Friday, July 11, 2008

Keeping Watch

I've been reading this book called "Keeping Watch" by Laurie R. King. I've read several of her books and really like them. This one is about Allen, a Vietnam Vet who, after the war, becomes a kidnapper of children. He kidnaps children (and sometimes women too) who are abuse victims, gets them safely away with other family members, adopted families or into a safe house.

Part of the main character's job is to set up surveillance in order to be sure that the allegations of abuse are true before he acts. Allen finds it difficult to watch some of his surveillance tapes, saying "Disassociation made it possible to carry on.....possible to watch the illicit videos with the least possible involvement of the mind. If he stopped to let it all in...he knew damn well that he'd put down his beer and just go murder the bastard." He goes on to say that "it was rarely the actual r@pe that got to him on these sorts of case. No, the part he found truly unbearable was...the very same part the pedophile loved the most -- the seduction. Most pedophiles weren't interested in merely overpowering a child, but rather found their greatest pleasure in the game of domination, keeping the child just this side of outright panic by first discovering and then manipulating each particular victim's individual needs, fears and nobilities. The subtle interplay of threat and cajoling, pressure and affection...the terrible intimacy involved, a predator's complete understanding of his prey, a knowledge such as, more often than not, no other human being in the child's life came anywhere near to possessing. It was this terrible familiarity with the victim's very soul that made Allen crave the simplicity of murder."

I can relate. I had no doubt that the worst part of it was bad and wrong. But the set-up part was the worst. It's the part I didn't realize was wrong for so long. For me the really bad stuff is about violence - it's the set-up stuff that is about sex and that makes it worse. It's more intimate and more of a mind game than anything else.

This part here - "a predator's complete understanding of his prey, a knowledge such as, more often than not, no other human being in the child's life came anywhere near to possessing" is SO very true. In the midst of all the post-divorce chaos, Toilet was the one person who took time to spend with me, get to know me, check in on how I was doing, and would really talk with me. He'd ask about my day, what I was reading, and suggest things to do. He'd always invite me to go with he and mom when they went somewhere. When we were out, he'd buy us treats or a small toy or something. When Mom was overly harsh in her discipline, Toilet stood up for us, or snuck us treats while we were grounded. He also stood up and protected my Sister and I against my dad's violence and drunkenness. I think that was the real turning point - I like to think he did it out of some innate goodness - that's what I used to think. Now I know he had ulterior motives. I think that is the hard part to deal with. The fact that the one person I ~thought~ liked me and cared enough to care and stick up for me, was not doing it for any reason other than an ulterior, sadistic motive.

BTW - That passage was in the very beginning of the book. I almost put the book down but then decided that Allen intrigued me - his willingness to put his own life and freedom on the line to help save children. So I kept going. The book was great and had a happy, although different than expected, ending (yeah).


lawyerchik said...

That sounds like interesting reading, Enola! Let us know what you thought when you're finished. :)

Angel said...

The book does sound interesting. Maybe it will help some people realize the insidiousness of child sexual abuse.

If he had video evidence, though, couldn't he have exposed the perverts for what they were? But then you have a sick family system because at least one family member brought him into the home so...

Casey said...

Thanks for the name of the book enola. I ordered it this afternoon and should have it when I return from vacation.

Take care


Enola said...

I have finished the book. It was really good - although it kept you hanging toward the end.

This is the 2nd or 3rd of hers I've read. I don't like her Sherlock Holmes type series, but her other ones are good. They are all fictional but well-written. Another one is about religious cults and a person that infiltrates one to rescue some children.

Rising Rainbow said...

That's that hard thing for most people to understand. Preditors do everything they do for themselves. It's all about keeping up the front that they're nice and keeping a victim caught in their clutches.

keepers said...

we need some real heroes to do this and kidnap people away from abusive situations!

peace and blessings