s victims…and a one million dollar bond and twenty year sentence speaks volumes. I might have more empathy…but it’s all about “my poor, abused, misunderstood son”. Who, by the way, he doesn’t mention as being repentant at all.
         
        What about the children he destroyed, and the fear they will have when they find out he’s been released? What about them?


        Over and out.

      • avatar Grace Malat says:

        Read the letter the parent isn’t even repentant or apologizing for their sons actions. I know they most likely couldn’t have stopped him but the letter is a ‘my poor child has this so called illness’ and when can a cure be found.
        There is nothing in there about the suffering of his victims only the suffering he received while in prison, their is nothing about what their son might be able to do to make things right, and how they can help keep him from acting out again.
        All the letter is is a my poor son has suffered horribly due to this illness will a cure ever be found? Nothing about the victims, nothing about keeping future victims safe, nothing about what they should or could do to make sure there are no future victims.
        The letter is no about their son being repentant and wanting to find a so called cure. They are not having their son take responsibility for his heinous crimes whatsoever. The tone of the letter says it all, ‘my poor, suffering, sick, child is coming home after and extended leave where he was victimized and abused, when will a cure be found’. No thought to behavior or the son actually taking responsibility for his crimes.

      • avatar Grace Malat says:

        Briana if you read my comment you will see that I stand right beside you in everything you’re saying.
        Too many parents, teachers, therapists, etc. do the ‘oh poor child/person’ thing. We no longer hold people responsible for their actions it’s always due to ‘something’ it’s never their fault, and on and on. With a result it happens again and again and people wonder why. We all have choices, that’s the beginning and end of it.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Thank you Grace. Yes, you clearly do see.

    • avatar R Scott says:

      Uh, no. Don’t need to watch that to get any of that information. Kind of know that already.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I agree—it’s not something I need to see in order to gain insight on the issue. 

    • avatar Davina Wolf says:

      Brianna Baran: Your reply is waaaaay too long to read.

  12. avatar Dani Smith says:

    I thought a “disease” was a communicable illness, something you get or catch.  Malaria is a disease.  Ebola is a disease.  Flesh eating bacteria is a disease.   Pedophilia is not a disease.  It’s a mental disorder/brain abnormality in the same way psychopathy is.   Alcoholism is not a disease.  It’s an addiction.  Just wanted to get that off my chest.  

    That aside, what was the point of letter #1 anyway?  To educate people about the plight of pedophiles? To complain about how pedophiles are treated in prison?  To let us know that hey, pedophiles have parents?  To excuse their behavior by labeling it a disease?  To see if Margo can look into her crystal ball and magically predict the future about if and when a cure for pedophilia will be found? 

    I don’t know, I’m a little confused…..

    Regarding Letter #2, I disagree with Margo.   If they were going to feel awful then they wouldn’t have not invited them and then flaunted their plans on Facebook in the first place.  Then again, there is always that chance that an invite was sent, but they somehow never received it. 

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, OCD, depression…these are all diseases just as are rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, lupus. etc. They’re caused by chemical imbalances in the brain and neurological system, and by brain structure and function abnormalities. They are problems with the physiological and biological structures and systems of the the body…just like diabetes, hemophilia, heart disease, cancer, asthma, osteoporosis, Alzheimers and cataracts. These are all diseases, Dani. They are all treatable, just as are schizophrenia, BPD, OCD and depression, and all Axis I disorders, through chemical (medication) means. They are manageable, and non-communicable.  All naturally occurring diseases.
       
      I’ve my doubts about pedophilia being an Axis I, or physiological/biological disease. Alcoholism in some people is related to a genetic deficiency that prevents the body from processing alcohol because of the lack of a certain enzyme that allows assimilation, but not everyone with this genotype is an alcoholic. It’s very common in people of Slavic, Irish and Amerind descent. Saying that there is a brain abnormality or chemical imbalance that causes an adult to desire small children sounds like stretch.
       
      I agree about the letter. He committed an atrocity, he paid for it, he’ll probably do it again. Go ahead and love him, but stop trying to justify his actions or garner sympathy for him.

      • avatar KarrinCooper says:

        How is he trying to ‘”garner sympathy for him’”? This man loves his son, and he is trying to come to terms here with what his son did. Put yourself in his shoes – and think.

        Kar’rin

      • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

        I don’t care, his son is a threat to children obviously.  He will not get my sympathy…..period.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        It’s pretty obvious why LW1 wrote the letter—because he is in pain. Period. 

        It’s important to realize the distinction between sympathy and empathy. Sympathy—feeling sorry for someone—is a waste of time and accomplishes nothing. Empathy—an attempt at understanding of what it’s like to be in that person’s situation—helps us grow. You don’t have to empathize with the pedophile, but surely you can understand the horror, shame, fear and hurt that his father must feel at having to deal with this sort of problem. 

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        I would have a lot more empathy for this man if he had stated one iota of empathy for his son’s victims. Just. One. Or acknowledged at any time the cruelty of what his son has done, or that his son is a criminal, or that he was culpable for his actions. A lot of parents turn their own children in, acknowledge their crimes, even testify against them…and still express love for them while at the same time expressing empathy and pain for those whom that child victimized.
         
        They know who the victim and the perpetrator was. No excuses. Honesty does no preclude love.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I can agree with what you’re saying at face value because the man didn’t mention anything about the son’s victims, and the path of destruction that it most likely caused—especially at the tune of a $1M bond. It must have been bad. At the same time, few write a perfect letter. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt—had it been the son writing the letter, it would be a little different. 

      • avatar R Scott says:

        I do empathize with the man. He’s in a tough spot and yes, I can accept and would expect that he love his son in spite of his crimes. Beyond that though, his expectation that I extend any understanding or concern for the son or others in his position is not going to happen.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Why is it that…never mind. Whatever. He is bitterly complaining about what his son had to face in prison, because pedophiles are so horribly abused while in the system. He is saying that everyone ought to “separate the person from the crime”…another version of “hate the sin, not the sinner”, perhaps? Then he goes on to say that we “create more pedophiles” to be “warehoused in prisons”. His stance is that pedophilia is only an uncontrollable disease…never does this person express a single bit of empathy (speaking of this) for his son’s victims, or speak of his son’s culpability, or that his son actually committed devastating crimes against others.
         
