Prevention Podcast: Ayden, Sex Offender, Anti-Contact Pedophile

Note: This was transcribed by the same MAP volunteer that transcribed Bertus’ interview.

http://thepreventionpodcast.com/ayden

Candice:

Welcome to the Prevention Podcast. I’m your host Candice Christiansen. Our goal at the Prevention Podcast is to talk about dicey, controversial issues related to preventing sexual abuse. Why? Because it needs to be said. Topics include: the biology of pedophilia; risk, need, and responsivity principles relating to non-contact and contact sex-offenders; researchers in the field of sex-offender treatment; and more. Join us bi-weekly and let’s talk about it.

Welcome to the Prevention Podcast! I’m your host Candice Christiansen, and I have my co-host here today with me, Meg Martinez-Dettamanti.

Meg:

Hello everyone!

Candice:

Today we’re interviewing an individual by the name of Aydne. It’s an alias to protect his confidentiality and any identifying information. This is going to be a little bit different podcast today because, and Aydne you’ll share this more with us, first I’m going to welcome you –

Aydne:

Hey.

Candice:

We’ve been doing interviews with individuals who are non-offending, anti-contact pedophiles, cause you’re anti-contact today and you have admitted that in your past you did have a sex offense against a child.

Aydne:

That is correct.

Candice:

Okay, so I appreciate you being honest about that. One of the things I want to say before we get started, and I have asked Meg to do this interview with me because I, you know, people know that I am a survivor, and we have 33 countries now that are listening to us, and it definitely may be emotional for me as a survivor to be interviewing someone that has a history of abusing a child. And so I appreciate Meg being on this with me and I want to say that it’s important to me to have our listeners hear you share, Aydne, because you know if I was ever able to interview my abusers from when I was a child, there are things that I would want to know, so I appreciate you being willing to be on our podcast today.

Aydne:

Absolutely, and I’m sorry for what you went through, it ain’t right.

Candice:

Yeah, I appreciate, I appreciate that. So let’s just go ahead and get started. Meg, do you want to start us off?

Meg:

Sure. So, some of the other minor-attracted individuals that we’ve talked to, Aydne, have actually said that when they do bring their story to the surface, whether they’re coming out as their true identity (we just did an interview with Todd Nickerson, which is his real name) or if they’re coming out as an alias but to be an advocate for the MAPs community, to be an advocate for minor-attracted non-offending anti-contact individuals, we’ve heard that they have a lot of support, or they’ve said that they have a lot of support from survivors, such as Candice, because they’re saying that the survivors are applauding that they’re willing to come out and get treatment and to get help and to commit to prevention, rather than stay underground, or even be locked up with the key thrown away. So what are your thoughts on that?

Aydne:

Well I don’t think lockin’ people up is the solution. At all. I actually tried to get help, umm, beforehand, and it didn’t go well. What ended up happening was I told somebody and they freaked out about it. They didn’t want me around kids, they wanted me to stop doing certain classes, they wanted me to… stop… being me, basically. And that pushed me as far away from help as you can get. So I think that the number one thing we can do is to support pedophiles that want to come forward for help.

You know, pushing them away, talking about locking them up and throwing away the key, and death threats, and “just go get help”, whatever “help” is to people. I don’t think that’s helpful. I think we need to treat pedophiles as human beings. I definitely support that idea. And at the same time, I’m flattered and honored that survivors would be willing to support a cause like that because it’s very important to me to see that other people learn that sex abuse doesn’t have to happen. It doesn’t have to be the case. We can do something about it beforehand. People can get help beforehand, if there’s help out there beforehand.

Candice:

Yeah, I really appreciate you saying that Aydne, because I agree. This is why I have the Prevention Project, this is why we’re doing this podcast, and we really agree with you and have seen many men come through our programs who do not want to harm anyone including children, and without our help they have feared that they would be at higher risk or would have done something.

It’s also interesting too because we know that there are a lot of people who end up abusing children that are not pedophiles. I do want to explore a little bit more with you, kind of back it up if you will, to talk about what was going on when you were younger, and noticing those attractions, and then trying to get help and it sounds like the doors closed. So if you’re open to sharing, you know, when did you first know that you were a pedophile? What age?

Aydne:

I was about thirteen. I wouldn’t have called it that at the time. I just kinda noticed that I liked younger boys, you know. 12, 11 years old at the time (when I was 13). And I wouldn’t have called it an attraction, I would have just said I liked boys a little younger than me. As I grew older, that didn’t change, it kinda stayed at 11 and 12, and then kinda started reversing. But before that, I kinda felt a little bit with the mental health system, and IEPs, and you know, special schoolin’ if you will. That’s because I was diagnosed with ADD when I was about 5.

