Silence, you kill children !| The Testimony of Regina Louf about the Dutroux affair.

Regina Louf’s speech before the UN Committee on Human Rights in Geneva

My name is Regina Louf and I speak on behalf of the Transnational Radical Party First of all I would like to thank the special reporteur Ms Ofelia Calceta-Santos for her fine report that reflects for the first time some aspects of forced child prostitution in Belgium and The Netherlands.

We have the right not to be believed as we talk about sexual abuse, in group and organised in Europe.

We have the right to see how the press, politicians and our justice system laughs about our testimony. How they twist our words and make our testimony ridiculous. We have the right to see how the lawyers of the abusers are assisted by incompetent judges, burned out police officers and psychiatrists who just like to prove that children are easily lying.

We have the right to be silent and to be happy because we – the children of Europe – have food and education. The abuse and terror, neglecting and sexual abuse is hidden well behind the walls of our homes and our country.

We have the right to realise, although we have testified, our abusers can live again in our home, our street or neighbourhood. They are not punished because they are intelligent, successful adults and we are treated as children with an overdose of imagination.

We have the right to see our pornographic photographs, taken by our abusers, published on the internet, all around the world, without a proper system to punish the ones who put it there – because the governments of Europe neglect the problem.

We have the right to laugh and look normal, because otherwise the abusers torture our sister, friends or animals. If we alarm somebody, so they say, we will be responsible for their torture and punishment. So we believe them, because we experienced the reality of their threats.

We have the right to suffer invisibly and isolated in a war that only exists in the Philippines – where child prostitution is wide on the open.

According to our politicians and justice system child prostitution is not visible – so not existing at all.

We have the right to have no rights at all, because we have to survive under the threat of our intelligent and well adapted abusers – and if we have the courage to speak, no one helps us to protect us from our abusers.

We have the right not to be heard by the judges in a courtroom. Children have no voice at all in our justice system.

We have the right to feel guilty, because we didn’t have the power to help other victims. They – from generation to generation – have no voice in the western society. Only the normal children, supported by their normal family have the chance to speak out and are shown to the world.

We have the right to be confronted with little mistakes we made, like the colour of the car we were drove by night, when we get to a sex party. If we make one mistake, the police, judges and lawyers found our testimony worthless.

We have the right to see the abusers can start all over again, how they are re-honoured or get free therapy – while we have to suffer and pay our therapy without any chance for recognition.

We have the right to be treated with no respect for ourselves, our testimony and our trauma’s, just like the way our judges and politicians treat child abuse, pornography and prostitution, as non-existing, wild story’s.

Urban legends. These are the rights that children of sex rings get in Belgium and Europe. Sometimes we see our abusers on television, just denying the fact that they abuse children in any way. Sometimes we see and prove our police officers even falsify our testimony to show that sex rings don’t exist and survivors only want attention.

Fact: one in eight girls is sexually abused – one in ten boys is sexually abused. And even when my pimp admitted to the police his crimes against me – during the age of twelve till sixteen – one justice officer told the press in my country that I was the one to blame: Because I had at twelve years old, almost a full grown and female body – and I was in love with the man who prostituted me.

My testimony is now used in Belgium to repress all other victims of organised child abuse.

Thank you Mister Chairman.,_Part_I:__From_Brussels_…__

The Revelations of WikiLeaks: No. 4—The Haunting Case of a Belgian Child Killer and How WikiLeaks Helped Crack It


By Regina Louf (Witness X1 in the Marc Dutroux case)

Nobody will ever believe you Regina. And those who do will be destroyed. I am protected by powerful people. (Tony Van Den B.)

I dedicate this book to Prosecutor Bourlet and Judge Connerotte, the
ones who caught Marc Dutroux, and to the team of Patrick De Baets, the
brave policemen who ruined their career by honestly investigating the
controversial issue of paedophile networks. I also dedicate this book to
all the missing children many of whom have been murdered by paedophiles
and their networks. And to the four babies I lost: Cheyenne, Eliah, Tiu
and Nanook. For these children the pursuit of happiness wasn’t an
inalienable right.

Regina Louf

Table of Contents
Part One: My life before Marc Dutroux
arrest…………………………………………………..1 1. I
must speak
2. My early childhood in
3. My arrival in
4. Living at
5. Sex, cruelty and
6. No escape
7. Freedom in the Canadian Rocky
Mountains………………………………………………….14 8.
Back in
9. Cheyenne, my first
10. Back in Ghent, I meet
11. Tony becomes the family
12. Back in the
14. Eliah, my first
16. Children, sex and
17. Motherly
18. Clos
19. Tiu and
20. The
22. My death
24. Dumping
25. Two worlds
26. Married, all hell breaks loose
27. Disoriented and
28. Eli, our
29. Bee
30. My grandmothers
Part Two: Witness
31. Little kids are
32. Mich gets
33. Tania calls judge
34. The initial
35. The Spaghetti Verdict The White
March………………………………………………..123 36. The
torment of
37. My farewell letter to
38. The murder of Carine

39. More
40. The murder at the mushroom
41. The murder of Katrien De
42. My house gets
43. I find the little farm of my
44. De Baets gets thrown off the
45. The new team of
46. I talk to the
47. My fathers
48. On
49. The press
50. The March against
51. The confrontation with my
52. Dont believe the victim, destroy
53. The confrontation with my
54. The historic
55. Mieke speaks out and gets locked up in a mental
institution………………………..185 56. Our tenth wedding
57. Intimidation, harassment and cover
up……………………………………………………..189 58.
Paedophile networks dont exist in

1 ,7 4 3 2 5 11 9 8 10 6


1. Knokke: Where my grandmother lived 2. Ghent: Where my parents lived
3. Meise: Where my son Tiu was murdered 4. Waarschoot: Where my best
friend Clo was murdered 5. Ouderghem: Place of the mushroom farm where
Chrissie was murdered 6. s Gravenwezel: Where Kathy was murdered 7.
Places where they hunted children: Knokke, a castle East of Namur; a
castle East of Bouillon 8. Marcinelle: Where Sabine and Laetitia were
found alive in Dutroux basement 9. Sars la Buissire: Where the bodies
were found of Julie and Melissa, on Dutroux property 10.Zaventem: Place
of the factory where they made child porn movies 11. Jumet: Where the
bodies were found of An and Eefje, on the property of Weinstein, a close
associate of Dutroux


All right Ill give you two girls. The policemen from the judicial
district of Neufchateau, in the Ardennes in the South of Belgium couldnt
believe what they just heard. Was he playing games with them? On 9
August 1996 a fourteen-year-old girl Laetitia had been kidnapped while
she was coming home from the swimming pool in Bertrix. This was a small
town in the Ardennes that belonged to the Neufchateau judicial district
of Prosecutor Michel Bourlet and Investigating Magistrate Jean-Marc
Connerotte. A witness had seen a strange white minivan close to the
swimming pool and had remembered part of the licence plate. Under the
impulse from Bourlet and Connerotte the police immediately started an
investigation because so many girls had disappeared in the period just
before. They discovered that one possible match with the partial licence
plate number was a van belonging to Marc Dutroux, a known sex offender
who had already spent considerable time in prison. On 13 August they
arrested him, his wife and a friend and put him through a lengthy
interrogation. And after many hours of questioning they suddenly heard
him say these words. But Dutroux wasnt joking. The policemen drove him
to one of the five houses he owned, in the Rue de Philippeville in
Marcinelle close to Charleroi, an old industrial town. He led the
policemen downstairs into his cellar and opened a carefully hidden small
cage. Inside the cage the detectives found not only Laetitia but also
another girl, Sabine, who had been kidnapped on 28 May, eleven weeks
before. This news hit like a bombshell all around the world. Dutroux
became worse than the devil and Bourlet and Connerotte became instant
national heroes. There was a wave of euphoria throughout the country.
People expected that the many recent disappearances of young girls would
soon be solved. They thought that a major paedophile network had been
uncovered. But the euphoria was short lived because not long afterwards
the bodies of two other nine-yearold missing girls, Julie and Melissa,
were found buried on Dutroux property. They had disappeared on 24 June
1994. A few days later the police discovered the remains of An and
Eefje, seventeen and nineteen years old when they disappeared near
Ostend a year before. Their bodies had been buried in Jumet on the
property of Bernard Weinstein, a close associate of Dutroux. The nation
was plunged into shock and mourned the deaths of the children. Hello I
am Regina Louf, but please call me Ginny. It was the discovery of Sabine
and Laetitia that helped me decide to go to the police and tell them the
terrible story of my life. I had the impression that finally there were
competent judges who wanted to find the truth about the large number of
child disappearances. This was totally new to me. From the age of two I
had been sexually abused. In my family this seemed to be normal and the
abuse was guarded as a big secret, a taboo. I was not allowed to talk
about it probably because I made them a lot of money. I

was part of the so-called children of death, the name the abusers gave
us. But unlike so many others I didnt die in the network. I had tried to
talk about my abuse to outsiders first as a small child and later as a
teenager but the people I had talked to didnt believe me and every time
I had been cruelly punished. In the network the code of silence reigned.
If you talked you were severely tortured or even killed. But I managed
to get out alive when I was almost sixteen with the help of my future
husband Erwin. I kept silent about my abuse though. I started a family
but the memories of the abuse were so painful that I had to go into
therapy and it took me many years to slowly overcome the emotional
damage the abuse had done to me. I would probably have tried to go on
with my life and have taken my big secret with me into the grave if
Dutroux hadnt been arrested. At the moment of his arrest I was
twenty-seven years old. I had given some information about my network to
my therapist and to a good friend. The wave of sympathy for judge
Connerotte and prosecutor Bourlet after Dutroux arrest convinced my
friend to urge me to testify, although I didnt really want to do that.
There was a general feeling in Belgium at that time that sexual child
abuse would be history soon. And so I agreed to testify on condition I
could remain anonymous. The police had a code for anonymous witnesses:
X. I was the first one and so my codename was X1. It took an enormous
amount of energy to describe the cruel treatment I had endured. I had to
give detailed descriptions of events that I had tried to forget and this
brought me a lot of pain. Things started to go wrong when I mentioned
the names of important people who were part of my network. Many abusers
were rich businessmen who were not known to the general public but there
were also noblemen, bankers and politicians, even government ministers
who came on TV regularly. When details about my testimony started to
leak, the policemen who interrogated me encountered a growing resistance
from their superiors. My testimony matched with the testimony of other
X-witnesses and this sent shockwaves through the establishment.
Unveiling these dirty secrets would have led to the arrest of important
people and Im convinced this was the reason that it was decided
somewhere to stop this investigation. A cover up operation started that
was carried out in several steps. First judge Connerotte, the
investigating magistrate who wanted to get to the bottom of it was
removed for a ridiculous reason. A little later the policemen who
interrogated me were accused of falsifying my testimony, leading the
witness etc. and were thrown off the case. They were replaced by a new
team that falsified my testimony to make me look crazy and leaked part
of this to the press emphasising inaccuracies in my testimony. Nothing
was said about the impressive amount of correct details I had given. My
house was searched because they thought I had gotten my information from
the press, although I had given lots of details that had never been
published. Then it was decided to make me look crazy by having me
examined by a team of well-known psychiatrists. When their report was
too positive for me, a press campaign started to destroy me and the
other X-witnesses. Because I was still anonymous at that time I really
feared for my life and I accepted a proposal from some journalists to go
public. This created a press storm that turned the entire country upside
down. A massive counterattack was mounted and most of the media declared
me insane in spite of the fact that the psychiatrists had stated
otherwise. I had to be insane because I

had become too famous to simply be killed as had happened to about
twenty potential witnesses in the Dutroux case. And it wouldnt look good
either to kill a mother of four. But I knew too much and could cause too
much trouble to influential people. So I had to be silenced. And
everyone who supported me was harassed. But I didnt accept to be
declared insane because I had seen to many children being tortured and
killed and I decided to publish my story in the main Belgian languages
Dutch and French. On 26 October 1998 a judge forbade the publication of
my book, but four days later the appeals court overturned the verdict
and end October 1998 I published my story. I hoped that this would help
convince the authorities to investigate paedophile networks seriously.
But it was all in vain. Officially there are no paedophile networks in
Belgium and the press cannot write freely about it. There are large
amounts of money involved and a lot of blackmail. Only with substantial
international pressure will the judicial authorities be forced to bring
the truth to the surface, and save the lives of many children. Thats why
I finally decided to publish an English version of my story. I had to
use nicknames for most of the abusers. Many names of policemen,
magistrates, and other people are real though because the individuals
didnt object or the names had already been published. I have to caution
the reader that this book contains descriptions of very cruel acts but I
cannot describe what goes on in child prostitution networks without at
least providing some details. If certain parts are too hard to read,
please skip a few pages but dont stop reading. I hope that when people
know the truth, the sometimesunbelievable truth, an international
movement will finally emerge to stop this barbaric abuse of little
children. The truth is so hard that many just refuse to believe it
because it destroys the nice image they have about life and the people
around them. But I have been in there and witnessed it for many years.
Im not the pathological liar that some would like to think I am. The
networks have to be attacked; the international mafia-like organisations
that trade children have to be dismantled and the abusers exposed. My
life was an ordeal and my testimony didnt make it any better. But Im
still alive while many children I knew didnt reach adulthood. Thats why
I call upon all of you to help stop this holocaust.

Part One: My life before Marc Dutroux arrest
1. I must speak out I throw a ball far away into the meadow behind the
little farm that became my home. Isa, my Malinois sheepdog races after
her toy that rolls through the grass. I smile when she proudly brings
her trophy back to me. I caress her head and grab the ball to throw it
away again in a wide arch. We could go on like this for hours. Again and
again she chases the ball with never ending enthusiasm. In the meantime,
Moose, my Saint Bernard and Tembo, my Great Dane are chasing each other
in the far corner of the meadow. I throw the ball for the hundredth time
and enjoy everything around me, the pink sky at the horizon, the clouds,
the haze over the countryside, the smell of the grass, the humid earth.
A heron is sitting solemnly on a pole, a hundred meters away, one leg
pulled up. My dogs are with me, far away from that strange world
inhabited by weird creatures: the people. I love silence. I really dont
like to draw attention to myself, and what I have to tell is so painful
but Im prepared to shout it from the rooftops. My past may not and will
not die in secret, because it could happen to others too. Its painful,
but I must fight, pass it on. I must talk because keeping silent belongs
to the abusers and not to the victims. Because the abusers have to keep
silent, they dont have any other choice. But victims shall speak out. I
want to make everybody aware of the fact that there are people who abuse
and exploit children in a cruel and merciless way, without others
knowing. I want recognition for the suffering of the victims, who are
burdened by the consequences of lengthy and repeated sexual abuse. And I
am not the last of the victims. Here, in the peaceful evening
atmosphere, I gather strength again. Tomorrow there will be another day
to fight a society that leaves victims out in the cold. I strongly
believe that if I speak out, it will make a difference. Nobody has to
believe me. I dont ask anybody to feel sorry for me or to support me. I
just ask you to listen to what I have to say, and yes, think about it.
Does it sound crazy? Am I insane? Or am I mad if I believe there is
still hope? On evenings like this one I am often full of doubts. Have I
done the wrong thing to confront people with the ordeal I went through?
Was it really worth it? Wouldnt it be better if I had kept my mouth
shut? And did I really help the victims or did I brand them all as
fantasts, pathological liars and nutcases! Did I motivate other victims
to speak out and testify or did I teach them that its better to keep the
secret and shut up? The most important reason for me to continue my
struggle and pass on my knowledge of the childrens prostitution network,
in which I was caught, is because one day in 1996, two little girls were
found still alive in a dark cage in Marc Dutroux cellar. Nobody in this
world can imagine what it meant to me when I saw these girls embracing
their parents, alive, safe. How many times have I wished I were one of
them? Normal people dont realise that victims from a paedophile network
exist and that they suffer in unseen ways. This isnt easy to explain.
But now that I have come to terms with 1

what happened during my early life I can clearly see the pattern of
sexual child abuse. They made me feel so terribly guilty. I thought
everything was my fault, that I was a very bad girl. They destroyed my
personality by first allowing me to get attached to toys, to animals and
then to take them away from me, sometimes killing my animals in front of
my eyes. They punished me because I was bad and I was rewarded only when
I did what they wanted. I was always insecure because I never knew if I
pleased them or not. When I did get attached to other girls in the
network, they were singled out and abused in front of me. They tried to
destroy all my feelings of warmth and love and turn me into a robot, a
kitten that only existed for sex. Why did I stay so loyal towards my
abusers, people ask me? I became attached to them because I entirely
depended on them, because they were the only constant in my life. They
decided on how much pain I would endure, how long it would last, whether
it would continue or stop, whether I would live or die. Other girls
disappeared, animals I loved were taken away, who else did I have, other
than those who abused me? At least sex was a form of attention, a form
of physical contact, something. I hoped that the one who abused me might
love me just a little bit. That he would think I was special. I mixed up
love and sex. And at the same time I was terrified of them. The few
times I complained about my abuse to the outside world first as a small
child, later as a teenager, I was punished severely. Nobody wanted to
believe me and I gave up all hope of ever being able to escape. My
parents did not love me but they kept up appearances. I had to play the
little girl that smiled and shook hands, as if nothing were wrong. To
the outside world they had created an illusion and it worked. They didnt
care about my pain, my loneliness, my fear or my despair. Is it because
the parents insist that it never happened, that no child is abused,
mistreated or neglected? Why can parents fool others so easily when they
show them youth pictures? Pictures which so falsely testify of a happy
youth, as the Dutch singer Boudewijn De Groot sang. Why did they send me
away to my cruel grandmother as a toddler? Ill never forgive them for
that. I know they both had a job but many couples do and they still
manage to take care of their children. Why couldnt they find a different
solution, if they loved me so much, as they kept repeating when I
testified on TV about my terrible childhood? Why did my mother sell me
to a pimp when I was twelve? Did she want to get rid of me? Or was it
just for the money? And why did they refuse to admit what they did to
me. Daddy, I have been repeatedly sexually abused for many years. Its in
the report of five well-known psychiatrists and psychologists. I was
abused Daddy, can you understand? Please admit at least that something
was wrong! You knew it all the time. Give me names, Regine Daddy, I did
So, prove it! Those were his answers when I confronted him during the
police investigation, the day before my twenty-ninth birthday. Asking
for proof from his own daughter, who for the

first time had gathered the courage to tell her father what went so
terribly wrong. Maybe I hoped he would say, Im sorry we didnt help you.
Yes thats what I hoped. But now, years later, I know this was an
illusion. Just as I had hoped that my mother would admit she gave me to
Tony because she was in love with him and she didnt want to lose him.
But he wanted me too. I was the present to keep him attached to her. Isa
sits in front of me wagging her tail. She chews the ball she caught
again. I smile, tears come to my eyes. Im afraid that if I cry, I will
never stop, so I dont cry. Im afraid that if I start hating, I could
never stop, so I dont hate. I fear that my anger, if I allow it to come
out, wont disappear, so I suppress it. All these questions, all those
answers that were never given. What is the sense of my suffering? I
fight the bitterness that overwhelms me, the feeling that Im fighting a
war that I cant win. Yes I want to cry out how it feels to be a victim,
what loneliness is like. That the outside world is like a movie youre
not part of, as if you were standing in front of a large window of a
department store, shivering with cold, while inside everything is warm,
cosy, inviting, tempting. I have so much to tell about pain and
suffering, about wanting to go to sleep never to wake up again. But I
will also tell about recovery, about hope, about getting up slowly,
wanting to live again. About healing step by step. About growing
stronger. About vindicating ones rights. About my great husband Erwin
who helped me get out of the network and taught me to love life again,
with endless energy and patience beyond belief. Indeed, every feeling
inside of me had died. Without him I would have languished. Sexual abuse
is terrible in itself but even more terrible is the lack of love and
affection, which leaves an immense emptiness inside of the victim. I
deserve recognition. Just as all the other victims. No matter how
confused our story might be, we have the right to testify. And I even
have the duty to testify, because so many other children have been shut
up forever. Clo, Chrissie, Marie, Vronique, Kathy, they all died. They
were cruelly tortured and murdered. I cant abandon them and let them die
twice. I have to tell to the world what they can no longer tell. They
died while I survived. I wanted so much to be with them, but I continued
to live and I saved a voice to tell about the lost lives of the child
prostitutes. I cannot stay silent any longer even if speaking about this
taboo carries a great risk to my life. I speak for those who no longer
have a voice.

2. My early childhood in Ghent My mother Christiane and my father
Georges got married in 1956. My mother was from a well to do family from
Knokke, a small resort town at the Belgian North Sea coast right at the
Dutch border. During the Middle Ages, when the city of Brugge was
called, the Venice of the North, the merchant ships sailed into the
Zwin, a sea inlet that reached up to the town of Damme. The goods were
unloaded from the ships there and transferred onto smaller boats that
took their cargo into Brugge along a canal. The many buildings

that are left from this rich Middle Age period have turned Brugge and
Damme into very important tourist attractions. Knokke is located at the
North Sea coast, right at the entrance of the Zwin, which became silted
during the Late Middle Ages and is now a large natural reserve with
unique plants and birds. Knokke has become a kind of Belgian Saint
Tropez, a place where many wealthy families own an estate. My mother was
a beautiful child and grew into an extremely attractive young lady. She
was the pride of my grandfather who became the chief of the Knokke
police. Her beauty didnt go unnoticed and my mother was forced to become
a call girl for the upper class. My grandfather loved to take her along
to their parties. Some people even say that he got his job because of my
mothers grace. But when she was twenty her world suddenly collapsed; she
became pregnant. Being unmarried and pregnant was very embarrassing in
the early fifties in Catholic Belgium, but what made it even worse were
the rumours of incest. To avoid scandal my grandmother forced my mother
into marrying my father, a poor guy from Ghent. She had met him at the
bakery owned by her son Andr, my mothers brother. A marriage to a girl
from a good family was like a dream come true and my father didnt mind
marrying my mother although she was already three months pregnant. Six
months later the baby was born without a doctor, in total secrecy in a
room above the bakery. Only my grandmother was present. The baby died
and my grandmother put it into a big cardboard cake box from the bakery.
She then took it with her on the train to Knokke and buried it in her
garden; its probably still there today. This sounds totally unbelievable
to normal people but that was exactly what my mother testified to the
police on 6 May 1998, when she was questioned about my abuse. My mother
looked down on my father because of his background but being a divorced
woman wasnt socially acceptable in those days so she stayed with him.
And my father didnt leave her because he didnt want to loose the comfort
of the expensive furniture they bought together. So its no surprise that
they didnt get along. My mother desperately needed attention and
physical contact but my father couldnt give her what she wanted. So she
started seeing other men. She had two more abortions; at least thats
what she told me later. In the late sixties she started a relationship
with a Canadian, Alan Ferrer. Alans father was white and his mother was
a Beaver Indian. He worked for American Car Import, a company that
imported American cars in Europe. Six months of the year he lived in
Belgium, visiting importers in different European countries and giving
training to mechanics on how to work on American cars. The other six
months, during spring and summer, he lived in Canada. My mother and my
grandmother told me later that Alan was my real father. I dont know if I
have to believe them but I remember clearly that, when my mother and my
father had a fight, she regularly teased him saying about me Shes not
your daughter. Is this the reason why my legal father didnt care about
me? In 1977 my mother and I spent three months in Canada with Alan
Ferrer as is described later in this book. In 1968 my mother got
pregnant again. This time my father and the family forced her to keep
the baby because another abortion might have been fatal to her. She had
to lie down for seven months. When she was eight months pregnant she
went through a severe emotional breakdown and wanted the baby to die.
She took a lot of tranquillisers and alcohol and she would probably have
succeeded if it werent for the intervention of the

gynaecologist. And so I was born prematurely on 29 January 1969, half a
year before Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon. And although
I was very small and fragile, I survived, as I always would later on. My
mothers life-style wasnt adapted to raising children. She couldnt live
without her lovers and she made my father take care of me. When he was
at work I was sent to a daycare woman. This went on for about a year and
a half until something very traumatising happened. I was sitting at the
kitchen table in my wooden high chair, eating. I still remember the
yellow curtains, my pink and blue cup on the table. My mother wasnt
home. My father approached me and started fondling me. And then he did
something that filled me with disgust and made me nearly choke. From
that moment I screamed in alarm every time he entered the room. I became
a difficult child and I held on to my Mommy in panic when she tried to
leave me with the day-care woman or with my father. The situation became
unbearable at home in Ghent and my parents decided to send me to my
grandmother in Knokke during the week, far from the neighbours who
raised questions about my screaming. This happened in 1971.

3. My arrival in Knokke After my grandfathers death, my grandmother
Cecile lived alone in the big country house she owned. It was called
Sunny Corner and was located at the end of a small path called Golfpad.
Long after I broke up with my family and after my testimony threw
Belgium into turmoil in 1997, an investigation by journalists showed
that my grandmother was known as Madame Cecile, because she had run a
brothel for German officers during the second World War. The place was
called King George. She had also run a second more democratic place for
the common soldiers. The move to my grandmothers place was a big shock
to me. I was lonely, didnt have brothers or sisters to comfort me and
had to live in a big house now with strange noises, in the company of a
harsh merciless woman. My grandmother rented the first floor and nine
rooms out to tourists. I soon found out that they werent ordinary
tourists; they were men who wanted sex with young girls. In order to
keep the secret, they had to undergo a severe scrutiny before they were
allowed to come there. Some men came alone, others brought their
daughter, and some even came with their wife. And since no one
supervised my grandmother she had the opportunity to train me to please
her customers, even if this meant that she had to break me. My
grandmother was loved and respected by the community but she had strange
habits, which only a few people knew about. Shortly after my arrival she
started training me. I remember that I had to play with my toys on the
second floor of her country house and was observed and touched by men.
How they made me take my clothes off and do games with them naked.
Apparently unmoved she lent me out to them in the rooms of her country
house; sometimes she even allowed them to take me with them. I was only
two when I got abused almost weekly. A year later I was an experienced
little whore. I can only remember fragments from that period. I know
that Grandma blindfolded me when I

had to go to room six. I remember how I got punished if I didnt
immediately do what she told me to. One day she gave me a little Colibri
lemonade bottle. It must have been in the spring of 1972. I was three
years old because it definitely happened before my fourth birthday.
Pretend this bottle is an ice-cream-stick, lick it! she commanded. I
thought it was a joke and started laughing, not realizing she was
serious about it. She slapped me on the cheek hard and mean. Do it! she
shouted. I put the bottleneck in my mouth and started licking it with
trembling lips. My little cheek was burning and I was fighting the
tears. I knew Grandma quite well already and I knew how she hated to see
me cry. She wanted me to be tough and strong, thats why she beat me so
often. I needed to be brought up right she said and rules were
necessary. When I accidentally spilled my cup of milk I had to sit on my
knees for hours with my hands above my head. I tried to lick the
bottleneck, looked at her, timidly, to see if I didnt make her angry.
She gave me instructions do as if you like it, close your eyes! and I
followed them. After living at her house for almost a year my Mom and
Dad had become like shadows, strangers who, each weekend, gave me hope
of forgiveness, but sent me back to hell every Sunday evening. Grandma
had become the centre of my world. She decided, chastised, and judged. I
was scared to death of her. So scared that I didnt dare say anything
about what happened, to my Mom and Dad, because Grandma told me that if
I spoke I definitely would to go to purgatory. And purgatory, this
marvellous invention of Catholic superstition, was at least as painful
as the boiling hot water in which she once had plunged my little
fingers. Each Friday evening she came up with a new kind of warning,
like hitting my foot-soles with a bamboo whip, letting me stand for
hours with a telephone directory on my head, immersing me in cold water.
I was a difficult child she said, and difficult children deserved hell.
I was not allowed to wear the clothes my Mom and Dad gave me. I couldnt
sleep with the stuffed animals from home. My toys were for other kids to
have fun with; only when they played I was allowed to play too. After
the kids of her physical therapist left (they came every Wednesday
afternoon), I had to clean up the mess all by myself, after which I was
not allowed to touch the toys anymore. My favourite swing set was taken
away. It was my fault of course; I hadnt cleaned the table fast enough.
Deep in my heart I became a lonely, abandoned child. I laughed because
she taught me to. If my smile weakened, even a very little bit, I got
punished. I had to be perfect, funny, cute, polite, and well mannered. A
year after my arrival I was drilled like a little soldier, convinced I
carried the original sin, another of those beliefs invented to control
peoples souls. I believed her and followed her like a little puppy while
she moulded my soul like a ball of clay. But most of all she enjoyed
punishing me. I got to know her methods of punishment very early. She
took me upstairs and told me to lie down on the bed of room seven. She
tied up my wrists and ankles and watched how a customer slid his fingers
in my panties.