        I am not alone in seeing this man as claiming his son as a victim…while failing to to acknowledge in any way how his child has victimized others. Please go back and read my other comments, and stop with the pecking. I have more understanding of this situation than you apparently know…though I stated as much.

  13. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Re:L#2: I’d look at as an excuse not to attend another wedding. They’re all ridiculously flamboyant extravaganzas these days, part of the massive machinery of the bridal industry. I wouldn’t go postal on the bride, or send a card as a guilt-inducing reminder. Or worse, a gift. Since my Facebook page apparently misses me, and my sons informs me that having only 9 Friends makes me hopelessly clueless about Social Networking (in my esteemed opinion, 800 Friends is a sign of desperation in an Adult, as is obsessive FB checking and posting on your hourly status, and a sign that maybe you have a need to get out more), I don’t get all of the drama associated with following the processes of upcoming nuptials, etc. (when will it become too-too to post funereal planning on ones’ Wall, I wonder? Or the full run of natural childbirth…), or the trauma of being un-Friended.
     
    However, if you’re that bothered, why not just ask? In an honest, straight forward manner? Such as. “Have I done something to offend you?”. Then try not to be all upset if it turns out to be something like Lila’s very timely answer, an over-sight, or some other reason…or be righteously delighted if she says the invite got lost. I’d personally let it slide…weddings are a bore, there’s usually drama, and the receptions frequently aren’t all that great unless the Weird Relative Nobody Likes decides to Act Out from taking advantage of the open bar. Brides’ own fault if that happens.

  14. avatar Messy ONE says:

    Pedophilia is NOT a “disease”. It is not a “disorder”. It is not curable in any way. Families of pedophiles would rather pretend it’s a disease. If they can convince themselves that it’s an “illness” then they can feel sorry for the pedophile rather than fearing them.

    Pedophilia is a sexual preference. It is no different than being straight or gay. Pedophiles are born and they can never change. You don’t have to believe me – Google it. Even convicted pedophiles will tell you that even if they don’t act on their impulses, the impulses are always going to be there.

    Castration is not a cure. Mood-altering drugs are not a cure. No amount of talk therapy/group therapy/whatever the trendiest thing is now – will ever change the fact that pedophiles would prefer to have sex with children rather than adults.

    To gain access to children, a pedophile will marry someone with kids and they will get degrees and jobs (teaching/coaching/etc) that will guarantee them access to children. The neighborhood pedophile is a great guy. He’s the one that’s always available to babysit, build toys, drive the kids to events when the parents can’t and everyone likes them. 

    It’s a fact that people who sexually abuse children are almost always known and trusted by both the parents and the kids. If you pay attention to the news, you’ll notice that whenever one of these people is arrested, the neighbors are standing around the house telling reporters how “nice” the person was and how they’re a “pillar of the community”.

    I feel for the LW, but she’s kidding herself. Think not about her or her son, but the horrendous acts that her darling son committed to be put in prison for two decades. He probably abused, raped, or maimed dozens of children before he was caught. He will ALWAYS want to do this, and very few men who like to rape children can restrain themselves for any length of time.

    • avatar KarrinCooper says:

      ‘”Pedophilia is a sexual preference. It is no different than being straight or gay’” – say what?! You make it sound like they CHOOSE to be a pedo, or worse yet someone CHOOSES to be gay. And wow – nice hope for rehabilitation there. Amazing hope for human kind you have.

      Kar’rin

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        MO does have a point—pedophilia seems to blur the lines between choice and disorder when discussing sexuality. The key difference here is that there is almost always an unwillingness on the part of the partner, coupled with the pedophile’s desire to exploit or violate a sense of innocence. Pedophilia, like rape, becomes more of a game of control of one’s partner rather than a sharing of mature and developed sexual feelings. Even players in SMBD scenes, rape-fantasy or extreme sport-sex go into it with the understanding that the other person is a willing participant and is achieving a sense of sexual gratification. That’s often the point—to make the other person truly enjoy the unusualness of the sexual experience, whereas the pedophile often (if not always) has a stunted sense of the sexuality of his victim. Much of the literature and media that is passed around by pedophiles portrays children as being whores and sluts and little “Lolita-types” who are just waiting with half-closed eyes to wave their Wand of Seduction. This is ironic, because the child is almost always the exact opposite of what the pedophile would deep down like them to be—that is, someone who is highly sexual and in control of the situation.

        How is this different from an older gay man in his 60s who likes 18 year-olds? I know people like this, and can pretty much tell you it’s an attempt to recapture something that has been lost over time, or that was never experienced when they were young themselves. This type of gay man values youth and beauty and innocence, but they also want strength, athleticism and maturity. Anytime I’ve ever seen a May-December romance, the older man ALWAYS says: “Oh, he’s so much older than his age!” or something like that, while the younger man says that the older one acts/thinks so much like a younger man. But they both view themselves as MEN—and neither looks at the other as being a child. In fact, that’s usually the kiss of death—when one or the other acts immaturely.  

        The pedophile’s type of delusional thinking IS a disorder, and a mental disease. Whether it’s curable or even truly treatable is still out for judgment—but I’m not going to be first in line to say that there is not a shred of hope for any of these people.  

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Pedophiles subjected to sexual arousal testing frequently exhibit no arousal at all (changes in blood pressure, pulse, EEG, etc.) when shown images, erotic and otherwise, of people from adolescents through adulthood, and even pubescent children. It’s only when shown images of actual prepubescent children that the signs of arousal begin. This is very basic, image-based, visual testing. No stories, no lurid suggestions, no pornography.
         
        In a very real sense, this would be like testing an adult with the same images, and getting base readings that indicate arousal for images that indicate he/she is oriented toward the same or opposite sex…or has slight arousal toward both and a great deal toward the other (hence the sliding scale in use today). However, most people give very strong indicators when presented with basic images that suggest orientation…not preference…and pedophiles are no different.
         
         ”Consensus now exists that pedophilia is a distinct sexual orientation, not something that develops in someone who is homosexual or heterosexual” –from Harvard Medical School.   It has no known successful treatment at this time. Not all pedophiles touch or harm children, and not all of those who molest children are pedophiles. But for those who are, and who do, the recidivist rate is 25-50% amongst the convicted. A great many pedophiles have co-concurrent disorders such as narcissistic or borderline personality disorders…but these don’t respond to treatment either.
         
