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Can love and attraction exist between child abuser and victim?

The question understandably offends some. Yet it has to be asked and answered so that we can better understand the kinds of relationships abusers and victims can have.

A new, controversial memoir by author Margaux Fragoso shocks many readers with its frank admission of affection and attraction for the pedophile whose life was intertwined with hers for 15 years.

The writer doesn't dismiss and condemn the 51-year-old carpenter she met at a New Jersey swimming pool when she was just seven.

Her young life was a complicated mess, according to a review and description of the book from ABC News. Fragoso's mother was neurotic and unstable; her father an emotionally abusive boozer.

The man she gives the name Peter Curran seduced the girl with charm and affection, games, and clever, childlike manipulations of her emotions and body.

Fragoso, now 31 years old, married and mother to a daughter, says she wrote the book to help people understand the secret world of molestation and manipulations.

Though Fragoso declined an interview with ABC, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center said Fragoso's abuser was "good at normalizing what was happening and bringing the child along."

Many abusers, he said, lure the child into intimacy, but "he loses the child pretty quick once the sex starts." The child quickly "feels trapped and wants to get out," he said.

Not so with Fragoso and her molester.

"I don't think it's outlandish to see that some victims have a tremendous level of love and affection and allegiance to their abusers," said the expert on abuse.

In her book, Fragoso describes the relationship with the man she calls Curran as a "drug high." [He] can make the child's world ... ecstatic somehow."

None of that excuses the man's behavior, of course, but it does help us understand the complications of these kinds of relationships.

We'll have more on the subject in our next post.

Resource: ABC News: "'Tiger, Tiger' Author Shocks With Memoir of Affair With Pedophile": March 9, 2011

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