Letters to the Editor

From the week of May 27, 2004

I keep coming back to the question about what I was supposed to learn from this. I guess the answer is how you react to things when somebody does something evil to you: You can become evil yourself, or you can try to do good. It's strange, but the only thing that really scares me is the idea of having children of my own -- not because I feel like I couldn't protect them, but because I don't want to subject another human soul to the true horror other people can inflict. Maybe one day I will want to have kids. Maybe that's the ultimate revenge...to have the courage to say, "Yes, despite what happened, life is worth living and passing on to others."

Name withheld on request

Breaking the mold: I thought I was the only one who had those fears. I thought I'd be just like my father. I know I'm not. The second I first held my son in my arms, I knew. I had a similar plan to David Holthouse's. I was going to make my death hurt (if I was like him). This story has given me the strength to contact my father and learn why. Thank you.

Name withheld on request

The final solution: David Holthouse's reference to the Clint Eastwood movie and letting his rapist beg was very emotional. I still think he should have killed him. My significant other had similar, horrible childhood events. She cannot remember the faces, for she was too young, but her anger will always be with her. Sometimes I feel that the only way to correct a wrong such as this is through violence.

Name withheld on request

The end of innocence: David Holthouse, we're of a similar age, so our memories are nearly the same. As are the revenge fantasies. My bogeyman was a teenager who lived three houses down from mine in suburban Phoenix. He ran track in high school, listened to Boston and Aerosmith and had an Oakland Raiders poster on his bedroom wall -- a poster that was to my back as I blew him one afternoon. There were a few other times, I'm sure, but details are hazy. But I do remember that poster: a pencil sketch called "Two Minute Warning," with coach John Madden in a discussion with quarterback Ken Stabler. There was no force, no coercion, just a young man taking advantage of a child who didn't know any better. I didn't realize at the time what had happened, didn't realize for a long while, but when I did, it fucked me up for more than a dozen years. Only after turning 25 did I get help, and the sun has come out since then. That was also the time when I told my family. For them, it explained much of my emotionally erratic adolescence and early adulthood. About five years ago, I called the cops, figuring it was important to get this man off the streets -- if he still walked them. A Phoenix police officer took my report; I never heard back.

I don't know where my bogeyman is now. I could track him down, but I have yet to do so. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I don't want to know what's out there.

Name withheld on request

Judgment day: I understand David Holthouse's feelings exactly. I was molested for ten years of my life (ages five to fifteen) by my stepfather. I am now 33 years old. I told my friend's parents what was happening to me. He was arrested and sent to prison, and was raped repeatedly before being killed in prison.

Name withheld on request

Heart of darkness: Tonight it was well into the early morning when I noticed Westword sitting near the computer. Curious, I began reading David Holthouse's story. To murder this man after what he did to David would be justice, in my mind. But it would have been a secret David would have taken to his grave. Too many secrets are kept and too many lives are ruined not only because of the guilt and shame felt by the victims, but because our society has a difficult time broaching the subject of child molestation and rape. I hope David's story will encourage more victims to come forward so they can seek help. And so these horrible criminals are held accountable and can be prevented from hurting more people.

I kept dark secrets. I was raped by a schoolmate in junior high. Over the years, I have had several men flash me and stalk me. I was too ashamed to tell anyone, and I can't imagine how many others became victims. Had I known better, had more people been more open on the subject of rape and sexual misconduct, I would have reported these people to the police.

My husband kept dark secrets. He was sexually molested when he was a young boy. It is my understanding that he never told his family and never received counseling. My husband is extremely introverted, has dark moods and expresses anger more frequently than anyone I have ever known. I wonder if it's just his personality or perhaps it's because of the rapes.

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