You are a bad child, she whispered, so bad that you dont even resist
someone with bad manners. I tried to put up a struggle, tried to shout
but before I could utter a sound she lashed out at my belly with a belt.
Accept your punishment as a strong child! she yelled angrily. When I
then lay still, biting my lips to endure the pain, she reproached me
because I liked this. The customer cut open my panties with a
razorblade, pulled my skirt up a little. He stuck his fingers in his
mouth, made them wet and slid them inside of me. I braced myself. Not
too deep, I heard her say, clinically, cold. He answered that he knew
very well how far he could go. She looked at me with cold, condemning
eyes. Whore, she hissed before she left the room. The customer got all
excited and did disgusting things to me. I didnt dare to move and tried
not to throw up. He left. It got dark slowly. My little arms and legs
hurt. I became scared and started crying. Did everybody forget me? I
called Grandma. I had to pee. Nothing happened, nobody came. I couldnt
keep it up anymore and I wet the bed. When Grandma finally entered the
room everything was cold and wet. She yelled that I was a dirty, filthy
child and she rubbed my face in the wet blankets. She dragged me
downstairs everything hurt! Grandma please, Im having so much pain! but
she threw me in the bathtub. She opened the cold-water faucet and
thousands of little glass needles pricked my head, shoulders and back.
My skirt was soaked and I begged, Please, stop! Grandma, it hurts!
Grandma Ill be a good girl, please, Im so cold. But she was merciless.
The next morning I had to change the bed, wash the sheets all by myself.
Oh God, I felt bad, lonely, and dirty. I put the big sheets into a tub,
washed them with my hands numb with cold and wrinkled. A little part of
me split off. Moon, the alter ego of the insensitivity came to life.
This was the beginning of my personality disorder. Much later, during
the years of therapy I had to go through, I would understand that I
suffered from the so-called Dissociative Identity Disorder or DIS,
formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Syndrome (MPS). This is a
self-defence mechanism, very common with children who suffered severe
sexual abuse at an early age. In the childs imagination, other
personalities undergo the abuse so the child can cope with the suffering
by suppressing the memory of it. This phenomenon is very well described
in the book The Three Faces of Eve written by Thigpen and Cleckley.

4. Living at Grandmas Disobedience carried a big sentence. I learned
this when I was only three years old. I had refused to undress in front
of a man the feeling of shame to expose myself was already great then
and I got a lesson in psychological warfare.

Not me but an older girl, seven or eight years old, got tortured with a
razorblade. Her arms, legs, her belly, everything got slashed. Ppre
(little daddy), one of my earliest abusers, rubbed my face in her blood
and yelled at me: This is your fault! This is what happens when you are
bad and disobedient. Ask Martine for forgiveness! I stammered out a few
words, in between my tears, terrified by the view of all that blood,
shaken by the desperate cries of the girl. He lashed out at Martine,
kicked her, until I three years old and hardly being able to produce
full sentences asked for forgiveness. And at least I knew what I had
done wrong then. I had been told for a while now that I was bad. I had
to be, because my cousins got everything they liked. The children of her
physical therapist, of whom the oldest son was my age, often came to
play in the country house, and they received love and attention. She was
always nice to them. But when I was alone with her she was always
unfriendly and never said a nice word to me. I was a bad kid she said,
every day. And I deserved a lesson, the attic for example. The attic
where the hook was, and where I got tied up if I had cried. Crying was
not allowed, ever. I remember that I cried often enough and every time I
was tied up again in that dark, creaking attic. I remember very well how
scared I was letting my little legs slide down out of the trapdoor when
I was told to go back down. I desperately clung to the edge until my
foot had found the upper step of the ladder. It sounds crazy but I was
always more afraid of coming back down than of going up. The release was
just as scary as the punishment itself. And the fear of heights has
remained, even now, many years later. I remember the voices of my
earliest alter egos or alters, who comforted me during these long hours
in the dark attic and kept the panic within limits. I remember how the
scared little child that I was, floated away when those giant men let
their finger slide over my genitals, so I wouldnt feel the fear and the
pain. How familiar were loneliness and confusion already then. Go ahead,
blow them out! my Mommy laughed and I blew out the four candles on the
fruitcake in front of me. Girl, the little alter that repressed the
sexual abuse, looked at the candles with big eyes. She threw her little
fingers in the air. Four! she laughed and everybody was fine, for a
while. Tears ran down my cheeks while I was straining my muscles. The
tall man, the man with the cold eyes and iron fists pushed my face onto
the table. The woollen tablecloth prickled my check. I could see the
door leading to the hallway, the clock above the fireplace, the plaster
statue of a Saint unknown to me, severely looking towards the opposite
wall, the mahogany shelf with copper pots and pans, the dance card
hanging from the wall. The second man, smaller and heavier, kicked my
legs apart while he opened his zipper. I heard the sound. No!! I
screamed, but the scream got smothered in the palm of the tall mans
hand. This was my fourth birthday, I will remember this very vividly
later, during my therapy. I was four, because there was a piece of cake
left in the fridge, the cake that had been served earlier that day. I
had blown out the candles!

That evening I was raped for the first time by the man who, years
later, would become my pimp. Tony Van Den Bogaert, from Antwerp, a
supplier and user of young children, must have known my grandmother for
quite a while. Paedophiles know where they can find each other. Twenty
years later my heart would break when I finally dared to tell Bee Heyse,
the therapist who would give my life back to me, that Tony carried me to
my room, after I had been anally raped on top of the dining-room table,
put me on the bed and ended my virginity at the age of four. Oh God, it
hurt so much to say these words, to admit that my childhood was
everything but rosy. Having to open my eyes for the lie that I so
carefully cultivated cut right through my soul. Being abused when I was
twelve was something I could cope with, but being raped when I was still
a little, vulnerable being, little Goldilocks, tore me up inside. What
in the world could I have done so terribly wrong as a little girl? You
are bad and rebellious. I will teach you, Regine, Grandma said harshly,
and she jerked off my clothes. I shrunk together, a little girl of four.
She turned me around so my back would face her and she put a blindfold
on me, a strip of heavy black cotton, which she tied up with a knot. She
pushed me down on my knees and I sat down motionless, even after she
left the room. I heard voices in the lounge and I could hear them come
towards the room. In submission I stayed where I was when the people
whom these voices belonged to came in, and I recognized the voice of
Ppre, I smelled his cigar. Lve-toi (get up) and so I did. I didnt
understand French, but knew the orders. I spread my little legs, held my
arm up in the air, because being blindfolded went with being tied up.
This too I had learned at a young age. Hands grabbed me and I felt how
something stiff was being rubbed against me. I didnt know the word yet
for this part of male anatomy but the feeling of it was familiar to me.
I didnt know exactly what happened. I heard voices, obviously men
carrying something. Attends, un peu plus bas (wait, a little lower). I
didnt understand the purpose. It appeared to be a little table with a
glass top. They put the table against the backside of the bed. Ppre
pushed me back on my knees, pushed my little face against the
table-leaf, which felt cold, and other hands tied my left and right
wrists to the legs of the bed. I was sitting on my knees, my belly and
face on the table, unable to move my arms or hands. I couldnt do
anything but stay in that degrading position. Fingers walked over my
bottom, penetrated me. I wriggled but it only hurt more. I couldnt see
anything but sensed the lights of a photographer throwing light upon me.
I felt the heat, I heard him put a roll of film in his camera and
prepare it for use. I knew all these sounds. I knew what they were about
to do and tried to float away from this tied-up body. Someone squirted
some cold slithery liquid between my buttocks and rubbed it in
carefully. OK, bring them in, I heard the man with the Knokke accent
say. Panting, one aggressive, nervously barking Dogs, at least two.
Their boss talked with an Antwerp accent. Tonys voice commanded them to
sit, but they seemed so excited that this didnt appear to be easy to
achieve. Final preparations were made, the lights were put at the right
angle, the light intensity was measured. I didnt know what would happen
but tension built up in my stomach. Why these dogs?

Jimmy, up! Tony snapped. I felt the claws from a hairy dog digging into
my sides. How he panted in my neck, liquid dropped from his tongue onto
my back. I screamed when I felt him penetrate me, how his paws squeezed
me, his nails scratched my skin. Off! I yelled, Take him off! And my
hands twisted themselves in the tight rough rope that hurt my wrists.
The bystanders encouraged the dog, clapped their hands, and spurred it
on. My howling was lost in their enthusiastic screaming when the dog let
something wet run down along my legs. My ropes were untied now, they
took off my blindfold. I blinked with my eyes against the intense light,
got startled when a German shepherd jumped at me. The men laughed, Tony
pulled the leash and made the dog lie down. Turn around, sit on your
hands and knees, little mouse. Show Wolf you pussy. I reacted with
horror, wanted to crawl away, but one of them kicked me and I did what I
was told. I heard how Tony untied the second dog, how his chain hit the
floor with a tinkling sound. The shepherd pushed his nose against my
buttocks and I freaked out. I turned around very quickly, kicked the dog
and crawled to the corner of the room. Now they were really having fun,
watching amused how the dog came on to me and wanted to ride me even
though I was not in the right position. How Tony eventually whipped me
with the end of the leather leash until I sat on my hands and knees
again and the dog crawled on top of me. Filthy! I felt filthy and
spoiled. Dog hair stuck to my back, my sides burned from their sharp
nails. The photographer took pictures at a professional distance, one
after another. Click, click, click. A maddening sound that could be
heard clearly in spite of all the mirth and laughter. This was first
photo session in a long row with dogs. Grandma opened the wardrobe with
the mirrors. She took the belt off the hook, a dark brown belt of shiny
leather, with a copper buckle. She wrapped it around her hand twice. I
had to sit on my little knees; the carpet pricked my knees. My arms were
stretched, a book on each hand. I was sitting there, naked, like Jesus
on the cross. The belt hit my back. I strained the muscles in my arms. I
wasnt allowed to drop the books. The belt hit my back for the second
time. Tears rolled down my cheeks, silently, I was too afraid to cry
aloud. Once, twice, three times, fourthe books trembled in my hands. It
was mousestill in the room, only the swish of the leather through the
air could be heard. Yes I know, Grandma, I didnt polish the copper
kettle properly, but I was only five! My little fingers didnt have
enough strength to make the old kettle shine with the big rag and the
copper polish. I didnt have a feeling of injustice but one of guilt and
regret. Later at twenty, I would still feel like that little, lonely
five-year-old girl that asked Grandma for forgiveness. I would feel
again that total solitude that I felt when I undressed, nicely folded my
clothes, put them on a chair and sat down on my knees. For many years I
would feel how the belt had become the symbol of my submissive obedience
and forgiveness. During my therapy I would understand suddenly why I
taught Tony how to use the belt. It would be such an overwhelming
experience that I would have to sit down a few minutes to recover from
the shock. Grandma! She taught me I could be forgiven if I accepted the
belt without crying. How atrocious, Grandma! You taught me even to hand


the belt to you goddammit! And I would remember that she only had to
snap her fingers to make me take off my sweater and sit down on my
knees, like a trained dog. I understood now that homecoming feeling when
Tony hit me on the back for the first time with a belt I handed to him.
I understood why I taught him! My grandmother drilled me that way. And I
would be frightened of the anger surging up in me. It happened that one
abuser bragged of the sexual things he did with me to another abuser.
The other one then complained to my grandmother because he apparently
hadnt received his moneys worth and guess who the culprit was: Me! And
again punishment came. By forcing me to watch what they did to other
children they put an immense weight on my shoulders. I firmly believed
that I was the guilty one. Even the fact that it rained on what was
supposed to be a sunny day seemed to be my fault. I would do everything
to avoid making mistakes but in their sadistic ways they always found
the symbolic stick to hit me. Whatever I did or didnt do I got always
punished. If I smiled, wept, begged or hesitated punishment. If I
provoked or played my part as a child prostitute perfectly, too bad, I
got punished because I was a whore. Slowly I was becoming insane because
no escape seemed possible. I looked desperately for ways to avoid
punishment. My little parakeet was put in the middle of the room. It
twittered happily, unaware of the imminent danger. Terrified, I looked
at one abuser then another. My eyes filled with tears, my throat had
contracted from despair. Tell us what we have to do to you little Ginny,
the big guy said, while he was sitting on the bed, relaxed. My
grandmother was watching, unmoved. I told him what he had to do to me,
underwent everything I told him to do, played my part in desperation,
praying that the little purple parakeet would live. It was my little
friend. I talked to it every time I came home, my only comfort in this
big lonely house. And the parakeet lived that day. They let it starve to
death. 5. Sex, cruelty and videotapes I remember one night, it must have
been in the winter of 1975, I got pulled from my bed by a tall dark
figure. Totally disoriented I tottered behind him. The ice-cold stones
of the garden path quickly numbed my bare feet. Without saying a word,
he pushed me onto the backseat of a car that had been waiting with the
engine running and told me to keep lying down. He threw a blanket over
me and took off. I didnt have a clue about where we were heading but it
took forever. When the car stopped another man pulled the door open,
dragged me out of the car and pushed me up stone stairs that led to a
glass door. I had just enough time to see that it was a big building
before he pushed me into the entry hall. I finally got dropped in some
sort of office, a rather large room with a brown carpet, a dark wooden
office desk, a sitting area with an L-shaped corner seat covered with
beige fabric, a small seat without armrests, a little table. All this
was oriented in such a way it provided a good view of a corner where a
double mattress was on the floor. There were lights next to it which, I
knew, were from the photographer. About eight people, among them some
familiar faces,


were in the sitting area. Three men stood around the mattress: one with
a camera, another one was adjusting the lights and a third one was
opening a trunk. One glance at the trunk gave me the shivers. I was
afraid from the moment I had been pushed into the room, but now the fear
became intense. I noticed handcuffs, a whip, candles and other things. A
shiny knife lay on top. I took a step back to be closer to the man who
had dragged me out of the car. If I had been able to, I would have sunk
into the floor from fear. He grabbed me by the shoulders. Luc! the
cameraman shouted in the direction of the other door. The young blond
man who came in gave me the shivers again. He took a leather cap and
pulled it over his head to be unrecognisable on film. Take off you
nightgown, he ordered. I hesitantly did what I was ordered to do. Naked
in front of the onlookers, small and weak, aware of my vulnerability and
unable to turn my eyes away from the knife: thats how I stood there. A
naked little rabbit. They all sat down, quietly, relaxed to watch the
shooting. A snap of the fingers. The sign that I had to sit down on the
mattress, facing the public, my legs spread apart. Play with yourself! I
followed the instructions mechanically. Off I lay down. He sat down
besides me, asked me what I would like. I want something inside of me, I
answered, the way it had been repeated to me so many times. What?
Something big. The game continued. Me, the tiny little six year old
girl, told them what they should put in me with an obedient voice, but I
wished so much that I could disappear, dissolve. He pushed a little
deeper, I moaned and pulled away for a short moment. You are bad, Tink
(Tink, from Tinkerbell was a pet name given to me by some of my
customers, because I was so little), what do I do with a girl like you?
I deserve to be punished, I swallowed difficultly. Pain burned inside
me, I shrunk mentally, but I couldnt refuse to play the part and
pronounced the words they had forced me to utter so methodically, for
several years already. He turned his finger around. I turned my back to
the spectators. I swallowed to avoid weeping, tried to flee my body in a
hurry. How many times shall I hit you? How many lashes do you deserve,
Tink? he asked and I heard a smile in his voice. What should I say? I
couldnt choose a number that was too low, because then he would choose
himself, but I didnt want to get too many lashes an unsettling choice I
had to make in a few seconds. Six I whispered full of fear and I prayed
that it were acceptable. He took the whip and gave me ten lashes;
exactly the number I could still count to. I swallowed the pain and the
tears that came to my eyes, knowing very well that otherwise Id had to
endure even more pain. They wanted to see fear and pain, but only when
commanded. Not a second earlier. I hated those films, the shootings, the
different takes and the men who could use me afterwards. The factory
where most of the films were shot was one of the regular places where
they took me. For several years they made child porn movies there, with
me, with other kids, some of whom died there. Later during my testimony
the policemen would


take me back to this place in Zaventem near Brussels. I would give them
an accurate description of the interior of the building. Sometimes, at
one or another party, they showed a movie in which I had played. First
they used those big reels, years later they moved to Betamax and finally
to VHS. I hated that camera, that turned my body into a consumer article
in a cold merciless way, raped and displayed my intimacy, confronted me
with the things I had to endure. Nothing about my body was kept private
during those filming sessions and parties. At these parties children
were ordered to urinate with men watching them. They were ordered to
masturbate, close-up photos of the most intimate parts were taken, and
animals were regularly used for mating. The body of a child was reduced
to an object and the fact that it was in pain or fear could only be
shown to the abusers when it turned them on. They were penetrated with
objects that pushed them beyond every pain limit, that made their lower
belly burn and filled it with cramping pains for several days. And there
were lots of parties! I remember I ran to the bathroom of the hotel
LHirondelle in the Queen Elisabeth Street in Knokke where a party was
taking place. I was breathing heavily when I crawled towards the toilet,
fighting the urge to throw up. One of the men had orally raped me
pushing so deeply in my throat that I had gagged, upon which he had
beaten me. After a while however he had found another victim and I had
taken advantage of this to flee to the bathroom. But instead of throwing
up I had started to cry uncontrollably. I was taken over completely by
feelings of panic, fear and helplessness and pushed myself against the
cool tiles of the bathtub. The door opened. One of the abusers entered,
closed the door and sat down in front of me. I tried to stop crying but
the tears kept coming. It looked as if a dike had burst inside me. He
caressed my hair, whispered in a soothing way that I was safe now. Dont
be afraid little girl, Im with you now And he stroked my hair, pulled me
close to him. I braced myself at first, afraid to get hit again, but his
hands kept caressing me. I cried against his chest and my little
eight-year-old body was shaking against his shoulders. I put my little
arms around his neck, hesitating, and cuddled up against his body. I
allowed all the pain and misery to break loose. I cried as if I would
never stop, clung to him like a drowning person. Then his hand went
between my legs. Suddenly, without any warning, he turned me around,
made me sit on all fours and raped me. He breathed heavily when he came,
pushed me away, zipped his pants and left. I had turned him on by
looking to him for consolation and protection.

6. No escape possible My mother brought me back to hell every Sunday
evening, unmoved. How well I remember myself, sitting on the backseat of
the car, counting the streetlights going by in a monotonous rhythm,
while the fear grew stronger and stronger on the way back to Knokke. My
cold grandmother awaited me there and the men could have their way with
me. The loneliness crushing down on me, when my mother turned around and
pulled the door closed behind her, the gate of my prison, my
concentration camp. And the


countdown started. Almost Monday, its Tuesday now, were halfway. The
nearer Friday approached the slower time went by. It seemed as if the
evening would never come. Waiting on the doorstep. Counting the red
cars, then the blue ones, and the ones with yellow lights. Hope Maybe
this is the last time. Maybe I wont have to go back, maybe they will
take me home for good I often cried, didnt want her to leave. I was so
terrified to stay behind in that mansion where men could use me as they
pleased, with a grandmother who abused me in the most sadistic manner. I
didnt let go of my Mom, clung to her sleeve. Dont leave Mommy, stay with
me, begged the scared little girl. My mother promised me not to leave,
stayed until I fell asleep exhausted, and then drove off. I always woke
up when I heard the front door close in a stealthy way. One more broken
promise. My grandmother asked me to come into her bed. She forced me to
satisfy her. Carefully, afraid to make even the smallest mistake, I did
what she wanted me to. She never showed any emotion, I never knew if I
had done good or bad. But I found out very quickly if she was happy.
Nothing happened. But more often there were reprisals. Then she put
razorblades or pieces of glass in my schoolbag, which could give me mean
cuts. Or she beat me until I begged for mercy on my little knees. The
worst punishment however was her ability to ignore me. She could go on
for weeks in a row, looking straight through me as if I were air. She
didnt speak a word until I, driven almost crazy by a feeling of absolute
loneliness, begged her to forgive me again. Then she looked at me with
disdain, pushed me away until she agreed to talk to me again. It was so
difficult for a sensitive and openhearted girl like me to live in that
house. Because of all that misery I remained a very sensitive child. I
yearned for love. I received so little that I often seemed totally empty
inside. Her cold, complete lack of affection drove me right into the
arms of my abusers. I loved the feeling of leaning against their naked
upper body, to feel a little warmth. As a girl of four, five, six years
old, I felt so happy if the man gently caressed my hair after the act.
It did hurt when they penetrated me, but often I clung to their
shoulders, forgot the pain and enjoyed the simple touch. I hopelessly
wanted a protector.

7. Freedom in the Canadian Rocky Mountains It happened in 1977. Suddenly
the doorbell rang. My grandmother opened the door and called me at once.
Your father is here! she yelled. I was happily surprised because I
usually saw my parents only in the weekends or during the holidays, and
thus a visit in the middle of the week was a nice surprise. But the man
in the hall was not the father I expected to see. He was not very tall,
had green-brown eyes and long dark hair. The jeans he was wearing didnt
belong at all in the stiff environment of my grandmothers country house.
I looked at him and then asked my grandmother where my father was.


He is your father, she said, and she went into the kitchen leaving me
alone with this strange man. He smiled at me and said Hi. I didnt speak
English at that time but we went for a walk on the beach and somehow we
managed to communicate. As if my life werent hard enough I found out
that he and my mother had an affair in 1967-1968, and that I was the
result. His name was Alan Ferrer. He was Canadian. His father was white
and his mother was a Beaver Indian. I understood that my mother had
contacted him and that she wanted to leave my father and go live with
Alan in Canada, taking me with them. He explained to me that my name,
Regina, came from the capitol of Saskatchewan. It was clear that he and
my mother were convinced that I was his biological child. Alan worked
for American Car Import, a company that imported American cars into
Europe. Six months of the year he lived in Belgium, visiting importers
in different European countries and giving training to mechanics on how
to work on American cars. The other six months, during spring and
summer, he lived in Canada. He had a cabin somewhere in Alberta I think,
but I cant recall the exact location. But he loved Saskatchewan, with
the waving grain like a majestic golden ocean and the horizon
surrounding you as far as you could see. So the three of us left for
Canada. We flew into Montreal and then got on the train for the long
ride to Regina. Im not entirely sure if we did the entire trip by train.
We might have done part of it by car. We then drove on to Alberta. For
three months I found my real roots. I discovered the Canadian Rockies
and the endless plains. Ill never forget the majestic views, the
drizzling rain. Canada got locked into my heart forever. For the first
time in my life I felt really happy and had a sense of belonging
somewhere. My mother who didnt like the outdoors stayed at home in Alans
cabin, while he and I went through the Rockies, on horseback. We camped
in the mountains, which he knew very well. I learned to speak English
and a little bit of Cree. Alan was half Beaver Indian, but I didnt know
if he had family on the Beaver Indian reservation near Saskatoon. He
taught me a lot of survival skills that would come in handy later on
when I would have to hide from the hunters in Belgium. I knew how to
orient my direction, how to sit down wind, so the dogs couldnt smell me
anymore, etc. No, I didnt tell him my story, but he sensed it all right.
I loved him very much. But my mother wanted easy money and she told him
that they could earn a lot with my body. Being a very decent man, he
refused to even think about that sort of things. But at the same time
his refusal sealed my fate. My mother broke up with Alan and took me
back to Belgium, to my grandmothers where the men were who raped and
abused me, where hell started all over again. After we arrived back in
Knokke they burned every photograph, every document, everything that
could remind us of Alan. After three months in Canada I spoke English
very well, but I was forbidden to pronounce a single English word. I was
forced to forget my country, my roots, my only hope for love and
understanding, the hope of having a real, caring father. And I tried to
forget. I became very angry with Alan, because he never tried to contact
me again. I felt lost and very much alone. And it broke my heart to have
lost the country I learned to love so dearly. But Canada never left my
mind. During the times that I was afraid of becoming insane because of
the continuous torture and cruelty of my abusers, the memories of the


wilderness and the country gave me the strength to hold on. I could
close my eyes and hear the call of the eagle, the howling of the wolves.
I even smelled the Canadian mountains again. These memories kept me
alive, kept me going for many, many years. I really believe that they
were my salvation. They gave me hope. They proved to me that not
everything in the world was dark and bad. And I promised myself that
someday, somehow, I would go back to Canada. Today Im nervous about
trying to find Alan. I am afraid that my image of him will be shattered
by reality. I miss him, but I dont want to take the chance of being
rejected or forgotten. Im not up to it right now. Id much rather live
with a beautiful memory. But my heart is still in Canada and I want to
show my children the country that I love, the city that has my name, the
place that saved me from going crazy.