So, you know, already from an early age, I kinda had that “I’m different from people” feeling. You know, that I’m, I hate this word, but, “special”. So that was kinda my childhood, you know. There was some mild bullying stuff, you know, stuff kids all over probably go through. And, you know, learning about my attractions and what they really meant, you know, I come from a Lutheran background and people from Christian backgrounds, from Lutheran backgrounds, at least back then, they don’t look kindly on liking other men, let alone boys. I kind of internalized some of that. I kind of viewed it as off-limits, you know. I wanted to be attracted to women, to girls, and it just wasn’t there.

Candice:

And so when you say girls at the time, you were thinking like, “here I am, I’m 13, and I want to be attracted to kids my age. If it’s not boys, I wish I could be attracted to girls, I want to grow up and be attracted to women”.

Aydne:

Exactly.

Candice:

But yeah, I just want our listeners to be clear on that. And so here you are, and this is obviously before anything crossed over for you, where you crossed over into actually offending against a child, right? This is years before, is that right?

Aydne:

Yeah, that’s years before.

Candice:

Okay. And so, throughout this process, did you reach out to anyone like in your teenage years, to try to get help with that?

Aydne:

I didn’t really reach till high school, you know, Christian high school, Christian college, eventually. I asked a teacher about it, two other teachers about it, and they, the one’s reaction was like “this really isn’t my area, I don’t know a whole lot about this. I’mma direct you to this guy, he kinda knows his stuff a little better”. So, you know, I talked to the other guy, and his reaction was like “well, you gotta stop working with kids. You gotta stop being interested in kids, you gotta stop working with kids. You gotta avoid kids at all cost”.

And I’m like, “why”, you know? Like, I’m coming to you for help, I’m not coming to you to hear a bunch of garbage about how I’m a risk, how I’m a danger. And he kept using words like innocence, and stuff like that, like I could control my attractions somehow. And, you know, I’m looking at that from my perspective as a teenager and going “this guy doesn’t have a clue. If this is what I get for telling people, then, you know, forget it. I don’t wanna go there.”

Meg:

So it sounds like you felt really misunderstood by the first few, let’s say, authority figures or professionals that you looked to for help.

Aydne:

Oh yeah.

Meg:

I want to clarify something, Aydne. So you said earlier when we were talking about kind of, when you started noticing your attractions, that you wouldn’t call it an attraction, and I wonder, because we’ve seen this a lot, if you felt like it was more of an emotional connection, or you know, fitting in more with individuals that are younger than you, as opposed to your peers, like Candice was saying. And if that’s the case, is that why as a teenager you were continuing to be around kids or working with kids in whatever capacity you just mentioned?

Aydne:

For me, it was really identifying with that younger crowd, because I didn’t really feel like I fit in with adults. I didn’t really feel like I was mature enough to fit in with adults. Certainly not as a teenager. So I think that was definitely part of it. At the same time, it was sexual attraction. I would have just referred to it as “liking”, you know. I didn’t really, people didn’t start using the word attraction around issues like that until, I dunno, late 90s? Till I was in college.

Candice:

You know what we’re learning, and you know this too, is that there’s definitely an emotional attraction, mental attraction, as much as there is a physical or sexual one. It’s definitely not as black and white as I think just the typical lay-person might assume. You know, we hear individuals who have attractions to children who will say “I feel emotionally attracted to the child, and I can keep it at that, and not move into a sexual attraction”. And we go back and we can find that things occurred in their own childhood at that age that they’re attracted to, and that’s kind of where they’ve gotten stuck. And so, there is that connection, that level of innocence if you will, that they find that they too connect to.

I think it’s very, it’s just very complicated. It’s not black and white. And I think our society really likes to try to force it. As we’ve seen on Twitter, there’s a lot of trolls that will just try and pidgeonhole and force it into, you know, “if you have this attraction you are absolutely going to cause harm to a child, you’re going to offend”. And, you know, here we are talking with you today. We know that you, today, are very passionate about being an anti-contact. A man first, and an anti-contact pedophile as well. Is that right?

