Friday, March 28, 2014

Chandra: "A bit of my story"

The following is an email I received from Chandra, a woman who has gone through a lot of hell. She has also posted this to her own blog at and plans to continue her story there. Please give her supportive comments and connect with her blog. The more we talk and connect, the more healing we will find. Maybe we'll even find a collective voice that can stop other women like us from being left without support and resources.  ~ Evie

It is currently 3am on the dot where I am. I just found your blog by looking up the phrase "My husband was a pedophile". I was prompted to do so after looking again for my ex husband to see where he was in the prison world... turns out he has been put in a low security prison and I actually cried when I saw all the things he was allowed to have through the commissary there. An MP3 player? Really? I can't afford one. I can't buy one for the children that he molested for 10 years. I can barely afford rent and he did this to us.
It's been just over 3 years now since I was a non-trad college student with dreams of being an investigative reporter. I had 2 children from a previous marriage and a wee one from my husband. Christa. My sweet little girl. I have a picture of her that is 2 years old. I haven't seen her in longer than that. His parents got custody in the shit storm that happened that day I was turning in some assignment at college. He and I were going to go visit my grandfather in the hospital when we got the call that the state police were looking for us. I honestly thought it was a joke at the time. I had never broken the law. As far as I knew he hadn't either, perhaps it was one of the druggy neighbors and they needed a statement? I was so so wrong.

We just happened to be near the state police headquarters and dropped in to find out what was up. Next thing I know we are following a police car back to our home. My husband turned to me and said "You are going to want a lawyer.", completely perplexed I asked why. He said "Because you are going to want to divorce me." Again I ask why. He then tells me something that I will never forget, or how he said it, or the look on his face when he said it. "I have been looking at kiddie porn." 

It turned out the state police had a warrant to search the place. They had been tracking his online activity for months. Even after he lawyered up he cried and begged forgiveness and told them straight up that he downloaded child pornography. That he had a problem and couldn't stop. I was so angry. I was trying to help them search the house and they kept telling me to calm down, sit down and answer questions. There is a transcript of what I said that day... it is mostly jibberish from me crying and screaming between words. WE HAD CHILDREN, how could he do this? How? Why? I have never gotten those answers. The next day my 13 yo daughter told me that he had been molesting her for years. The day after that my son told me he had been messing with him for years. 

I had no idea. Not a clue. nothing. I didn't see it. And I feel so stupid and ashamed. 

His parents owned pretty much everything we had and took his side. I lost everything and their defense was that I set him up. 10 years in a family that turned on me in a second. They told the world that I put the kids up to disclosing, that I planted child porn on his computer. That I was a bitch, liar, witch, disgusting terrible person and a lot of people believed them. I ended up homeless. They ended up with custody of our shared child and I got supervised visitations... I didn't have the money to fight it and had to represent myself. So I lost. 

He was convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography, the abuse was introduced in the sentencing to show pattern of abuse and he is now serving a 15 year sentence with time served. Which now puts him at getting out in 2024. In a low security prison (he was in medium) that allows him cologne and MP3 players. 

I had to move to a different state because of death threats. My two older children, now 16 and 14 have both, in the past 3 years, attempted suicide, both nearly succeeding. My son hung himself in 2011. We spent a week in ICU. Last May my daughter took an entire bottle of tylenol. Her liver failed and was put on a transplant list. Her liver has since recovered and she lived. They are doing pretty well now, considering all the therapy and being institutionalized multiple times each. 

Me. I just want to talk to my baby girl. But I'm not allowed. The only thing I can do is get a lawyer and fight it. But I can't afford one. So a pedophiles parents get to raise her after paying for his entire defense. And she lives with people that hate me. That blame me. 

So there is my story. There is a lot more to it, but those are just details. Crappy, emotional details that don't really matter anymore. I admire you for doing your blog. I have one too but can't seem to write in it. This is the first time I have ever written out my story.

By Chandra
Please visit her blog at

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pornography 101 may involve "virtual" sex but it is "actually" Not a "Victimless" Sex Crime

The wives, spouses and girlfriends who share their personal stories on  Not the Life I Chose speak about the bone deep pain of Betrayal. Some of us whose children were molested struggle with the silent and not so silent accusations of others. They say, we are the "actual" betrayers of our own children. "She knew. Of course she knew! How could she not have known?" As their wives, as their mothers, we failed to prevent "it."

And we too, even while knowing we did not "know" still wonder how could we not have known? Why didn't we stop the insanity? Were we that stupidly "in Love?" Did we  put our faith in the "sanctity of marriage"  to such an extent that we pushed all else aside? By and large why do women  fail to realize, fail to Know that they and their children are being betrayed?  Why not? Especially if we ourselves were molested as children?