8. Back in Knokke I was running along the beach. My little bare feet
hardly touched the sand, water was splashing high, my lips tasted salt.
I ran and ran until I couldnt stand the mean stings in my side anymore.
I then let myself fall down into the wet sand, rolled over and over,
kept lying on the ground and looked up at the clear blue sky where
seagulls hovered in the wind like kites without a string. This was my
world. The surf made a comforting, relaxing sound, I closed my eyes and
dissolved into the nature surrounding me. I ruled my world. It was me in
control. No people around here, only me and the beach with the wind, the
birds and the sound of the rolling waves. During my scarce free time I
wandered around the Zwin and along the beach. I loved the fall and the
winter, the empty greyness and the cold, which tickled all your senses.
I loved these seasons because most people those creatures I got so
estranged from and whom I distrusted stopped going to the beach. Summer
season was finished and I could wander again, alone without being
bothered. With an insatiable appetite for learning I started reading
everything about the birds I saw, the life on the beach and in the Zwin.
I loved the feeling of solitude in a land, which appeared to be so
teeming with wildlife. This was how I wanted to live. I wanted to become
a hermit. All the creatures around here kept at a respectful distance
from each other. When you came too close, the birds flew away, although
they were used to people. I sometimes dreamt I could make my abusers fly
away. In the beautiful Readers Digestbooks my grandmother owned it
looked so much better indeed if her granddaughter read scientific books
about nature, instead of some silly cartoons I learned everything there
was to know about barren, remote places. I became fascinated with the
Camargue in France, I dreamt about visiting Easter Island, or the
gigantic drawings of the Nazca Indians on the desolate plains of Peru.
It intrigued me that one could only see these drawings from the air. I
saw the marvellous colour pictures of Stonehenge on a foggy day and felt
a desire to go there at least once in my life, to see the sun move
between the


pillars of that enormous stone calendar surrounded by a quiet green
solitude. I wanted to be anywhere except at my grandmothers place. But
when I was in Ghent during the weekends, there was a strange atmosphere.
My parents had become almost strangers to me. They looked old, never
played with me and never seemed spontaneously cheerful or energetic.
They mostly slept in on Saturday and I roamed about the house, bored.
There was hardly anything to do. Everything was filled with china and
antiques, my room with its lead-glass window was often too cold to stay
in, and burning hot in the summer. And it wasnt cosy at all. The
wallpaper was old fashioned with dull green roses on a white background,
the furniture was ancient and there was a crucifix hanging from the wall
and an image of mother Mary with child. There were toys, yes, but what
is a child supposed to do with toys if there is nobody to play with? I
waited the entire morning for them both to wake up. But after lunch they
took a siesta. And they never talked to each other nor did they talk to
me. They felt uneasy, I felt strange as if I had spent the night at an
uncles or aunts. When I got nightmares I sometimes crawled in bed with
them. My father then moved to my room, to give me more space. He didnt
want to touch me, not with his wife present. Nevertheless I longed for
the weekend every week. Because now and then there were hopeful moments,
making me believe in a better future. Sometimes the house got lively
when the suns rays came in through the windows and made the house warm
and cosy; when my father put a Middle of the Road record on the record
player and the cheerful sounds of this popular group livened up the
atmosphere. I cherished these rare moments of joy. These were the
moments that made my life bearable. There were animals in Ghent. My dog,
a crossbreed between a Scottish terrier and a border collie, with pitch
black hair and a white bib was my dearest friend. Poffie was always
there for me, and I loved to wrap my arms around his neck and to bury my
face in his long fur. He was patient and wagged his tail when I hugged
him and he followed me around. Poffie was the most beautiful memory from
my childhood. If it werent for him, I would always remember dogs as
animals that hurt me because they were trained to do things that couldnt
bear the light of day. But he compensated for all those negative
feelings. Poffie stayed on my mattress when I had to sleep in the living
room with a burning fever, sweating and delirious. As a young child I
had one throat infection after another. Nobody had ever considered this
as a signal but this was indeed the most powerful physical signal I
could produce. It seemed as if only Poffie knew what went on in my head.
He stayed with me day and night, didnt want to eat or drink until I
could get up again. If a dog could see that I was crying for help, why
werent the people who had to care for me, able to see it? Sometimes
people with children came to visit. I liked to play with them, and I
played my role, faking to be a normal little child. If they would have
known what I knew! This usually made me so tired that after an hour or
two I wanted them to leave. I tried to imitate them, to project myself
into their innocent little world, and fortunately I also had the
child-alters who werent aware of the abuse and got an opportunity to
play during those moments. An ingenious system, DIS. When I was six or
seven years old I noticed that kids reacted in a strange way around me.
I realized they didnt talk with the voices in their head, maybe they
even didnt have other


people in their head they could talk to and Wise, the alter who was
good at solving problems, understood I had to hide my alters from the
outside world. The controller came alive. He had to make sure that the
alters didnt switch just like that, and came out in the open. He had to
ensure that the same alter came out with the same person. Few people
noticed that I could switch so terribly fast. When I got up on Sunday
morning and looked at my Samsonite-case I was feeling depressed already.
After lunch my mother started packing my clothes. I tried to buy some
time, to make every minute last longer in my mind. But it seemed that on
Sunday, time always went by much faster. The houses, light poles,
villages and meadows that rushed past. The familiar road to the coast,
the Knokke railroad-station, the famous Lippens Lane which was named
after a former mayor, Mr Lippens, who had been a member of a wealthy
family that still has a lot of influence. This felt like my road to
prison every week. In the backseat a lonely little girl silently cried
for help and forgiveness, behind an indifferent face. I had to say
goodbye all these years, over and over to the only people I could expect
any help from. A Mommy and Daddy to whom I was unable to tell what was
going on but whom I hoped would notice something was terribly wrong. The
disappointment when they brought me to bed at my Grandmas place, the
immense pain and emptiness when the door closed behind them. The
solitude of a death row inmate, awaiting execution, was resting on the
shoulders of a child. Whats coming this week? The factory? A party?
Rough customers? Pictures? Which prospect was the least threatening? In
my head walls were erected to block the memories. It was much better not
to think too far ahead. My grandmother forbade me to allow the men to
penetrate my vagina, and held me responsible for it. If she would find
out that I went along with this anyway then I was a whore and she would
hurt me a lot, she said. As if I had any control of this! The abusers
knew very well they werent allowed to penetrate me, because deflowering
a girl could be medically proven, but anal penetration wasnt visible
anymore after a few days. With certain little victims they respected
this rule but with me they had a demonic pleasure in breaking it. And
every time I had to face my grandmother after the act I was devoured by
anxiety and fear. I hadnt been able to prevent it, thus it was my fault
and I was scared to death of the reprisals. My grandmother knew very
well that I wasnt a virgin anymore, but it was of course an excellent
method to make me feel responsible for facts I couldnt control. I was
eight and a half when, one morning, I saw blood in my panties. I was
terrified. My breasts had started growing for a couple of months and I
got even more estranged from the other kids of my age, who still had
little girls bodies. But the blood scared me to death; I was convinced I
was dying. Thats it, flashed through my head in a split second; this was
Gods punishment for all my sins! Trembling with fear I ran to my
grandmother. She looked at my panties and slapped me in the face real
hard. Slut! she hissed. Did she think I had been deflowered? I dont know
but she was angry and nervous at the same time. I was eight and had my
period for the first time. The doctor didnt think this was abnormal. Its
early he said, that was all and he didnt even touch my body to examine
me. My body now developed very quickly into the body of a young adult


woman. The lengthy and frequent sexual abuse and the obligation to
reason in a more adult way than was in fact possible at my age must have
accelerated my maturation. My brain and hormones must have been
stimulated to make this little body, that had been exposed for so long
to the cruelty of adult sexual perverts, grow up as soon as possible.
From that day I could get pregnant. My mother bought me a book about sex
education and that was it. Everything was explained in there, but I
became disheartened when I read it. Would I bleed every month now? To my
classmates I seemed to come from Mars. They all still changed clothes
together when we went swimming, but I had to hide alone in a little
cabin. They stared at my breasts as if they were two giant tumours. I
was ashamed of my body. I was convinced they could immediately see what
I did with the men and women who took me their parties, simply by
looking at my figure. As if God himself had pointed his finger at me and
marked me with breasts to show the world what a trollop I was. But the
men thought this maturing body was the ultimate. Never had I been more
popular. Most abusers werent even paedophiles, they just liked to fondle
a cute young girl with tits. My breasts really acted like magnets. I was
filmed, photographed a wanted lust object. Maybe this saved my life. I
had become the embodiment of their most intimate desires: extremely
young but developed the way they liked. There was a problem though, my
fertility. They had to use condoms or practice coitus interruptus. They
did for the first two months, after which their caution slowly
decreased. And every month there was that same fear. Was I pregnant, or
not? Every time I lost blood I felt a big relief, because as always my
grandmother held me personally responsible. If I were pregnant it would
prove that I was so perverted as to allow this to happen. I should have
been careful! There was another girl, Anke, who was often brought to the
country house to be abused. She was very pretty and had the face of a
porcelain doll. She was the only girl my age I felt comfortable with.
Anke also lived in Knokke and for a while we were in the same class. I
often visited her or we met in the park behind the school. And every
once in a while we discussed what happened to us in very general terms.
I had seen a lot of girls come and go during my years in Knokke. Some of
them came with their parents or father to stay in the guest rooms of the
country house, some of them I had to initiate and train. Wasnt it the
easiest thing to do, have victims train other victims? Experienced
children like me were indeed the perfect trainers; the adults stayed out
of reach and didnt have to put a lot of energy into the training. Ankes
father had been training his little daughter from a very young age. Anke
said their cupboards were filled with pornographic material and he loved
to lend his daughter out. Anke was obliged to work in my grandmothers
rooms and she was regularly taken along to sex parties. She was popular
because she was so pretty and graceful, a delicate little doll that
danced for them and turned them on. Anke was not used for the hard core
SM work, it would have been a real shame indeed to damage such a perfect
little body and face, but her life wasnt easier than mine. Abuse remains
abuse, with or without violence. After all, its the fear, the emotional
stress and the feelings of guilt that are the worst. Violence makes it
more painful, not worse.


Anke and I laughed a lot but we were able to share much pain without
ever talking about it. Whenever I could, I tried to protect her a little
bit from the abusers, however there wasnt a lot I could do. Although I
tried hard to divert them, she still had to endure a lot of sexual
abuse. One time I managed to prevent her father from raping her, but
usually I didnt stand a chance. It was better to close my eyes hoping it
would be over quickly, for her and for me. We attended ballet classes
together. It was really funny. I looked like a cow compared to her
natural grace. My talents were clearly in my rough, stubborn nature and
they appreciated this a lot in SM circles while she floated through the
room as an elegant swan. I particularly liked it when we rode our bikes
to ballet school together, the nicest moments of the week. Pushing the
pedals real hard, our hair streaming in the wind, racing as if our lives
depended upon it. Feeling free for a few moments, rejoicing in her
shouts of excitement. Although so much adventure and recklessness was
not for a girl like Anke, she did team up with the boisterous tomboy
that I was. Together we broke loose from the adult world, its rules and
regulations, and just for a short while we could feel how it was to be a

9. Cheyenne, my first daughter I was just ten and knew nothing at all
about giving birth, and the accompanying pain. Neither my grandmother
nor my parents had told me anything about what it was like, what pains
there were etc. I dont know how long I was pregnant when I suddenly felt
life inside my belly. I told my grandmother that something was moving
inside of me. She immediately put me on a diet and made me wear a corset
to keep my belly flat. She told me that if anyone discovered my
pregnancy I would be put in a prison for children. I was so afraid that
someone might notice my expanding belly because I might never see my
Mommy and Daddy again. So I did everything I could to conceal it. And
nature works in mysterious ways. Instead of gaining weight I even lost
some and my belly didnt get big. My grandmothers doctor wrote a note to
the school to exempt me from sport lessons, another problem solved. And
people are blind anyway. Nobody saw the torture, nobody noticed the
wounds inflicted on me, why would they have noticed a pregnancy that was
so well hidden? Very recently, in 2001, French journalists talked to my
schoolteacher and asked her if it could be possible that I had been
pregnant at nine and a half. She wasnt surprised and said that it could
indeed be possible. She didnt intend to make a public statement but she
didnt know that the conversation was filmed by a hidden camera. I was
shocked when I saw the tape; she believed that I could have been
pregnant in 1979 but didnt do anything. If someone had helped me then my
daughter would still be alive today. When the water broke I was fixing
the beds in the guestrooms on the third floor, and I was panic-stricken.
What did I know? I went downstairs with an uneasy feeling. I was really
afraid of Grandma and I hardly dared to say that I lost water. It ran
down along my legs and I shuddered at the idea of soiling her wooden
floor. I knew how terrible she would find such a thing and how angry she
would get.


Grandma was in the kitchen cleaning fish. Even today the smell of fresh
fish still reminds me of the fear and pain of childbirth. I told her
water came out of me. She didnt say anything, but looked at my legs and
wiped her hands off with her apron. She felt inside my panties with her
ice-cold fingers and sent me to the bedroom with the explicit order to
stay in there. I crawled onto the bed in a foetal position and started
singing softly to keep my fear under control. An hour or so later the
first pains came. At first they were not very strong and I walked back
and forth in the room. I didnt have the slightest idea how to control
the pains and I stopped breathing every time they came. Wrong of course,
but how was I supposed to know? I got nervous and scared. That kind of
pain was so new to me and I got all kinds of visions about how the baby
would be born. I didnt even know how the baby would come out of my body.
I felt so incredibly vulnerable and desperately wanted to have and adult
person by my side. Then came the men, a baron, Ppre, two brothers one of
them had a glass eye, and a guy dressed in police clothes. They watched
me, forced me on the bed and when a pain came up Ppre forced himself
inside of me. I was in total panic. It hurt terribly and I braced
myself, which made everything a lot worse. I cried out of pain and
nausea. I begged for mercy. But the worst of all was the fear. That
choking feeling as if youre slowly being tortured to death is
indescribable. I hyperventilated every time one of them entered my
vagina, and the pain grew stronger and spread through my entire body. I
squeezed the barons arms very hard. He slapped me in the face, once,
twice, three times. Totally unexpectedly the pains grew even stronger
and I automatically started pushing. I screamed loudly, I was so scared
and it hurt terribly. With all my strength I opposed the forces that
took over my body. I cried, called my Mommy, but they just beat me. When
the next pain came, one of the brothers put his hand in my vagina and
moved it. I yelled. The pain, the fear, the all-embracing panic, its
impossible to describe but very traumatic. When the little head came I
was so exhausted I couldnt push anymore. I was so tired. But the pain
forced me to and with the last bit of energy I had left in my body I
pushed her into this world. This was my little memory of Canada, my
Cheyenne. Several hours later my grandmas doctor showed up to look at
me. She could entirely trust him because he was one of my customers. He
didnt touch me but gave me some Valium and left again. My little
daughter wasnt officially declared to the authorities, she didnt exist.
My grandmother let her stay in my room, I breastfed her. This went on
for about six weeks until one morning I woke up with an unpleasant
feeling, a feeling of mischief and anxiety. Cheyenne? My breasts felt
bloated because I had not fed her during the night. I jumped out of bed
and went to the little cot in the corner of the room, but before I
looked over the wooden side I had the ominous feeling she was gone. No!
No, no, dont do this to me! Cheyenne, please! I looked at the empty
little bed, the sheets were gone and the bare mattress seemed to sneer
at my face. My baby had disappeared! I ran to the kitchen where I heard
my grandmother singing and I stopped in the doorway. Grandma!


She didnt budge and kept standing with her back towards me. Singing. I
raised my voice and she answered coldly: I never want to hear you talk
about this again, and you better not ask any questions. You have to
forget about this. Where is she, Grandma? Not a word, Regine, she
repeated, stressing every word. I have never known where they took
Cheyenne. Since that day, Cheyenne was taboo. But nearly three years
later, after I moved to Ghent to live with my parents and my pimp Tony,
as will be explained later in this book, I would be taken to the factory
in Zaventem where they made child porn movies. That weekend I would be
abused, tortured and tormented by several abusers for forty-eight hours.
They then would show me a little girl who could have been Cheyennes age
then. Dont you recognize her, pussycat? They say that a mother always
recognizes her daughter! Look at her! This is your daughter Sweetie Pie,
and you can save her life. Do what we ask you to do and we kill you. If
you dont we kill her. Nooo! Rick, no, dont do it, please dont! Rick put
a knife in my hand and forced me to put it inside of me. I wanted to let
go of the knife, drop it, but he squeezed my fingers around the handle.
I bent down to my knees, begged, cried, asked for mercy, to no avail.
After he pulled the knife out again, I was so arrogant as to loose
consciousness, for just a few moments. This was unforgivable. They
slaughtered the girl whom they said was my daughter before my own eyes.
My fault. I should have been stronger. In 1979 I had reached the limit
of my endurance. After my little daughters disappearance I started
rebelling and became belligerent towards my grandmother. I wanted to
leave the country-house even if I had to run away. Every weekend, when
my parents came to pick me up in Knokke, I insisted that I wanted to
live at home. I felt old, and in fact I was, although my mind was locked
in a little kids body, a kid that didnt really look like a ten year old
anymore. Because of my training at the ballet school my belly was flat
again, but my breasts were big and full, my face serious and my thoughts
anything but childish. I calculated in a determined, mathematical way my
chances of fleeing and came to the conclusion that living with my
parents was my only realistic possibility. My persistent obstinacy was
received very negatively by the family, but I was only fighting for my
life. I didnt function anymore in the group of abusers; I could hardly
control my anger. Mich and Ppre hit me to make me obey but I only
carried out the orders with visible aversion. What more could they do to
me? They killed all my animals, took my child away, I didnt have
anything to lose anymore, except my own life. I feared for my life but
when I looked into their eyes I got stubborn and determined, letting
them feel I didnt want to co-operate easily anymore when they gave me
assignments. My grandmother and the abusers, who took me along most
often to parties or filming sessions, felt my rebellious spirit and I
knew the countdown had started. If I didnt become submissive again
quickly, I would disappear. Ten years old, hardened by the
circumstances, I had fights with my parents, forcing them in fact to
take up their responsibility. My mothers brother and my cousins
disapproved of my behaviour, and so did my fathers side of the family.
They said I was spoiled rotten. I always kept my distance from them
during family get-togethers, greeting them without


affection. I was distrustful and kept contacts to a minimum. They were
the opposing party, which I knew very well would choose my grandmothers
and parents side. I felt like an outsider and thats exactly how they
treated me. Although some members of the family didnt know what was
going on, others did, and they banded together to keep the big secret.
Secrets seemed the only bond in my family. They whispered about it but
when push came to shove, they all stuck together. Also uncles and aunts
accused me. Shes spoiled. She doesnt love her parents. Shes disturbed,
shes insane. Ungrateful bitch! But whom else did I have? Where else
could I go if I wanted to flee Knokke? Shortly after my babys
disappearance I had tried to alarm the principal of my school, the Holy
Heart School. She was a nun. I told her I had been threatened with a
pistol. This was true, that night I had been forced to satisfy a
customer with a pistol held against my head. I had blue spots in my neck
after he nearly strangled me. But she didnt seem to realize the
seriousness of the situation. I was called a pathological liar, even a
danger to the other children. She called my grandmother on the phone and
told her what I had said to her, right there in her office with me
sitting on a chair in front of her. She looked at me because I could
hear parts of the conversation. There was a malicious look in her eyes,
as if she enjoyed seeing me shrink in fear and pain. Yes, yes madam,
thats what she said. Here in front of me! You have threatened her with a
pistol! But madam, I agree! You have to take her firmly in hand,
absolutely! Shes crazy! I saw her nod with compassion. Pay attention.
Well, I feel really sorry for you, such a granddaughter this must be
hard on you. My grandmother waited for me at the front door. I entered
with lagging steps, to be beaten up, as I had never been before. She had
arthritis in her hands, she used to say, but this was certainly not
visible that day. What I had done was considered high treason. I then
was forced to watch what they did to Anke, and they forced me to
participate, to tell them what they should do to her. They tried to
break my will, my fighting spirit, my friendship with her. The penalty
for breaking silence was harsh, for her as well as for me. Did you help
Regine with this conspiracy? No sir. You did help her, tell me, tell the
truth! She refused to lie, submissive but stubborn. They tortured her
until she confessed. Confessed to something she wasnt involved in at
all. I was raving mad, had foam from my mouth. I jumped at Joe, the
baron, yelling that he should take me, that it was me who had betrayed
them, not her. He pushed me aside smiling and brutally raped Anke. I
then hung on the hook in the attic for hours, so long that I lost every
notion of time and space. Naked, bleeding between my legs from being
raped with razorblades, the favourite toys of my sadistic group. But
nevertheless I couldnt give in to them any longer. While I was hanging
there, in the cold, dark attic, the anger in me kept growing. I could
understand they wanted to punish me, I had been disobedient and deserved
it. I could handle the pain. But it was so dishonest to go after my best
friend. She hadnt done anything wrong. She was too damn scared to even
budge! She couldnt help that I had been so stupid as to ask for help
from that cowardly nun.


I absolutely had to flee to my parents. I could only dream and hope
things would be different there. There was a future for me, there, in
Ghent. Anke would be safer without me around. Ten years old, coldly
calculating, capable of terminating a friendship to help Anke. My mother
accepted hesitantly. With a childlike little voice and a sweet little
face I threw my arms around her neck. For a while I was the happiest
child in the world, a prisoner who saw her liberators waiting in front
of the prison gates. My grandmother was furious. The mere fact that I
had the audacity to escape her dominance and therefore managed to
mobilize my parents to help me, was a terrible shock to her. She tried
to convince my mother to leave me in Knokke. My mother seemed to be
giving in but I looked her right in the eye. She put up a weak
resistance, but my grandmother was the dominant party. But then I told
her calmly that I would go to Ghent anyway whether she liked it or not.
They looked at me, speechless, my mother to the left holding a
cigarette, her lips tight and nervous, my grandmother to the right with
steel blue eyes and clenched fists. An ice-cold silence fell. What I
didnt know then but discovered years later was that other parents had
suspected that something was going on and started talking about it. So
one month before the end of the school year I was sent back to Ghent to
avoid scandal. When the police would investigate the school records
after my testimony late 1996, they wouldnt find a lot of indications
about my frequent absences from school. Everything had been thoroughly
covered up.

10. Back in Ghent, I meet Tony I remember how I was sitting on the
doorstep, in June 1979, as a ten year old, with my little Samsonite
suitcase next to me, waiting for my mother. After all these years the
ordeal of living with my grandmother was coming to an end. Today my
Mommy was coming to get me for good. My grandmother was infuriated. I
was always told I was a bad kid, consequently I was convinced all this
anger and hatred were really my fault. People said my grandmother was
very strict, but I knew better. I made her angry because I stopped
obeying her. I couldnt any longer. Something was snapped inside of me. I
couldnt bring up the energy to fulfil her assignments any longer. I
pushed my memories far away, locked the door of my minds wounds and
waited patiently for my Moms arrival. I was being forgiven. I had served
my sentence. My Mom and Dad would finally see with their own eyes that I
was a good girl. I was going home, they would love me forever and
everything would be all right! But when I got home, there was no
welcoming party, only chaos. What should have been the great escape
turned out quite differently. The house was dirty. My mother ran a dog
grooming business and the dogs were running free and had taken over the
place. The kitchen was stacked with dirty dishes. The garden was
neglected and overgrown with shrubs and little trees, it was full of
junk including an old mouldy sofa. My room had never been
re-wallpapered. The same old linoleum, curled around the edges was still
on the floor. The old-fashioned bedroom furniture from my mothers
brother was still there and so was the double bed with a mattress with
springs sticking through. It smelled of


mould and cat-piss. I walked through the house but no one seemed to
notice me. My mother worked, my father worked or slept in his seat in
front of the TV that was endlessly vomiting rubbish in French. I felt
totally lost. It took me a long time before I dared to ask when we would
have dinner. They hadnt fed me; they simply forgot I was there! Annoyed,
my mother answered that there surely was a can of spaghetti left in the
cellar. I was starving, and missed the meals from Knokke, which had
always been on time and abundant. It took some effort to find the can.
It was under a layer of dust between pots of marmalade that seemed to be
three centuries old. I didnt dare to check the expiration date. Next
came the impossible task of finding a can-opener and a frying pan in my
Moms kitchen. Finally I ate the food cold because I couldnt get the
stove started even after I had removed all the junk from the blackened
burners. And time went by. I took up my role again and played the happy
child, maybe it was only to convince myself how happy I was, but it cost
me a huge amount of energy. I languished. I saw my mother go to bed with
strange men whenever she had the chance. I noticed how empty and cold
her relationship with my father was, almost hateful. They never fought
though. My father disappeared each time my mother prepared to talk to
him, and my mother turned up the TV or the music whenever my father
wanted to have a talk with her. It was a cold war, without words. These
hostile feelings towards each other also took their toll on me. Neither
of them spent a single minute with me. I was a boarder, nothing more.
But I blocked the Knokke period out of my memory, to survive. Although
my parents didnt look after me, the months following my move to Ghent
gave me the time to recover from the severe traumas I had experienced. I
could slowly recover from my physical injuries and settle down
emotionally. For hours in a row I sat in the red imitation leather chair
in my bedroom, without moving. The vaginal bleedings went on for several
more months, sometimes they looked serious, and then they seemed to
decrease, to resume at full intensity the next day. I was often unable
to move because of the pain in my lower belly. My mother only noticed
this once during a dog show. The pain had become almost unbearable but
she didnt do anything. Which gave me the feeling again that she thought
I was just trying to get attention. What was pain? I didnt know when
physical pain was supposed to be alarming and when it wasnt. I kept
going around with the vaginal bleedings, and endured the chronic
bellyaches because I figured that if my mother didnt take them seriously
they probably werent. But most of all, I was scared to death of doctors.
Several doctors, like my grandmothers doctor and other ones who
sometimes collaborated with my abusers, had only treated me to hide my
injuries from the outside world. And now I was afraid a doctor would
discover my injuries. Imagine a doctor would get to know what I had been
doing all those nights! The feelings of guilt and shame, made me avoid
going to see a doctor. On top of that I didnt want to be touched again,
exposing my intimate parts to an adult. In my world adults always caused
pain, physical or psychological but mostly a combination of both. All
this was largely sufficient to keep me out of a doctors office. I
registered in a new school and tried to adapt as well as possible to my
new living environment. The physical and emotional neglect, so carefully
hidden from the outside world was still bearable to me. But the lack of
regular and healthy meals it frequently happened that I had to live on
biscuits or fruit from the little gardens next to the school


for days in a row and the ongoing loss of blood made me lose
consciousness regularly. One day this happened during class. I slid into
a black hole and was told afterwards that I had fallen from my chair
unconscious. The teacher was startled and wanted to send me to the
medical section after I recovered, but I stubbornly refused. Nobody was
allowed to know what was wrong with me. I was afraid that my loss of
blood would show that I had been a whore before. This was my new life. I
wanted to avoid at all cost that my new environment would get to know
about my past. No! I had obviously spoken so firmly that my teacher took
a step back. But Regina, you need help. Just go see the nurse for a few
minutes! No! I said even more aggressively. I jumped up to demonstrate
how well I was, thereby ignoring my spinning head, and quickly sat down
on my chair again. Internally I was shrinking. The other kids were
staring at me as still as death. I stared at my desk, uneasily, my fists
clenched. Stone, my strong alter ego, had come to the surface, ready to
fight if needed. The teacher turned around and never mentioned this
incident again. No recording was made of what had happened. I went back
home with the feeling that I had been able to save my big secret but it
had been a very narrow squeak. Soon however, my mother started using me
as bait to attract her lovers, which made me revert back to my old
survival mode, my multiple personalities. To the normal outside world I
seemed to be a normal child. But every rapist or abuser felt my high
vulnerability from miles away. I seemed to be a walking neon
advertisement: come, take me, its OK! My mother didnt even have to say
it. Her friends swarmed around me like bees around a pot of honey. When
I was twelve I had become a kind of ghost. At school I didnt really
mingle with the other kids, they were discovering sex and talked about
it in a way that seemed so childish to me. I became a real slob. I
hardly washed, my long hair was uncombed and dirty, and my clothes were
a collection of dirty old things that used to be my mothers. I had been
living with my parents for almost two years now and my father had only
bought new clothes for me two times: a dress for my Holy Communion and a
sweater with a horse on it. I used a body warmer as a jacket, even
during the winter. I had a pair of worn out sneakers and three panties
that I had pinched from my mothers wardrobe. The girl they used to
parade with had grown into a teenager with the body of a young woman. I
wasnt little Goldilocks anymore. They couldnt put little bows in my hair
any longer, nor show me off. So the toy was no longer interesting. These
were the circumstances in which I met Tony. One day I walked listlessly
into the room where my mother groomed dogs. Tony sat on the stool in his
typical way, his left foot on his right knee. He was a sales
representative for Gimpet, a German company of dog grooming products. My
mother was leaning against her office desk, holding a glass of wine, her
seductress pose as I used to call it. Hey Regine, there you are! I was a
little surprised. My mother? She talked to me? What was coming next? I
glanced at the man on the stool. He looked at me with that naughty funny
look in his eyes. He had been staring at me all that time.