Aydne:

Absolutely. I don’t, I suppose I’m skipping ahead, but some people knowing the situation and what happened, they look at it and they go “you were just a kid, and you made some mistakes that, yeah they’re gonna cost you in the long run, yeah they really impacted somebody else, but they were, you know, understandable”. I think the word is “situational” some people use. And I go, “no, they were decisions to hurt somebody. They weren’t, they didn’t happen out of the blue”.

Meg:

Right. I appreciate you saying that, and validating the victims and the survivors out there. It seemed to be as you were telling your story that one of the things that happened was you decided not to trust anybody else. You said “you know if I’m going to get this kind of response”, which I do think a lot of minor-attracted individuals or pedophiles get, which is “you just need to stay away from kids, try living in this society and in this world by just staying away from kids”, you know what I mean, which may sound easy for someone to say to you, but is definitely an impossible task, and can be really discouraging and I think lead individuals that have minor attractions just to go underground with what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling.

And so, you know, noticing that that happened in your life and, I think that is definitely coupled with what you said with “this actually became a decision of mine. And other people might have looked at it as, you know an opportunity or a situational crime, butm you know because of this underground nature of my desire and my thoughts and my feelings, I feel like it was a conscious decision.”

Aydne:

Sure. And when I isolated, it wasn’t, it wasn’t pretty. When I isolated, I didn’t tell nobody about it. I tried Googling. You know, searching stuff on the internet. And, you know, you look up “help for pedophiles” and, you know “what is pedophilia”, cause, you read the news reports about pedophiles and pedophilia, and I’m like “oh well, that’s probably what I have is this pedophilia, whatever that is. You know, I like kids”. So, you know, I did my own searching, and I just kept finding these articles that, you know, now I know they’re hogwash, but back then I didn’t know that. And I’m looking at these articles, these government reports, that basically say “once a pedophile, always a pedophile.

Once somebody abuses a kid, once somebody has an attraction to a kid, they’re gonna abuse a kid, they’re gonna keep doing that, and there ain’t no cure, there ain’t no stopping it, except to lock the person up”. And I’m like, “well then I really can’t tell nobody about it”. So, you know, it really worked me into this isolating place. So there was that window initially where I wanted help and I wanted to understand it, and I think I missed it. Cause when I started isolating, I started looking at images of kids, you know.

And then it became adult pornography, and then all the while I’m going to high school, I’m going to college, I’m trying to figure my life out and what I want to do with it. You know, I’m in this isolating place, I’m trying to work a job, I’m trying to have a social life, I’m trying to stay fit, did exercise classes back then, and I really worked myself into a place where nobody knew what was going on. They knew I was struggling with something, but they didn’t know what it was, or how they could help, you know. Some people was like “oh, you seem lonely, you should get a girlfriend”. And I’m like, “I don’t.. like.. girls”. And I can’t tell people that because I’m in this religious environment.

Candice:

Definitely sounds very, like you said, isolating and like, locked in a box, almost in the prison of your mind, not feeling like you had a place to share who you were and what was going on. And then you’re reading about things online, and we know in the media how individuals who have crossed over into sex-offending. And so it sounds like before you had done that, even, you had spiraled into this world of shame, and feeling like a terrible person, and –

Aydne:

Absolutely, I felt like I was a monster.

Candice: Which we hear so often. And then, you know, it’s perpetuated in the media. I do wanna say for those who that are listening, because again I think we have so many people now that listen to us, what we know with people who look at child pornography — not in all cases — but, you know there are some individuals who will look at child pornography and not cross over into a contact offense. And so, in your case — and some do — and it sounds like in your case, again, you’re trapped in your mind, you reach out to people, they’re telling you to get a girlfriend, you don’t feel like you have an outlet, you feel like you’ve missed this window of opportunity to get help. And so now you’re in the shame spiral, coping by escaping through porn, you’re looking at child porn, and it sounds like it’s a recipe for disaster.

Aydne:

That’s exactly what it was. It kinda worked me into this mindset where I guessed it’d be alright as long as nobody knew about it. I kinda worked myself into this mindframe where, well if I’m gonna be a monster anyway, and that’s when I was taking exercise classes, and I met an older teen, and, you know, he and I’d see movies together, talk about lotsa stuff, you know, religion, philosophy, you know, his classes, my classes. And you know, getting to know the older teen, I got to know the rest of his family, and he had a younger brother, and, you know, I’m already in this isolating place, and that kinda set the backdrop for what ended up happening.