        Pedophilia is no more a choice than being gay or straight or bi-sexual. It is a choice to act on those urges to molest children.

      • avatar bobkat says:

        Excellent reply, Briana!

      • avatar Messy ONE says:

        The idea that pedophilia is some sort of “disease” is a lie. It is NOT a disease. That’s the problem. It’s a sexual orientation and just as you can’t “cure” gay, you can’t “cure” pedophilia. It’s hard-wired. 

        READ the literature. It is idiotic to keep insisting that pedophiles are “sick”. It might make you feel better, and you might like to hear a pedophile say they like adults now, but it is a lie.

        Plus – any sexual contact with a child is NOT consensual. Children cannot consent. Therefore having sex with a child is ALWAYS  rape.  

      • avatar Maggie Tenser says:

        I’d be more convinced that pedophilia was entirely an “orientation” if there wasn’t evidence that sexual molestation as a child can lead to the victimized child growing into a molester.  That’s not an orientation, that’s a response to trauma, a mental aberration.
         

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Not everyone who victimizes children is a pedophile. See the Harvard School of Medicine’s very informative article, or any of the many others available by doing a Google search. “Pedophile” is not just a catch-all label for all who prey on children, it is very specific.

      • avatar bobkat says:

        Karrin, sexual preference or sexual *orientation* is *not* a choice! Messy One is correct. Pedophiles are who they are, just as heterosexuals are who they are, and nothing could ever change that.

      • avatar Messy ONE says:

        What are you talking about? No one CHOOSES their sexual orientation. Being straight/gay/bisexual/pedophile – these are things that you are born with. They are not choices and I would never, ever imply that they are. This is why I say that you can’t “cure” pedophilia like you can’t “cure” being straight. What a ridiculous notion.

        I can’t believe that you actually believe the idiots who claim that there’s choice involved.  

      • avatar Maggie Tenser says:

        I might be repeating myself but, if pedophilia is something you’re born with, why is it that victims of child molestation often go on to molest children in adulthood?  That implies that pedophilia can develop as a response to trauma, which fits the disease model rather than the orientation one.  Or do you think that there is some sort of experience that would “turn” a person gay?

      • avatar wendykh says:

        No.

        The majority of people who were molested as children do NOT become pedophiles.
        The majority of pedophiles yes, were molested as children.
        This is when they have mental issues, as opposed to orientation.
        And also, it is suspected this is pure correlation. Because there are so many molested children, and so many who NEVER tell, the only ones we know for sure are those we’re catching as pervo molestors later. 

    • avatar R Scott says:

      Pedophelia is not a sexual preference. It a lot of cases it has nothing to with sex other than sex is the weapon. It is a social disorder that preys on, hurts and damages those who are too young to have any power of defense. Sexual preference my ass.

      • avatar Messy ONE says:

        @R Scott – You just keep telling yourself that. People like you are the reason that many pedophiles have hundreds of victims before they are caught.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I’m not quite sure how you make that leap of logic regarding RS’s post. I’ll agree with you enough to say that pedophilia blurs the lines between a sexual preference and a mental disease/disorder. It satisfies at least some of the characteristics of sexual preference/orientation—that is, it’s a hard-wired and seemingly permanent characteristic of sexual identity. But there are pedophiles who also have lifelong and seemingly normal sexual relationships with adults to the point of parenting children. Pedophilia does not have to be an exclusive set behavior, also like a sexual preference. This also sets up an argument in favor of pedophilia being a disorder in that the desire to act on these impulses are sometimes just that—impulses—that are not constant and are often associated with resistance, guilt and shame. In a general sense, pedophilia SHOULD be looked at as being a disease if only because it is a destructive activity that endangers the physical and mental well-being of both participants.

        And yes, it is true that sex with a child can always be classified as rape, since technically a child is not of age to legally consent. However—a 17 year-old also falls into this category, and there are plenty of people (not to mention the legislature of most states—especially in the south, which have under-18 marriage statutes on the books) who would come to the conclusion that sexual relations with a 17 year-old is only rape on paper. 

         

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        David…there are gay men and lesbians who never touch a member of the same sex, and who have life-long relationships with opposite sex partners and produce children. Pedophilia is an orientation, and it is clear that people are born with it. It is not a “disease”. I’ve spent the last two days doing the research, and the actual medical/psychiatric sites have a very clear consensus on this.
         
        Of the pedophiles who indulge their orientation, the majority engage in virtual behavior (watching children and looking at visual and written material) only. Of those who do actually engage children physically, most limit contact to touching or oral contact (bad? Yes, horrible). Very few pedophiles objectify children to the point of actual penetration, and those who do usually are diagnosed as having the co-concurrrant psycholgical personality type disorders such as malignant narcissism, borderline personality disorder, what most people refer to as sociopathy, etc.. 
         
        It wasn’t that long ago when gay people were considered to be soley acting on impulse…and the very promiscuous lifestyle of many gay men and women supported the idea of compulsive action driven by guilt, fear of recrimination, and shame. I am bisexual in the truest sense, and I watched my gay friends suffer through the 70′s and 80′s. There is nothing wrong, shameful or unnatural about same sex attraction…I think we can agree. Pedophilia will always be driven by shame, guilt and fear…because having sex with an infant, or a toddler, or a pre-school or elementary school child is unconscionable. But a 17-year old is not ever a victim of pedophilia. She, or he, is a full-blown adolescent, and pedophiles are interested in the pre-pubescent (if a 17 year old has not yet passed through puberty, something is terribly wrong). Even adults who are five years older would be considered hebephiles…interested in adolescent children. The youngest that a pedophile can be, by psychiatric definition, is 16, and he is then defined as an adult. In order for him to be accused of pedophilia, his victim would have to be, at the oldest, eleven. 
         
         
        However…a lot of those who repeatedly rape and torture children are not pedophiles. For them, children are simply the best targets of opportunity because they are small, easy to handle and manipulate both physically and mentally/emotionally, and present a lesser risk of harm to their abuser, and a greater degree of sensationalism and subsequent satisfaction for him. They are simply objects…there is nothing personal or specifically sexual about what’s being done to them or their being children except convenience. 
         