We find ourselves forced to engage in the blame-game, the back and forth, the "Did so!" / "Did not!" with "professionals" with police, with our children and with our consciences while we feel increasingly guilty, helpless and hopeless,. And many of us struggle with depression, anger at being so betrayed, so fooled by the very people with whom we once hoped to share the rest of our lives. People we thought we knew and loved. Before all this happened.

Many of us believe the myth of motherhood, the all powerful myth-of-love in relationship. We believe in the "sanctity of marriage," and we believe the power of our love could redeem.  When things go wrong we have been taught to blame ourselves.  So we believe we are at fault. Seduced by the myth of the elusive power of our love, we agree to believe that our "love" should have, could have prevented, can now cure, might still redeem "our" sex offender. Make everything like it was "before."

When they are found out, arrested,  they weep on our shoulders and get mad when we fail to perfectly understand them.  We can't make it all better, can't make what they actually did do all go away just because they suddenly "need" us. Appealed to, we try damage control, as though we did indeed have special powers to "make it all go away." We are supposed to make reality go away for someone we love,(even if that magical power doesn't "work" for us) This belief in "love" is all too obviously, all too, too "actually" NOT true.

But we do try.  Perhaps we can re-brand, call "it" by another name. But perhaps we can re-classify what "our" offender did, maybe shift the words and shift some of the censure, tell ourselves there are "worse crimes." Hope others will play the "relativity" game. Maybe we can classify the crime as "Victim less." WE hope he will agree to therapy. But then he might be required to list all the actual crimes he has committed. He resists. But all "this" is getting to us. Where will we find or afford a therapist for ourselves? And what about the children? It was just pornography, even if  he was "getting caught up" in child pornography, should watching "it" really even be classified as a sex crime? Is "trolling" chat-rooms so bad? Who says things escalate? What do they know? He is special. He wouldn't do anything like that. Or has he already?

After all if  "nothing actually happened" (no actual sex with a 14 year old met in a chat-room) how could "it" be so bad? Shouldn't the husband, boyfriend, brother, father, son just be ordered into therapy. He only committed a "virtual" crime.  But what if he used your lap-top to surf pornographic websites? We don't even want to know whether that means that he hoped we, not he, would be arrested if and when the cops showed up. It certainly led to a whole lot of uncomfortable police questions. Doesn't that mean he thought he might need to shift the blame, somehow? But onto us? We were all set to champion him. And when will we ever get our own laptop back from Evidence?

Since "it" is only a victim-less crime, should "it" be considered "actually" criminal at all? Shouldn't we just call "it" a private matter, like adultery? An online romance with sex-acts and a virtual mistress. Shouldn't a good wife just have overcome her prudish reluctance and participated in re-enacting the "stuff" on the screen ? (Many women are embarrassed to admit they actually tried that, at least until he kind of went over the edge and started in on the hard core/the rough stuff/ the hurting/ the "dabbling" into child porn "that stuff" anyway.
And if we tried and if it just felt too, I don't know, demeaning even in the privacy of our own homes, must "it" not have also "actually" been demeaning also to the "virtual" no-bodys which our antics were supposed to be emulating, to please our husbands of course.)  The poses felt awkward, even silly. It was all too too embarrassing. He got angry, impatient and... maybe we just left him to "it," his harmless "virtual"hobby. After all we had to look at him over the breakfast table the next morning and "know."

What if we, if she just decided to look the other way? If she didn't confront him before, stop "it" all before, shouldn't she forgive and forget now? But whose responsibility was it, really? To stop trolling. Even if, as he says he didn't really (actually) have sex with that 14-year-old he met on the inter-net and went to meet at the mall... (anyway that 14 year-old wasn't "actually" a 14 year-old was she? "She" was just a dirty minded police officer with a high voice who ran a sting on the respectable (until-his-arrest) hobbyist? Doesn't the law have anything better to do than victimize innocent offenders?)

Wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't  a good wife have been able to satisfy her husband? If she had, would he have "had to" go on-line at all?  If she had lured him away from his growing obsession with porn, somehow made him go to a therapist, regardless, (she knew he wanted to but was too shy to ask) if she had just been more loving, paid more attention to him, been less focused on the children, wouldn't things have been different? If he just hadn't felt so ignored, If she hadn't ignored him...well?

Still I have a confession. I Do think pornography is nasty (in the old fashioned sense of the word: filthy, indecent, obscene, harmful, even dangerous.) I DO think engaging in pornography should be considered a sex offense. I "actually" believe that pornographic web-sites are to sex offenders what flight simulators are to pilots-in-training. They help those so inclined to fly, to fantasize dominance and then actually learn the skills necessary to take off and fly straight into the World Trade Center. In my view, pornography websites are not harmless. The websites whet the appetites of those so inclined, they teach them that it is eminently possible to actualize their own personal sexual obsessions. To take pleasure in demeaning and degrading others.

