I warn you, there's some lengthy rambling ahead.
When I was 12 or 13 I found child pornography on our family's computer, which obviously belonged to my dad. Back then I had no idea it was illegal and (this disgusts me now) was actually curious about it and would click on all the pictures that had been downloaded.
When I got older I knew it was wrong and so I started deleting it as soon as I saw it. I didn't want to tell anyone about it, I just thought that if I didn't say anything it would eventually stop and I could just forget about it. By now I would find video searches left in the Kazaa search box for porn movies and I think I may have even stumbled upon a video that didn't get deleted. My songs were also getting deleted along with the daily porn and I was getting fed up so one day I wrote on a post-it note "Stop deleting my stuff to download porn" and stuck it on the computer before I went out. When I came back home it was gone and my dad never said anything. I thought that would be the last of it.
When I was in gr. 12, I went downstairs one time and found my dad's Yahoo Messenger window still up. I started talking to one of the people on the list and asked her what he had told her. Apparently he had said that he was 18 and had been talking to her. I told her the truth and then went to show my mom. She kept saying "Oh there must be some mistake". When we confronted my dad he tearfully told us that he had no idea how old the girl was and that he was just on there talking to people about sailing. He claimed he wasn't like that. My mom thought this was a reasonable explanation and asked me what I thought. I said I knew he was a liar, but I didn't say anything about the other porn I had seen. I don't know why I didn't, I guess maybe I just felt pressured with both of them just standing right in front of me. Plus my mom said something along the lines of "Well now my Thanksgiving is ruined" which didn't really help my situation.
After I graduated I moved out and lived on my own, keeping the secret with me. I hadn't realized until a short while ago how much it had affected me. I can't stand to have my dad hug me, I feel dirty every time he does. I also hate being alone in the car with him. And it disgusts me when I see him around kids. I also don't like people in general touching me and I feel uncomfortable around older men. And I remember I used to feel paranoid when I was a teenager, always wondering if he was spying on me coming out of the shower with a hidden camera or things like that.
Finally, a few months ago I started talking to a girl online and I confessed my secret to her. She was the only person I told. I thought I would feel better if I got it all out in the open, but I just felt worse and began to think about it constantly. I tried to see a counselor, but being a poor college student, I didn't have enough money to keep going.
I realized that I was starting to hate my life; going to classes I wasn't interested in anymore (and feeling uncomfortable in my Child Psych class because of what I'd seen) and working a job I hated. Some friends of mine offered to let me stay with them in Texas and I told my mom, but she didn't want me to go. I felt like this would be a good opportunity for me to get away from everything and just try to sort out my life and also, if I was no longer relying on my parents to provide for me (they were paying my rent) I felt like I could finally tell my mom the truth about my dad.
Anyway, I attempted to just run away without their knowledge, it backfired and the whole thing blew up in my face. I told my mom and my sister about my dad and then we had a big family meeting that I was hoping to avoid by not being in the country when I told. But due to some complications I was still stuck there and had to talk to everyone.
My dad confessed to what he did, but kept trying to shift the blame or make himself seem more innocent by saying "Some guy showed me it!" or "I was just curious!" My mom kept claiming that she knew he "wasn't like that" and they seemed to think that by him just admitting what he'd done that everything would be just fine.
My sister completely turned against me and blamed me, asking me "Why didn't you say something sooner if it was such a big issue?!" or "If it was so bad why didn't you work harder in school to get a scholarship so you could go to school far away?!" Despite the fact that my dad confessed, it still seemed like she thought I made the whole thing up just to get a free ride to Texas. The whole time she kept crying and saying "I love you dad" and sitting with him and I wanted to punch her. She didn't have to completely turn on my dad, but she should have supported me. My whole family made me feel guilty and acted like I was being so unreasonable and that I should just forgive me dad.
I'm in Texas now and it seems like nothing back home has changed. My dad still goes about his daily business, he still goes out to ballgames where there are children present and the little girls I used to babysit still come over and visit. My mom still insists that he's not a pedophile and that he would never hurt anyone. But I want to know what kind of person likes to look at kiddie porn and isn't a pedophile!
At least he agreed to go see a psychologist, but I don't think that's going to help. Sex offenders can't be cured. The good news is that the little girls I used to babysit are moving away. So I can feel a little better now.
I remember my mom telling me "Your dad's upset because he thinks he ruined your life" and I felt bad so I said "No, he didn't." But now I'm not so sure. I mean, I don't have a dad anymore. To me, he's dead, I don't know if I can ever forgive him for what he did. Not to mention the other issues I have now with older men and who knows what else could crop up in the future.
This has ruined my life, but I feel like someday I'll be able to get over it. But right now I have a lot to work through.
I feel like I'm stuck between two places right now. On the one hand I don't feel like I can really call myself a victim because nothing happened to me personally, but yet I don't feel normal because I had to see all that stuff and because of the damage it's caused my family. So far I haven't found anyone else who's had a similar experience to mine and I feel so alone.