        There are thousands of pedophiles who never look at children, never touch them, never view or own “kiddie porn”, or harm anyone. Unlike being gay, these (mostly) men cannot come out and say, “I’m a pedophile and I’m proud”. The majority cannot have a normal relationship with an adult, just as most gay or lesbian adults cannot have an opposite sex relationship that is successful on the sexual level. 
         
        Those pedophiles who yield to the temptation to touch and abuse children have a paraphilia (a sexual fetish) that they are refusing to control. It’s a bit like any other paraphilia, womens’ shoes, S&M, bondage, water sports, whatever…except in this case the partner is not capable of informed consent, and it is related to violence, abuse, control, and arrested sexual development in the pedophile. It is separate from the orientation that they have been born with…and it does not respond to therapy. The current consensus is bleak…there is no cure for these people…although group therapy and aversion training (aversion to being caught and put back in prison…not to children) helps the recidivist rate.
         
        I’m not telling you anything you couldn’t find out for yourself with Google and a little thought. Harvard Medical is an excellent starting point. They have no dog in the fight.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        I disagree. Just because someone is born with something does not automatically make it normal or healthy. 
         
        Being gay is an orientation that can lead to the development of a satisfying and complete sexual awareness, identity and self-acceptance. It can also be an exercise in self-loathing. 
         
        Being a pedophile may feel good to some, and it may scratch a mental or physical itch—but I would hazard to guess that most people who engage in this behavior do so because of an unnatural compulsion that they wish was not there. Pedophilia involves co-pathological tendencies that are almost always negative—power, control, abuse, possession, jealousy, etc. Take Jaycee Dugard or Shasta Groene for example—do you actually think that the men who perpetrated these crimes were motivated solely by an orientation to have sex with a child? I’m not buying it. Both were clearly highly disturbed individuals who exemplify the extreme end of the pedophilia-disorder spectrum, where the need for control becomes violent and even deadly. 
        Is gender dysphoria a disorder or an orientation? According to what I see online—it’s a discontent disorder in thinking and perception related to sex, where someone happens to be inconvenienced by the wrong genitalia and public sexual identity and presentation. At its core, pedophilia shares some of the same aspects as any sex-based dysfunction—what makes this one so insidious is that it’s often hidden behind a mask of normalcy and a desperate attempt to fit in. 
         
        By the way—you’re not the only one who actually thinks about their answers before posting, so please don’t insinuate such. In all honesty—the size of the post is irrelevant. Don’t mislead yourself to think otherwise. 

        And the vibe I’m getting from a lot of the posts on the board is that somehow, by labeling pedophilia as a disease or disorder—we are somehow deferring blame from the pedophile. That is a discussion for another day, or for the court. Personally, I believe that there are many people out there who “think dark thoughts” of one kind or another, yet manage to get through the day without hurting anyone else, let alone a child. Going back to my previous post, someone who deals with pedophilia would be better suited by dealing with it as openly as they can—and hopefully develop a support system of sorts to keep it under control rather than attempt to deal with it alone. Whether it’s an orientation or a disease—the bottom line is that it’s a problem. 
         

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        A): I didn’t say that I was the only one who thinks about their posts…and I’m rather surprised that you would make a comment about the length of posts…a little bitchy and a lot specious, as this has nothing to do with the matter at hand. If the length of the posts bothers you, don’t read them. It’s how I write…and it has nothing to do with trying to impress anyone, or thinking that I’m better…I write down what comes out of my brain as it occurs.  I did say that I bothered to check because so many people were actively sympathizing with LW1 and his poor, abused son, on the basis of his being “sick” and misunderstood. I didn’t know what the current consensus was, so I researched it.
         
        B):Everything you mentioned in the comment I am now responding to I said as well…so what’s your problem, precisely? I can’t even agree with people lately without being pecked at…which is a bit amusing, if a little sad. I mentioned the paraphilia aspect of pedophilia, as well as the co-concurrent aspects including personality disorders. We’re agreeing. Again, why the innate bitchiness?
         
        Gender disorder is referred to as a “disorder” because it involves a dissonance between the actual sexual physiology and biology, and the person’s perception of what their sex actually ought to be. It has nothing to do with orientation…a person who has gender identity disorder may believe him or herself will be sexually attracted to either the opposite, same or both sexes after gender reassignment. 
        Last point: I never, ever said that pedophilia was “healthy”, but I don’t know that labeling it as a sickness (ie; unhealthy) is useful or accurate. I don’t use the word “normal”…I can’t define it. Most people don’t define me as either normal or healthy on this board…yet if they, or you, met me in person, you might (actually, likely would) think me odd, or even weird, but you wouldn’t have any idea of who I was, or how “abnormal” I am. Those who are pedophiles and don’t ever act on it are in a terrible situation…there are no “support groups” for them (well, except for those who are acting on their desires to one extent or another, and that’s not support, that’s enabling and worse), it is close to impossible to go to a therapist and announce, “I am a pedophile….”, because of the likelihood of being reported even if no crime at all has been committed, and appealing to the public is impossible. I understand all this.
         
        We are not in any disagreement except on the subject of pedophilia being an orientation versus being a disease. Perhaps that has something to do with the terrible societal misconception based largely in knee-jerk dogmatic ignorance and anachronistic fear that homosexuality and pedophilia are inextricably entwined. I can fully appreciate the gay male community wanting to distance itself as far as possible from any link whatsoever to pedophiles…even that of both gayness (that includes being a lesbian or bisexual) and pedophilia being orientations. I am not being condescending, and you should know that. Being heterosexual is also an orientation. People are largely stupid about these things: you’re not.
         
         

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Whatever. Next topic, please. 

      • avatar Messy ONE says:

        Thank you, BB. 

        David is living proof that Americans feel the need to make everything a “disease”. It’s easier than thinking, I guess.  

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Right. Moving on… 

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        And those with “diseases” are just “victims” and can’t help themselves. I am schizophrenic. I’ve never shot anyone at a political rally, decapitated a woman on a bus, blown up a building, or acted on any of my various hallucinatory advisers’ counsel. I have an illness…and just like someone with diabetes, cancer, or lupus, it is my responsibility to control it, and be accountable for my actions. I was born with this illness…but it is treatable and manageable.
         
