That most repeat molesters worked in an environment surrounded by children and befriended the parents first before gaining the child's trust.
That more than 70% of parents who sexually abused children were abused as kids.
That, in an age rife with divorce, children living with a single parent or with a parent and an unmarried partner were at more than five times the risk of violation as children living with married biological parents.
Yes, once we realized just how pedestrian pedophilia was, we couldn't afford our ignorance anymore.
Pain was what those legions of victims needed. Pain saved R.A.'s life. Only when it grew intolerable, when all the strategies that kept him from feeling it gave way beneath its weight, when Anne was thinking of changing the locks and his pastor was tapping on his door every morning at 6 a.m. to make sure he was committed to living another day ... only then was he ready to begin relinquishing the dagger.
Sort of. He took an elevator to the third floor of a run-down office building next to a Nashville beauty salon, took a seat in front of a therapist named Stephen James and tried to see if he could get by with pulling the blade out just a little bit. But Stephen kept calling his bluff, brushing off his contrived replies—"I don't want your SportsCenter answer, R.A."—and steering him back to the laminated page lying between them with the seven root emotions.
"I feel frustrated that—" R.A. would say, and Stephen would say, no, sorry, until R.A. reviewed the list and started over: "O.K., I feel sad that" or "I feel ashamed that" or "I feel afraid that," a man finally turning toward his pain and fear and exploring what lay beneath them.
The beneath was even more agony, leaving him feeling so raw and scarred that one day, while he was watching for the umpteenth time a scene from the Star Wars series in which Luke has a vision of fighting his mortal foe, Darth Vader, and seeing his own face under Vader's mask, it suddenly struck R.A. in the gut: He wasn't Luke, the boy hero he'd identified with all his life. He was Darth, the scarred creature whose armor had hidden and separated him from the world.
One morning, sweat-soaked and crying, R.A. finally yanked out half the dagger, revealing to Stephen only what the babysitter had done, and all the guilt and shame spooled around it. What stunning relief it was when Stephen sat there and nodded, absorbing it all. But R.A. still had miles to go, and it was nearly time to drift away again, to go play ball. The universe smiled: The only organization that offered him a minor league contract in 2007, the Brewers, had its Triple A team right in Nashville, allowing him to remain in the deep, deep water with his new guide.
But what had to happen in therapy was exactly what had to happen with the new pitch he'd begun to work on, his last-gasp chance to salvage his career, his knuckleball: He had to stop flinching, he had to cut loose and release it with the commitment and frequency that it would take to reap its rewards. But there he was in June with the same sorry numbers next to his name, standing in a glass-walled hotel elevator overlooking the Missouri River just before a series in Omaha, a 32-year-old man in the last days of what had to be his last season ... when he got this brilliant idea.