But setting aside my own negativity, there is still the claim that pornography is virtually harmless, that even child pornography, is victim-less because it is virtual. (But aren't, those real children who eat and sleep and really live somewhere really, actually being photographed performing sex acts?) But I digress. Never mind, tell yourself  those children "actually" are "virtual," they are "no-body" only momentarily alive looping on and on up there on your computer screen.

So if we agree not to think about even virtual pornography. Can we turn our attention to the very real flesh and blood wives and mothers and girlfriends.   We are "Actually" Pornography's other victims. Even if the children in our own homes have not "actually" been victimized (yet.) We already have been.  We are loath to admit this one shameful reality: We are ashamed to admit that our own husbands/spouses/boyfriends actually preferred  virtual pornography to sex with us. Or, if we insisted they pay us sexual attention, they wanted us to re-enact the pornography they desired instead of making unscripted messy, laughing, sweaty love to us.

So, we waited in our real beds night after night for our flesh and blood husbands, lovers and spouses to want to have sex with flesh and blood us. Why didn't they come to bed and make love to us instead of getting off watching a Computer screen? Face it, they are obsessed with virtual sex acts some of which make our skin crawl when we stumble across all the pornographic web-sites they have set up on our computers. What's wrong with us? That they don't love us? Ah, the power of love. The magical delusions. If we were only slimmer, prettier, sexier, if we weren't so tired after dinner, we imagine we could compete with the virtual sex objects on the computer..

But we tell ourselves it's only pornography. It could be so much worse. We just need to be more sophisticated about this. Not such prudes. After all he's so good otherwise. Such a good provider, a good husband, a father, a grandfather, a coach, a teacher, a pastor, a Cub Scout leader. Everybody likes him. Maybe we could convince him to try couple's therapy with us? Maybe buy more sexy negligees? Just wait, hope and work this problem out in the privacy of home. Meanwhile we wait up-stairs. Why can't he get off the computer? Why can't he just come up here to us? Make love to the real us. After all we are the one person who really loves the actual him. At least we think we love the person he has led us to believe he is. We tell ourselves "It could be so much worse."

Then it does "get worse."  He gets arrested. And for a victim-less crime. Like pornography.

And we suddenly realize that we have been victimized by his victim-less crime. ("She knew. Of course she knew! How could she not have known?" and more-over why didn't she make him stop? Before he got in over his head, before "it" was too late.) It is a shock to realize he/we have been living his lie. We also have been demeaned and victimized. The boyfriend, the spouse, the watcher, hobbyist, the internet-stalker-of-children has betrayed not only those victims, but has victimized us and in a very real (very "actual") way.

Betrayal is the bone deep hurt we feel (on a very personal level)  when we and our needs as real people are set aside over and over in favor their bone deep obsession with pornography.  When did we first realize that they preferred  watching, fantasizing, getting-off  with virtual men, women, and yes, small children performing ritualized sex acts over and over? It was indeed humiliating to realized they liked "it" better than making love to real flesh and blood us? Then their "actual" crimes are "discovered." The police raid our home and, there in full view of the neighbors, he is actually arrested. Taken out in hand-cuffs.
Things got much worse.

We cry and rage and "forgive" and understand, and vow to help them and we blog and try to find other women who "know" because they too have been through "it." Hoping they at least will recognize all the ways we too have been victimized. Betrayed. We need to find somewhere where we don't get judged. Where we can say whatever it is out-loud. Somewhere, where we don't need to explain ourselves all over again. We can tell it like it is and be understood. Where are recognized as real people in real pain reaching out, helping each other.

Sooner or later we find courage to know our first duty is not to help him, somehow. But we have a duty to ourselves. We are on a journey and we are not alone. There are others telling their stories, blogging, commenting, ranting, snapping, being snarky, laughing, crying, telling us ways we can heal because they too are healing. They too are focused on creation instead of destruction. Others are willing to share what happened. How they survived. They give us hope that since they are making a new life, new lives for their children, new futures for themselves, maybe we can to. Even if we decide to visit him in prison. Even when our phone bill goes up and up, all those angry, all those begging calls from the jail. Whatever our choices. Other spouses at least know what it's like to be torn apart inside but healing. Somehow.

But it takes time to work through to a new reality. In the meantime we all deal with another painful reality: who in their right mind wants to admit he wanted pornography more than he wanted them. They are victims. Who wants to see themselves as "sooo lame." One of those women. Still we mourn what has been done to us, to our lives We pray, and hate and pretend it's "all OK now" and we mention betrayal on this blog over and over. We did, we do suffer the reality of  "actual" Betrayal acutely. Because Pornography is not a victim-less crime. Pornography actually has many victims. We too were victimized.