        I am also bisexual. I was born that way. It is not a disease, or an illness…and I’ve never used it to garner sympathy, or use other people, or have a better chance of a Saturday night hook-up. It is not “curable”. It is a part of what I am.
         
        I am far, far from perfect. but I’m also far from the typical American. There are no excuses for certain behaviors, no justification, no forgiveness. I don’t mind thinking at all.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        Messy One – WTF? Did you actually read my post? How did you possibly get to that conclusion from what I posted or have posted on this subject. I am truly baffled. You’re blaming me for the hundreds of victims based on what I just stated is more than insulting. Please explain yourself. When this “preference” damages, kills, preys upon and ruins powerless children I have a hard time wrapping it up as “sexual preference”.  Your comment to me is quite disturbing to say the least.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        For Maggie Tenser and R Scott:
         
        Being gay, lesbian hetero or bisexual are not “sexual preferences” either. They are sexual orientations, and you are born with them. Pedophiles are born as pedophiles. Thousands never act in any way on their urges. In. Any. Way. I have no dog in this fight. I firmly think that anyone who harms a child in this way needs to be in prison for life, or given the Death Penalty, no appeals, gone.
         
        I AM repeating myself: far from all of those who molest, torture and rape children are pedophiles. Some are people who hurt children as targets of opportunity, and who have no real sexual interest in, or preference for children at all. Children are not only easy to dominate and control, physically and mentally, but they make for the kind of sensational…and gratifying media coverage and law enforcement coverage this sort of person craves. Being molested as a child does not make a person a pedophile. It can retard emotional sexual development, and cause the person to take out their anger and fear on victims of the same age as they were when they were abused. It can also cause them to act out in other ways…or become entirely sexually dysfunctional…or they can lead absolutely normal lives and never harm a single human being of any sort. In the case of those who abuse children as targets of opportunity or because they themselves were abused, it is not a sexual crime…but a crime of violence and brutality.
         
        Anyone can find this out. Google is your friend. I know I am going to catch the usual BS flack from the people on this thread. It’s much in style of late. I knew most of this before, and I fact checked extensively before commenting. Ergo, I’ll be flamed. Whatever.

  15. avatar Lila says:

    Re: pedophilia, it is a terrible thing but once someone has that label, they will forever be an outcast whether they have actually done anything or not.  Our social reactions – not only the legal angle but the way we turn them all into unidimensional bogeymen – leaves them no option other than to try to hide it and deal with it on their own, which has got to be the least effective option.
     
    There are a lot of different shades to this.  There are predators who actively troll for victims, like that scum and his wife who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard.  There are those predators who kill their victims to shut them up.  But then there are those who have never directly harmed a child, yet spend years in jail for possessing – not producing, just possessing – a few images of child porn.  Of course the idea is to kill the market for this horrid stuff, which DOES harm children.  But the sentences strike me as disproportionate.  Some rapists and murderers actually spend less time in jail than a guy who had bad pictures in his possession. 
     
    And then when they eventually get out of jail, they are faced with so many restrictions that many end up unemployed and living under a bridge in a squatters’ camp with a bunch of other sex offenders (Florida is especially bad this way).  Experience shows that all ex-cons do better when they are re-integrated into society, when they have family and friends for support.  But we take that away from sex offenders, leaving them with less than nothing, which only – in the long run – makes things worse for us, too.
     
    Not to mention that there is no sense of proportion for these pedophiles who have been released, either.  While some guy who was convicted of urinating in public (yes, people are on the sex offender database for that), might be unemployed and under a bridge, the scum who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard was able to have a home, a wife, and a job… and managed to keep Dugard and her eventual kids imprisoned in his back yard despite reports from neighbors and multiple parole-officer visits to his house.  WTF?
     
    Pedophilia is a horrible thing, but we need to tone down the hysteria and look at this realistically and consistently, and see pedophiles as actual people, not bogeymen.  And if we, as a society, decide that we will tolerate no risk at all, then we need to resolve to have life sentences in sex-offender-specific facilities.  No more of this “you’ve done your time, but not really, and you can’t come back to society” stuff.

    • avatar Briana Baran says:

      Lila, you make some very valid points. Consider the “sex offender” who lived on a friend’s street. His crime: He was 21 when a young woman with an ID that said she was 19 (the club checked ID meticulously, and never let in anyone under 18…ever) approached him at a club concert. Neither was drunk. or using drugs, and after watching the show, they went back to his place, had a lot of fun, and everything seemed to have been just peachy. Until the police arrested him two days later for statutory rape. The woman, who was sixteen, from a well-off family, hardly inexperienced at these maneuvers, and possessed of a very good fake ID…just like all of her friends (she never revealed her source for fear her friends would hate her), had finally been caught re-entering her house via her bedroom window, and threatened by her parents until she “confessed the truth”…that she had gone to the club, but that the man in question had talked her into his car, then forced himself on her against her will, even though she told him she was only sixteen, and repeatedly raped her.
       
      The judge was disinclined to believe the car and force part…but she was sixteen, and he was supposed to intuit this from her appearance and, mmm, level of experience. He got jail time and a sexual offenders badge. A ruined career and a place on a list. So it goes.
       
      But pedophiles…O, Lila. If a pedophile never touches a child, and leaves child pornography alone, let him  (or her, they exist) alone. Child pornography is…not just nude pictures of children…even nude pictures of children dressed, made-up, or posed provocatively. It is demented. Full-grown men penetrating toddlers, infants and children…most of whom are drugged, mostly so that they don’t struggle, mostly so that their struggles don’t inadvertently injure their abusers. Those children rarely make it out of that system. It is never “erotica”, or something excusable, or justifiable…not when it’s film or photography. That child is a human being too…and that child is utterly alone and helpless. The sedatives don’t help the pain, or the permanent damage, or the numbness and loss of self. And it’s rarely a few pictures…it’s easily accessible on the internet…and it isn’t repeating loops of the same children…there are always new victims, new atrocities, new films and photos and even webcam attractions. It’s the bleakest side of humanity.
       