This is Tony. Do you know him? And I obeyed the code that had been
drilled into my mind. I could not know or recognize anybody. So I didnt.
No. But my memory had already identified him. The dogs, their barking
and panting. Tony, this is Regine, she said with a voice showing the
effects of the wine. Regin I automatically corrected her. It didnt
matter, she didnt hear me anyway. How old do you think Tony is? she
asked me. I looked into his face and replied: Forty. First mistake. My
mother was upset, because I was so impertinent. But he laughed aloud,
saying he appreciated my honesty. But I am forty! and he kept laughing.
My mother responded that he definitely didnt look forty. The clich. I
sighed at all this comedy. I kept standing in front of him, an obedient
child. He caressed my hair, raised my chin. I looked him right in the
eyes. I bluffed. From now on Tony is your owner, my mother said. I
accepted. It seemed okay to me. One man, one owner, this would be a lot
better than having to please so many of my mothers lovers. I looked at
him and let my eyes wander across him. I will tame you, Sweetie Pie! he
whispered. I know, I whispered back. I didnt care. He was the first one
who really looked at me for more than two minutes. I existed. Shes
dirty, he said to my mother, without taking his eyes off me. She
shrugged her shoulders. Go wash her, she replied. I sensed the jealous
undertone. Even with my back turned towards her I knew how sour her look
had to be now. She wanted attention, to be pretty, desirable. He took me
by the hand, brought me to the bath, put shampoo and balsam ready and
thoroughly washed my hair. It was long and full of knots, but he took
his time, washed it, rinsed out the lather, washed it again and massaged
the balsam into my hair with patient precision. He rinsed my hair with
lukewarm water. My heart came alive slowly. Every touch of his hand on
my scalp loosened feelings inside. The contact that he established with
me at that very moment would make me follow him unconditionally and
slavishly for years. As an experienced psychologist he was laying the
foundation. He put me on a little stool, turned on the hair-dryer, which
my mother used to dry the dogs, and patiently brushed every knot out of
my hair. Half an hour later my hair fell around my face as a golden
crown. It felt light and shiny. Tony was happy. I smiled at him,
embarrassed. This was the first time that I had been touched in such a
pleasant way. I felt protected. I liked being his property. A few days
later he took me out to a movie-theatre. He had told me to take a bath
and had washed my hair again. He didnt mention a single time that I was
his property, on the contrary. He asked me out, as if we went on a date.
So different from those men who just took me. He paid for the tickets;
we went inside and sat down holding hands. He talked to me softly,
caressed my hair. I felt so much affection for him. He was the first
adult who saw me as a person. I completely trusted him and put myself
into his hands. The lights


went out and the movie started. He invited me into his arms and I
cuddled up to him. I didnt look at him as a lover, oh no. He was a
father to me, the big protector a twelveyear-old girl needs. Navely and
innocently I put my head against his chest. His breathing made a
peaceful feeling come over me. I felt so safe. I felt like a daughter
who could finally sit on her Daddys lap after a long absence. And then
his fingertips softly ran over my breast. I felt the touch and it set
off an alarm inside of me – but I tried to ignore it. Desperately I
clung to that safe feeling I had felt just before. His fingertips
touched my nipple and my body started shivering. That wasnt an
accidental contact. My senses sharpened. His hand travelled downwards,
resting on my buttocks. Slowly, stealthily he pulled up my skirt. I
didnt move, my head lying against his chest. But his breathing wasnt
peaceful any longer. His right hand went into my panties, pushed my legs
a little apart. I braced myself clinging to the marvellous illusion from
a few minutes earlier. But his fingers, trying to find their way inside
dashed every little bit of hope left. He wanted sex and I couldnt give
it. I couldnt, I didnt want to! The hands of a man I had put all my
trust in couldnt possibly do what had been done to me before! I needed
him as a father! After a while he stopped. He took his arm off me and
pushed me upright. Ashamed I pulled down my skirt, disappointed and sad.
But at the same time a feeling of guilt was growing inside of me. Who
was I to refuse him that? Wasnt he really nice to me? He had taken care
of me, smiled at me, given me so much attention! Wasnt it normal that I
had to reciprocate? Nothing comes free in this life; my grandmother had
drilled into my head. He pulled me outside, ordered me to get into the
car and drove off without saying a word. I felt so guilty it almost
destroyed me. My eyes were heavy with tears. Would he repudiate me now?
He stopped in front of the house. I stayed put, sad, with my head bowed.
He looked at me for a few seconds, without any sign of emotion. Gina, I
understand that you dont want me. Thats entirely up to you. Ill find
myself another girl and we wont talk about it anymore, okay? My heart
broke into a thousand pieces. I didnt want to lose him. Worse, I felt I
was going to die if he rejected me. Im so sorry Tony, I didnt mean it
that way. I was scared! I tried to control my tears in desperation. He
caressed my hair. Gina, you got to understand that a grown up man has
his needs. What do you want me to do with a girl who behaves like a
little kid? Do you understand? I nodded in defeat. Of course he was
right. I had behaved terribly. He just wanted a little sex. That couldnt
be that bad, could it? Next time it will be different, Tony, I promise!
He sighed. Okay, thats what well do: when you feel up to it, youll give
me a call, right? I wont take the initiative anymore. You are
responsible all right? I nodded. From now on the responsibility would
rest on my shoulders, a perfectly set trap that would discharge him from
any guilt. His prey had been caught. Of course I called him back. Less
than three hours after the movie-theatre experience, I was convinced
that I was totally guilty. He must have been thrilled when he heard me
on the other end of the line. Hesitantly I asked him to give me a second
chance, perfectly knowing I would get hurt. He promised me to drop by
soon. I felt so uncertain. When was


soon? And how could I get ready for what would come? Soon appeared to
be the next day. He was waiting for me at my mothers workplace. I kissed
him on the cheek and waited until he judged the time right to leave. I
couldnt help being nervous. It was so unlike the first time, when I
drove off with him full of joy and illusion. My heart felt so heavy and
without my realizing it, a silent resignation had come over me. I had to
pay, I was guilty. It didnt even matter of what The lights went out. He
couldnt wait to touch me. He touched my breasts. I held my breath,
shuddering inside. He continued, exactly as the day before. I bit my
lip, this wasnt nice at all. The silent sadness settling into my heart
was so familiar however, that I stopped thinking of resisting him.
Adults, they had hurt me again and again, how could I possibly know
there were also other ways? He guided my hand towards his fly and
mechanically, without any thinking, I did what he wanted me to do. When
it was over, he pulled his hand out of my panties and gave me a hanky to
wipe off my fingers. He pulled me up and we found our way out. The film
had only started fifteen minutes ago. I was filled with shame trying to
imagine what people in the theatre had to be thinking. She satisfied him
and now they leave. What a piece of trash! I couldnt understand how he
possibly could walk out as if nothing happened. I was ashamed to death.
This feeling didnt subside when we were outside in the sun, on the
contrary! I realized I was very young. I was twelve years old! What
would people think of me? Only whores did what I did at my age. He
unlocked his Mercedes and I got in, confused. I was too embarrassed to
look at him. He drove for a while until he found a quiet spot to park. A
moment of silence. I kept looking at the floor quietly, not able to come
to terms with what had happened at the movie-theatre. He stared at me, I
could feel it, but I didnt react. Gina? Mmm This was the only sound I
could squeeze through my throat. And then he hit me in the face real
hard. I hadnt seen the blow coming so the effect of surprise was
enormous. I almost tumbled backward, touched my glowing cheek, dazed,
and looked at him. My heart was pounding. I writhed with shame. I must
have been real bad, how else could I have deserved such cruel
punishment? This isnt the way, baby. This isnt jacking-off, its playing
doctor! And Im too old to waste time on that. See! I had terribly
disappointed him. I was worthless! Too damn stupid to satisfy a man who
gave me so much love! I had to overcome the urge to hurt myself. What
the hell was wrong with me? Why wasnt I capable of making someone feel
good? I cried, not because he had hit me, but because I had failed. He
dropped me off at the front door, dashed off and left me behind in total
disarray. If I hadnt done such a lousy job, he wouldnt be so angry with
me. Thats what I really believed! I sneaked inside and went right to the
bathroom. I filled the bath with hot water and slowly descended into it.
This was my safe, warm little world, the only thing that could
compensate for the lack of love and caring. In here, I could slowly put
together the bits and pieces of my heart. A day went by, and another,
and another. The feeling of disarray started eroding, the wait for his
return became more prominent. He walked in one afternoon and embraced me
in the entry hall. I was so relieved that I put my arms around his neck.
O God, how scared


had I been that he would forget me! At once the hit was forgiven and
forgotten. The mere fact that I still existed for him made me feel dizzy
and elated. My mother was seemingly even more enthusiastic. She circled
around him like a cat in heat. He took both of us to the living room
where he posted himself in the middle of the sofa. My mother sat down
beside him, her skirt pulled up just above her knees. I sat down on the
other side, feeling rather uncomfortable. What I saw then filled me with
disgust. He started fondling her and she let him, her eyes closed. He
kissed her on the neck. I turned my head away, trying not to shout. I
felt hysteria overtaking me. My mother! I felt like throwing up. I tried
to slide over to the side hoping to slide away and disappear, invisibly.
But this only focused his attention on my presence. He stopped me with
one hand and pulled me close to him. Shame and humiliation overwhelmed
me. In spite of much worse things that happened to me, this moment
remains among my most painful memories. He made love to both of us! I
expected her to protest but she didnt. She didnt mind; that was her
message to me. And if she didnt think it was bad, the problem obviously
had to lie with me. Stop being so difficult and childish, I told myself,
and I let them have their way. I tried not to get emotionally involved
with what happened and decided that it was high time to act like an adult.

11. Tony becomes the family hero When my mother introduced me to Tony I
should have known, deep in my heart, that the old bad things would
happen again. But I was nave and believed he was different. I craved for
just a little human contact. And he picked me up again. We drove back
and forth until he finally parked the car on a remote country road.
Again I felt the tension build up in me. Submissively I allowed his hand
to move under my sweater. Close your eyes, pussycat, he whispered. I put
my head against the headrest, turned my head towards the window beside
me and closed my eyes. When I would open them again, a little later, I
didnt want to look straight into his eyes. He scared me and I feared his
reaction. He stuck his fingers inside of me and I felt my body react to
his orders, like a dog getting a new trainer. How can I explain that
ones body can react in a way thats so different from what one feels
inside? How can I make anyone understand that I didnt like at all what
was happening, while my body did what was demanded? And then he opened
his pants and pushed my head into his lap. He smelled bad (men are so
filthy!) and did what he told me to do. Not with disgust, but with
knowledge, a knowledge of which I didnt understand the origin. But the
moment he came, I suddenly got caught in a storm of memories of which I
didnt grasp the meaning. I got this choking feeling again, the same
feeling I got a very long time ago. Desperately I tried to breathe while
the effort filled my eyes with tears. I swallowed difficultly while my
stomach turned. I suddenly pulled back and sat back in my seat with big
scared eyes. I looked at Tony, frightened. Why? What did I do wrong? I
wanted to shout, but I couldnt produce a sound. Tony was furious with my
reaction. It was supposed to be fun. And he hit me, again, out of


frustration and disappointment. I winced; convinced it was my fault,
lonelier than ever. Would I never be good? Wouldnt I ever become what
the adults wanted me to be? He lashed out at me. In a few seconds, from
an understanding father figure he turned into a savage brute. And the
wilder he got, the more I became convinced my guilt was enormous, bigger
than I could understand. A few hours later, he was nice and sweet again
towards my mother when he brought me home. He took the glass of wine
that she offered him, and they talked, quietly and attentively. I
observed them. I saw how my mother touched him in a casual way. How he
responded by sliding his fingers over her hands and hips. The way she
looked at him with profound admiration, that soft look in her eyes that
she never had otherwise, made me feel lonelier than ever. He gave her
his sweetest smile. It had to be my fault! Why else would he be so sweet
to her and so rude to me? He now picked me up regularly. He had received
the house key and free access to my room. Years later, when questioned
by the police, my mother and my father would first categorically deny
that Tony had a key of our house. And so would Tony. But they would
eventually have to admit. As soon as my father, who didnt seem to know
what was going on, had left for work early in the morning, I heard how
the front door opened. He first went to my mother. How many times did I
hear their moaning in that squeaky bed! I then turned around, nervously,
hid my head under my pillow to lock out the noises. No, it wasnt because
my mother was having sex. I had know for a long time already that
mothers could be sexually active, and not only with their husbands, but
I was terrified that he wanted me to join in. And this often happened.
My sole defence was to withdraw into myself and hope it wouldnt happen
this time. After he did my mother, it was my turn. I let him have his
way, but this wasnt enough any longer. I had to fake pleasure,
enthusiasm and submission, just like a real geisha. It still took me a
few weeks but eventually I knew all of his fantasies. I was happy and
fearful when he visited, happy because of the attention and fearful
because of the sexual encounter and the frequent abuse afterwards. To
cope with these ambivalent feelings, I built a high emotional wall
between them. One thing was clear to me; I was very lucky I had to
satisfy only one man. It hadnt always been that way. Tony was lying on
my bed. I was sitting up. I had obviously done a good job because no
hits had followed. He looked at me, amused, playing with my hair. Who
fucked you, before I came along? he suddenly asked with a peremptory
tone of voice. The alarm in me went off. Youre the only one, Tony a
voice different from mine replied. The voice was rougher, more mature.
It was Stone, the alter ego who protected me with courage and a fighting
spirit. You fuck way too good, tell me, what have you done before? I
looked at him, trying to find an explanation for his sudden curiosity.
Distrustful I kept silent. He obviously didnt like that. I saw the look
in his eyes change. I dont know, I tried bluntly. He pushed my face down
on the bed, quickly pushed his fingers inside of me, while with the
other hand he pulled my head backwards by the hair.


This, my dear, would make any other scream. You dont even prepare to
move. Who fucked you before me? Your Dad? In a short flash I saw my
father stand in the bathroom. I was waiting on my little knees until
yes, what? I violently shook the memories out of my head, furious. No! I
yelled, I have never been to bed with anyone before! He hit me hard in
the face first and then rammed his fist in my stomach. I doubled up with
pain but kept staring at his eyes obstinately. Ill tell you something,
bitch. See my fingers? Is there any blood? I shook my head. You have
been deflowered, Regina. He hit me again. Who was your man, whore? And I
felt that urge to shout that it wasnt my fault, that they forced me,
that I didnt want this. I wanted to make it clear to him that he was the
only one, that my faithfulness was unconditional, that I wouldnt go to
bed with anybody else ever again. I wanted to scream but it stayed
silent. He kept hitting me, without mercy, until I said what he wanted
to hear. Im sorry for being a whore Whats a whore? Only then he took me
in his arms, soothed me, wiped off my tears. I let him, but my heart was
growing into a cold and chilly place, where no room was left for
hypocritical words of comfort. Something in me could see right through
him, realizing his sympathy was fake. Something in me coldly calculated
that if I allowed him to comfort me, it wouldnt take long before he got
bored and would go back downstairs. Something in me threw a temper
tantrum releasing all the aggression at the moment he left the room.
That something made me cut my arms until the pain reached all my nerves.
My anger scared me. July 1981. It seemed wed get a hot summer. Tony had
become almost a member of the family now. Not only did I accept his
authority, my parents thought he was a real hero. Of course he didnt
mind turning my mother against my father even more, by talking to her
about all the money my father wasted. He convinced my mother to open her
own private bank account. He made sure that my Mom lost the last little
bit of trust she had in my father. My father, the stereotype of a
henpecked husband, all of a sudden became a dangerous individual who,
according to Tony, wanted to destroy my mother, by ruining her
financially and undermining her self-respect by ignoring her beauty. You
have turned into an ordinary woman, Chris, he whispered into her ear,
day after day, Because he doesnt give you what you deserve: a glamorous
life, nice clothes and a lot of attention! She melted because of all
that flattery. Tony couldnt do anything wrong anymore. He had caught
that prey too. In the meantime he raped me in many different and
complicated ways. He taught me how to strip. He made me get used to
vibrators and stuff. He modelled me, moulded me until I accepted just
about any sexual act without resisting. I got better and better at it. I
started really enjoying all his attention even though sex was the only
thing that seemed to matter to him. I had forgotten how an innocent
touch felt. He told me I was a natural talent and I took it as a
compliment. Was I good enough after all? He didnt miss a chance to hit
me. But I learned how to cope with this kind of violence. He came much
easier, was better and more intensely satisfied if he could hit me
first, so I


provoked it to please him. I taught him how to use his belt to hit me,
which elevated his libido to unknown heights. It became so totally
normal, just a routine to put his belt into his hands and to tease him
provocatively. In fact, that belt gave me a comfortable feeling, as if I
came home. But because of my different personalities, my emotional
survival mechanism, I didnt fully realise that it was my grandmother who
taught me the use of the belt, I had blocked this memory. And I didnt
feel lost any longer. The world I grew up in, although still tightly
locked away in my subconscious, had come to life again and, boy, I knew
the rules pretty well. I knew how to function in there. It was the
period of the very popular yearly Ghent feasts, a period during which
the entire city is transformed into a big party facility. My parents had
decided to go out into the city with Tony, his boss and another
salesman. The weather was beautiful, a little muggy, but pleasant. I
walked a little behind them, a strange dwarf in the big peoples world.
They laughed, had fun, sang, drank and joked. I stayed at a distance,
invisible, and observed the partying people around me, a colourful mix
of different types and races. I felt strange. I didnt belong with them,
nor did I belong with the group of adults who pulled me along, but I
definitely was a human being. We wandered across the Friday Market. They
were having so much fun. They embraced each other, seemed perfectly
happy. I felt lonely in the middle of the crowd. Then Tony turned
around, suddenly remembering that he brought his puppy along. He put his
arm around my shoulders. It was OK, nobody noticed it in this crazy
crowd. Then he pointed at the salesman a little ahead of us. Thats my
friend, I want you to do something for him. I didnt say anything,
knowing that Id better wait and see what hed come up with. Hes lonely,
just divorced, and he desperately needs a little affection! Affection,
Tony? I asked. Whats affection? Did I have to hug him and talk to him?
Sex, baby, he wants to have great sex for once! And you know what? I
told him youre the best! I froze, looked straight into his eyes. He had
to be kidding! But when I saw he remained dead serious I felt my stomach
contract. This obviously wasnt a joke. Tonyoh God, I cant! I faltered
terrified. I really couldnt do it. Every fibre in my body was
protesting. Oh you bet you can, Pussycat. And you dont have any choice
anyway. Did I ask your permission? Im telling you to do it! I shook my
head and tried to convince him that I only wanted to go to bed with him,
that he was my friend and that I didnt want to be unfaithful. But the
only result was that he hit me in the stomach. I leaned against a wall,
dizzy, and I noticed his friend was waiting for me, his hands in his
pockets. I gazed in desperation at the group that was moving further
away from me. I saw how my parents, still singing and laughing,
disappeared in the crowd. Mommy! I called her silently but with all the
strength in my brain. In my thoughts my hands reached out for her.
Mommy, help me! She turned around, smiled at me. She looked, and the
group went on, laughing. Mommy?


For many years Ill wake up while I see my mother walk on into the
crowd, her head in the air, laughing. For many years Ill wake up with a
frozen cry for help on my lips, help she didnt give me. That day my
mother died. I followed him into an apartment. He came to stand in front
of me and started touching me. I looked at him indifferently. This
couldnt be true. He urged me to turn him on. He warned me, with a
malicious look in his eyes that, if I didnt do my best, he would report
this to Tony and We dont want him to be disappointed, do we, Sweetie
Pie? Mechanically I unbuttoned his shirt, took it off his shoulders. As
a perfectly programmed little robot I undressed him, discovering that by
taking the initiative myself, I could control the situation to a certain
extent. I could decide myself what would happen. I piped him, the
ultimate experience for most men, and then sat down on top of him. I let
all the sadness flow out of my body, became an object without feelings.
I did what I had to and didnt allow him more time than absolutely
necessary to enjoy it. With an almost programmed skill I made him come,
hardly two minutes after penetration. He was still in bed while I was
already picking up my clothes. My hands were shaking and I had a hard
time making them do what I wanted them to. Only at the third attempt I
managed to close my bra. He was watching me, amused, and it really
pissed me off. He then drove me to the Steendam, from where I ran
through the festive crowd, along Saint Jacobs church, to the spot where
I had last seen my parents. I started to panic and pushed my way through
the crowd towards the Friday Market. They werent there. I ran in one
street, out another, crying, totally disoriented. I didnt know the city
very well and felt totally lost in these streets, filled with people,
the majority of whom were drunk at this late hour. I bumped into the
railing of a bridge, took a deep breath, tried to control the panic and
looked around me. I recognized this spot; it wasnt far from the Dog
Market! I tried to recall where their cars were parked and how I could
get there from where I was. I recognized the tall apartment building,
ran towards it because its car park was located high above the street,
which provided me with a good lookout. I started looking around, and
there was Tony. I ran downstairs, right up to him. Tony! I yelled. I was
so relieved because they didnt leave me behind. He gave me a short hug
and pushed me away. His mouth smelled of wine and beer, it scared me.
When he was drunk, he became even worse than usual, unpredictable and
aggressive. You slut, you fucked him, didnt you? he brawled. I stepped
backward. Tony, I dont understandyou wanted me He hit me, without mercy,
with all his might right there in the middle of the street. Whore! he
shouted. I ran back, couldnt understand at all how I could possibly have
caused such an outburst. Suddenly I didnt care anymore about being
obedient or not. I ran, ran, ran, as fast as I could, breaking through
the crowd that was slowly dissolving. I ran, blindly, away from the pain
and sorrow, away from his wrath, away from the misery that was eating my
body. I ran, heard him call my name, but I couldnt stop. I fled right to
the spot where I had discovered my parents. They were still nicely
chatting with the rest of the company; they most probably hadnt even
noticed that their daughter, Tony and the other salesman had disappeared.


My mother was having trouble keeping her balance too much wine again
and my father thought I was safe with Tony (the nice salesman, the close
friend of the family). I nearly bumped into him. He looked at my tearful
face, surprised. I gasped for breath, full of fear, shaking on my feet.
But instead of asking me what happened, everybody rushed towards Tony
who came out of the street, limping. Did you hurt yourself? I heard my
mother ask in a concerned voice. And there I was, deeply hurt, alone.
Which crime did I commit to be treated like this? For what reason was I
nothing more than a shadow? What in Gods name was wrong with me? And for
the hundredth time, I got no answer, reinforcing my presumption that I
really was a very bad girl. They made me sit beside Tony in the car, to
watch over him. He was drunk, had twisted his ankle chasing me and was
in a dreadful temper. I was the one chosen to help him get home safely.
He raced through the empty streets at a hundred and eighty kilometres
per hour. I was convinced that this was my last ride. But we made it
home and my parents helped him get into the house. My mother warmed up
some water and I had to help him sit down on the bed. Carefully I pulled
off his shoes and socks. His ankle was blue and swollen and I enjoyed
it. It was meagre satisfaction but better than nothing. I rubbed
ointment on his ankle. My parents wished us goodnight and went to their
own bedroom. I undressed, keeping on my T-shirt and sat down on the
other bed. I wanted to turn off the light when he ordered me to sit on
top of him. I obeyed. Anything was better than to provoke his anger
again. He fell asleep, intoxicated, and only several minutes later I
could muster up the courage to slide off him. After I had verified that
he was really asleep, I sneaked out of the room and filled a bath. In
the pitch-dark bathroom I tried to recover from these past hours. I
cried silently, allowing the pent-up emotions and tension to escape,
until I finally wrapped a towel around me, beat and exhausted. I was
totally drained. Silently I crawled into my bed, made a little nest
under the blanket and kept watching him for a while. How could someone
so cruel sleep so peacefully? Would he ever be able to comprehend how
much pain he inflicted on me?

