Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oh, Griff, how could you?

Someone I used to game with years ago has been arrested on four counts of 2nd degree sodomy with a minor, with new charges to be filed. There's just something eerie about looking at a mugshot of someone you know (I won't link to it, since it's temporary, but our jail has pictures and charges of all the current inmates available online as part of open records).

One of our friends figured it out years ago, but had no proof of what was going on, just a gut feeling and a smattering of suspicious activity. I believed him, but many people didn't--they thought he was the bad guy. Turns out he was right, and it was Griff who was the bad guy all along. But again, there was no proof. If there had been, he would have contacted the authorities and the police could have been building a case years ago.

So now it's come to this. Griff is cooperating with the district attorney, and is looking at years in prison. I know our system sees a person as innocent until proven guilty, but there seems to be a strong case against him, both in terms of testimony by his victim and seized child pornography in his possession.

I just don't know what to say. What do you say when someone you know is arrested as a paedophile and child molester--someone who came into your home and spent an evening every week around a table of snacks and interactive stories? I can't say I'm sorry to see him caught; I'm glad it's over. I'm glad that he won't be able to hurt anyone else. Although I'm not sure in his mind he was doing so, a minor doesn't have the emotional maturity to have a relationship of that type with an adult.

Griff tended to play children in games--a kid vampire, for example. It was an annoying trait. I think on some emotional level he identified with children strongly. Whether he saw himself as a child or identified with them as a predator stalking prey I don't know. I do know what it's like to be a survivor of such abuse, how much you want to be loved by someone, even if it isn't a comfortable experience or one that doesn't seem right. I'm still uncomfortable around children partly because they remind me of that vulnerability to sexual predation, especially young prepubescent girls. I think it's always a fear of a victim of sexual abuse that there will be some sort of chain where you grow up to be like the person who molested you. I used to be very confused over feelings I had towards children, but they weren't sexual so much as a tendency to project my victimisation onto them. Now I can generally ignore that tendency and relate with them as individuals, but for a long time I was almost afraid of children. D, a social worker, tells me that seems to be pretty normal given her experience with survivors of abuse.

Even so, I can't imagine what it must be like to be attracted sexually to children, to know that you mustn't act on those feelings, and yet to do so. It must be a kind of warped thing. Maybe Griff is glad it's over, too, I don't know. But it would only be natural to either have a great deal of self-loathing or to totally snow yourself into thinking everything you were feeling was normal. It's weird what the human mind can do.

And once again, this is a case where my judgement was flawed, because I remember years ago asking Griff out (in a sort of desperate, I'm never-going-to-meet-anyone way). He turned me down, which rather offended me at the time, but now I'm glad. Apparently I'm attracted to people with sex abnormalities (one ex was sexually addicted), given my history. Sigh. Maybe that's a reflection of my childhood issues, too. Yep. I'm better off not dating. So much better off, although I still have hope that there are some normal guys to date out there. Please tell me there are, anyway.

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