Candice:

Well, let me add to this, so I hear, so there’s definitely what we call thinking errors, you know. There’s grooming thoughts, you know, of if it’s the right kid, and so on and so forth. Which we know, when we’re working with folks who cross over into sex offending we talk about, you know there’s that grooming behavior that we want people to understand, and those thinking errors that, “oh it’s okay”, or “it’s just once”, and so on and so forth. And so I hear that going on with you with this boy who ended up being what, it sounds like your victim. I do want to ask you, were you a teenager at the time when you sexually offended?

Aydne:

Early 20s.

Candice:

Okay. I just, I wasn’t sure on that. So, we’re gonna fast forward. So, you get charged? Were you charged?

Aydne:

I was charged. And they charged me with, you know, sexual abuse of a child under thirteen. Umm, I tried to kill myself. And I didn’t really have anybody I could talk to about why I did try to kill myself. So I told a friend, “hey, I just tried to kill myself”. I don’t know what I expected him to do, you know. He called the cops. I take an ambulance ride to the hospital, spend a week in a mental hospital. And so I got charged. In the hospital they actually recommended a program to me. And, you know, I went to the program. Before I spent that month in jail, I was already kinda set up with a treatment program to kinda help address what had happened and why it happened, and you know, kinda workin through some of that afterwards.

Meg:

So Aydne, you kind of explained, I was in this mindset. You know, we talked a lot about what led up to the offense, that you were charged, that you were in the program. Tell us about what changed your mind, cause I think that’s what listeners are really interested to hear, is what brought you from that mindset, from that space, over here to be someone who considers yourself anti-contact, somebody who’s a huge advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse. What changed your mind and caused that shift, not only for you internally, but for you to be public about it?

Aydne:

Well, for me, I was on probation a long time and, you know, got to talking with a lot of the guys. Heard about Virtuous Pedophiles; probation said “nope, can’t do that, you gotta wait till you’re done”. But once I was off probation, I was like, I wanna be a part of people knowing how this stuff happens, and the best thing that I could do in that situation was tell my story. You know, so I got to know people on VirPed, and, you know, I was gonna use WordPress at first, but somebody recommended Medium and, you know, that’s kinda how that got going.

And, in terms of why I wanted to move past that and be a voice, I really regret what I did. I never got the chance to apologize. And for me, speaking out and saying stuff about it, and trying to tell people “this is how stuff happens”, you know, if people are looking for the monster, for the creepy guy in a van, they ain’t gonna see the guy that’s working with kids, that’s cheery all the time, you know, does a great job with the kids, families trust him, church trusts him, you know, they’re not gonna see that guy.

They’re not gonna see that guy that’s struggling and alone and he’s working with kids and being around people to try to cope with and distract from all the thoughts that are going on. You know, people knew I was struggling with something. They didn’t know what it was. But if people are looking for that monster, they’re never gonna see me. They’re never gonna see the old me, they’re never gonna see the guy that’s wrestling with himself. They’re just gonna see the people that have already done stuff. And, from my understanding, the people that have already done stuff ain’t gonna be likely to do it anymore.

You know, if they get help, they understand why they did it, they put a plan in place to address the risks, they do that they’re not gonna go out and hurt people no more. It’s enough of a shock to deal with the criminal justice system and stand before a judge and know that judge has the power to send you to prison if he really wants to. You know that, that stuff, that’s a pretty strong deterrent.

Candice:

It definitely sounds like that was a deterrant for you and I think, you know I have a background working with sex offenders, and now I have crossed over obviously into the prevention piece, and I know in my work with sex offenders, back in the day, there were individuals that the judge didn’t scare them, probation stipulations didn’t scare them, uh, they just kept doing what they were doing, even treatment didn’t seem to sink in. And so it’s nice to hear that for you, in your case — I mean I’m not saying, you know, “all individuals that commit sex offenses don’t change and they end up back in prison” — but I do want to point that out, that some don’t learn unfortunately, and go on to commit another offense.

Now I do really appreciate that you have made that change and that shift, that treatment was effective, and that you’re willing to come on, you know, just on our podcast as well as be a voice out in the global community to say “we can prevent this before it happens; this is me, I know; and, these are ways we can prevent children from being abused”. I do appreciate that you write on Medium. I think when we see other pedophiles, and mind you they’re non-offending, and anti-contact such as yourself, writing about this, I am happy about it, because in my world it’s about, you know, all of us. I support anyone who wants to be an advocate against harming a child. And so I appreciate that you have made that commitment and that you feel like you have learned. You know, you have learned from this experience of harming a child.