12. Back in the network Tony was the central figure in our family; he
was my lord and master. My parents never protested when he took me
upstairs. And just because they acted so normally about it, I supposed
all this was in fact normal. In fact the moral standards in my home were
very low, if there were any standards at all. Several witnesses will
confirm this to the police later. In the early eighties we had a
cleaning woman. After a while, in 1982 she got some personal problems.
My parents allowed her and her little daughter to stay overnight at our
house. I had to give up my room and sleep wherever I could find a spot.
Tony liked her a lot. He enjoyed showing off to her by having sex with
me in front of her. I hated this. But after three months at our house
she suddenly left in a hurry. She would later tell the police that her
eighteen-month-old daughter had come to her crying and upset. Obviously
Tony had done things to her. When the police would contact the daughter
in 1997 she would show panic reactions. Before she could be interrogated
seriously the investigating police


team would be thrown out and the cover up operation would be started.
This will be explained later in this book. Tony became my educator and
surrogate father. He started bringing friends along. And I quickly
learned all the tricks. When he brought someone along, I went upstairs
and waited for the man at the bedroom door. I took care of him in my
room and only came downstairs after Tony had come up. My parents, my
mother particularly, didnt seem to have any objections, on the contrary.
She adored all that attention! She beamed as a teenager in love whenever
those men complimented her. You are really a beautiful woman, madam. And
so fluent! I just was a piece of meat, not worth being looked at except
naked. Nobody but me felt the pain of what they did to me. Nobody saw my
shame when I collected my clothes for the hundredth and first time, and
nobody saw me slowly change into a robot from which human feelings had
disappeared. Tony picked me up from school, waiting for me in his car,
and drove me to residences all over the country, where customers waited
or parties took place. The first time he took me to such a party, it was
raining cats and dogs. The windshield wipers went back and forth almost
violently. I could only guess where he took me, although I always did my
best to remember landmarks, hoping to gain some sort of control over the
situation. What gave me the creeps was that I felt totally powerless,
like a lamb being led to slaughter. Not knowing what would come made me
very insecure. He drove me to a huge white mansion in a remote part of a
wood. He drove up to the front door and made me get out. He parked the
car a little further and ran back to me. I already stood at the door
under a little porch and wasnt getting wet. He rang the bell, the door
opened and all of a sudden a sea of warm yellow light swallowed me. Ten
people, two of them women, were scattered across the room, cheerfully
talking to each other. The women were dressed in semi-transparent
negligees; the men wore loose clothes, summer jeans and shirts without
sleeves. In spite of the rain it was very hot (it was August) and the
heat seemed to be locked in the house. My eyes probed the company and I
seemed to know them all. God, from where? Hey, Petit Chiot! (Little
puppy) roared a man, and I felt a needle stick right through my heart.
It all came together in my head, in my body This pet name gave me back
my past in Knokke, in just a split second. I had received this pet name
in Knokke because one day, by keeping my small bitch, which was in heat,
on my lap, a Beauceron (big guard dog, specially trained to attack)
didnt bother me. It was exactly the opposite; he followed me like a
toy-dog. This created an emotional link with the abusers who liked to
order him to attack me, and thus the danger was gone. Hi Ppre, I
whispered quietly and he laughed very loudly. He didnt mind that I
recognized him. Ppre was one of my old abusers. He had a scar on his
knee. Ill find out later that he had played football when he was
younger. But he didnt become an important football-player. He became
important in other ways. Pain cut through my body, the pain of the
recognition, the pain to say his pet name again for the first time since
I left Knokke. A crushing feeling came over me. The cruellest torture is
the torture of hope. The hope that I had escaped the tormentors of my
early childhood; the hope that my parents, my mother in particular,
would take care of me and protect me from those men, haunting me in the
dark hours of the night; the hope


of a safer and better existence. When I looked at my Ppre, the man who
had, since I was two years old, so cruelly raped and abused me, always
smiling, that hope crumbled as the sand from the beach that runs through
your fingers. It was as if a trap snapped shut. Until this horrible
moment I had been able to lock out reality. But now Tony pushed me back
into the group, as I used to call the network. I didnt mind satisfying
Tony and loving him when he asked me to, as long as he was the only one.
I turned around, looked into his eyes, in a desperate plea to help and
protect me. But he looked back at me, cold and indifferent. I read in
his eyes that he didnt intend to do anything against the men and women
in the room. And so I turned my face away from him and looked at the
group in a non-provocative way. I automatically took up my old survival
techniques again. As if there had never been a pause. Time seemed to
have wiped out the period between the end of my Knokke period and Tonys
entry into my life. So I accepted my destiny by sitting down on the lap
of my old acquaintance and allowing his hand to sneak under my shirt. I
was the only child and the abuse went on for hours. They got real drunk
and in the end they were only able to rape me with objects. They
laughed, boasted, sang. They found a rope, which they made into a lasso.
I had to creep on all fours while they tried catching me. The women
nearly died from laughing, tottering on their legs, while champagne
spilled from their glasses and ran over their hands. My hair was hanging
over my shoulders, in front of my face. I could watch them without them
realizing it. I felt old, very old, like a wise old tree. I dont ever
want to become like them, never! said an internal voice deadly calm.
Please help me not to grow into adulthood this way. Then the blue hour
came. Between night and morning there is that short period of
cobalt-blue light. You only notice it when you look up at the sky at
that time. Its a wonderful colour that moulds everything into a solemn,
serene shape. Silhouettes are clearly delineated; trees stand as unreal
images, quiet and immobile. When I was led outside I looked up, saw the
treetops and was overwhelmed by a great pride. I had survived the night.
He drove me home, rhythmically hitting the wheel in time to the music on
the radio. All you need is love. Again questions invade my exhausted
mind. Why? Why me? What had I done wrong to be disciplined that way? I
angrily fought back tears. I didnt want to whine! I didnt want to cry!
But the pain didnt go away. I sat down on my knees and violently hit my
pillow with my fists. I didnt cry because I was afraid to. My parents
slept in the room next door and I didnt want to wake them up. What would
I tell them? I crawled into the corner of my bed, squeezing my pillow
against me, letting tears flow freely, tired of fighting. And then guilt
came in, into the fibres of my soul. Oh Daddy, oh Mommy, what did I do
wrong to be punished like this? Why dont you love me and why am I not
yet redeemed? I cried, struggling not to yell. I opposed the insanity
that was slowly taking over. My impulse was to fetch a knife and to cut
myself open entirely, to liberate my soul from this body in which I was
trapped. The insane desire to cut my past and my present, which flowed
seamlessly into each other, out of my body before they emotionally
murdered me. I fought desperation, madness, misery, until I fell asleep,


Tony had the habit of leaving me alone in his car while he carried out
visits for his new job, advertising consultant at CPB (Cinema
Publiciteit Belgi or Cinema Publicity Belgium). He sold films to promote
businesses. I then got bored to death and looked outside listlessly,
playing drums on the dashboard, and making poems in my head. The night
opens rooms in my mind Rooms so dark and full of sorrow O death, to me
please be kind But Ill still be alive tomorrow And when he showed up
again he usually drove around aimlessly for a while until he found a
remote parking spot. I then let him guide my hand towards his fly and
obediently did what he wanted. Then he did his things to me. I tried to
relax, the best technique to avoid pain. Sometimes he used objects,
sometimes he didnt. When he asked if I enjoyed it, I nodded of course. I
knew perfectly what he wanted to hear, see, and feel. I forced my body
to react to the movements of his hands. Indeed, if my body didnt react
the right way, he became aggressive, and I tried to avoid this from
happening, every time. You shall endure everything, Sweetie Pie, and Ill
do it until you love it! he often whispered in my ear. After the event,
as Tony used to refer to it with his great sense of humour, we normally
went to eat something in some little restaurant. He then told me with
visible pleasure what would follow afterwards. He loved to announce to
me that we were on our way to a party, just to see my reaction. He never
told me where we were heading or what was in store for me. He knew well
how horrified the thought of it made me. The sense of power he must have
had then must have been enormous. I was supposed to listen to his orders
and on top of that, to like them. He enjoyed the fear in my eyes, but at
the same time it made him angry. He really wanted me to enjoy it. But
whatever reaction he saw in my eyes, submission, despair, fearit was
never right. During the parties he punished me, tying me up, playing
sadomasochistic games with me, watching how others tortured me with
razorblades, whips and other paraphernalia. If there were women present,
the situation became even more threatening. The women reacted more
cruelly and were meaner to children than the men were. They seemed to be
less inhibited to abuse kids. What was driving them? I think mainly
anger and a painful inability to give or receive love. They spurred the
men to rape and torment us in all imaginable ways. Sometimes they
quietly gave instructions, followed obediently by the men it relieved
them from all responsibility sometimes they yelled hysterically, driving
the men out of their mind so they started heavily beating the kids. We,
the Children of Death (thats what the SM-perverts called us), could
hardly give each other any support. There was an intense competition
among us. Each of us knew he or she had to be the best. Only the best
survived and it was better to hit than to be hit. We thus hurt each
other to keep ourselves out of harms way. In really dangerous situations
the beast inside of you wakes up, the beast called survival. The closer
the fear of death comes to you, the better all your senses function.
Your sense of perception becomes almost supernatural and deep inside
your brain hums a kind of high voltage. You see better,


smell better, hear and feel better. You smell the sweat of your
torturers, the rate of excitement of their instincts. The sharper the
smell, the more unpredictable they are. You notice the serenity coming
over the evil man who is calculating with his eyes how much energy you
have left. You hear his heartbeat, how it goes down as if he goes into
trance. You notice his calm glance, rating, evaluating a victim in his
thoughts. The beast in you becomes vigilant. You leave the group and
pump all you energy in an alert, proud look. Look, I am here to stay!
The pain disappears, the fear melts away. Your heartbeat decreases and a
calm self-confidence determines your actions. Just like the abusers you
pick your victim. The girl with the lank blond hair, she sobs, her eyes
towards the floor, her little shoulders are hanging down. Her breathing
is fast and shallow. Shes the hunted animal, the rabbit that stops
running in the middle of the field when the lynx strains its muscles for
the final jump. You look at her and kick her with all your might towards
the calm man. Its her you want! You hate her because she has to go. You
hate her because your mind can influence his. You hate her because you
want him to pick her and not you. You become strong, tall, and superior.
You look into his eyes You can have me later, you wont regret to have
allowed me to live! You send the message with your body and attitude,
and your eyes. At this very moment, in that dark room with the glass
table and the gynaecologists chair as instruments of torture, in that
surrealistic world, you become the wolf, the predator. For a fraction of
a minute you are one of them. When I came home after a party, I couldnt
wait a minute to take a bath. I rubbed myself clean violently, also the
spots with lash-marks and bruises. I rubbed, fanatically repeating the
same movement a thousand times until the water got cold and blood
appeared on my skin. Then I crawled to the toilet, pushed my fingers
deep in my mouth and threw up. I went on until nothing but some acid
foam came out of my throat. Who was I? Where was I? I hit my head
against the bathroom wall and I kept hitting until I saw black spots. I
hated myself, Oh God, I hated myself so much! I was a beast, a
despicable filthy monster, with nothing human left. I wanted to die! Can
you hear me? I want to be dead! I cried, crawled into a corner and
started rocking back and forth for several hours. But nobody came up the
stairs, no matter how much I craved for a pair of arms around me; nobody
seemed to care about Ginny the monster. Regine! my mothers voice hovered
up the stairs. Yes I pushed out of my throat, and to my amazement it
sounded pretty normal. Come downstairs! Theres somebody on the phone for
you! I crawled upright and looked in the mirror. The childish face with
the big green eyes transformed into the face of Stone, the alter ego who
protected me and didnt feel pain. Stone would answer the phone from who
else Tony.

13. Clo


I was the perfect child. I did well at school, without having to make a
real effort. I always laughed and used all my talents to function
perfectly in the normal world. Regular as a clock, Tony and my mother
warned me that, if my real life were discovered, it was me who would be
punished, not them. Youll go to a juvenile prison. Dont you know that
whores of your kind are severely punished? Prostitution is illegal here
in Belgium, but you cant control your perverse nature, so we dont have
any choice other than taking care of you, Regine This became an almost
daily refrain. And the more scared I became of all those traitors and
evil people outside my world, the more attached I became to my own
environment. They were the good people, the people who understood me,
who would protect me if anybody would find out who I really was. They
would make sure that I was committed to a psychiatric hospital, having
me declared ill to keep me out of prison. Dont trust any teacher,
student or friend, Regine, my mother said daily, and Tony nodded with
satisfaction, Theyre up to no good with you. You are ill, we know that,
but we dont want them to lock you up. Tony grabbed me, fondled my
breasts under my sweater. Everything you say can be held against you,
always remember this, girl! They didnt have to worry; I would never have
been capable of finding the right words to tell what happened. But
nevertheless I became more suspicious. I was an outsider already but now
I secluded myself even more from other people. My fellow classmates
could see a girl that was always cheerful but avoided real contact. To
most of them I was a strange creature. I knew much more about sex than
they did and when I talked about the Indians and my trip to Canada, of
which I was forbidden to speak but couldnt help it, the kids thought I
was crazy. My mother didnt need to worry. The adults, like the teachers,
only saw the part I played. For each teacher I had the right act. They
only saw what I wanted them to see; like that everything was fine with
me. And boy, was I good at that! For each of the many meetings with the
teachers my parents missed, I had a great excuse, for every home
assignment that wasnt ready in time I had a credible explanation. I
realized with bitterness that it was so easy to mislead them that I
started thinking they liked it! All this increased my isolation and
loneliness. I isolated myself from the others whenever I could. I chose
my little spot in the middle of nature, away from the playground and
when I had some free time at home I wandered around the meadows nearby.
There I sat down in the grass, observed the small, crawling creatures,
listened to the wind and enjoyed the simple pleasure of being in nature.
The beauty of nature and the peaceful feeling offered to me by a quiet
little spot, made me settle down, made me feel safe enough to drop my
mask. It didnt matter who or what I was. I loved climbing trees. The
world seemed much safer from up there; adults didnt dare to climb that
high. I didnt have a lot of free time however, I had customers almost
every evening, most parties took place during the weekends and Tony
regularly picked me up during lunch hour, for his own needs of course.
Fortunately he had to sleep and work too and this gave me a little free
time. The relationship with my parents went downhill. The deep trust I
used to have in them I had so many dreams filled with hope about them,
when I was still living in Knokke was totally and irreparably destroyed.
I avoided my father whenever I could because he liked me too much when
my mother wasnt around, and a deep hatred grew between my


mother and me. I hated her because she kept involving me in her little
sex games with Tony. She hated me because I was a competitor and because
she needed me to get Tony into her bed. We never fought openly, but the
tension between us was tangible. She was often drunk and I despised the
way she, tottering, wanted to seem elegant and intelligent. Her voice
sounded split, but nobody but me seemed to notice. I was seemingly the
only one who found this irritating. In fact, the only one I still had
some kind of relationship with was Tony. Every time he showed up I
secretly hoped to meet again with the man who took such good care of my
hair in the beginning. One smile was often sufficient to give me that
happy feeling. Although I tried to seem tough and cool, I was yearning
for a little love, just like any other child. I was always excited when
I heard his car. I often ran into the entry hall to greet him when he
opened the door. He then smiled at me I was so faithful! and I threw my
arms around his neck, a little shyly. That little bit of human contact,
these few seconds, gave me enough strength to endure long hours of abuse
and exploitation. It was during that period, I think it was October,
November 1981, that Tony introduced me to Clo, the girl that would
become my big sister. My loneliness didnt only affect me but also Tony.
It sure wasnt good for him to be always seen with me alone, people might
raise questions. If he would take me places alone, people might start to
think we were lovers, but if he took two girls, he would be regarded as
a childrens friend, he thought. So he made me meet Clo at a restaurant
one evening. He had called me and asked me to come to the Count of
Egmont, a well-known restaurant in the centre of Ghent. I had taken the
bus and Tony was waiting for me at the entrance. He kissed me
superficially and took me inside. At one of the tables a girl taller
than me, with brown hair of medium length, was playing with a napkin.
She looked up when we were almost at her table. I remember how she
raised her eyebrows when she saw Tony with another girl. Clo, this is he
had to think for a second Reggie! I timidly extended my hand. She took
it with a solid, self-confident handshake. Hi, Im Clo, she said boldly.
I replied with something like Hello and sat down on the furthest chair.
I wasnt feeling comfortable. Human contact, and certainly a first
encounter werent my strongest points. Clo and Tony started joking and I
quietly observed them. Was she one of Tonys girls? She had to be, given
the way they treated each other. But she didnt seem to be scared of him
or even cautious at any single moment. Never, not even when she called
him, laughing, an asshole, did that angry look in his eyes appear. I
observed them with growing disbelief and as time went by I started
admiring her nerve. I watched amused how she wrapped Tony around her
finger like a real pro, how she coquettishly tilted her head and rubbed
between his legs with her feet wearing nylons. This really turned him
on. Tony took us to his flat in Antwerp. He knew that his wife and his
daughter werent home. Clo knew exactly what was going to happen, I didnt
but kept all options open. My strategy consisted in not looking too far
ahead but guide the present moment towards the smallest risk of danger,
by adapting as perfectly as possible. Clo undressed, she was a lot more
spontaneous than me, and sat down on the bed. She extended her hand
towards me and I walked up close to her. She caressed my cheek and
unbuttoned my blouse with the other hand. Tony was leaning against the
doorpost, enjoying the spectacle but he didnt join. I let myself float
away, accepted Clos guidance and what Tony wanted to see,


enjoying her tenderness and softness. We made love to each other, both
totally involved, with a lot of respect for each others body, a totally
new experience for me. I unexpectedly gave up the control I had over my
body and abandoned myself to the desire of human and physical contact.
It elevated us both to a higher level, even though this was only
supposed to be a show to please Tony. We both longed for love,
tenderness, and comfort. And what we couldnt find with men we found with
each other. Tony seemed to have disappeared. For a short moment that
bottomless pit created by the absence of love seemed to be not entirely
empty. Love, that we had learned to express only with sex. Tony sat down
on the bed, I looked at Clo in desperation. My mind seemed to refuse to
heed the call to satisfy him. Clo gave me a smile, the smile that is
burned into my eyes, forever, even after all this years, and
concentrated on Tony. After he was satisfied Clo demanded that he take
us home, and he did! I had never seen a thing like this. After the event
I usually had to help myself going home by train or hitchhiking. But she
managed to make him drive us back and he didnt even object. My
admiration for her guts increased even more. You got to train them,
Reggie! she giggled into my ear. Clo became my big sister. She and I
were opposites. Me, the shy, awaiting little victim and she, the
dominant gal who managed to get away with everything. Tony didnt dare
contradict her but afterwards took his frustrations out on me. But I
didnt care because she shared the suffering and the secret with me. The
ability to share this crushing secret with her made up for all of Tonys
outbursts. We didnt become just friends. We hardly ever talked about our
normal life; in fact we didnt have enough energy left for that. We often
just sat back to back on a bench in the park, enjoying each others
company, without one of us feeling the need to disturb these heavenly
moments with a conversation. What we did talk about was the future. She
wanted to escape from her low social background. She wanted a life with
lots of money, clothes and other expensive material things. She liked
being a prostitute because she imagined shed make tons of money and she
didnt have any hang-ups about it. Sex with men was a common thing for
her, what the heck? I listened patiently to her dreams about a cruise
with a rich man, a mansion to live in and a plethora of credit cards to
buy all the clothes she wanted. I listened attentively and wished her
success in her undertaking with my whole heart. She was fourteen,
fifteen years old and reacted with bitterness when I started about love.
Love doesnt exist Reggie, dont you see that? They always want something
from you, but it isnt love they want. Money, cars, mansion, and
expensive things: thats love. All the rest is bullshit. I didnt want to
contradict her out of fear of destroying her dream, but I didnt share
her opinion. I really believed in love. Not in knights on white horses,
but I believed love was more than just sex and money. I sometimes
watched young couples, how closely they held hands, how a young mother
took her baby out of the baby-carriage and put him against her with so
much tenderness. I concluded there was more to life than what I had to
go through daily. I had John Denvers records and I believed that, if you
were able to sing about life in such a way, there had to be a different
kind of people on this earth, different from my parents and my
grandmother who were only interested in money. Clo thought this was
sentimental nonsense, but it allowed me to forget the abuse. I never
succeeded in explaining to her that money doesnt make up for the pain
they inflicted on us.


Tony was delighted about our co-operation but warned us not to become
too close. We were not supposed to see each other without him knowing, a
rule we broke whenever we could, and he forbade us to talk about our
parents, friend, hobbies; a rule we respected. Not because of him, but
out of fear to jeopardize each others life. The feelings Clo and I had
for each other went beyond simple friendship. I celebrated my thirteenth
birthday with Clo. She bought me sexy underwear and a plush teddy bear,
illustrating the contradictions in our little world. I thanked her and
we went into the park to drink a bottle of wine. We huddled close
together, it was cold and our breath formed little white clouds. Reggie,
why do you love Tony? She asked abruptly. I shrugged my shoulders. He is
a little like a father to me. I wish he were. My father pretends I dont
exist! She put her head on my shoulder and told me that her Mom and Dad
wanted to get a divorce, that she thought her mother totally abandoned
her, that her father often got drunk and aggressive. They wont impress
me with violence anymore. Ill kill Tony if he dares raise his hand to
me! If Tony flooded her with presents she didnt object to going to bed
with men. In fact, Im an easy victim for Tony, but I also use him, you
see. He buys me lots of things and all Ive got to do is screw a man.
Easy, isnt it? I admired her view of things. Ill start my own business
later. As soon as Im eighteen Ill apply for legal emancipation and Ill
become a call-girl. Call-girl? Reggie, you dummy! Call-girl, prostitute,
whore, its all the same! Clo, are we whores then? She laughed at my
naivety. Do you think Tony sends us to all those men out of charity? I
didnt start crying. It was difficult to oppose that disgusting thought
with wine making my head spin. Clo, what a shitty birthday! That evening
I let myself get drunk slowly and we forgot our misery in each others
arms. This wasnt a romance. We were just two girls trying to convince
each other that things werent really that bad. I put Clos underwear in
the box on top of my wardrobe, and I fell asleep holding the teddy bear
in my arms. Tony forgot my birthday and the next morning when I had a
hangover and my head was spinning, he came in and sat down on my bed.
Hey, do I get a kiss? I sat upright, groaning, put my arms around him
and kissed him. All of a sudden he pulled out a rose. Tada! Happy
Birthday, girl! I hugged him, kissed his cheeks and this made me cry.
Hey, dont cry, baby! He wiped off the tears. A moment like this made up
for a lot of bad things. I satisfied him full of devotion and when he
went inside of me in his rough manner I accepted this as his way of
loving. I didnt care about the pain.


But nice songs never last long. Shortly afterwards he started hitting
me again. In spite of the fact he made me have sex with other men, he
couldnt accept that I was nice and friendly to them. I didnt mind. Now
that I knew I was his whore I behaved like one. I wasnt ashamed anymore.
I stopped feeling insecure when I seduced a man. Tony had a hard time
coping with that. Every time I met him at the movie-theatre he took me
to a dark spot inside and there I gave him what he wanted. This kind of
reassured my jealous pimp. The men I had to go to bed with werent that
bad after all. I instinctively sensed what they wanted from me. They
gave me a warm smile, a little attention and I played the part they
wanted, the beloved daughter, young Lolita, the experienced hooker. They
chose I kept control. As long as they didnt hurt me this was bearable.
The individual customers enormously contrasted with what I had to endure
at the parties. When they were together, adults seemed to be more prone
to excess. I knew some of them by name and from time to time I
recognized some of them on TV, but it didnt mean a to lot to me. I was
afraid of them but at the same time adapted to their wishes. Clo, who
used to acting so cool, was as scared of them as me, and often it was me
who had to protect her. Clo hated pain. I had specialized in ignoring it
and I tried to take on most of the violence. The torture, the SM
practices, took an increasing part of my time. My high tolerance for
pain wasnt always an advantage, because the abusers found it interesting
to test my limits and to push them further. Slowly I started getting
weighed down by the terrible abuse I had to endure. Sex became a side
issue. It was more important to be able to endure pain. The objects they
put inside of me, the increasing violence became an ever-bigger part of
my life. Often it seemed like experiments and with every experiment I
learned to control my body better. I hated being tied up, the panic that
I couldnt escape, the fear of death. Every time it seemed to last
longer. When the whip comes down on your back for the first time, you
have the impression youre going to die, but after ten lashes you dont
feel the rest anymore. In fact these lashes were only the beginning,
because then the objects of torture were displayed. A vibrator, a
candle, a bottle, a pair of scissors And you know how your body will be
lacerated, how you will have to struggle to breathe, how you will have
to fight insanity. You can already feel the pain before they push the
scissors inside of you. And time stretches like a rubber band that wont
break. Powerless, with hands contorted in handcuffs that are much too
tight, you throw your head backwards, while a burning pain devours you
lower belly. You cant scream anymore, you cant think, you cant beg. That
pain that turns you into a killing machine, because you would do
everything, yes everything, to make it stop. Will you beat her, if I
take it out of you? Yes! You have to really hurt her, will you do that?
Yes, o God, yes! You have to hurt her just as badly as what you feel
right now. Can you do it? Yes! Yes! Yes! Please yes! And with a short
pull he jerks it out of your body, pushing the limits of pain even
further out. He unties you, puts the object in your hands and pushes you
towards the other. The other who will stop your pain, on condition you
do it good enough.


I cried after each party, but less long every time. Until one day after
so many parties, I came home and kept gazing in front of me in total
apathy. I was thirteen and a half and so tormented and fatigued, that I
hadnt any energy left to cry. Clo could alleviate my miserable feelings
a little, but there was a black void in front of me. I now constantly
felt a smarting pain in my underbelly and I had a hard time going to the
toilet normally. I bled very often even in between my periods.

