A healthy interest

There’s a school a couple of blocks from where I work, and I’ll sometimes see students out and about when getting lunch. It’s a year nine campus, so they’re all about 15. I haven’t seen any of them for a few days, and I’ve just realised that they’ve possibly already finished school for the year, being a private school. Either that, or they have activities on back at the main campus.

I’m not crushing heavily on them, but I few have caught my eye, and it’s always a pleasant surprise when I see them.

Once upon a time, I would have been reaching for my phone camera any time I spied them, but not now. So many reasons not to. What’s most pleasing, though, is that I don’t miss it as strongly as I might have expected. There’s a lot to be said for inertia: I used to take photos, because that’s what I used to do. I allowed it to become habit, and it had an addictive quality.

I have to say, breaking an addiction does make life better. Whilst the sexual attraction is still there, and is unlikely to go away, it feels better to have put aside the risky, harmful behaviour, leaving in its wake a somewhat healthier interest in girls. One where I see them for the people they are, more than objects of desire.

It will be sad not to see those few favourites again, but time marches on and girls grow up. In a few months, a new group of year nines will take their place. I look forward to admiring them – appropriately, non-sexually and from a distance – when the school year starts, without putting them or myself at risk.

Lack of research

One of the unfortunate side-effects of social stigma and mandatory reporting, aside from the disincentive to seek support, is that it makes it almost impossible to do meaningful research. How many people are attracted to children? Exclusively or non-exclusively? How many act on that attraction? Does mandatory reporting ensure a significant number of children get the help and protection they need? If there were no mandatory reporting obligations, would there be more abuse? Or, would more people get help early on, resulting in less abuse? Do sex offender registries make children more safe or less safe? Would a publicly visible sex offender registry decrease risk or increase it?

Sadly, we just don’t know.

There are pockets of evidence here and there. There are considered, scientific opinions from experts. But it would be really nice to have solid evidence to help answer these questions, one way or another. It would be even nicer if we had solid evidence and that evidence was used to inform policy decisions.

I won’t hold my breath, but I will continue to watch with interest. As the tagline here says, my goal is to be part of the solution. But I can’t change the world. My role is to focus on what I can do as an individual. To lead by example, to help others manage their risk, and to live a stable life.

Whether you’re an offender or not, what can you do to help keep children safe?

My story: dealing with Corrections

One component of my sentence was a two year Community Corrections Order (CCO). Whereas the role of Police is to investigate and prosecute crimes committed (past), Corrections is focused on community-based supervision of offenders, providing oversight to reduce the risk of re-offending (future).

In addition to basic conditions like not offending and not leaving the state without permission, each CCO carries at least one other condition. (See the Corrections Victoria website for more info.) In my case, the key condition is to undergo a risk assessment and then participate in whatever programme is recommended, if any.

Corrections Victoria’s Specialised Offender Assessment & Treatment Service (SOATS) does assessments and runs a range of group-based treatment programmes. I think they run for about six months. I can’t tell you what they’re like yet, because I’m still waiting for the initial assessment. In fact, I hear that the main reason for the two-year CCO term is to ensure there is enough time to both do the assessment and complete the programme. Presumably the SOATS assessors know that they have some time to play with, and prioritise higher-risk offenders first. When my time comes, I’ll let you know how it goes.

On the whole, I’ve found my interactions with Corrections to be positive and productive. Corrections Officers come and go (I can’t imagine it’s a fun job), so I’ve now got someone new, but everyone I’ve had so far have been fine to deal with. The biggest issue is that appointments are during business hours, which impacts on work. Fortunately, my employers haven’t asked for details about my recurring fortnightly appointment; I guess they presume it’s for meeting with my psychologist.

Tips for offenders: This is one of those situations where you’ll be fine if you have nothing to hide. Be open and honest about your experiences and your efforts to turn your life around. Be gracious and deferential. They don’t want to hear you complaining about your sentence or minimising what you’ve done. They just want to be sure that you’re stable and successfully managing risk.

Transgender woman dies in male prison

A women given a prison sentence was placed in a male prison. Now she’s dead. This is just not good enough.

Whilst I believe that sentencing should be primarily about community safety, rather than punishment for the sake of punishment, I understand that a prison term is an important sentencing tool to have available for some situations. But that doesn’t mean we lock people up and throw away their human rights.

Transgender women already face a disproportionate amount of violence and discrimination in general society. It should be obvious that placing a woman in a male prison is asking for trouble. And yet, it continues to happen.

RIP, Vicky Thompson.

Sexuality and gender identity

I tried to do NaBloPoMo once many years ago (back when I used LiveJournal), and gave up half-way through. I’m really hoping to make it through the whole month this time.

Running out of time today, though, because I just spent an hour writing a post about sexuality and gender identity for another forum. But since it’s a topic that interests me, I’m going to use it for today’s post. It’s also relevant, since I think we all benefit from increased awareness and acceptance of people’s sexuality, gender and identity.

Gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and attraction are all independent things, and different people can fit into different places on each continuum.

Gender identity: This is whether you identify as male, female, something in between, or none of the above (agender). Gender identity is largely about how you feel and how you identify in society. Most people feel either male or female, but some don’t, so they might identify as “non-binary” or “genderqueer” or some such. Your gender is how you view yourself, not how other people see you or label you.

Biological sex: This relates to chromosomes and anatomy. For most people, anatomy matches their gender, but that’s not true for everyone. I’m a cisgender male, because I was born with male anatomy and I identify as male. The “cis-” prefix is the opposite of the “trans-” prefix, and it indicates alignment between gender and biological sex. Also note that some people are intersex – i.e. somewhere between male and female.

Gender expression: This relates to how masculine or feminine you are. I’m not very masculine, but I’m not feminine, either. Different people present and express their gender differently.

Attraction: This relates to who you’re attracted to – in particular, where the people you find attractive sit on the gender spectrum. You might be heterosexual (attracted to the same gender), homosexual (attracted to the opposite gender), bisexual (attracted to both, to whatever degree), asexual (not sexually attracted to others), or somewhere in between. There is some evidence that age of attraction also counts as sexual orientation. Also note that there can be a difference between sexual attraction and romantic attraction. For example, I’m sexually attracted to pubescent and adolescent girls, but I get romantically attracted to older females (teens and adult women).

Transgender: The refers to a discrepancy between your gender identity and your biological sex. Maybe you have a vagina, but you just feel that you’re male. So, you make a transition and start to identify as male in society. Many transgender children, for example, feel a sense of gender dysphoria – discomfort and distress that their body doesn’t match who they really are. In addition to making a social transition, they may also need medical treatment. For example, a transgender girl who is worried about her body changing during puberty might get hormone blockers to restrict testosterone production. Later, she might start hormone replacement therapy to trigger development of more female/feminine characteristics. In adulthood, she might even pursue some form of gender affirming surgery, such as breast augmentation and/or genital sex reassignment.

Transsexual is another term that gets used. Some use transgender and transsexual interchangeably. Some prefer one over the other, for various reasons. Despite some negative connotations with the word “transsexual” in the past, one woman I know prefers to identify as transsexual, because she finds “transgender” too wishy-washy.

If you’d like a more visual way to get a nuanced understanding of gender and sexuality, start with The Genderbread Person:

Illustration: The Genderbread Person

And feel free to ask more questions here. Thank you for taking the time to broaden your understanding!

Resilience and sleep

Resilience is an important part of sex offender recovery, I believe. Good resilience makes it easier to stay safe, sane and stable. It makes it easier to resist temptation and to focus on healthier activities.

Conversely, stress and anxiety can really zap one’s resilience, making it harder to function stay focused. Stress and anxiety can come from many sources, from our own actions (e.g. taking risks) to the actions of others (e.g. stigma), plus environmental factors and general commitments. I know that when I’ve faced significant stress, it has been exhausting, taking its toll on my resilience.

Resilience and sleep are also tightly interlinked. Lack of sleep definitely lowers my resilience. Getting sufficient sleep does a lot to restore it.

I couldn’t even tell you whether the paragraphs above make any sense, because… I’m dead tired now. Time to put this blog post to rest and go to bed. Goodnight!


There are two key groups who should support access to abortion:

  1. People who recognise that abortion is an important and necessary element of healthcare.
  2. Those who oppose abortion.

Yes, people who oppose abortion should support access to it. Those with the most extreme views won’t, of course. They can’t bring themselves to say it. It doesn’t matter if the pregnant person’s life is at risk, it doesn’t matter if she’s unable to be a parent at this point, and it doesn’t even matter if she is a rape victim. No matter what the circumstances, extremists just can’t bring themselves to make any allowances. (Even a US presidential hopeful thinks it was right for Paraguay to deny an abortion to a ten year old raped by her step-father.)

The fact is that people get abortions somehow, including via unsafe means if legal abortion services are not available. And other things that extremists tend to oppose – such as contraception and comprehensive sex education – are shown to reduce abortion rates. But none of that matters in the minds of those who campaign against abortion rights. Because for these people, it’s not about health, well-being or human rights; it’s about them. Their opposition is all about their beliefs, their conscience, their inability to condone the termination of a foetus to protect the well-being or even the life of a person with an unwanted pregnancy.

Why am I writing about this here? Because it’s an issue that’s important to me, and you can expect to hear more from me about feminism and human rights in future posts. As I’ve said, this blog is my place to post things that I can’t share with Facebook friends. Things that would out me to those who don’t know about my crimes, or views that might be perceived as hypocritical by those who do.

I do also see some parallels between extreme anti-abortion views and the intense views many people hold about not just sex offenders, but anyone with a sexual attraction to children. Many would gladly support jailing non-offending paedophiles for life, or requiring castration, or requiring enrolment on a publicly visible registry. It doesn’t matter if such measures are ineffective or unjust. It doesn’t matter if reintegrating offenders into the community and supporting paedophiles not to offend helps to reduce the incidence of sexual abuse. All that matters is the desire to do something, even if that something is guided by fear rather than evidence.