Meg:

The other thing I just wanted to mention, Aydne, was I really liked how you said “if everybody continues to just look for the stereotype and doesn’t hear me and my story, they’re not gonna see me”. And I really think that that’s impactful just to show that this is an issue, this is something that can happen to a wide range of people, there’s truly no profile. And so, echoing what Candice said, I truly appreciate you coming on the podcast to tell your story if it’s just to show, you know, that things like this happen in a lot of different areas to a lot of different individuals and we need to be aware of that first and foremost and squash some of our stereotypes in order to help people and also to help children.

Candice:

Well, and the individuals can be 18, and we’re also hearing younger than that as you’ve shared. Every single person that we’ve spoken with that has an attraction to children says it started when they were a teenager. And so, you know, when the folks come to our program, 18 to 75, I mean there’s definitely a range, and they’re men and they’re women, and they’re young men and older men, and they’re young women and older women. And so I think our world needs to be more awake and alert to the reality that we’re talking about an age attraction, and there is help out there thankfully. There’s several prevention projects out there globally. And folks, there are folks out there who say “I have an attraction but I will never offend and I’m committed to that”.

There’s mental health treatment, we provide that to those men and women, but we also provide treatment for men and women such as yourself who say, you know, “if we were to rewind”, and our program was out there for you, you know, before when you were struggling, we are there for people who say “I have this attraction; I’m scared, I’m at risk; I don’t have anyone to share my thoughts and fantasies and so on with”, we are there for them and we know there’s a lot of global programs out there.

And then I also again appreciate that yes, you did make a terrible choice. You know, you harmed a child. And, I also want to acknowledge and commend you for accepting the consequences, going to get help, not fighting the system but saying “I’m accepting this”, challenging people when they minimize what you did, and also making this lifelong commitment now Aydne, to ensure that children are protected. And so thank you for coming on our podcast today and being willing to share your story. Is there anything else that you want to share today?

Aydne:

I would just really emphasize that people look for the monsters. They don’t look for the people that are struggling. Because that week before the family came forward and said “this is what’s going on” and me trying to kill myself, you know, I was telling friends, family members, coworkers, this is what I’m dealing with. You know, somebody said that I did this, and not a single person said to my face, every single one of them, “there’s no way you could possibly do that. You’re too nice, you’re too kind, you love kids. You wouldn’t ever hurt a kid”.

And, I mean I was sitting right there in the open, with the accusation there and everything, and people still didn’t believe it. So I would definitely say: learn the facts, learn where people can get help from, and do what you can to just be aware. You know, there’s somebody I ran into Twitter early, “T” something or other, and he’s got a website, he’s got a blog, he’s got, good gravy if I’d come across that… I mean Virtuous Pedophiles has got a bunch of different resources too. There’s Ender, he’s got a Medium too, he’s written about a bunch of different things. And there’s all these resources now that weren’t there before, and people can go to these resources and get help, people can got to these organizations and figure out how to prevent this stuff. I know that’s what you guys specialize in too, so.

Candice:

Well, indeed. And I think, you know, what you’re saying, what I heard you say, is you want people, if there’s an accusation that comes out against someone, such as what happened to you, take it seriously, and ask the question of the person. Some people might listen to this podcast and say “oh, well you’re saying you’re a victim”.

Aydne:

No. I ain’t a victim. I mean, maybe I’m a victim of my pedophilia. Maybe. I think that’s a stretch. But I made decisions, it didn’t happen by accident. No way.

Candice:

Well I appreciate you saying that too, for those listeners who say, “well this guy is claiming he’s the victim, you know he tried to kill himself”. What I’m hearing you say is “no that was my reality. Like I’m not playing the victim here, it’s like, ‘this is the reality’. I’m a monster, if I feel like this is my life, this is what I’m gonna be doing for my life is harming kids, I may as well kill myself”.

Aydne:

Exactly.

Candice:

Well I, yeah, I think that’s a really important message as well in terms of taking it seriously if somebody’s accused, asking more questions if you’re a family member or a friend and you feel like you’re seeing something of a loved one, or not, it could be a colleague or a coworker or anyone really, because there are many people out there that have pedophilia, and many people who will never offend who have pedophilia, and there are some people who are at risk, and at more risk, and so again, I appreciate you being on our podcast today. Thank you Aydne.

Aydne:

Thank you.

Meg:

Thank you Aydne.

Candice:

I’ll just say this — I have really appreciated this podcast. This definitely was one of our dicier ones. Stay tuned for next time, join us bi-weekly, and let’s continue to talk about it. Thank you.

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