14. Eliah, my first son But in spite of the bleedings I seemed to be
pregnant! I didnt tell my parents but I told Tony because he was my
owner, my god. My mother knew that I had bleedings but she never took me
to a doctor. Tony sometimes did. When they hurt me real bad at a party
he called his friend, a neurologist, who would at a later time sign a
paper stating that Vero, a girl who died during a sex party, had died
from natural causes. But mostly I recovered on my own, without help. I
saw the images of Cheyennes birth in my mind and got really scared. I
hid my belly by wearing wide clothes or tight jeans. I hardly ate
anymore and instead of gaining weight it dropped to forty-six kilos.
Nobody seemed to notice my pregnancy, except Tony. He threatened me more
than he ever did before, warning he would dump me if anyone noticed it.
But he had no reason to worry, I exercised my abdominal muscles daily,
refused to eat, and eventually my belly stayed within reasonable limits.
Only my breasts got bigger, but no man has ever complained about that. I
didnt go to gym class anymore. In my school, the Provincial Institute
for Commerce and Languages, it was very easy to disappear. They didnt
really care that much. The school received government subsidies
according to the number of students they had registered. Frequent
absences didnt look good so most of the time the absence was not written
down. Every time they abused me I hoped that the baby would die, but
miraculously the foetus survived all the attacks. In August 1982 I
started getting pains and called Tony, afraid. He picked me up and drove
me to a mansion not far from Antwerp In the meantime labour had really
started and the pains had come closer together. A select company of four
men was allowed to have sex with me while the spasms in my belly
increased, exactly like what they did to me when my first little
daughter, Cheyenne, was born. If you realise that a night with a child
costs more than a thousand dollars, you can imagine what these eccentric
perverts must have paid to do this. An adult woman would never allow
this, so they made young girls pregnant and had their ultimate SM
experience when she had to give birth. I screamed, I couldnt cope
anymore with the pain and the panic but they held a knife against my
throat when I tried to push them away. Do you want us to cut your babys
throat in a few minutes? one of them threatened. I shook my head and
endured. The labour went on for many hours and Tony got really scared
that I might not survive. So he called my grandmother and drove me to
her house in panic. This wasnt a pleasant ride at all. But after more
than twenty hours of labour I gave birth to a tiny, under-sized


boy. I named him Eliah, a Jewish name, because the torture and death I
had witnessed of so many children had made me very sensitive to the Nazi
holocaust. In spite of the abuse I was torn only a little and the baby
was alive and well. All tension flew away from my body when I touched
him. Time seemed to have stopped. Someone took the baby away from me. I
could hardly let go but I was too exhausted to resist. I felt totally
empty. No life in my belly anymore, my arms were limp, and my tears were
stuck somewhere deep inside me. Tony cleaned me up in the shower, gave
me a tampon and a glass of milk and let me sleep a couple of hours. Then
he quietly woke me up and drove me home. The streetlights raced past us.
I looked at the black emptiness outside, incapable to cope with what I
went through the hours before. I tried to find the proper words to ask
where my little son was but I seemed to have forgotten how to talk. I
was not able to turn my head towards my pimp, the man who should have
been my childs father. He carried me inside, put me into bed and gave me
some Valium, which I swallowed as a good girl. Baby? I faltered,
weakened. He put his finger on my mouth. Hush Ginny, you dreamed! I
swallowed painfully, wanting to oppose his indoctrination, but my brains
seemed to have turned into jelly and I couldnt express my despair. I
tried to hold him back when he wanted to get up. Please? I managed to
utter. Ungrateful child, be happy that he wasnt killed in front of your
eyes. Go to sleep and dont ever think about it anymore, do you hear me!
The next morning I was woken up by the irritating noises of my mothers
alarm-clock radio. Strange. The earth still turned. I got up, walked to
my window with great difficulty, and saw the cars driving down the
street, I noticed my neighbour cleaning his windows, I saw two elderly
people walk arm in arm. I looked at my wrists, but didnt find the
strength to go look for something sharp enough to cut them. I sank to
the floor and waited for me to die. It didnt work either. I couldnt talk
to anybody. What could I say? No one would believe me but if they did, I
would be even worse off. Life with my parents was impossible, but I
couldnt function anywhere else. I was terrified of the idea to be put
into a childrens institution. My life was chaotic, no regular hours, no
dinnertime or rules of any kind. The only law in my life was the law of
the strongest. In my group it was black or white. Either you were
rewarded, and pain and abuse were kept at a tolerable level, or you were
punished. The type of penalty was decided by the adults and often your
pets or friends from the group were targeted. My relationship with Clo
was exceptional. Most girls (and sometimes boys) really hated each
other. When you were chastised because of the fault of another child
prostitute you were willing to skin her alive. This increased our
isolation and the adults knew that really well. My loneliness grew.
People saw a smiling Ginny, but from the moment I was alone, the mask
dropped. A week went by, two weeks, three weeks after Eliahs birth. He
was probably killed already in a snuff movie in Zaventem or somewhere
else. Instead of slowly fading away, the feeling of emptiness increased.
I became very quiet, still didnt eat anything, and went into a deep
depression. Clo noticed things went wrong. She often watched me full of
concern. She was the first to tell Tony to do something to cheer me up.
Reggie is going to kill herself, Tony! she yelled at him one evening,
full of anger, Dont you see that, idiot?


He drove me home. I just stared in front of me. It remained silent in
the car the whole way. He looked at me from time to time but didnt say a
word. Whats wrong, Pussycat? he suddenly asked. I felt the pain
reappearing in my heart. I want to die, I whispered. Several minutes of
silence followed. How can I make you happy again? he asked timidly. I
shrugged my shoulders. How would I know? Would a horse make you happy? I
shrugged my shoulders for a second time. He dropped me off at home and
as soon as I entered the living room my smile reappeared. I played my
part automatically, like a circus clown. I despised myself but couldnt
stop acting. Someone else seemed to be pulling the strings. Tony and my
mother were together laughing and joking and after a short while I
sneaked to my room to make a little nest in my bed. Lately sleeping had
become the best way to lock out the world, just like when I lived in
Knokke. If you cant flee, sleeping is the best method to make the pain
stop for a few hours. The next day, my mother told me that Tony had
asked her to get me a horse. I refused to believe her until she took me
with her to a farmer who had a couple of horses in his meadow. A white
mare with a grey mane and tail strolled towards me. I pet her and
instantly fell in love. I crawled on her back, rode up and down the lane
and my heart swelled with pride. For the first time in several weeks,
something started to live again inside of me. Every step made me blossom
a little. I named her Tasja. She was purchased and moved to a meadow
close by. From now on I spent all my free time with her. The meadow was
large and quite remote. I revived. Tasja followed me everywhere I went.
I lured her with an apple, taught her to open my backpack and get the
apple out. When Tony brought me home at night, I took a bath, put on my
shorts and an old T-shirt and rode to my little horse on my bike, so I
could see the sun come up there. In that meadow I rediscovered the child
that I should have been. But when I closed the gate I left the child
behind in the meadow. I became again the girl that had to live up to the
adults expectations. Tony was happy when he noticed my revival. I gained
strength. I ate more often, my periods became regular again because I
took birth control pills and I gained a few kilos. Eliah slowly became a
dim recollection and one morning I realized I didnt in fact know what he
looked like anymore. I tried hard to recall his little face but the
picture was blurred. It was like ink fading with time. The intense pain
I felt the moment they took him away, seemed to have gone far away.
Parts of my true self, like the blissful moments I spent with Tasja, I
kept anxiously hidden from the outside world. Inside the network I
became increasingly alert. I was still attracted to Tony, but I didnt
trust him anymore. I could only trust myself. I started to observe
carefully the functioning of the network. I wanted to know who my
customers were, why they came to me and why they had been introduced
into the group. I was not really interested in them personally, but I
wanted to better understand my role. This would help me survive, or at
least give me some control of the situation. If I knew why they needed
me that much, I could make myself indispensable. I started to look at my
life in the jungle (the way I sometimes called the network) as a huge
chess game. I learned that you could parry their moves on condition you
knew how to play. Most of the victims were poor players. How often had I
seen children being tortured all the way until the end, because they
hadnt noticed in time that one of the torturers wasnt satisfied? How often


hadnt I seen the weakest fall, because they hadnt made eye contact with
their abuser soon enough? And although I had never played chess before,
I knew it was mainly a game at which your insight was of crucial
importance. I didnt know the name of most of the customers, but I
imprinted their faces on my memory. It felt good to know who the enemy
was. When I met them at other occasions I pretended not to know them,
but I was able in a split second to associate their face with a given
situation, which allowed me to be prepared. The ones I did know by name
I considered the most dangerous. They regarded me as a witness and a
potential danger to them. It was of the utmost importance to me to play
my part as an ignorant child with a lot of conviction. I put their names
into my memory, but was very careful never to say their name, even after
having heard it a dozen times. I addressed them as Sir, Monsieur or
their pet name like Ppre. When they asked me what their name was, as
they regularly did, I had always forgotten. Of course this was very much
appreciated. And even if a few among them knew it was a game, they
counted on me to protect them. They decided how far the pain would go,
and when it would stop. They decided on life or death, mercy or
punishment. So I idolized them. My abusers werent common people anymore
to me. My functioning was entirely controlled by their moods. I paid
attention to every tiny little detail to please them. I thought that
only by truly loving them was I able to relate to them so perfectly. My
loyalty to them was no lie, because the one thing I could trust upon was
that they would always be there. All my attempts to escape from the
network had dramatically failed, nobody had helped me and I didnt have
any place to go. My life depended on their indulgence and I realized
that I needed them, just as water, food and air. That elevated them to a
divine status. At the same time I realized that the victims who didnt
manage to establish a relationship with the hard-core users, were
eliminated first. I had been lucky. I had become a familiar face to them
because I had been around for so long already and I could now take full
advantage of that. They knew my name, my skills. I knew what they liked
most. These elements were sufficient to establish a relationship with
them. I always kissed them when I came in, knowing very well they would
use me for their games later on. It seemed as if I had forgotten every
time what had happened before or that I at least had forgiven them. I
believed that I deserved their abuse. I unconditionally accepted they
were always right. Gods are always right.

15. Hunted I know that the following lines are very controversial and
have stirred up a lot of emotions after my testimony in 1996. I would
probably not have mentioned the hunts in my book or to journalists if
this part of my testimony hadnt been leaked to the press, obviously to
ridicule and discredit me. This is one of the reasons why journalists
declared me insane, but I dont care what people say about this. I have
been part of it, I have seen many children die during these hunts. I
have experienced unfathomable fear when they came after me, and I will
keep testifying about it. If they want to shut me up theyre going


to have to kill me. I invite people who dont believe that the torture
of children is big business to some, to read about the 50.000 photos
that were seized at the home of Gerrie Ulrich when the Dutch police
searched his place in Zandvoort near The Hague in 1998. These photos
showed children tortured in indescribable ways. The police also found
child order forms specifying what could be done to the child and how
much it would cost. Babies were more expensive. And the games went on.
Given the fact that many of the abusers were extremely rich and
influential, no one would dare to bother them, certainly not the Belgian
justice system. This would be clearly demonstrated after the arrest of
Marc Dutroux, when all the investigations into the network would be
thwarted. This is explained later in this book. And the network was very
well organised. The abusers were only limited by their imagination. It
started when I was still living in Knokke, as an innocent game invented
by some drunken abusers during a party. I must have been about five
years old. They wanted to play a game with the children, which was a
combination of hide and seek and strip poker. We had to hide and they
tried to find us. When a child was found it had to take off a piece of
clothing. When the child was totally undressed the abuse started. They
liked this very much at first but those people quickly got bored and the
abuse became meaner, the rapes harder. The game was taken outside into a
wood in Knokke, which was owned by some of my abusers. Indeed, when the
tourist season was over, Knokke became almost deserted, a ghost town.
They organised these hunts two, three times a year, but in Knokke no
child was killed. In 1976, the year of the long hot summer, they wanted
more space and more privacy. So they moved the hunts to two castles that
were very remote and surrounded by forests. I am not permitted to name
the castles here, but I can give you their approximate location. One is
located East of Namur and North of Faulx-les-Tombes, the place where the
castle was where Michel Nihoul (see further) organised his famous sex
orgies for important people. During those orgies the regular guards of
the castle were sent home and the police of the Brussels commune of
Etterbeek (Ixelles in French) took over. This has been well documented
and was called in the press The Pink Ballets. The second location was
close to the French border, East of the mediaeval city of Bouillon,
where the ruins are of the castle of Godfrey of Bouillon. Godfrey is a
Belgian national hero because he was one of the leaders of the first
Crusade. When the Crusaders came into the Holy Land, the invasion was
losing momentum after suffering enormous losses in Asia Minor. But
Godfrey and his knights wanted to go on to Jerusalem. Was it sheer luck
or were they just good fighters, they captured the Holy City in 1099.
Godfreys younger brother Baldwin became king of Jerusalem. He refused to
wear a royal crown in the city were Jesus had worn a thorny crown. How
cynical is it that almost in the shadow of the ruins of Godfreys castle,
perverts decided to hunt children. Several witnesses have confirmed
these hunts. People who talked about it have been murdered as is
described in the book The X-Files (1999) written by three Belgian
investigating journalists, Annemie Bult, Douglas De Coninck, and
Marie-Jeanne Van Heeswyck.


It was Ppre who had brought up the idea of a real hunt. He liked to go
hunting lions, wildebeests and zebras in South Africa. After a sex party
he mentioned that white hunters sometimes hunted young blacks too. He
had experienced this kind of hunts as the ultimate kick and wanted to
try this out in Belgium with the girls they raped. I was sitting next to
him when he spoke about it but I didnt immediately realise that he was
serious. It was only after I had seen the first child being killed that
I knew that a new phase had started in the way they treated us. But
again, to whom could I talk about it? Even today people want to lock me
up in a mental institution for saying that these hunts were damn real.
The hunts were generally organised during the official hunting season,
which is in October November, although they sometimes did it during
summer too. The number of tourists in the Ardennes is low in the fall
and the sound of gunshots is normal in that period of the year. In the
area close to Namur the hunters only used crossbows. That was more
silent. In the other area East of Bouillon they also used shotguns
because the area is very remote. The rules of the hunt were basically
the same as in Knokke. The children had to run into the woods and the
hunters tried to catch them. At the boundary of the area in which the
children had to stay, guards with dogs were posted so no one could run
away. If a child got caught it had to take off a piece of clothing and
was hunted again. When it was totally naked the hunter who had paid for
it could do whatever he wanted with it, depending on the amount of money
paid. Usually two sometimes three children were killed during a standard
hunt. It was indeed quite expensive to kill a child and sometimes
several hunters put money together. And the bodies had to be taken care
of too, but they had a very well organised logistic system to make them
disappear. I still remember the names of several children who died
during those hunts: Sarah, Maude, Tom, Katrien and others. There were
several Eastern European girls among the victims. They had been smuggled
into Belgium one way or another and nobody would miss them. I have also
seen several children of the North African type being killed. And at the
end of the hunt there was a big party during which the remaining
children got raped and abused. When I testified about this in 1996, I
gave the names of the hunters to the police of course, but also of the
model of their crossbows, where they had learned how to use them etc. No
one of them has ever been arrested or even interrogated. I was usually
taken to the hunting grounds by Tony, Dani or his best friend, two
policemen of an elite unit. I have been trying to figure out why I
survived and Im convinced it is for the same reasons that I survived the
other abuse. The network had put a lot of effort in my training and I
did my very best to please them and to be good. I also trained other
girls so if they killed me they would have had to replace me, which
wasnt very easy to do. But an important reason why I was hard to catch
during the hunts was my trip through the Canadian Rockies in 1977, with
Alan Ferrer, my biological father. I knew how to sit downwind so the
dogs couldnt smell me. Most of the kids when caught, took off their
shoes first, I didnt. I started with my sweater and so on and kept my
shoes to the last. This way I could run fast until the end. The
following paragraphs describe a hunt in October 1982.


Tony drove me towards the property, which I knew very well. We drove to
Dinant and then South towards Bouillon. A little later we drove into the
property through a big metal gate, continued along the private road and
took a right up a slope, which brought us to one of the buildings on the
immense property surrounding to the ominous looking castle with its
single tower. All around there were large forests. There was a park with
a large pond and rhododendron bushes that stayed green all year round.
The hunt took place in the park as usual. It was cold but still
bearable, under a low autumn sun. Joe, the baron, one of my normal
abusers was leaning against the pavilion, the other men were together in
a little group, drinking coffee, laughing. A guard held two Saint Hubert
dogs under control. I quickly counted them, approximately ten men and
the usual fear settled again in the area around my stomach. It didnt
make me feel comfortable at all to have been brought here. Five girls
between ten and sixteen years old stood closely together, flanked by two
guards, men who had to prevent us from running away. I quietly
calculated my chances to get out of there alive and I got very
discouraged. This would be a smooth hunt, there was still too much light
outside and the visibility was too good to hide properly. And they
looked very serious about what they were going to do. Nos petits lapins
sont prts ! (Our little rabbits are ready!) Shouted one of my usual
rapists. They all burst out laughing. That group didnt make me feel any
better. I looked at Joe, he didnt laugh; he didnt even try to be part of
the group. My fear intensified. This was real. If youre convinced youre
going to die, you become calm, resigned, and there isnt much anymore
that can throw you off balance. He had come here to kill; the other men
didnt matter to me anymore. If he were so emotionless he would do the
most damage. I went a little further close to a tree so I could oversee
the whole group. The other girls stayed close together until the group
of men called us. I didnt react, the other girls did. I stayed put and
looked at Joe. He looked at me too, evaluating but calm. He made a short
sign to me. I obeyed. It seemed safer to me. He opened his fly and moved
his coat a little. I kneeled down in front of him, knowing what he
wanted. And perhaps because I was convinced my end was near I acted with
just enough provocation to make contact with him. When he judged he had
enough, he pushed me away with his hand, just like if he wanted to save
me for later. I sat down against a tree that had fallen over, as still
as a mouse, waiting. The girls had to run into the wood and every time
they caught one she had to take off a piece of clothing. I wanted to get
up to join the others but he stopped me. I was surprised. Stay with me,
he said, shortly. I didnt understand what he really wanted but felt a
lot safer with him than with the girls. I didnt have to play. He made me
an accomplice by making me find the girls and point out where they were
hiding. I did what he asked me to but all the alarm-bells in my head
went off. This wasnt right. I didnt want to betray those girls. I
refused to think about what else I would have to do. For the first time
in my life I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be the hunted one.
Because the responsibility, the feeling of betrayal I had, didnt make me
feel good at all. The game went smoothly, the men really enjoyed
themselves and I got more scared than ever before. When the girls didnt
have any clothes on anymore, they started aiming. They missed
intentionally, chased them and laughed at their panic. Joe went behind
me, made his rifle ready and


suddenly put it my hands. I groaned. Dont play with me, I thought
filled with fear, I didnt want this. I wanted out, out, out. I almost
started sobbing, but swallowed my tears, out of fear to arouse his
anger. For years I had trained myself to keep control and I started
breathing from my belly. The panic ebbed away. If you miss well hunt
you, if you hit you will live, he whispered in my ear, softly, almost
lovingly. I silently looked at the girl a little further. I gave in and
let him help me, let him put my finger around the trigger, push the butt
against my shoulder and aim. He waited, concentrated, whispered
maintenant (now) and forced me to pull the trigger. I closed my eyes and
waited for the hits that would inevitably follow my miss. I heard the
shot, shrunk together and felt him reload the evil machine behind my
back. Im going to die, I thought, and the idea gave me a peaceful
feeling. But I got a friendly pat on my shoulders. I carefully opened my
eyes. I got sick. I looked at him, hoping to keep myself under control,
and for a moment it seemed to work, but then I ran away and threw up.
And he thought this was funny! I felt so much hatred that I would have
easily killed him if I could. But this hatred was replaced by a feeling
of horror after a few seconds. If I should hate anyone I should hate
myself. I was the one who did it. I stayed down on my knees and started
crying, out of control. I was in shock but realized it wasnt over yet. I
turned around. Bastard, why dont you shoot me! Shoot me, you dirty
coward, kill me! He walked up to me smiling and hit me right in the
face. Sois sage, mon petit lapin, (be nice, my little bunny) he said
quietly, grabbed me and kissed me on the mouth. When it was all over
they played with me. They raped me but I didnt oppose, felt too much
sadness and totally abandoned to still feel any pain. I tried to do what
they liked, to play my part, to forget. As always they went on until
they lost interest.

16. Children, sex and blackmail As a child I didnt have second thoughts
about being prostituted. It just happened, without questions being
raised. In fact I wasnt interested. Neither did I question the secretive
atmosphere surrounding it. I was spoon-fed the knowledge that it was
strictly forbidden to recognize customers in the streets or during
parties. The customers had to make the first move. The big people knew
when they could do it, my grandmother always told me and I had to abide
by that rule. I knew I couldnt say a word about these things; this was
drilled into my head. But the result was that I acquired power over my
abusers in spite of myself. Indeed, although I feared them, they feared
me too, as long as they werent abusing me in a group, or were alone with
me in my room. Sometimes, during normal parties I saw them look at me
uncomfortably or try to sneak away nervously. I then put on a real sweet
smile. This felt to me like a small victory over the pain they caused me
during the nights. I sometimes played with them, by standing close to
them on purpose or by accidentally bumping into them. There were of
course the abusers who didnt notice me, not during or after the abuse.
Those individuals didnt consider me a child or a little person, but
rather an object,


nothing more. At a party they looked through me. They were of the
sadistic type and fortunately I rarely met them during daily life. I
didnt realize at that time, that those abusers used those normal parties
as a weapon. I was their accomplice, unwittingly, by teasing the
customers who were afraid indeed to be discovered and caught. How could
I know that we were used not only to please customers, but also to
blackmail them? We were supposed to do what we were told, but we
shouldnt think. When I got older and was gradually being considered a
veteran, I was more frequently taken to normal meetings, receptions,
dinner-parties etc, to scare certain customers. When I was eight, nine
years old, Mich took me with him already and instructed me to hang
around a specific person. I loved to do that. I enjoyed the way they
tried to shuffle away, their sometimes-clumsy attempts to stay out of my
vicinity. I smiled triumphantly when Mich asked me to go stand next to a
customer to make a photo, especially when the customer tried to laugh
away his embarrassment and nervously put his limp hand on my shoulder,
because he couldnt afford to make a scene in the midst of a party of
non-abusers. The looks in the eyes of customer and photographer were
quite amusing to me. I shared with them a secret that nobody around us
would know about. The customer knew he was trapped, caught in the web of
a shrewd glamour boy, and I was a silent witness. Nobody had ever taught
me to feel sorry for them. At night they had been in control, now they
were being controlled. I sensed this as small revenge. Unfortunately
however, most of them, once they realized they were trapped in the
network, started to experiment even more. It didnt put a brake on them;
on the contrary, it seemed a stepping-stone towards even more cruelty.
In Brussels in the Avenue Louise there was a mansion with a room
equipped with built-in cameras. Even during the seventies, these cameras
were so silent that only the people operating them and the child
prostitute knew where they were. We were informed because it was our job
to position the customer in such a way that he was very visible for the
camera lens. The cameras couldnt zoom in or change position because this
could be heard. I never knew whether or not the cameras were filming,
but I always tried to put the customer in a good position. I felt
terrible about it however, because I knew that everything I had to do
was captured on film, and this made me feel terribly ashamed. I could
imagine that what I had to do had become so common to the camera-people
that they werent interested in me at all. It was of much more importance
to them to get the guy who was going to be blackmailed on film in a
position that was as compromising as possible. Before a customer entered
the room, Vic, one of the regular camera-operators, inspected the room,
cleaned the lens, and tested it on me for a few moments to make sure
everything was installed correctly. I understood after a while, that if
he did this kind of inspection, actual filming would be done, and if he
didnt do it, the sex games wouldnt be filmed. But even then I still
tried to put the customer in compromising positions out of fear of
punishment. You could never know for sure. I started to understand the
real meaning of the word blackmail, a word that was never pronounced in
the network, when I was about fourteen years old. I wanted to know, to
learn, to understand what my role in the network was, in order to
survive. Why was I so important for my pimp and trainers, why did they
really need me? Why didnt they just want me to have sex, but also to
bait them? Why did I have to put the men in clearly


visible compromising positions? Why did I have to tease them in such a
way they lost control, started beating me and brutally raped me? Why was
normal sex often insufficient? Why did I have to talk to them, during
the act, in such a way that it would show clearly on the film, that they
knew my age? Why did I even have to lie, telling them I was younger than
I really was? I had all these questions inside my head, because I wanted
to survive. The fear of being killed motivated me strongly to obey their
orders. The more I knew what they needed me for, the better I could
adapt, the more perfect I could act. Over the years I wormed myself into
my pimps secrets. Sometimes Tony was in a real good mood, after a very
profitable day for example. He told me then that I earned him ten to
fifteen thousand Belgian franks for half an hour, fifty thousand
(approx. eleven hundred dollars) for a day or night, hundred and twenty
thousand for a weekend. These amounts made me feel dizzy. Tony laughed
when he saw the disbelief on my face. What was a mere hundred thousand
franks for men who made a million and more with a single contract? And I
understood also why sex was not the most important factor. The contracts
signed between the abusers were arranged and discussed, before I went to
bed with them, when I was having dinner with them. I was the carrot held
in front of the donkey to make him move. It also happened that the
parties agreed to sign the contract after the sex. Appetizer or desert,
this made no difference to me, to them it was a way to make them keep
their promises, unwritten agreements with an enormous binding power.
From the moment one has had sex with a child, one is chained, unless all
parties involved keep their mouth shut. And then, nothing tastes sweeter
than a child, I once heard from one of the abusers. Contracts between
business and the political world, contracts among business people,
cheating with subsidies or permits, the establishing of fake companies,
criminal contracts, and illegal arms trade, nothing was impossible. And
it always ended with sex and children. When the deal was good, the other
party got the services for free. They then were allowed to do all kind
of immoral things with one or more children, for free. Pictures were
taken, jokingly, to keep both parties to their contract. Im convinced
that these compromising photographs must have abruptly wiped the smile
off many mens faces, when they were discretely, in an envelope, put on
their office desks, a long time after the effects of booze and the
euphoria were finished. These parties were a nightmare for the kids and
as long as the pain and misery were bearable, I kept my eyes and ears
open. In knew them all, imprinted their face into my memory, because I
wanted them all to appreciate me. I wanted to be the best seductress,
the best actress, and although I wasnt the prettiest girl, I was more
popular than the more beautiful victims. I did exactly what they wanted.
I pretended to like their advances, I fought back when they wanted me
to, I played their games. That way I remained important and didnt end up
in the final stage. Because hidden very well from the outside world,
children did die at the request of customers who could afford the money.
The child prostitutes knew this very well and the longer they had been
part of the network, the more threatening it became. The risk that
children would break the code of silence increased with their age
indeed. Suppose that someone at one of these parties was dissatisfied
with your performance, got mad and threw money on the table or refused
to sign a contract. Then immediately


measures were taken to allow the gentleman his little revenge. The
worst torture was the unpredictability. Every time an abuser stopped
smiling, my heart missed a beat. Every little mistake could be fatal,
even if you were very popular. Money decided. If someone wanted you
dead, he just paid. He became the one who decided, not your pimp or
whoever. The men got their ideas from the child porn films that were
presented at these parties. It sometimes looked like a James Bond
situation. While the men had fun and were making lots of noise, the
pimps or their helpers filmed them and photographed them without them
knowing. The pimps also used different tactics. They invited a person
who could be useful to them. They took him out for dinner and, after he
had absorbed a considerable amount of liquor, wine etcproposed to him to
join them for a party. Men from the upper class are used to visiting
prostitutes or having them offered to them. They usually knew that
something of that kind would follow, and the whores they met when they
came in were girls between sixteen and eighteen years old. More booze
and cocaine were served for an appropriate atmosphere. And only after a
while, the prey was led to a room where a young girl was waiting, a girl
like me. I had to get them into the bed, if I failed reprisals followed.
Everything was put on film in secret and used as means of coercion, if
needed. Most men probably realized the mess they were in when it was too
late. Men were introduced into the network by colleagues, friends or
even family members, slowly and carefully, or abruptly after a party.
Fathers sometimes brought along their sons. Step by step, customers who
at first were very careful in bed with me were pushed to become more
violent. I was ordered to facilitate this because the combination of sex
and violence is extremely compromising. No offender could afford to
break silence after he had done this. They became partners in crime with
strong ties to each other. None of them was inclined to conclude
contracts with outsiders. The penalty for this could be extremely high
but that was way over my head. I had to do a job. The secrets and
intrigues only interested me when my life was at stake. It all happened
unknown to the child victims and that was a good thing. We already had
enough to worry about.

17. Motherly love Where does pain end? What is the limit of what a
person can handle? I dont know but the most painful was my mothers
treason. She drove me to the places that Tony had told her, dropped me
off at the front door, talked to the abusers, while some of them abused
me in the bedroom, or even right under her nose. I was filled with shame
but it left her cold. She had been abused as a child herself and I was
an unwanted child and a competitor for Tony. So she used me for the only
thing she was really interested in: money. And my parents made lots of
money with me. And every time I died a little more. Because I couldnt
scream, weep or feel. She accepted one more glass of wine. She watched
as one of the men took my blouse off my shoulders. Horrified I looked at
the floor. I couldnt bear the thought of her watching them having sex
with me, so she would see how bad I was.


