‘I think everyone is a pedophile, until proven otherwise.’

 

I’m trying really hard not to assume everyone is a pedophile until proven otherwise but it’s getting harder and harder, particularly this week after listening to Hey Dad! star Sara Monahan talk to Mia Freedman on her No Filter podcast.

This week the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from the wife of former dance teacher Grant Davies who has been convicted of pedophilia and is awaiting sentencing in May. She had no idea what her husband was doing until she found explicit photos of a young girl and texts on his computer.

Some days it feels as though pedophiles are everywhere.

Last year I discovered someone close to me was a pedophile. I am still in shock. He is in prison but will be released at the end of this year and I am absolutely dreading it because despite his conviction and sentencing, he is still claiming he is innocent of the charges.

He’s offended that I would believe him capable of such despicable crimes.

It’s been hard to forgive myself for not recognising that a pedophile was near. I’ve always placed enormous faith in my motherly instinct but in this instance, it completely failed me. That’s what’s so disturbing about pedophilia.

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They aren’t all the creepy old men. They can seem charming, generous, trustworthy and our children love them. They are priests, soccer coaches, teachers and volunteers.

Hey Dad! star Sara Monahan joined Mia Freedman on her No Filter podcast this week and spoke about the consequences of going public with her case.

Then there are the wives of pedophiles and our assumption they must have known something. In our eyes, they are as guilty as the pedophiles themselves. Certainly, people close to pedophiles do that to themselves.

How could I not have known?

Why didn’t I do more to stop them?

This week at the Royal Commission, the sister of convicted pedophile and former dance teacher Grant Davies said she wished she had seen the red flags for what they were. “I failed to do the right thing in seeing [Davies’ behaviour] as a red flag of paedophilia,” Rebecca Davies told the commission. She added that she wished she’d done more to protect the kids at the school. She struggled to speak through the tears.

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Mia and Sarah.

Davies wife – identified only as BZB – described the night in 2013 when she discovered her husband was a pedophile by checking his computer. She discovered an inappropriate conversation between Davies and a 13-year-old girl as well as photos.

“There were messages in which Grant was saying ‘Delete the messages so your mum doesn’t see’. It seemed to me that Grant was grooming [the student]. I also found various photos of [the student] wearing a g-string.”

My children play soccer, they take dance classes, they attend a Catholic school, they visit friends houses and I am doing my utmost to stop myself from feeling it is inevitable that they will one day come across someone who offends against them. All I can do is be aware of the danger, educate my children and trust that they will be safe.

With all the attention child sex offenders are receiving thanks to the Royal Commission, surely we will become more aware and therefore get better at stopping them.

I try not to vilify particular groups of people who work with children. When my son asked to become an altar server along with his friends I yelled out, “No!” before I could stop myself. I completely forgot about a conversation I had with our beautiful priest a couple of years earlier when we had discussed pedophilia.

Hey Dad! star Sara Monahan works with an organisation that helps protect child actors from predators and she has some words of warning for all parents. Article continues after this clip.

We were talking about Catholic priests and why this has been allowed to happen. I was trying to figure out why this had occurred. He said to me, “Priests don’t become pedophiles. Pedophiles become priests so they have easy access to children.”

That changed everything for me. That’s when I finally understood the evil nature of child pedophilia and the sinister nature of it.

That’s why a pedophile’s loved ones will often not know until it is too late that they are close to a pedophile.

These people have hidden their true selves for most of their lives. As a result, they’ve gotten very good at it. They lead double lives. They become charming and helpful and endearing so as to avoid suspicion. They are often the loveliest and nicest of people.

They are the ultimate wolves in sheep’s clothing.

They are everywhere, but so are we, and we will continue to do everything we can to stop them.

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