Timothy N. Frode or TNF 13, is a pseudonym based on the dragon Toothless, who is a “Night Fury”. This dragon is from the much-admired Dreamworks movie series How To Train Your Dragon. In these movies, a boy named Hiccup is growing up in a Viking culture where dragons and Vikings are at war, and dragons are to be killed. When Hiccup comes across a downed dragon, however, he befriends it… and eventually convinces the rest of his village, including his stubborn father, that warring with dragons is simply not working well. His idea is that dragons and Vikings could be friends, and that this friendship will curb the dragons’ wanton destruction.
So...The Prevention Tie-In...
In the fight against child sexual abuse, there are many different organizations and many different approaches. Many of these approaches vary, but usually involve educating children on boundaries, safe vs. unsafe touch, and a heavy emphasis on punishing those who have committed sex crimes. These approaches aim to stop abuse where it is already occurring, or to stop further abuse from those who have already abused, which are tertiary prevention methods. These popular tertiary approaches, such as sex offender registries and community notification laws (like Megan’s Law), are not based in fact and do little to prevent abuse before it can happen.
The other thing that these popular approaches have in common is they rely on sexual abuse to either be ongoing, or to already have occurred. Primary prevention means that a child is spared the horror of child sexual abuse or exploitation before it happens because a potential abuser receives help before it can happen. While preventing sexual abuse may sound difficult, it is necessary, not only for the sake of those who would otherwise go on to abuse children, but to the children they then avoid abusing.
Why A Pseudonym?
I believe the facts should take first priority when discussing sexual abuse. I use the pseudonym of Timothy N. Frode, or TNF, because child sexual abuse is such an emotional topic for people, and not every reaction is rational.
There have been many different responses. Some of those responses have been overwhelmingly positive, but there have also been threats to “visit me in person” as well as death threats, accusations that I am a sex offender, and more.
I see the use of a pseudonym as a method of staying safe, and a method of protecting my ability to say what the facts and the research on these topics say, rather than allowing the fear for my safety, job, or relationships dictate what I say. Academic expression is a form of free speech and must remain objective and focused on the facts. Also, I do not want the desire for money or popularity to compromise the ideals that started my advocacy: A desire to see the lessons I have learned from my experiences with sexual abuse be learned by others, before a child is hurt.
What Is Your History? Why Advocate?
I was sexually abused by three people growing up. That abuse affected my beliefs and how I saw acceptable vs. unacceptable behavior, such that how I saw my abuse seemed normal, and how I saw age-appropriate experimentation as a child seemed like abuse, because I was projecting my adult self onto my memories. I also developed a sexual attraction to children during puberty, which was very difficult to deal with, because I erroneously thought that it made me a risk for sexually abusing a child.
The effects of being abused and being minor attracted had a significant impact on my mental health, and I attempted suicide and went through a treatment/therapy program to help uncover why I was being hard on myself for having an attraction I did not choose, and why I thought that made me a risk to children.
Today, I advocate because I know that the facts of my experiences are not being addressed in our policies, and because I want to get help to others before they cause the pain I experienced as a child.
What Do You Do, Other Than Advocating?
I read fiction and news, play video games, watch anime and movies, play board games, listen to music, and grow plants. Right now, my favorite plants are cacti. My favorite book authors in no order are Cassandra Clare, Ted Dekker, Stephanie Meyer, and Christopher Paolini. My favorite video games usually involve a strategy or shooting element. My favorite board games are Battleship, Risk, Axis and Allies, and chess.
I also enjoy Nightwish, and soundtracks to movies I enjoy, like 300, Slumdog Millionaire, How To Train Your Dragon, Zootopia, Blade, Underworld, The Matrix, Harry Potter, and many more.
What Do You Think About The Laws?
That depends on which laws we are discussing. When it comes to laws restricting and heavily punishing sex offenders, I am against them for a wide variety of reasons that are discussed in the systemic prevention section and the sex offender overview section. In short, they are overly punitive based on an expectation of recidivism that does not meet with reality and distract the public from what they can be doing to prevent sexual abuse.
I maintain that child sexual abuse material should remain illegal, and not be minimized in what it is called (even by calling it by its legal term, “child pornography”). Any image that depicts a real child in a sexual situation with other children or adults is what I consider to be sexual exploitation and abuse material. Likewise, I maintain that an older child or adult being sexual with a younger child, should remain illegal and prosecuted so that the offender and victim(s) can get the appropriate mental health help. While there are some situations that are illegal that should not be (like a 15-year-old being sexual with a 15-year-old that they are dating), I have formed no opinion on these discussions on age of consent and have no solutions to offer.
I am against mandatory reporting laws applied to individuals and therapists: Not only do they decrease the reporting of sexual abuse because family members and close friends do not want to ruin a loved one’s life through getting them the very therapy that could help them, they make it harder for people who want mental health help to seek it. These things can interfere with our ability to get the necessary mental health help to victims, abusers, and potential abusers. Likewise, there should be mandatory reporting in an institutional environment, like sports teams, school systems, and other organizations that work with children.
Do You Support Sex Offenders?
I support and commend any person that recognizes that crime is not a wise option and wishes to remain law-abiding, and that includes sex offenders. I believe there are few things more admirable than someone who owns the responsibility for their crime and chooses to make better decisions. I do not support poor decision-making by any kind of offender that could lead them back to committing crimes.
Do You Support Pedophiles?
I support those with a sexual attraction to children who wish to remain law-abiding (minor attracted people), and I support making help more widely and readily available to those with this attraction. I do not support the minority of these people who seek to change age of consent laws or otherwise seek to make sexual activity with children acceptable.