Dont look Mommy, I told her, frightened, but she laughed at me. Dont
act so shy, I know you like this! she joked and watched how the man made
me bend forward. O Mommy, my Mommy, why? Have I really done so much
wrong? Mommy why dont you help me? But she never helped; instead she
watched quietly, let it happen. Often she got to decide who could take
me first, and she enjoyed this responsibility. She gave me away,
applauded when they put me on the table. No, it wasnt the men who were
hard to cope with. The hardest part was the journey back home with my
mother. Finding the courage to look her in the face took a superhuman
effort. But rather than repudiate her as my Mommy, I made myself
responsible for her behaviour. Even before she had parked the car in
front of our house, I had convinced myself that she couldnt treat me in
any other way. I had to be the cause of it. I couldnt imagine there
might be a different reason. The more she abused me, the more I forgave
her. Forgiving her and accepting the blame myself, made what she did
less bad. My mother also reported to Tony what I had done during his
absence. If I hadnt been nice enough to her, although she was seldom
sober enough to have a clear judgment on this, I got severely punished.
Then I had to satisfy her sexually and, dear me, if I didnt do it
exactly the way she wanted. One day Tony slaughtered my little bunny
that I got from him as a present a few months before, to teach me a
lesson. With malicious pleasure, she told him how I had refused to serve
her yet another glass of wine, and he let her choose which punishment I
deserved for this. Shes got to know her place, she said, You take care
of that. The same week he took me to his flat. Three younger men in
their early thirties were awaiting us. He pushed me into the group and
ordered me to take off my clothes. I looked at him, frightened. He
watched me, his hands in his pockets and started counting One, two,
three and I undressed, knowing very well that at Five hell would break
loose. I bet youll show some more respect for your mother real soon,
sweetheart, he told me, smiling. Youll soon kiss her feet when she asks
you to and he nodded at the three guys they could have me. By the time
he brought me home again, I realized I deserved the punishment. I was
convinced that Tony and my mother treated me the right way. I was the
bad one, not them. Nobody deserved such an inhuman punishment unless
they were really bad.

18. Clos death Eliah had become a distant memory, and because the abuse
became so frequent, I didnt have a lot of time left to think about
anything else. But around November 1982 I really started to miss Clo.
Earlier in the year we had spent a lot of hours, when we had managed to
escape, in the Boudewijnstreet, an area close to the railway station
where people went to have a good time. We could let off steam in the
hard-rock cafs and tried to get rid of all the pent-up feelings of
aggression, pain and fear. Most of the youngsters who came there were in
serious trouble and it had become a kind of refuge. There was hardly any
talking but we all got caught up in loud music and created our own
secret world.


Because Clo and I never agreed upon a specific place and time but
always managed to find each other at our fixed spots, I started getting
suspicious when I hadnt seen her for two months. Nobody had seen her,
not even Gilles, one of Clos regular boyfriends. Would she have run
away? Would she but before my mind could go any further, I blocked the
thought. Clo certainly wouldnt die; she was much too strong for that. I
preferred to believe she fled. Then came an important party. Many of my
main rapists were present, drinking champagne and expensive wine. There
was a lingerie show with younger girls. I knew many of them from the
network. And there was Clo, with an older man, and she made an effort to
smile when he undid her bra. I wanted to go to her but Tony stopped me.
Leave her alone, he snapped. I looked at him surprised. Its Clo! I
havent seen her for so long! He held my arm in his iron grip. Reggie,
dont disobey me now! Clo isnt clean anymore, leave her alone! What? Shes
an angel, and if you want the same, you should absolutely go see her
right now! he whispered waspishly. I looked at her and felt an almost
untameable urge to grab her and run away with her. Because when they
called you an angel, you were going to die. They never made an
exception. Little angels died! When we saw each other we were not
allowed to have any contact anymore. I kept visiting our cafs but I
never saw her again. Only at parties and always with the same old man, I
could still catch a glimpse of her. Clo seemed lonelier than ever. She
pretended to be strong but I knew her body language too well to believe
in her fake sturdiness. I couldnt do anything to help her, except try to
divert the attention when, at the parties, they treated her too roughly.
Every offender knew she had reached the final stage. After a few months
I understood why they still kept her alive. Clo was pregnant. A number
of hard-core abusers got a kick from pregnant girls. Tony had such a
high demand for pregnant girls that he forbade me to take birth-control
pills. He knew from experience that I was able to perfectly hide my
pregnancy and that I gave birth without complications. They kept Clo
alive because she could still make them a lot of money for a couple of
months. Sure it was cruel, but I had been in the inner circle long
enough to realize that. One day Tony picked me up from school in a hasty
manner. We took the old road towards the coast. After a while we left it
and followed a winding little road. Tony was angry. I knew something was
going on but I didnt have the nerve to ask. We finally stopped in
Waarschoot at a big bungalow, surrounded by a garden. There was some
sort of moat around most of the property. Several guests were already
present, a woman and a man whom I recognized from a bar, I think it was
called Co-Cli-Co, where parties were organized, and a few abusers from
my regular environment i.e. Ppre, Michael the lawyer from Brussels and
Paul a local politician. Tony pushed me through the living room, through
the kitchen into the hallway. There was a row of doors and behind the
first door to the left, there was Clo lying on a bed. She was bathed in
sweat, pale and she hardly reacted. She obviously had been in labour for
a long time. She was clearly exhausted, was losing lots of blood and
suffering agonizing pain. I stayed at her side for hours, kept her
awake, helped her go through the pains. But it didnt


go well. In the meantime they did to her what they had done to me
before. They abused her and raped her with objects. Clo had problems
coping with the pain. She screamed aloud, and they ordered me to hold
her and make her shut up. They said they would torture her even more if
I didnt succeed in keeping her quiet. Crying, begging for mercy, I held
her, my hand on her mouth. The more she screamed, the crueller they
became. After a seemingly endless period they finally stopped and left
us alone. Clo couldnt handle it anymore. She was constantly hovering
between alertness and unconsciousness and the baby wouldnt come. I
mustered up all my courage and sneaked into the living room where the
honourable company, were having a sociable conversation. Tony, Clo is
really sick. She needs a doctor! He hit me, irritated that I dared to
disturb him during an interesting discussion and kicked me back to the
room. I want you to finish this quickly, you bitch! Or Ill cut it out
myself! He slammed the door closed and locked it with the key. No, Tony,
dont! I yelled, hit the door, kicked it, and shouted that he needed to
get a doctor. I started ramming the door, allowed the anger to escape
but felt rage grow inside of me. How could they abandon Clo like this? I
shouted at Clo that she had to keep fighting, that she couldnt die. I
ran towards the bed. Clo was pale, her lips were blue and she had blue
circles under her eyes. I let my tears flow freely, rocked her with my
arms, started singing to wake her up, me entire body shaking. If I kept
wishing hard enough that shed stay alive, she would. I helped her push
the baby out of her belly and shouted at her that it was over. Clo, its
all over girl, you may wake up now! Clo didnt wake up. I sat at the head
of the bed, put her head into my lap and slowly moved back and forth. I
refused to believe that she was gone. I didnt know what they did with
the baby, I lived inside a small circle with Clo as the centre. If I
kept her in my arms, she had to wake up eventually. Tony touched me,
wanted to pull me off the bed. I hit his arm. Leave me alone, I have to
wake up Clo! He got nasty, wanted to pull me off violently. I hit him;
there was an insane rage in my eyes. I held Clos head in my arms very
tightly. No, I wouldnt let go! Another man came to Tonys assistance, but
I kicked him right in the crotch. He fell to the floor and was out for a
while. Tony got into frenzy and dragged me off the bed. I threw a fit,
yelled hysterically that I had to hold Clo, hit and kicked everything
within reach. He finally kicked me into the hallway, where I kept
screaming. I tried to get up and wanted to run back into the room. They
needed two men to restrain me, drove me into a corner and kicked me
repeatedly until I lay on the floor crying. Tony started shouting again
now that I was giving up. Dont you dare get up, stupid bitch, dont you
dare! Its your fault, do you hear me! You let Clo die, so dont you dare
to get up, cause Ill kill you! These words still resound in my head
today. It was my fault. I let go of Clo, and Clo died. I wasnt able to
help her. And I cried my last tears.


The company wasnt really bothered by Clos death, accidents happen. Tony
had disappeared and would resurface a few hours later, but the rest of
them took me along to a Chinese restaurant in Brugge, where we had
dinner and then the politician said: Lets go to Cecile! And we all went
to Knokke to my grandmothers place where I got gang-raped. I was used to
being raped but just after the death of my best friend such a thing was
unbearable. A short time after Clos death I started to wander. One time
I ended up at the railroad installations in the harbour of Ghent. As if
hypnotized I looked at the tracks and considered jumping under the first
oncoming train. My feelings were a heavy dead weight on my heart. I
couldnt cry anymore, I couldnt live anymore. But suddenly Clo seemed so
near. I will tell, Clo I said loudly. I sometimes wondered how long I
could still defy death. I often felt guilty for staying alive while
others dropped out. I didnt want to get attached to the other children
anymore, out of fear of heaving to endure another shock like Clos death.
With Clo gone, I only had my abusers left, and thus followed them
obediently. I still cared for Tony in spite of everything, missed him
when he wasnt around, felt safe when he was with me. They became my
family because I understood their world. They made all the decisions.
The better I adapted to their idiosyncrasies, the more privileges I got.
I belonged with them. I felt at home in the network. The little victims
hated me. I hurt them. How in the world could they know that I hurt them
for their own protection? I clearly knew by now that I wasnt able to
help them. I could alleviate their pain, and the only way was to teach
them everything the abusers had taught me. The better they played the
game, the less punishment and reprisals would follow. So I taught them
to increase their tolerance for pain, to relax when objects were pushed
inside of them But not everyone appreciated my efforts. I couldnt
explain to them that the pain I inflicted upon them was nothing compared
to what my abusers could do to them. When the abusers were about to go
too far at a party, I tried to divert their attention, but I had to do
this in a very subtle way. If Tony noticed that I was protecting
someone, they all concentrated on the poor kid. It could be very
dangerous to be my friend. So I avoided being liked. Kids who hated me
were less likely to be thrown into the hard core. One of the girls, who
would later testify to the police at Neufchteau (the judicial department
that caught Marc Dutroux), happened to meet me after my story had been
published in the press. She told me that when she first saw my face
again she had become very angry, because I had hurt her. I hugged her
and after all these years I could finally tell her how sorry I was. This
was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. I couldnt get over
Clos death. I couldnt accept she wasnt there for me anymore, but I was
unable to cope with the fact she had died. I suppressed her death. I
forced myself to believe that she had escaped. The truth got buried deep
inside my memory; the lie made life bearable. But life went on. Months
passed. I learned again how to laugh. My life seemed to be a collection
of small closets. In one I was a schoolgirl, in another I was a rebel,
who often took a day off at school and revolted against adults. I did
this indeed


although they will later try to prove that I didnt miss school a lot
because it was not marked in the attendance registers. But there were
more than enough ways to get around this as I said before. In yet
another closet I was the daughter, the whore, the little slave. Every
closet was carefully secluded from the other ones. I knew very well,
most youngsters didnt live this way, but I shuddered at the idea of
living in a normal family. I started realizing that I had come to a
point where I could only escape by living on my own. I would never be
able to adapt to a family life where you had to be home at eight and in
bed at ten. The summer holiday of 1983 brought some relief. Tony took it
a little easier and most of my free time I spent with my horse. My belly
had become a little round but nobody noticed because I wore tight
clothes. This was my fourth pregnancy. Indeed after Eliah I had been
pregnant again for a short while but I had suffered a miscarriage. A
friend from school knew about it and would testify about this to the
police later. And this would not be the only official record of my
teenage pregnancies. The four children I brought into this world during
my years of abuse have never officially existed and people would always
think that I made it all up. I dont blame them, it is unbelievable
indeed. My horse did great and I mostly rode it bareback. The contact of
my bare legs and toes with her warm skin was the only physical contact
that could give me some comfort. With her I could tune out all my other
lives. This summer, as I would later understand, was to become the lull
before the storm. Looking back, it seemed as if my abusers, Tony
included, whom I only regarded as a pimp and not as a father anymore,
had prepared for my last turbulent year in the network.

19. Tiu and Chrissy My third child was born begin September 1983. I
called him Tiu, an American Indian name. Tony didnt appreciate him
because he was a boy again. Girls brought in much more money. I simply
remarked that it was the father who determined the gender. He didnt like
my sarcastic comment at all. My little son was not officially declared
as usual. He stayed at home in my bedroom and I tried to take care of
him as well as I could, which was very difficult. In order to keep him
quiet, my mother often gave him some of the cough syrup she used for her
emphysema – she had become a chain smoker – and sometimes she gave him
valium. She also hired a young woman, Carine, a junkie who just had a
baby herself. I went to school and started noticing with some fake
pleasure that I didnt have two, but ten lives. But my baby was alive and
I was filled with hope that maybe he could stay. Maybe they wouldnt take
him from me this time. I tried hard not to make any mistakes. Tiu was my
weak spot, the smallest error could be fatal for him. So many children
were indeed sacrificed to make films, I recalled what had happened to
Cheyenne, and I wanted to protect him at all cost. Tony often took me to
Brussels where Mich was allowed to use a flat in the Theo Van P Street.
He made photographs there that were put into an album that was used to
let the potential customers pick their girls. The album had to look
totally normal because it was lent out a lot. Nothing should indicate
that the girls were part of a childrens prostitution


network. So there were also pictures of houses, the sea and other
nonsense between the pictures of the girls, and of a few boys too. The
flat wasnt far from the highway and Mich and Tony used to meet there
often. Half September I saw Chrissie there for the first time. She was
obviously in love with Mich, and I recognized the trap she was going to
get caught in. A long time ago, centuries ago, Tony had made me
dependant on him the exact same way. Mich gave her lots of attention; he
was really her prince charming. I closed myself off. I didnt want to
know how he would eventually catch his prey. She was older than me. But
she was a real teenager, fond of experiments, full of trust in adults,
convinced nothing bad could happen to her. I really didnt feel like
destroying her dream. She was being reeled in slowly, by an experienced
offender who knew damn well how to get her into his net. He made her
dependent upon his love and then started making demands. Im a grown up
man, honey, youll have to do more than just smile at me! Oh, I knew the
routine so well and it made me sick. She finally accepted because she
didnt want to lose him. Of course not. Those men were pros, they knew
exactly when to come up with their demands. Chrissie was caught before
she realized it. I saw it coming, and my suspicion proved to be correct
a little later. My abusers brought me into the game to loosen her a bit.
I hated this because I would have to talk to her and after having lost
Clo I was scared to death to build up a new relationship with a girl
from the network. I stayed distant and cold at first. We didnt get
along, I was an experienced girl and I looked down on her, the innocent
nave kid. In fact, deep inside my heart I was jealous of the girl she
still was then. The loving looks she gave Mich reminded me in a painful
way, of my first weeks with Tony. And somehow I was afraid that it might
really last for her. But when Mich made her have sex with me in a very
subtle way, I understood that his attention for her was totally fake.
This was the first time that I had to bite my tongue not to warn her
about the hornets nest she was getting herself in to. Show what you can
do, honey. Make an old man happy! He used his classical lines, in his
own stereotype manner. And she gave in, but I saw in her eyes that she
hesitated. She was hurt. You dont have to, sweetie, Im not asking you to
do anything you dont want to. But I know youre not childish. Youre
almost an adult woman, you can do it! This was a great trap. She took
her clothes off, hesitating, ashamed, but she decided it all herself ,
at least that was the way it seemed. All right, I thought sadly, From
now on youre not going to say anything to anybody anymore. Youll keep
your mouth shut! I saw her again from time to time. She tried to
establish some sort of contact with me in a timid way. I heard that she
had participated at a youth camp not long ago. When she was with the
other girls I heard them talk about U2 and George Michael. I didnt know
if this was her favourite music or not. To me these were all things that
came from a strange world. I couldnt understand why such banal things
seemed so important to her. I listened with one ear and didnt pay any
more attention than was strictly required. One evening I was sitting in
the Brussels flat when she and Mich came in. She heard me softly sing a
song from Pink Floyds The Wall. She had never heard the music before and
I translated part of the lyrics. I noticed for the first time that she
was becoming more


serious and in spite of my efforts to close off my feelings, it hurt me
to see this. On the one hand, a young girl like her could easily be
fascinated by the way the people from my group related to each other.
The extravagance, the fact of not being a prisoner of a steady job with
regular working hours, the way money was spent she felt part of a select
company. Mich was an excellent storyteller; he could captivate an
audience for hours on end, narrating anecdotes from his life. He owned
of private radio station, something she found really terrific, and he
took advantage of this as much as he could. She had really fallen in
love with him, maybe as desperately as I used to love Tony in the
beginning. He was her friend, experienced lover, and father figure. On
the other hand she was afraid of his demands. The sexual excesses with
other girls and men were hard to stomach. Chrissie felt trapped. And,
more important, she felt she was responsible for this. Of course, nobody
had forced her until now. She came out of her own free will, because she
had become dependent on Michels attention and guidance. A naive
sixteen-year-old girl couldnt possibly know how subtle and calculating
the abusers from the network had set their psychological trap. But she
did put up some resistance. Mich noticed that his grip on her weakened.
Chrissie felt that the attention she got didnt fully compensate the pain
she had to endure. She started to criticize him. One evening, after
Chrissie had left, Tony, Mich and I went to a Brussels restaurant. Mich
looked grim, which wasnt a very good omen. He usually was rather
exuberant and when he was serious and dejected, then he was certainly
disappointed, or worse. It was the first time I got scared for Chrissies
safety. He started accusing me of being responsible for her behaviour.
If I werent able to make her behave the proper way i.e. make her
submissive, he would be forced to take certain measures. Tony brought up
the idea of an initiation, and that this might well be the necessary
thing to do to Chrissie. Mich thought it over, playing with his fork and
then nodded in consent. And I got the shivers. Their rituals terrified
me. And I knew that I would be involved because they agreed on it in my
presence. I could strangle that girl. She brought a lot of misery onto
me. I really missed my friend Clo, but refused to admit it to myself.
Clos alive! shouted a little voice in my head, to soothe the pain that
came up again. Dont think about her, dummy! You know you cant think
about her. Shes alive, thats enough! And the pain decreased a little. I
looked at Tony, he smiled back, absent-minded, and I felt a growing
desire to look for comfort with him. Because lately a feeling started
descending on me that I was in the middle of a large swamp filled with
quicksand, and I got this feeling more and more often. The
precariousness of my existence, and that of my child, drove me, and this
may seem paradoxical, right into his arms. After all he decided on what
would happen to me. He held the power, he could always decide on my
fate, my suffering, and my life. He could decide, on the spur of the
moment, whether my child would remain alive or not. Whether or not it
would be taken away from me. The more power he had over my life, the
more I became dependent on him. He meant more to me than anybody in the
world. He was my God, and thats how I looked at him.


20. The initiation Tony kicked me out of bed, it must have been two
a.m. I used to be a very light sleeper because I was always afraid of
danger, but this time I fell out of bed entirely disoriented. Get up,
get dressed! he said in a brutal way. My heart pounded, I felt fear in
my belly and in my head. He pushed me into his car and we drove off at
high speed towards the highway. I was still buttoning my blouse,
shaking, when we were driving away. We went to Brussels and he drove in
one street, out another until we came into a nice residential area. He
had been silent the whole time, and I really feared for my life. After
Clo it was my turn, wasnt it? He pushed me into a well-equipped garage,
with white tiles, hooks and rings built into the wall. The place was
heated with radiators, there were artificial lights illuminating it, but
at different spots there were candles. There was a bunny in a cage. The
sawdust in its cage smelled fresh, part of it had fallen out because the
little animal started jumping around, startled by us coming in. On your
knees, girl! he ordered. I kneeled and stretched my arms. I knew I would
be tied up. He put a handcuff around my right wrist, pushed the other
one through a ring in the wall and then handcuffed my left wrist. He
caressed my head and pushed the remote control button of the electric
gate. It opened making hardly any sound. He then switched off the light
and disappeared outside. My long wait started. My position was an
ordeal. Because the ring was rather high in the wall, my arms were fully
stretched, and thus my knees had to carry my entire weight, since I
couldnt lower my bottom. After a while I got cramps in my arms, shoulder
blades and lower back, and I experienced a crushing pain in my kneecaps.
After a few hours my body felt like a dead weight, while all my
nerve-endings seemed to be on fire. But the scariest of all was that I
couldnt breathe normally anymore. The muscles around my chest and back
were squeezing me like a belt, which made it more and more difficult to
breathe. It forced me to switch to breathing with my belly muscles to
keep the pain bearable. I wasnt able to shout or yell anymore; neither
did I want to because this would have required a lot of energy, which I
desperately needed to fight the pain. And furthermore it would have made
the abusers livid with rage and nobody would have come to my rescue
anyway. I tried to go into a sort of sleeping state, a kind of trance,
which eased the pain somewhat. I switched off my mind, focused on an
internal light spot and blocked every emotion. I could control the pain
to a certain extent. By not being there anymore, disassociating my mind
from my body, I didnt feel the pain, or I wasnt really aware of it. This
capability, on top of the years long experience in raising my pain
threshold, allowed me to hang in this precarious position for many hours
without real damaging effects. Time wasnt important anymore. Time was
something that people from the normal world used. Down here, in my
world, time was an abstract notion. I was rudely awakened out of my
trance by the opening of the gate. My eyes blinked against the light
that entered the room. It was day already. Joe, the baron, one of my
cruellest abusers, entered and closed the gate behind him. He took the
key of the handcuffs and opened them. I carefully moved my hands and let
my arms slide down very slowly. My entire body started to scream. The
pain that vibrated through my body like thousands of sharp needles turned 63

me into an aggressive animal. Joe smiled, visibly enjoying my face
twisted by pain. He grabbed my arm. I moaned, while tears of despair
rolled down my cheeks. He pulled me up. For a few moments everything and
the entire world seemed to have been swept away. The only thing in
existence was this lacerating agony of pain. Every muscle, every nerve,
every bone was on fire, stinging, screaming. My legs were unable to
support me and I fell down what again caused me a maddening pain. I
cried with a hoarse voice, I could hardly breathe and my cry got
smothered in my throat. Joe watched unmoved. He enjoyed it! I felt a
maddening rage pound in my brains. I hated him, I hated the pain he made
me endure, but even more I hated the way I crawled towards him as a dog
towards his master. I crawled against his leg and begged for mercy with
a husky voice, in vain of course. He forced me to stand up, threatening
to beat me if I didnt. When I had finally succeeded in standing upright,
I saw black spots in front of my eyes and I kept leaning against the
wall, totally dizzy. He kicked my legs from under me. I wept and he
enjoyed it again. Who am I? he asked. I looked up and the superior look
in his eyes struck me. My master, I whispered, and I bowed my head. Good
girl! Alright, you may pee now. He helped me stand up and supported me
until I was capable to take a few shaky steps on my own again, towards
the toilet. It was located in the hall adjacent to the garage close to
the front door. It had warm pink tiles and golden faucets. I urinated,
washed my hands, that were still stiff and unwilling and I sank to the
ground against the bathtub. I knew very well that I couldnt stay too
long at this safe spot. He would become impatient and then would
certainly hurt me. But the desire to stay put, just waiting, was so
great. Just sit, disappear I needed my entire strength to get up and
open the door. Joe took me into the garage again, put the handcuffs back
on after I gave him a blowjob and disappeared. Again several hours
passed. The cramps reappeared. I reverted to my half asleep, half awake
status and accepted the pain. And finally, after what seemed an endless
wait, a few abusers trickled in. Tony, Mich, Joe and three others, among
them Annie. I recognized her even before I could see her, because I
recognized the smell of her perfume drifting towards me. My stomach
contracted by the mere thought of the pain that was imminent. This time
it was Tony who released me. He allowed me to recover slowly and it took
me a few minutes to discover that I wasnt the only girl anymore. An
eight-year-old girl, of a foreign type, a little boy who must have been
ten or eleven and Chrissie. Mich had blindfolded her and made her sit
down on a black leather bench, tied her wrists with leather straps to
two rings left and right from her head. She wasnt really afraid because
Mich had convinced her it was a game. He told her with a soothing voice
that he would take care of her. Today you will make your entrance into
my group. Today you will reach adulthood, he said solemnly. She smiled
but it struck me how she nervously clenched her fists. The initiation
went according to a fixed scenario. It resembled a macabre satanic mass,
a weird spectacle of men wearing capes and masks, the Mistress entirely
dressed in leather including her mask, commanding the men to torture or
abuse the children in certain ways. It was a show aimed at making us so
terrified that we wouldnt talk about it. How in heavens name could a
little girl tell someone that she had been raped by the devil


or by Mickey Mouse? The adults knew that very well. They werent
Satanists or anything like that but they skilfully used the ritual to
scare the children and make them keep their mouth shut because no one
would believe them anyway. And of course they wanted to achieve total
control over Chrissie. Slowly and meticulously they worked towards the
climax. Two of the guests rolled the altar, a table on wheels covered
with black leather, towards the middle of the room and put the brakes on
the wheels. Tony led me to the table, on top of which I had to lie down,
my legs spread apart, my arms stretched out above my head. Joe took the
rabbit out of its cage, a sweet white little thing with red eyes; it
kicked its rear legs in panic. The man who was holding the knife took it
over from Joe, held it above me, right above my belly, and cut it open
with one single slash. The bunnys squeal went right to the bone. I
closed my eyes and felt the warm blood dripping on my body. It nauseated
me, and I only started breathing again when the squealing had stopped.
The bunny was dead, finally. All was deadly quiet in the garage. The
other kids stared at the dead animal above me. Their eyes filled with
terror. The first sound I heard was the desperate sob of the little
girl. The threat had become real to Chrissie. If she ever betrayed the
group, her family would be in danger. She was ordered to drink from the
chalice with the rabbit-blood, to fulfil her lifelong duty to protect
the group. From now on he was her master, Mich told her. He would
protect her; she owed lifelong loyalty towards him and the group. Did
she promise that? Chrissie nodded. Her power to resist was crushed. For
the first time in her life she had witnessed how an animal was killed in
a cruel way, and she could imagine clearly what could happen to her and
her family. Chrissie was allowed to go home now. Her initiation was
over. The other children were raped and abused until the abusers were
satisfied. During the abuse they showed child porn movies. With a
dangerous grin on his face Joe chose a tape on which a very young girl,
about two years old got raped and murdered. He forced me to watch while
he used a vibrator on me. When I was finally brought outside it seemed
as if the major part of myself, of my soul had been murdered. Later,
during the police investigation I would recognise this house in a street
in SintPieters-Woluwe a Brussels suburb. I would give a detailed
description of the interior. It would have been so easy to order a house
search and to verify my story. No house search would ever be ordered.
Excuse me; there would be a search, at my house, to find out if I got
all the details of my testimony from newspapers or magazines! I dont
understand how I managed to go on with life. How I still managed to put
a smile on my face, to play my part in the sham called my happy family.
I was totally destroyed inside. More than ever I noticed that I lost
track of time and reality. It appeared I had gone to school, had good
reports, had even a few classmates who actually talked to me, but all
this seemed not to be part of my life. It looked as if someone else took
over for me, as soon as the door of my house closed behind me. It looked
as if the abused Ginny was kept in storage until Tony stood at my bed
again or at the school entrance. The abused Ginny hardly knew anything
about the school- and family-life; the other Ginny seemed to be absent
during the abuse and thus led a normal life. It had always been like this.