      You’re absolutely right…pedophiles, serial rapists, murderers…they’re human, and that means that they’re mortal and have limited life spans. Don’t keep people in prison for check forging, urinating in public, having sex with a 17 year old when he (or she) is 19, a dime bag of pot or petty theft. Keep the violent, brutal, recidivist population behind bars for life…or put them on Death Row with one damn appeal…if that…and eliminate them from society and remove them from any potential to cause further pain. I’ll pull the switch, press the button…I don’t believe in the god so many trust to pass judgment on the abominations that same  god apparently condones the actions of amongst the living. 
       
      But no…that won’t happen. I know. I understand the need to label, to pigeonhole, to be comfortable with the middle ground, astride the fence, and the safety of no decisions at all. I just don’t believe in it.

      • avatar grandopal says:

        I agree.

      • avatar Lila says:

        Briana, it IS an abomination.  So… my big peeve is that we sentence them to some term, then they get out, but they remain on parole with few options for work or housing, and spotty supervision.  No other criminal is handled this way.  If everyone agrees that any pedophilic crime is such an abomination, why isn’t the penalty just life in prison, and be done with it?  But instead, most states just keep increasing restrictions on their post-release conditions.  No sense there.
         
        And the SO database is a joke.  The idea is good, but things like statutory rape, teen “sexting,” public urination, mooning, etc. – all that does is ruin people’s lives over being stupid, not being predators, and waters down the database so we can’t tell if the SO on our block is really something to worry about, or not.  The SO database in our area only identifies “violent” and “nonviolent.”  But even among the “nonviolent,” what did they DO?  Voyeurism?  Possession of child porn?  Exposing themselves at playgrounds?  Or did they just get drunk and pee in public?  We have no way to really gauge the threat.  Thus the need to pigeonhole.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        I meant pigeonholing all ‘sexual offenders” under the label “sexual offender”…whether for mooning someone in a drunken haze, peeing in a public park, or raping a 5 year old at knife point. To me, pigeonholing is convenience labeling with no consideration of degree, intent, consequences or harm done. Which is exactly what the current SO database is. To the lay-person, an enormous dump of names who have committed some grave offense against another human being, who are guilty of an act of cruelty and violence. The average person has no way of knowing if the guy down the street is a child molester who sodomizes little boys, a serial rapist who has tortured a dozen women at gunpoint, but was let out early for “good-behavior”, a young man who fell in love with a young woman just one year too young whose parents screamed rape…or the proverbial sidewalk peeing drunk. They’re all in there, with no way to distinguish one from the other.
         
        Pedophilia is not a crime. Child molestation, sexual assault and rape are…and anyone who interferes with a child in such a way should at least be incarcerated for life. The criteria for “child” should be based on the psychological criteria for defining an acting pedophiles victims, a prepubescent child, no older than thirteen. Not all of the people who abuse such children are pedophiles. I don’t believe in wasting time and money trying to rehabilitate repeat offenders when it comes to rape and murder. Or giving them time to become jailhouse lawyers so that they can work the system with its numerous appeals and fractured justice that victimizes victims…and sympathizes with their victimizers. 
         
        You can’t force people to hire those who have committed despicable acts that are repugnant to most thinking humans. Violent acts. Permanently damaging acts. The SO system needs to be altered drastically to identify those who have never harmed anyone by their actions (a drunken man exposing himself would be accused of a sex crime, but a woman exposing her breasts probably would not), or who have committed a crime without intent (a man who has sex with a woman who is 17 but has seen an ID that says she is 21…and she appears to be 21 should not be convicted of statutory rape…he isn’t guilty of “ignorance of the law” at all, he was deceived), or whose crime shouldn’t even be a sex crime (I’d think of peeing on a sidewalk as a public nuisance, not a sexual offense)…and to separate them from the sexual predators: rapists of every sort, stalkers, child molesters, pimps and those who traffic in sexual slaves. The latter should never be released from prison…then we’d have no need for an SO list at all.

      • avatar wendykh says:

        If the penalty is life in prison for child molestation or rape there is no incentive to let the victim live.

        Cold hard truth. 

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Perfectly fine with me. Cold hard truth. I’ll push the button, flip the switch, pull the trigger.

    • avatar Carrie A says:

      If they have no friends or family that will support them then they probably did a little worse than urinating in public or had sex with their 17 year old girlfriend when they were 18. If whatever they did was so heinous their friends and family turn their back on them then I have no sympathy. And someone that goes so far as to seek out child pornography is probably not too far from seeking out the real thing. It is something we should absolutely take seriously and they should not get off with a slap on the wrist for it. And I have no interest in re-integrating pedophiles into society. Most cannot change or control themselves so they have no business here.
      Harsh? You bet. I was nearly the victim of a pedophile when I was 8. I was playing in the alley by my grandma’s house when a car stopped and asked for directions. I went to tell him and he had no pants or underwear on and started rubbing himself. He asked if I knew what “it” was. I was terrified and ran back to my grandma’s house. It still bothers me to this day so I cannot imagine what I would have gone through if he had actually molested or raped me. My heart goes out to those that were not so lucky.
      With so many problems in this world I’m certainly not going to spend my time worrying about the plight of the pedophile. The ones I care about are their victims.

  16. avatar D C says:

    There is a convicted pedophile in my family.  He was caught after physically assaulting one child and making the other child with her watch, so there were two victims at the scene.  He made the one girl felate him while forcing the other to watch.  He showed them a knife.  He lured them away from the front yard they were playing in and got them to follow him to a secluded place, so the charges also involved kidnapping, and the knife increased the charge.  He got a sentence of 44 years, of which he has served 23.  He could get out any time and I fear the thought of him showing up on my door step.  While our mother was dying I did get in touch with him so he would know she was dying and they could say goodbye.  He used that contact to try to manipulate me in several ways.  When he tried to turn me against my husband I cut off contact.  Our other brothers have shunned him completely. 

    I believe there is only one cure for a pedophile and that is the death penalty.  Some might argue that the death penalty should only be for murderers, but this was, in fact, a mass murder.  He murdered the innocence of two 9 year old girls.  He murdered the marriages of their parents when they couldn’t survive the accusations of “why weren’t you watching them, it was your fault”.  He murdered the future of everyone that was touched by his crimes. He murdered the future children of the victims at the scene, as their mothers will forever be different, and treat them differently than they might have if they had been left to grow up without the horror they endured. He murdered his own family’s sense of being a family.  

