Excuses, excuses, excuses. Why did my grandfather sexually abuse children?

Child molesters often hide in plain sight, disguised by normality. My grandfather was one of them.

He was a family man, retired, living in a nice house with his wife.

So why did he sexually abuse children?

I am one of his victims. And I find most responses to this question leave me feeling angry and offended.

Explanations from those that knew him

One speculation was because my grandmother no longer slept in the same room as him. But I don’t agree with this misogynistic concept that it’s a wife’s duty to have sex with her husband, and I don’t hold her responsible for his actions.

Another suggestion was because he was ‘too tight to pay for prostitutes.’ To me, this sounds like another outdated view that men ‘need’ sex and therefore he had no choice other than to pay to satisfy his sexual urges, or use a child’s body and save some cash.

The rape of a child is a violent act of contempt, not an expression of sexuality or affection.

Mike Lew, Gay Men and Childhood Sexual Trauma: Integrating the Shattered Self

His attack on a boy was thought to have occurred because he had ‘gone a bit gay in his old age.’ I’m also offended by this association of homosexuality with child abuse.

I acknowledge how difficult it must be for those who like or love the perpetrator when the bombshell of disclosed child abuse explodes. But I find these comments hurtful as they minimise his actions, as if they weren’t that bad. They were.

Explanations from those that didn’t know him

I’ve also heard countless speculations that he assaulted children because he himself may have been sexually abused as a child. After some research, I was pleased to find that this abuse-to-abuser hypothesis now receives much less support than previously. [1] [2]

Because this negative stereotype adds even more shame to that which I already carry for the crimes committed against me. And it may prevent disclosure of abuse from survivors who feel that they won’t be trusted around children. It would be more helpful to only assert that the vast majority of survivors do not go on to molest children.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Furthermore, I feel angry when it’s suggested that my grandfather may have been abused in childhood, as it removes the responsibility for his actions away from him and transforms him into a victim, eliciting sympathy.

Explanations from the internet

Further research suggests various reasons why adults may sexually abuse children such as they were depressed, lonely or stressed, had problems forming relationships with peers, or other difficulties in their lives such as divorce, bereavement or job loss. [3] [4] [5] [6]

But many of us have suffered these problems during our lives yet don’t consider abusing children.

The paedophile himself reasoned that he molested children because he loved us

Another reason given is sex addiction. But again, I find this problematic as it hints at perpetrators not being in control of their actions when they clearly are. 

I don’t even accept a sexual attraction to children as a reason to abuse, as I understand there are those who are attracted to children who don’t molest them. We all have sexual attractions to some people, but does sexually assaulting them cross our minds?

Although I believe many of these reasons may be factors in why offences occur, none of them feel like an explanation to me and they belittle the horrendous experiences I endured.

Explanations from perpetrators themselves

Perpetrators convince themselves that the child seems mature, they are ‘introducing’ the child to sex, the child enjoys the abuse or would say ‘no’ if they didn’t want it, or the child is too young to understand or remember amongst other vile excuses.

The vile excuse from the man who abused me, was that he molested children because he loved us.

Oh no, no, no! Even as a child I sensed that his actions didn’t come from a place of misguided love but from a place of malice and cruelty. That’s why it was so frightening. 

His assaults weren’t accidental, they were a choice. A choice that he made time and time again over many years, to use children’s bodies for his own sexual gratification with no consideration for his victims whatsoever.

He flaunted his domination and control by abusing me in front of adults, taunting them to dare to challenge his cruelty. But nobody did.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

His assaults were premeditated. He would hunt me down when I was alone, pressuring me to keep quiet about the sordid things he did to me, fully aware that what he was doing was wrong. But he did it anyway.

After his attacks, he would just walk off, indifferent to the distressed child that he left alone to process the ordeal just endured. But I wasn’t able to, I was just a small child.

With police involvement, he lied under oath, pleaded not guilty and feigned dementia to prolong the torture of a court case for me. He only changed his plea when it was in his best interest to do so.

He never once showed remorse. That’s how much he ‘loved’ me.

My own explanation

I respect other’s analyses of why other sex offenders abuse children and can only pass judgement on the man who abused me.

But I don’t believe that my abuser was a good man who did bad things, rather he was a bad person who pretended to be good.

I understand that people feel placated when empathising with a perpetrator and want to share that with me. But I’m infuriated every time attention is turned from the hurt and suffering that he purposely caused, to the pain and harm that he may, or may not, have suffered.

His assaults weren’t accidental, they were a choice. A choice that he made time and time again over many years.

This focus completely disregards his need to wield fear and control, to dominate and manipulate others, his utter selfishness, inflated sense of entitlement, lack of empathy and willingness to smash moral boundaries to harm children.

There are no excuses to abuse children and reasons given for my abuser’s behaviour, sound to me exactly that, excuses. Excuses that hurt and offend me.

Instead of living as a loving grandfather cherished by his family, he chose to live as a despised, dangerous paedophile.

Why? My own reasoning is because he was a spiteful, sadistic man.

5 thoughts on “Excuses, excuses, excuses. Why did my grandfather sexually abuse children?

  1. So much of what you say resonates. It doesn’t matter why, IMO, he did that is what is important to my mind.

    One thing I have found is central to perpetrators is that – they want to get away with it.

    People need to focus on how you feel that’s all that matters.

    Keep sharing your strength and wisdom

    Sending thoughts. Stella


  2. Hello dear, I am very sorry for what happened to you. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I believe some perpetrators abuse younger children, because they think the children will forget what happened to them, when they are older, or that they themselves will already have left this world. But everyone has to give account to Christ for what they did on earth. Especially who knew better, even the people who helps hide such situations under a rug and brush it off as nothing, seeing innocence being stolen and souls being damaged. I have forgiven, because no one is worth, me living with the heaviness bitterness and unforgiveness brings, and I won’t allow no one to take my peace away. I am not broken because of my past, I am stronger for it, I can be a light to others and help others overcome and help spread awareness, because I survived and I am standing on top of that mountain that once tried to crush me, by the Grace of God I am free.
    I am Praying for your complete healing and know that it was in no way shape or form your fault, it is very disturbing how cold some adult especially family members react to the abused. Peace be with you. God bless. Cheers and Love.


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