Bob Ewegen, deputy editorial page editor
The Denver Post
The Evil That Men Do
The best revenge:David Holthouse, I just read "Stalking the Bogeyman," in the May 13 issue of Westword, and I have to say, it is the most inspiring story I have ever read. As I was reading it, I experienced painful memories of my childhood and how I wished I could find my stepfather and make him pay for what he had done to my sisters and myself.
After reading this remarkable story, I have a completely different view of how I can change my response to a horribly detrimental act and break the cycle. Instead of getting revenge, I can get the guilt, anger and fear I have felt since I was a little child off my shoulders by just leaving the discipline up to God and forgiving the people who harmed me.
I want to thank you for sharing your story with me and changing my life in a way that will make me a much happier person throughout the rest of my life.
Suffer the children:David Holthouse, I'm sure you are being inundated with supportive letters about your story. Add me to the list. I'm one of the "one out of four women" in Colorado molested by someone she trusted as a child. It happened to nearly all of my siblings, too. And my niece, who was raped repeatedly by her grandfather.
Your story touched me so much not just because I identified with your experience, but because I am the mother of a beautiful six-year-old son. Despite my experience, I do not regret being a mother. On the contrary, being a mom is the most significant, precious and important aspect of my life. It doesn't compare with any other achievement in my life. Not even close. So if the opportunity arises, I think you should become a dad -- if you want that for yourself. I will tell you that because of my family history, I do tend to worry a lot and, perhaps by some people's standards, "overprotect" my son. My husband and I never leave him with anyone else. We have not been separated from him overnight since he was born.
You are a brave man. I don't know if I could have been as forgiving as you were with your predator. I believe I could kill a man with my bare hands if he did to my son what that sonofabitch did to you. But I understand your need to let go and find peace in yourself. Anger causes so much damage to our bodies and our souls. I pray you have a happy rest of your life.
Name withheld on request
View to a kill:Okay. The same thing happened to me. I was ten. I had/have the same plan. The problem is, he's a cop now. I don't know what to do. It fucked me up, but I survived. (I was/am hypersexual but straight, and I'm still extremely protective of all children.) I still think about killing him. I don't know what I'll do. This is the first time I have ever written a word about the experience. My parents do not know. They never will. I wouldn't let him talk to me if we did meet; I might reconsider. I just keep away. Bad luck for him if we meet up.
Name withheld on request
Closure call:Thank you, David Holthouse. I believe, and certainly hope, that you have enlightened at least one or two of the unconscious masses roaming this planet. If your bravery saved even one child from your horrendous experience, you have much to be proud of. Thank you for using a pen and not a gun to find closure. It was a much stronger, far-reaching and effective medium. You are one brave, intelligent and compassionate hero in my eyes.
I wish you all the good that life can hold.
Heather Lim Sonoma, California
Of good and evil:I read David Holthouse's story nodding my head. I've been there and been through this myself. Thank God I was never raped, but I was molested several times as a child by an older cousin. He was also fond of psychological harassment and threats. I went through the same gamut of emotions that David did, the same doubts and fears. Was something wrong with me? Did I provoke him? What the hell is his problem? If I hit him on the head hard enough from behind, will he drop dead?
After 25 years, and with the support of my husband, I told my family about it last year. I also told my aunt and confronted the "monster" as well. Come to find out, he had been raped himself as a four-year-old. I never would have known that if I hadn't had the courage to confront my fears. I honestly felt sorry for him. It doesn't change what he did, but it does put a face on the "monster." All I know is that I feel better -- not great, but better -- with the truth out in the open.