Still, I can understand where that fear comes from. It may not always be rational, but it’s understandable. Even if you can’t bring yourself to accept paedophiles and hebephiles who are making an effort to avoid acting on their desires, please show your support for the people who provide or use abortion services. Forcing people to either seek an unsafe abortion or continue an unwanted pregnancy is wrong. Let’s put an end to the stigma surrounding reproductive health.


In a sense, I’ve had many victims over the years, but for the most part, they were unsuspecting and unaware. Even so, when my psychologist or someone else mentions “the victim”, referring to the girl whose mother reported me to Police, I spare a thought for the other girls I had photographed in the past. Potential harm is still harm, and you can never really be sure that it won’t be realised.

Still, this particular incident is probably the one I reflect on the most. I’ve read the transcript of her Police interview, in which she spoke of the situation being scary. How her mother had told her to look at at particular product on the shelf as if everything was just fine. But it wasn’t fine. I was encroaching on their personal space in order to take candid photos. Even if it didn’t technically count as stalking, it was a violation.

I doubt she would have noticed if her hyper-vigilant mum hadn’t said something. From a justice perspective, everything worked out well in the end, in that the resulting legal repercussions were what I needed to put an end to my pattern of behaviour. But it’s still sad that this young teenage girl was subjected to the experience in the first place.

I hope she was able to to resume her day-to-day life quickly, with minimal impact, and I hope her mum didn’t make things worse by dwelling on the incident. In the wake of abuse, parental support is vitally important, and it needs to focus on wellbeing, and on living a normal life in the present and the future.

My story: dealing with lawyers

After giving an intro, and talking about getting caught and being arrested, now it’s time to talk about my experience with lawyers.

Basically, I didn’t know where to start, but I knew I’d need some advice. By searching online, I came across a firm that specialises in criminal defence. They caught my eye because they had information on their website about stalking, which is what I was initially charged with, and also about sex offences. (So, I guess that shows that SEO works, if you do it properly…) It was a relief discovering that there are criminal defence lawyers, as I knew I couldn’t really ask a lawyer who deals with things like traffic infringements or family law to represent me in a case like this.

This was probably a few days after the arrest. I left a message through their web form and one of the partners called me back. Naturally his first piece of advice was to not say anything. Of course, by that stage it was too late: I’d already been most forthcoming during my arrest and the subsequent recorded interview.

My view was (and to some degree still is) that being open and honest can reflect favourably, and that being evasive can make it seem like you have something to hide. Indeed, if you start out talking and then become evasive when particular questions arise, that could count against you. But if you consistently say “no comment” from the beginning the result is that you give Police nothing of evidentiary value. Of course, they can and will still look for other evidence to use against you, but there’s no point revealing any on top of what they’re already likely to find. In my case, I figured that they’d get plenty of evidence from my computer, along with victim statements, so I chose to speak.

Anyway, getting back on topic, I met with this lawyer and explained the situation as best I could. He handed me a brochure on pleading guilty (you don’t plead guilty unless you have evidence to back it up), which outlined the court process. Summary: the court system effectively “filters” cases. Most issues are dealt with by the Magistrate’s Court during a single hearing, but some need a further hearing that might involve the County Court. An even smaller number go through to a trial.

I think the best thing about having a lawyer, aside from getting a referral to a psychologist, was having someone who could deal with Police. I did need to go to the station on one occasion to have a document served (the transcript of the victim’s interview), but correspondence regarding the brief was handled by the legal firm. And, of course, it meant having representation in court, which is a good thing in a stressful situation. It also meant going broke: lawyers are not cheap, particularly if you get an experienced one, as you pay for that experience.

I’ll cover more of the story (the brief, additional charges, and the court case) in future posts.

My kids

So, I have kids. They know the basics of what has happened: to explain why I was seeing them less and why they had been interviewed by DHS Child Protection, I told them about my attraction to teenage girls and how I’d been caught taking photos.

My kids are still pretty young, though, so I don’t know how much of it they understood. In a way, I’m glad they found out now, at an age where it’s nothing more than factual information to file away for later reference, rather than during adolescence, when they might have more contextual awareness and preconceptions that might affect how they view the situation. How they view me.

It was several months ago that I told them, and I don’t know how much of it they remember. Sometimes I wonder whether I should talk to them about it again, but it’s not a comfortable topic, and I don’t really know what I’d say. I guess I’ll just take it as it comes and discuss things with them as needed – e.g. if there’s an event with friends and I have to remind them that I can’t go.

I do sometimes wonder what might be in store down the track. How they’ll respond when there’s talk about sex offenders and they know that their father is one. Whether it will affect our relationship, or whether it will simply continue to be a matter of fact understanding. Time will tell.