We deserve our love and attention. One of the first "taking care of myself" things I did was to ask myself what would help me when I woke up at 2 in the morning and could not go back to sleep, when it was dark and I was scared and felt so alone. I bought myself a magazine, some book I really wanted to read but waited until some 2AM to treat myself. I created some little stash of comfort, some special bath soap  and when I woke up I'd have a warm bath and read until I was so sleepy I could fall asleep. As time went on I got more imaginative in taking care of me. It helped. Have you noticed that many blog comments are posted late at night? We search the internet for others who know.

In this increasingly "virtual" world we are told we cannot claim to be victims.  Just like the virtual children in the victim-less crime of pornography, as wives and mothers we think we don't have time to take care of another "victim" especially not ourselves. Where could we find the money to take care of ourselves anyway? We have children to raise, jobs to find, court dates loom, and there are social workers to please. We cannot have been betrayed, demeaned, degraded right along with his virtual victims. We are just lucky they didn't decide to arrest us also. Therefore the pain we feel so acutely isn't Actually Betrayal of the love and trust, of the life together, the life we actually thought we were choosing when we fell  in love with the "virtual" husband we actually thought we knew, back then...

Before the knock on the door. Before he called from the jail telling us to make bail. Before the arraignment, before, before. Back before... If we could only get back to before from here.

But we have to move forward. Things have changed. We change. We are changing for the better. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jo: "My story. Kinda"

This was sent to me by Jo, another member of our community. We all have unique stories, but so much in common. Please comment to show support and offer encouragement. 
 ~ Evie

It's taken me days and many cigarettes to finally email you.
How much of my story to tell? And it's just began.
He hasn't even been sentenced yet.
I have so much hurt and this has just started.
My house was raided January 28th. I still sometimes have panic attacks when I lay down to sleep.
I'm sitting at my neighbors apartment emailing you from my phone because my apartment is too toxic. That and the department of justice has my computer.
My husband is being charged with 4 counts of possession of child porn
The 4 days he spent in jail, as pathetic as it sounds, I physically hurt.
I had amazing friends by my side making sure that I ate and did their best to make me feel better
Then he was released on a signature bond.
Those first few days he was the husband I'd always wanted.
My heart broke as he cried and told me how sorry he was.
I knew he had a porn addiction, I just never expected it to get so has he started looking at children.
He explained that his disability (spinia bifida) made him too self conscious  to pursue relationships as a kid.
Our disabilities are a big part of how we got together. I have Cerebral palsy. In case you were wondering.
I listened to to his explanation of his addition.
I believed him and maybe I still do. I don't know anything anymore.
I made the decision to move out today. He was being an asshole the entire day. It's easy to be strong when he's a jerk.
I know he's probably hurting and that kills me. But I have to heal myself.
Hoping to get my own apartment asap.
Well at least I got part of my story out.

If you would like to share your story or a topic you think is important, please go here

Sunday, March 9, 2014

To Anonymous, you're in good company

In reply to the anonymous commenter from the post about bullying . . .

We all parent differently and we will all raise flawed children - that's just the truth of it. My beliefs about parenting are obviously different from yours and I’m okay with that. I didn’t start this blog to fight with other parents. Janet and I see issues like bullying and parenting styles as ways to address deeper social issues that contribute to the social problems of which we have fallen victims. I think it is highly valuable to explore these aspects of the bigger picture . . . 

HOWEVER, I think this particular conversation with you shouldn't be about bullying or parenting styles. That's not why you came here. You are here because you need the company of women who have been through what you are going through, which includes Janet and myself and many other women reading these posts. Maybe not every woman who comes here has children, but most of us do. Most of us have been left as single parents long before we ever thought about divorce. I am sadly confident that we all know what it is like being at the end of our ropes with more responsibilities than we can handle and only rage inside. We know what it's like to be sick of the sight of social workers and cops. And we know what it is like to be drained of all funds and dealing with  more crap than we deserve. I can empathize, I can. 

Sadly, I don't think there is anything I can say to ease your burdens. I can't advise you on how to navigate this impossible life you've ended up with. I just hope you continue to be here and realize that there are many of us here with you. If you can’t get a therapist to listen, then we’ll do that job. So please keep venting to us and continue to let the rage out. We’re listening. 

In fact, I welcome every woman who sympathizes to let their rage out on this blog (only please be sure to rage at those who truly deserve it and never pass it on to the undeserving, like the other women here).  Let’ scream it to the internet and let it resonate forever in its code. I really effin like that idea. 

Anonymous, I think we can both agree on many things in this life, including the desire to raise good kids, even if we can’t agree how to make that work. You are welcome here to express yourself and take what you need. Leave whatever doesn’t work for you behind.