Letters to the Editor

From the week of June 3, 2004

SinceWestword published David Holthouse's "Stalking the Bogeyman," in our May 13 issue, we've been inundated with letters about the story -- and all too many of those letters have come from readers who, like David, were sexually assaulted when they were children. On Monday, when news of Holthouse's arrest in Broomfield, Colorado, on charges of stalking and harassment -- charges we plan to fight -- hit the national news, the floodgates opened even further. What follows is just a sampling of the recent correspondence we've received. Still to come in a future issue: the rest of Holthouse's story. -- Patricia Calhoun

The best revenge:Three cheers to Westword for running "Stalking the Bogeyman," David Holthouse's brutal piece about revenge and reality. And a Pulitzer to Holthouse for putting his anger, adulthood and career to good use in telling a simple and tragic story on the taboo topic of child rape. Who among us can claim not to have wanted -- in all seriousness and even if only for a moment -- to kill someone who has visited egregious harm upon our person? Courage and honor are so rare in our world; long and loud kudos to your paper for publishing the piece and standing behind the writer now. I'm sure you've gotten a thousand letters just like this one, but I wanted to add my voice. Well done.

Ashley Bristowe
Calgary, Canada

Future shock:I just wanted to say I am totally shocked that David Holthouse was arrested. Well, maybe not shocked -- not in this weird-ass world -- but I am pissed. Is there any wonder why rape is the most under-reported crime? I just want to say I totally support David and will be watching his case closely. Right now I am completely disgusted with the Broomfield police. I am sure they got their orders, which they must follow, and so did the other good Germans. Whoever is pressing these charges must be inhuman.

Bruce Kaufman
via the Internet

Trick or treatment:I just wanted to add myself to the list of grateful and admiring readers David Holthouse's recent article has garnered. How disappointing to learn that he was arrested this weekend as a result of sharing his story. Absurd. I hope the attention and pressure now placed on his attacker forces him to leave the area, the state.

I used to work in a treatment facility serving adjudicated adolescent male sex offenders. Their treatment focused on them trying to understand what motivated them to offend, identifying thinking errors used to justify the offense, learning to have empathy for their victims and others, and learning about their cycle of abuse and relapse prevention techniques. This treatment would generally take about thirteen or fourteen months. When they reached the graduate level, they had to write letters to those they victimized, accepting responsibility for hurting them. I listened to them read these letters during group therapy. Rarely did they convey heartfelt remorse, guilt or shame for their crimes. It was impossible to tell who "graduated" from the program really having internalized the treatment. I doubt any of these offenders imagine they have scarred the ones they victimized so badly, that they, too, may be the subject of a similar revenge plot.

Hopefully, David's article can be used for discussion in group therapy; it is such real and powerful victim-impact testimony.

Lisa Power
via the Internet

Profile in courage:David Holthouse, thank you for the article you wrote about confronting the man who raped you. I endured a prolonged time of sexual harassment from a clergyman, and my reactions were very similar to what you reported. I wanted to tie him to the ground by his hands and feet and cut his guts out, then kill him. Fortunately, I fear God, and so I didn't do this terrible thing. I called the head of his church body, who got him out of ministry and out of the state where I live. Your article helped me realize how normal my reaction was to what happened to me. I'm so glad your parents backed you on this and didn't deny what happened or blame you. Thank you for your extraordinary courage in writing this article.

Mary M.
Iowa

Plots and pans:David Holthouse, I honestly believe that you yourself are a sick and twisted man. How could you sit there and talk about how this man hurt you so badly and yet plot his death? That seems a bit hypocritical to me. I know that man, and he is decent! One of the best guys I know, and I would trust him with my life, and I hate you for bashing him and trying to ruin his life. You talk about how he ruined yours; well, what kind of person are you that you would turn around and do the same to him? You are an evil man, and I'm glad you got arrested. You deserved it, you sick freak!

Name withheld

Stand by your man:I am so glad that David Holthouse did what he did! I have dreamed of doing the same to the man who had his way with me when I was eight! Thanks for putting that kind of story out there for those sick fuckers to read. I know that everyone who had the same experience feels the way that David does and stands behind him 100 percent.

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