I never did anything I did not want to do

The report by Ivo van Hove was printed in the Dutch newspaper De Standard and contrasted with a negative experience by Joachim Lafosse printed next to it.

Taken from the collection Positive Memories, compiled by T. Rivas.

Source: Ivo van Hove, a Flemish theatre director wrote a letter to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, published on December 4th 2010.

Ivo van Hove does not want to generalize his experience and explicitly describes his acquaintance with a man when he was 12 years old as a relationship.

“I absolutely cannot make any general statements about ‘pedophilia’, so I want to talk exclusively about my personal experience.

“[…] I deliberate call it a ‘relationship’, because that’s what it was for me. I never felt like a victim. I also want to stress explicitly that I didn’t become a homosexual because of this relationship.

I already knew that I was gay at a very early age - well, I didn’t even know the word in those days - but I soon noticed what my feelings were about. When I was twelve it was crystal-clear that I was gay; which doesn’t mean that I never kissed a girl, of course I did. But I soon felt: this is not what I want. […]”

Later in the article, von Hove states that he cannot experience any negative consequences. He had never had a feeling of addiction or power imbalance.

“[…] The relationship took on new shapes with the passing of time: we stayed in touch even when I or he didn’t feel sexual needs anymore, because there still was so much left.

I’m 52 now, and if this relationship ever had any negative consequences, I should have noticed it by now. […]

It would have been terrible for me if this teacher had been convicted because of our relationship. Now that would have been really traumatic. In my view, that would have been a great injustice. […]

I never got the feeling of being dependent on him, or of being in an unequal power relationship. […]

I simply wish to make it clear that reality is less black and white than is often thought. ‘Pedophilia’ cannot always be reduced to an abuse of power and horrible types of sexuality. My personal experience is broader than that.”