    It would have been better for all concerned if he were dead.  We wouldn’t have to fear him, and he wouldn’t have to suffer for his inborn tendecies. 

    To let them live is like having rabid dogs scattered around you, never knowing which one is rabid and ready to attack and destroy without warning. 

    I’m sure many will not agree, but when you have one in the family, you “get” to have that opinion and expect a pass from those who only see it from the outside.  Everyone has been warned about the Boogeyman.  Imagine what it’s like know he grew up in the same house with you.

    LW#1 suffers a pain that will never be healed.  My mother was absolutely destroyed that a child that come from her body could become such a monster.  He was loved.  He was cared for.  She fed him and clothed him and took him to school and plead for him when he was bullied as a small child for being different than others.  She did everything right, and he still did this horrible thing.  Those who pray, shouldn’t just pray for the children hurt by pedophiles, but for the familes of the pedophile as well.  Victims get to and deserve to have righteous anger and many, with help, can get to a place of healing from something that was done to them.  People like LW#1 are left to hide a horrible secret that is like a cancer inside them that can never be cured, always wondering what they could have done differently to keep it from happening.

    • avatar KarrinCooper says:

      Spot on DC

      Kar’rin

    • avatar sparktest says:

      What DC said.
      Sympathy is fine, and to David Bolton’s point, empathy is better. But the true damage of a pedophile is done to others and those are facts, with proof, and is as widespread as DC comments. And should have consequences. And if someone did what happened in his family to my 9 year old daughter or son, and the law did not dispense justice, I would at the right time hunt them down and take care of it myself, just to make sure. (Does anyone remember Ellie Nesler? I was a supporter.) They shoot rabid dogs where I grew up. As they should.

      • avatar KL says:

        I’ve always thought the rabid dog was a good analogy.  On one hand, I feel incredibly sorry for a person with this issue, but I also feel incredibly sorry for a rabid dog.  It’s not their fault, but I don’t think there is any other solution than putting them down.

      • avatar KL says:

        I’d also add it’s just like serial killers.  You know they have to be crazy to be serial killers — but is there really any other option than executing them?  Some people are just so broken, whether it’s their fault or not, that the only option is complete isolation from society or death.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        While the rabid dog analogy sounds good in theory—it cannot work in a civilized society. Our legal system may be flawed or even broken in a number of respects, but it is set up to protect the accused from a lynch-mob mentality. I personally believe the death penalty should be abolished simply because it doesn’t make financial sense. I’d much rather see our prisons turned into self-sufficient factories that produce, rather than consume, with areas for people who need to be permanently separated from the rest of society. I have no problem whatsoever with perpetual solitary confinement—where someone is in a cell for 23 hours a day and with no human contact other than a tv screen or a radio, and an hour each day in the exercise yard. I also think that person should have to produce something worthwhile to get food put through the slot three times a day. 

    • avatar wendykh says:

      and if the penalty is death why would they refrain from murdering their victims?

  17. avatar MSLLL62 says:

    LW#2 I just had a wedding last month. I wanted to add that several of my save the date cards, invitations and thank you cards were lost by the post office. After the save the date cards, I started contacting people and asking if it was received. I think there were a total of about 6 that did not. When I sent out the invitations I also asked. There were almost that many also. The Thank you cards were sent out and I know of two that never reached their destination. I sent duplicates out to each person that was missed. One girls showed up 2 weeks after it was sent. Are you sure you weren’t invited or could your invitation have been lost?

  18. avatar anniemaus says:

    LW#2 I encountered something similar with several of my college friends. Like you, my feelings were initially hurt. Then I decided to take my ego out of the equation. The fact was that I lived far away, had not kept in great contact, and weddings are very expensive. It is impossible to invite everyone who the bride and groom would like to include. Plus it would have created a major financial hardship for me.
    When I saw them again, I congratulated them. I am very glad that I did so too. Those people have proven time and again that a lack of wedding invitation does not mean a lack of affection or true friendship.

  19. avatar JC Dill says:

    I don’t get all the drama about who is or isn’t invited to weddings.  The wedding is for the bride and groom, not for their friends.  If you aren’t invited, it’s because they are putting together the party they want to have.  When it’s your wedding you can put on the party you want to have.
     
    LW2 needs to speak up and talk with all her friends from this “pact” and ask what’s up.  Is it that she didn’t keep in as “close” of contact with the rest of her friends?  If so, then she can own up to her own part in this and accept the consequences.  Or was it an oversight?  (These things DO happen – lists get made and edited and remade and in the process a name can get dropped.)  Or perhaps an invitation was sent, but she didn’t receive it, a problem that can certainly happen more easily if the invitation was sent from overseas.  Be open, be honest, and put the ego and emotions aside and just ask the questions and find out.  Then accept it and move on.

  20. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – You have every right to love your son. He’s your son. The rest of us…not so much. He is what he is. He did what he did. Love him all you want and leave the rest of us out of it. Thanks.

    LW2 – Ouch. I will assume nothing got lost in the mail or any other weird circumstance so, yeah, ouch. They’re not that into you. Perhaps you could take some time to mourn this loss and adjust to the new reality and then make an effort to establish some othe friendships.

  21. avatar Diane Shaw says:

    I’m thinking out loud here on the Pedophilia issue.  To me, that’s no different than being of any other sexual persuasion, as in straight, gay, bi, etc.  I’m straight and very married. Do I look at other men? Absolutely! Would I ever act on it? Absolutely not.  I believe sexual addiction exists, but it seems that Pedophilia and sexual addiction are interwined here.  I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.  That’s got to be a horrible situation to be in if you’re attracted to children but intellectually know it’s wrong and don’t act on it.  I applaud those who can do the right thing.  Then there are those who feel they’re not actually “hurting” a child and act on their impulses.  I read an article by a Priest who had put himself in self-imposed exile so he wouldn’t be around children.  He had molested a couple of altar boys and said he actually believed he loved them and wasn’t hurting them.  Therapy helped him see clearly on that matter and he owned up and apologized for his actions and took action.   The other category is the sexual addict. I think those frighten me the most because they don’t care what they do as long as they get their rocks off.  My point is, I don’t think pedophilia is something that can be readily lumped in as a “disease” or “disorder”, such as alcoholism.  I think that does a disservice to society in the long run.  There are instances where the greater good (in this case children) trumps one person’s disease or proclivities.

    • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

      Good post Diane.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        Good Posti Diane, and not to put too fine a point on it but I also have a hard time with alocoholism as disease construct. It’s a condition, a problem, a life destroyer and all that but it’s also a choice…. I terribly hard, gut wrenching, traumatic choice to control but it is a choice. Not a disease.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        RE: Alcoholism. Thank you for making an excellent point. I’ve made it before, and been called a heartless, unfeeling bitch. Hopefully, you’ll escape unscathed.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Tell that to the long line of women in my family who have dealt with alcoholism. Trust me, it’s most definitely a disease. 

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        I am a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. My mother is an alcoholic, as is her sister, and her first cousin, whose parents were my mother’s father’s brother, and my mother’s mother’s sister. My mother’s father was an alcoholic, and so were five of his eight siblings. Three of my grandmother’s siblings were as well, as were several more of my mother’s first cousins. It is rampant in my family…both of my sisters have had problems.
         
        Disease? Yes…you catch it by being made miserable by the abusive drunks who make your life absolute hell…and since they drink, you learn to do it too, as self-medication. But you allow yourself to be that way, and you make yourself stop.
         
        But not a disease you physically catch or are born with. Sorry, no. I must disagree.

  22. avatar Carib Island Girl says:

    BTW, people, it was the FATHER who wrote, not the mother as some have wrote.

  23. avatar Carib Island Girl says:

    Also, LW1, just how do we “create pedophiles”?  Like we create gay people?  Face it, your son was born this way and given the amount of bail and sentence, apparently needs to be out of society since he has no self control or does not care to use it.  You cannot ask for sympathy for someone like that and I imagine, you will find little.  I am sorry for you, but do not make excuses for his behavior.  He made the choice to abuse children.

  24. avatar january 28711 says:

    LW2:  Some years ago the daughter of one of my best friends became engaged.  My friend and I had been close since junior high school, and for a time lived near each other and saw each other reguarly.  When her daughter came to visit we all went to lunch together and had a lively discussion about life, careers, etc.  When I married, I moved away, but we still stayed in touch, so I was surprised when I wasn’t invited to the wedding.  I wrote a congratulatory note to my friend, assuming (and saying so) that we weren’t invited because we now lived far away.  This, apparently, was not the case.  She told me later, apologetically, that “I just don’t stand up for people,” and she didn’t want to make a case to her daughter for adding my husband and me to the guest list.  The daughter can be forgiven because she really didn’t know us that well and wouldn’t have thought to invite us without her mother’s input.  I sent a gift, because it would never have occurred to me not to, and I got a nice thank-you note.  I think it made my friend feel a little guilty, which I do not regret, because the lack of an invitation still stung, but now I know something about her that I didn’t know before, can adjust my expectations of our friendship accordingly, and accept her for who she is.  We’re still friends.

    The whole point of this ramble is that you can just ask them or one of them, (hopefully without accusing), and possibly learn something more about the nature of your friendship with them.  It might be helpful, especially if they’re honest with you, and it might make you feel better.

    • avatar A R says:

      LW1: If  you can still love your son, more power to you. The rest of us have no sympathy, empathy, or room for concern. Sorry, but pedophiles ruin lives. There’s nothing about them to like. For the record, I too think the “disease” theory is a cop-out.
       
      LW2:
      I’ve always understood that it is bad manners to question a host/hostess about why one did or did not receive an invitation. If they want you to come, they’ll confirm when you haven’t RSVP’d. If they didn’t want you, well….message received.
      I also think it’s a bit weird to write to congratulate someone about an event from which one was obviously excluded. Again, if the host wanted to dialogue about it, well, he or she would have initiated it.

      • avatar A R says:

        This post wasn’t intended to be a reply to anyone in particular. For some reason my comments box is showing up weirdly.

  25. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: You have my empathy in that it’s incredibly painful and frustrating to have a family member with a mental illness. However—this is an illness that directly affects the most innocent and helpless members of our society, AND CAN BE SPREAD THROUGH THEM. Protecting them should always be our first and foremost goal—and if the pedophile gets “the short end of the stick” as it were, that’s just one of life’s many tragedies. 
     
    Pedophilia is not exactly something that surprises the pedophile (who quite likely has had the thoughts for a while), and its legal and social repercussions are pretty clearly stated. It’s up to that person to approach a counselor and to discuss potential treatment (whether chemical or situational)—otherwise they are no different than the alcoholic who gets behind the wheel and knows that they have the potential to negatively affect someone else’s life forever. And indeed if they roll the dice and that happens, they deserve whatever punishment is meted out. Sorry if that sounds brutal or uncaring, but that’s just the way it is. 
     
    And I disagree that the “only way a pedophile can survive is to hide the fact that he or she is one.” Hiding tends to lead to being found, eventually. By admitting there’s a problem, a pedophile can learn self-acceptance, address what might have caused the pedophiliac thoughts, and build a support system to help keep behaviors in check and to hopefully prevent the problem from spreading. Personally, I’d much rather find out that my son or daughter is having this struggle from them, rather than to hear it on the six-o’clock news.  
     
    LW2: “A slap in the Facebook”… Margo, you need to copyright this phrase, or I WILL steal it from you. 
     
    Okay, you weren’t invited, and life goes on. I would contact the bride and say: “I heard from someone else in the group that you’re getting married—congratulations!” This has the triple effect of 1) letting them know you know, so you don’t have the whole later BS of “oh, we thought you KNEW!” or “we TOTALLY forgot to contact you!”, 2) letting them know you had to hear it from someone else, which implies your knowledge that you are not invited, and 3) letting yourself off the hook for being responsible for any commitment (e.g. a gift) whatsoever. You’re also taking the higher road by being mature and directly addressing the issue, wishing them well, and moving on. If they issue a retcon invitation as a result, you can choose to accept it or ignore it.  
     
    I say spend the gift money on yourself and enjoy your present.