In Knokke, at my Grandmas, the adults had noticed that I talked to
voices inside my head, that I often changed moods very quickly or even
started talking with a strange voice or accent. I was only five or six
but I understood this was a crazy thing to do and I wasnt allowed to do
that. I learned how to hide my voices, my other alters. After what
happened to Clo, the voices grew stronger, as did the bizarre feeling
that from time to time, I was guided by these inner voices
(personalities?). After the initiation I didnt fight the voices any
longer. It felt great to disappear into nothing and to become conscious
again when Tony was present. The suffering seemed more bearable that
way. Tony was the only adult who understood something was wrong in my
head. But instead of getting upset he started cultivating it. He gave me
different names: Pittimouse, Girl, Whore, Bo. These names slowly started
to belong to me. The weird thing was that when he used a specific name,
the behaviour associated with this name immediately surfaced. Pittimouse
became the name of the little girl he brought home after the abuse, a
scared and skittish girl that he comforted by talking to her in a kind,
fatherly way. Girl was the name of that part of me that belonged to him
only e.g. when he abused me in my bed, early in the morning, and nobody
around. Whore was the name for the part of me that worked for him. Bo
was the young woman who took care of him when he was drunk and needed to
be looked after. Just trust me, he said when I asked him curiously why
he gave me so many names. Papa Tony knows you better than you know
yourself! Nothing could be truer. I would find out later that Tony had
taken child psychology classes at the Brussels University and that he
knew about DIS before its existence became accepted by most psychiatrists.

21. Treason Tony always had other girls. One of them was Marie, a girl
from the Brussels area. Her mother was a prostitute. Marie was older
than me, more experienced. She was the wellgroomed type, with polished
nails and fashion clothes, I was more a tomboy, and it took me some
effort to fit in a classy environment. We never liked each other, but
Chrissie became our common problem. Even after her initiation she
couldnt adapt to the group. She tried, but it seemed to be more
difficult than she expected. In my opinion she was simply too old to
learn how to function properly in this kind of environment, she had
joined the group too late. She loathed oral sex, which was a very
popular thing in the group and she really couldnt cope with anal sex.
But they gave her time to adapt. Mich knew very well that if he put too
strong a pressure on her, Chrissie might start to send out distress
signals to the outside world. This wasnt a problem with young children,
because they were almost unable to produce a coherent story, but
Chrissie was older and would certainly be able to do that. Mich was thus
very careful not to traumatize her so deeply that it became visible to
outsiders. But he was frustrated and made other girls pay the bill. I
was the one responsible for her training, so I had to undergo the
punishment. Tony and Mich took this very seriously. I was sent to all
the SM parties and was regularly beaten in the middle of the group as an
example for the other victims. Now that I almost perfectly


fit into their environment, they suddenly punished me for the failure
of someone else. Chrissie was starting to make me sick. Marie
experienced the same feelings. She too was treated brutally when
something didnt work out with Chrissie. The hatred that Marie felt
towards her grew bigger every day, an emotion I had severely
underestimated. At a party shortly afterwards things became too much
again for Chrissie and she ran towards the bathroom. I came in
immediately after her. She was sitting on the floor in front of the
toilet, crying. I sat down on the rim of the bathtub, put my hand on her
shoulder and let her calm down a little. I then took a glass, filled it
with water and let her drink. I cant go on with this, Reggie. I really
cant! she started sobbing. I didnt answer but stared towards the floor.
Im so afraid of him! I nodded, knowing exactly what she meant. Michels
joviality was misleading. She started to understand very well now, how
dangerous he really was. Would he hurt me if I hid from him? Would he do
as he said and hurt my parents? I looked at her and nodded again. Mich
is dangerous, Chrissie. Hes a vampire. He will suck you empty until
youre dead inside. But I dont think hell do anything bad to your folks
if you tell them! She slowly nodded her head. I cant tell them what
happens to me. Reggie, they would never forgive me, she started crying
again, And all of this is my fault. I did this to them! I put my hand on
her shoulder again. Tel them Chrissie. Tell them. You dont have to tell
them everything you know. Just tell them youre afraid of an older man!
Boy, had I made a huge mistake! I knew it as soon as I pronounced the
words, but I couldnt refrain from doing it. I couldnt let her go down
and this made me commit a crucial error which would destroy her life and
mine nearly too. I had betrayed the group. When Marie complained again
to me about Chrissie, I told her annoyed that she didnt have to worry
because Chrissie wouldnt bother us any longer. She would talk to her
parents or her brother and the problem would be solved. Marie glared at
me, furiously. How could I be so damn stupid, she hissed. Before we
knew, the police would come, our pimps would be arrested and we would be
pulled out of our family and locked up until we were twenty-one! She
declared me totally insane and I got scared to death. Marie was right.
What had I done? I guess Marie must have told Mich that same evening.
And the ultimate nightmare was about to begin. Tony told my mother. This
time the punishment wouldnt be just a beating, a gang rape or a
gynaecological treatment with razorblades. It would be a lot worse. They
knew that Tiu was my weak spot, and thats what they went for first. My
mother drove Tiu and me to Brussels where we met Tony at the highway
parking in Groot-Bijgaarden. We then continued towards a riding-school
in Meise that Mich knew very well. A few of my abusers were waiting
there. I put up a desperate fight, I screamed, I begged for mercy but
with a sadistic pleasure Michael the Brussels lawyer, mutilated the
private parts of my little son with a knife and then killed him with a
hammer. In the meantime they raped me. The mother of Anne, one of the
girls of the group, took photographs. She and her


husband often attended sex parties with children. They threw Tius body
on the ground and rubbed my face in his blood. I was then forced to pick
up the body and throw it into a plastic garbage bag. Even today there
are moments at which I suddenly hear the bump of his body falling into
the bag. Ill never forget this sound. The last little piece of human
awareness that was left in me died. I lost my voice. I couldnt cry
anymore. My feelings were destroyed. I turned into a robot and lost
track of time. The shock following my babys murder swept away the hours
and maybe days that followed. I have some faint memories about having
been brought to a sex party with Chrissie. But these memories could have
been from a party before. It is a fact that we were brought together
somewhere, undressed and that a bag was put over our head. I think it
was the day of Tius murder but it is possible that it was one or two
days later. They put us in different cars, naked. We drove for a short
while until they stopped and made me get out. I could hear Chrissie a
little further. I was barefoot and felt sharp edges, like little pebbles
or something. I remember how the door opened when we arrived. They
pushed me inside the house, it was empty, cold and it smelled mouldy. I
heard Mich ask if everything was ready. I got really scared. Someone
painted a symbol on our body. I still had the bag over my head and
tripped over some sort of threshold or pipe in the hall. They took our
bags off. Tony pushed a knife inside of me and asked if I loved him.
Chrissie had totally lost control and screamed like hell. I remember the
kitchen. How Chrissie was tied up on top of the table and repeatedly
raped. There was no electricity and the candles they used threw spooky
shadows on the walls with their old peeled off wallpaper. Chrissie
kicked and floundered but eventually became submissive to avoid the
pain. She begged for forgiveness. They tied her up like a rabbit with a
rope around her legs, arms and neck, in a way that she would strangle
herself if she resisted. They accused her of treason. What have you
said, to whom did you talk, what have you written down? they shouted at
her, and they didnt take no for an answer. They knew Chrissie kept a
diary and they wanted to find it. This diary would later be found by the
police but would mysteriously disappear (see further) as a consequence
of the cover up operation. I tried to close myself off, now already,
from what I saw was about to happen. I begged myself to stay strong,
before I would die. There are things that stay with you forever, other
things your memory refuses to reproduce. I cant remember the clothes
Chrissie wore, but I remember what the floor tiles looked like in the
kitchen, the little patterns and the spots where the floor wasnt level
anymore. I remember the ceiling, the walls, the chimney, and the glass
wall in the hallway. I remember the cold stones on the terrace, the
grass and the cold floor under my feet when we headed for the cellar.
The concrete stairs, the low arched ceiling, the wood and the junk all
over the place, the smell of the candles, the odour of their sweat. The
fear. I noticed Marc Dutroux was there too but he didnt really join in.
I had met him several times before. He seemed to be the guy who had to
do all the odd jobs. And the cruelty went on. We both got raped with a
metal stick that Annie had heated up in the flame of a candle. They
burned us with cigarettes. But they really went after Chrissie. Chrissie
struggled. My most sadistic offender, Michael the lawyer, then raised


an iron peg and took aim at her head. Her head started bleeding. He
then grabbed her arms and raised his hand again. She screamed, a
screaming that wont stop in my head. They tied her up with some sort of
electric wire, her legs bent backwards, the wire around her hands and
neck. He slammed pegs in her wrists. Annie sprinkled both of us with
some liquid that smelled like fuel. She pretended she would put me on
fire but Tony told her to stop pestering me. Then they burned Chrissie
and Tony took me outside. My clothes were in his car and I put something
on and we took off. When we arrived home in Ghent my mother threw a
temper tantrum because I was still alive. This is the only time I ever
heard her raise her voice against Tony. I sank into a swamp, into
quicksand. All those events are burned into my soul. They come alive
again in my nightmares. The memories, these cursed memories that will
haunt me for the rest of my life. I fight them, but the nightmares keep
coming back, and every time it seems to last forever. It is a timeless
thing. It never stops but always starts over again. I dont know how long
I lived on automatic pilot. How I finally climbed out of the hole again,
to realize that my life continued, obviously without me being part of
it. I still went to school each day, I still had sex with customers when
Tony told me to. I laughed, I nodded, I sat, and I gave a paw on
command. Was this life? It was Tasja, my white mare, who healed my
wounds. Through her warmth and the safe stable where I used to hide for
hours on end, I slowly acquired some faint feelings again. I started
sensing the hay tickling my nose, I could feel heat and cold again. I
noticed I had lost weight, I only weighed forty-five kilos, and I had
forgotten the most basic things like how to hold a fork, where the
light-switch was in my room. I couldnt tie my shoelaces anymore, numbers
seemed strange to me. One, two, three it didnt really mean anything. I
had the greatest difficulty following the math class. I never excelled
at math but even the simplest sum now exceeded my comprehension. It
might seem silly, but this made my life miserable. I had to make a real
effort to drink from a cup with one hand. I couldnt possibly remember
how to turn on the light of my bike. I had forgotten how to cry.
Whatever happened to me, I couldnt cry anymore. The feeling just wasnt
there. It was gone. I taught myself how to hold a fork again but couldnt
do better than a little kid, holding the handle in my fist. It took me
weeks before I rediscovered where the light-switch was and how I could
use it. I felt happy as a small child when I discovered it was exactly
the same one as the ones downstairs in the living room. I hadnt even
thought of this during the previous week. I never untied the laces of my
sneakers; I slid my feet in and out so I didnt have to tie a bow. It
would take more than a year for Erwin to teach me again how to tie a
bow. Little by little I tried to take control again over my mind. Some
motor problems remained. Numbers kept giving me a headache. I suffered
from hyperventilation, couldnt sleep any longer than one and a half hour
a night. I didnt take care of myself anymore except when Tony dragged me
into the bath. How I should wash, when, how often all those things didnt
seem to come back. But the months went by and then came the summer of
1984. I was pregnant again and gave birth to my third son, all alone and
in total secrecy. I didnt want the perverts do to me again what they
liked to do so much to young girls giving birth. I called him Nanook, an
Inuit name. But I was desperate. The sound of the bump when they let
Tius dead body


fall into the garbage bag Ill never forget that horrible sound haunted
me again. I guess I must have had a panic attack when I heard Tonys car
arriving. I squeezed Nanook against my breast very hard. He stopped
moving. When Tony came in he didnt care about my bewildered face, he
wasnt mad at me, but he praised me, because I was entirely part of the
gang now. It was as boy, again, and he didnt consider it a big loss. I
didnt feel any emotion. Maybe I was glad I could prevent him from having
to live. I didnt care anymore. I didnt want this anymore. I didnt want
to live anymore. Tony put me in the bath. Washed my back, my breasts,
and my belly that felt empty and limp. I stared in front of me,
silently, and the only thing I noticed was the flask of my mothers
sleeping pills. When Tony left, and I supposed he took the baby with
him, I stretched my arm and reached for the flask. I took me a long time
to get the lid off, but the reward was great. It was three quarters
full. I took one pill, swallowed another, and another. I swallowed as
many pills as I could. I couldnt cry anymore but the feeling of relief
at stepping out of this life was immense. But the childbirth, the warm
water and the pills made me sick and before the tranquillisers could do
their job I threw up.

22. My death sentence Tony had given me a present, a golden heart. Plus
que hier, moins que demain (more than yesterday, less than tomorrow) was
engraved in it. I wore it around my neck. He was the only one who still
mattered to me. My girlfriends, animals and other things I cared for
were taken away from me again and again. My bunnies were killed. My dogs
had disappeared when I came back home, I didnt even get the chance to
say goodbye. He burned my diary, because I wrote I wanted to be dead. My
duck lay in the garden, lifeless. My children But he always came back.
And I asked for nothing better than that he told me what to do, subdued
me, and controlled me. I didnt know what to do with my life anymore.
That summer I planned several times to commit suicide, but my promise to
Clo prevented me from carrying out this final act. I promised to live
and to show the world that girls like her and me did indeed exist. I
didnt know how or when, but some time I would tell what happened. This
idea kept me going. And even though I worshiped Tony, I was slowly
losing faith in him. Every kiss he demanded from me, every sexual act he
performed, strengthened my desire to flee. Thanks to the personalities
or alters or whatever in my soul, I had preserved deep inside of me, a
little piece of the real Ginny. And thats the Ginny who Erwin, my future
husband, will soon notice in the stables, the Ginny who hoped for a
better future. That Ginny had engineered an ingenious plan to survive.
Because Tony, in all his stupidity, gave her the unmistakable sign that
time to flee was running out. As soon as youre sixteen you may come live
with me! he whispered in my ear, very sweetly. I didnt want to let
myself be paralysed by his false words. I knew he had signed my death
sentence; I had only a few months left. Maybe I had lived in a haze the
past months but all of a sudden I started thinking clearly again. I
wasnt afraid of death. I was afraid of the pain they could still inflict
on me.


23. Erwin Erwin was a sixteen-year-old boy from the riding school
Ponderosa in Destelbergen near Ghent, where my horse had its stall. He
was a quiet guy. In October 1984 I was ready to say farewell to life.
Every new day seemed to crush me. The pain became more unbearable each
night. In spite of the terrible things that had happened to me, I always
had to be ready to satisfy these men who took me to places where I was
abused, men against whom nobody protected me. And then, one day, I saw
Erwin at the stable. He looked so young and clean. I suddenly got this
strange feeling. I turned around abruptly because I didnt want anyone to
see the tears in my eyes. I snivelled and ran off. This wasnt for me. I
had to accept that I would never find a normal boy who would love and
protect me. I was dirty, contaminated, affected. How would I dare to
have these thoughts, these crazy fantasies? What boy would ever want me?
But the image of the boy in the stable didnt leave my mind. Whenever I
could go to the riding school, I hoped to meet him. This wasnt easy
because he was often in the cafeteria and I was afraid to go in there.
Tony was extremely jealous. If he knew that I wanted to socialize with
the people from the riding school, he would give me a beating, or worse.
One day Erwin suddenly walked into the stable. My hopes surfaced again.
I hadnt seen him for weeks and I reckoned that it was now or never.
Funny, at night I was so experienced with adult men but how insecure and
clumsy was I with this boy. I smiled at him and felt the tension crawl
upwards from my stomach into my throat. Hi I said. My voice cracked. I
hated my clumsy behaviour. Hello he smiled back. Are you gonna ride your
donkey? Donkey? Is it that what you call my horse? Oh, I didnt mention
the donkey on the horse yet roared Erwin with laughter; in a way that
was so free and natural that it hurt me. This craving for tenderness
suddenly came up again. I looked at his face, defiant and curious. Thats
why I like you, like seeks like! I wanted to be funny, but one way or
another I must have sounded very serious. He looked at me, surprised,
flabbergasted. I saw in his eyes he understood that I meant what I said.
My heart stood still. Then he turned around and walked out. The intense
moment was gone. I ran towards my horse Tasja, who was quietly swinging
her tail back and forth and snorted when I opened her stall door. I
threw my arms around her warm neck as a greeting. I buried my face in
her fur and breathed heavily. How I ever got the strength to say what I
said seemed beyond my comprehension. That spontaneity that I had
forgotten so long ago, made me feel alive for a short while. I stood
there, my arms around my horses neck and cherished this feeling that
slowly ebbed away. It took me a long time to release Tasja and to go on
with the life I dragged with me. At the end of October I received an
invitation for a horse-parade. I was surprised; I had never been invited
before, at least not for such an innocent party.


Is Erwin coming too? I dared to ask the owner of the school. Such an
effort to pronounce this little sentence! Yes, she said and the same
nervous excitement that I had felt before struck me again. I didnt know
how to handle these feelings. I felt insecure and scared but warm at the
same time. That evening I rode my bike home, standing on the pedals, my
hair blowing in the wind, the invitation in my hand. I wanted to shout
it out, the excitement, the intense desire to be alive, a cry for
freedom. It took me another week before I mustered up courage to ask
Tony if I could go to the horse-parade. He didnt answer immediately. The
tension became unbearable. I asked my parents too of course, but that
was unimportant. Tony took the decisions. Days went by. He came and
went. I did what I was told to do. I waited. The day came closer: 10
November 1984. On 8 November I started losing hope to be able to go the
parade. Tony still hadnt replied, and I prepared myself for the
disappointment. The phone rang. I ran. Tony didnt like me to keep him
waiting. Hi pittimouse. How are you doing? Fine Tony, thanks. Do you
want me to do something for you? He sighed on the other end. I waited.
You know what? I dont feel too well these days. I think Ill take a
couple of days off. Youll be fine wont you? Do you want me to do
something, Tony? I asked almost friendly. I expected him to give me a
few assignments, but he didnt. The last couple of months I had been so
docile and submissive that I started to reap the benefits. He started to
trust me. Tony I hesitated but forced myself to pronounce this sentence
word for word, May I go the horse-parade I told you about? Those people
have invited me and All right, if you take your parents, he sounded,
tired, at the other end. I squeezed the horn with both my hands. I was
afraid to ask anything more. Did I hear all right? Was I allowed to go
without him? I didnt obey my parents. Without Tonys guidance they feared
outsiders. I would have some limited freedom because my father and
mother wouldnt have the guts to intervene if I would socialize with kids
of my own age. Tony I whispered. Yes? I love you. I could feel his
smile. But thats the way it was, I was convinced I loved him in spite of
the pain that he inflicted on me. I missed him when he wasnt around,
however, the last couple of months a weight seemed to be lifted from my
shoulders when he left me alone for a short while. These mixed feelings
made me confused and sad. It looked as if I didnt want to let him go but
had no other choice. For the first time I would go to a party I had
chosen myself. I was excited, curious and scared at the same time. It
had been such a long time since I felt so young. When I came in I didnt
really know how to behave. But the atmosphere was so relaxed that I
quickly felt at home between all those youngsters. There were lots of
laughs and someone even threw whip cream I had a great time. I didnt
miss Tony at all. And then came the dancing contest. The newcomers who
were initiated had to pair up and dance. When the music stopped, the
couples had to unfold a newspaper and go stand on it as quickly as
possible. The last ones would fall out until finally one couple remained.


Erwin was also among the ones that were initiated. He didnt stand far
from me. Everyone was looking for a partner and I moved as close as
possible to him, in such a way it was impossible for him to ignore me. I
sent him an inviting smile and since he was a very polite young guy, his
only way out was to ask me to dance. The contest went great for us. One
by one the couples fell out until finally, Erwin and I won the game. We
couldnt believe it. We cheered out of a pure excitement that was totally
new to me. The music invited us to go on dancing. We carefully kept our
distance. I felt light, happy, young. This was the first time I held a
boy of my own age. It felt strange. Under my jeans and my sweater I was
wearing sexy underwear, like a whore, but nevertheless I felt insecure
and excited, like a young girl on her first date. Erwins face came
closer. I closed my eyes. His lips touched mine. He wasnt pushy, he just
gave me a sweet, divine, loving kiss, timid, soft, tender. I surrendered
to his lips and opened my mouth a little. It was the first time in many
years that I didnt feel disgusted being kissed and I responded. I
cuddled up in his arms and slowly felt my body warm up. A tingling
crawled up my legs into my belly and upward to my neck and cheeks. I
blushed from excitement and happiness. I kissed him again and again. The
noise around us and even the music seemed to fade away. I was in love.
That night, on the tenth of November, I went to bed with my heart
pounding. There I was, staring at the ceiling, with my hands on my neck.
My mind was restless. I felt insecure, but also full of hope and
expectations. For the first time in so many years I had something to
look forward to. Would he still remember me tomorrow? Would he meet me
again tomorrow? Was I just a flirt, or more than that? My head was full
of questions. In just a few hours I had madly fallen in love with that
sweet Erwin. I was afraid to lose him, but it was more than just love. I
had placed all my hopes of escape from Tony on him. Exhausted I shook my
head. Escape? Why even think about it? Tony would never let me go. And
on top of that I would have to tell Erwin everything. What could I tell
him? Im afraid of Tony, you have to protect me Fear crept into my heart,
curling up like a fox in his hole. The next day, around eleven I went to
the car park of the riding school. I looked out across the street hoping
to see Erwin. I waited again, while time went by slowly as if I was
being tested. The fear of being disappointed again almost paralysed me.
The sun stood rather low on the horizon and stung my eyes. All of a
sudden there he was, a tall young guy with tangled hair, a small
moustache and black riding pants. He quietly parked his motorbike and
came towards me. I looked at him; my throat was dry with fear. I was
convinced that he would simply pass me by, not remembering what happened
the evening before. But he came right towards me, smiled and kissed me
on the mouth. His lips felt fresh, clean, and innocent. I put my arms
around his neck and gave him a big hug, hiding my face in his sweater
and sniffed his smell, which had already become familiar to me. I didnt
want to let him go, ever again. I looked at every little detail of his
face. Every minute of that day, every second was imprinted in my memory.
I wanted to remember every little detail. The warmth I felt every time
he looked at me, the soft touch of his hand, the scent of his sweater I
cherished every second, wanted to make it last as long as possible,
enjoy and be happy, because tomorrow it could be finished. I knew this
couldnt last. Tomorrow or the day after, Tony would be back, ending the
fairy tale.


My father picked me up. I looked at Erwin, sad. I put my arms around
him one more time giving him a big hug. And again there was that cry of
despair in my head: Help me, dont leave me, but back came the
loneliness. I said goodbye to my prince charming, convinced that this
would be our last day together. Tomorrow Tony would be back. While my
father drove off I looked back at the boy who gave me hope. I kept
looking until he disappeared behind a bend. Did I miss his affection! I
became silent and withdrawn. When we arrived at home I closed the front
door behind me, disheartened. My father pushed open the living-room door
and there he was relaxed, his left foot on his right knee, joking with
my mother who giggled like a teenager in love. Her glass of wine was
shaking in her hand. I looked at him, he looked at me, laughing, and I
felt my heart sinking. This weight that is very difficult to describe,
came down on my shoulders again, a deep sadness that made me so tired. I
bowed my head. I was afraid to look him in the eyes while I went through
the hall into the living room. My father lighted a cigarette, pulled up
his pants, made that snivelling sound with his nose. Hes the only one
who can do that. I looked at him with fear. Please dont tell him, I
prayed in silence, Dont talk about Erwin. My father shook Tonys hand.
Sorry it took so long, but my daughter needed some time to say goodbye,
he chuckled. Tony threw his face at me. His eyes spit fire. Fear invaded
me, my stomach turned upside down. Goodbye? Yes, and you had a real good
time, didnt you, Regine? he sneered. I nervously looked at Tony and
hunched up my shoulders. Tonys smile had vanished. He didnt pay
attention to my father anymore, or to my mother who had stopped giggling
and angrily looked at my father. He diverted Tonys attention from her
and she hated him for it. Go upstairs! This rude tone of his voice
scared me so much that I almost peed in my pants. I looked at my father.
Dad Help me Daddy, tell him to go away. Upstairs Ginny! I looked at my
mother, hesitating, but she had put her hand on Tonys leg again. I
quietly closed the door behind me and sneaked up the stairs. I waited,
undecided. I went to the bathroom, and washed my hands slowly. I had
trouble breathing. My heart started pounding. I pushed myself against
the bedroom wall. I heard the living-room door open and close again.
Then the typical sound of his feet on the stairs. For a moment he looked
me in the face. I bowed my head, guilty. What did you do, Gina? I
couldnt answer. My throat was paralysed. I had the feeling I lost my
voice forever. He grabbed my chin with his fingers and forced me to look
into his cold eyes. A lonely tear rolled off my check. Oh Tony, forgive
me, hold me, comfort me. Im sorry, I whispered, and a second tear
appeared. I miss you Tony, I miss you so. I cant let you go, please help
me He looked at me almost with compassion, shook his head. You deserve
to be punished. Tony, I love you, dont you know? I nodded. I knew what
would come. He slowly took his belt off his pants, a move so familiar,
so smooth, as if he had often practiced it. He turned me around, pushed
my face


against the wall and lashed out at me, slowly, again and again. I
braced myself and kept silent, my heart broke. It wouldnt matter
anymore. Every lash pushed me further away from him. He punished me, I
said goodbye. I didnt cry from pain, I cried because it was over. He
knew it didnt have any effect anymore. Normally I would have turned
around, had gotten down on my knees and opened his zipper. I knew that
if I satisfied him, I had a good chance to be forgiven, but not this
time. He was surprised. He stopped hitting me, turned me around and
slapped me in the face. My cheek exploded but I stood firm, leaning
against the wall with my head bowed as a sign of submission. But at the
same time, my determination grew. Something inside of me started to
live. You let him go, Gina, you dump him. I slowly lifted my face. I
burst into tears. No What are you saying? No I whispered. He hit me
again. I almost lost my balance. You dump him or Ill get him! I looked
at him in despair. You cant do that, Tony You bet I can! He straightened
himself, showing his strength and resolve. I looked at him, for any sign
of weakness. Ill kill him Gina, you know I will. So? Ill dump him, Tony
Good girl He caressed my head, as if I were a dog. A chill came into my
heart. When will you see him again? I didnt want to answer, but I
couldnt stop the words coming out of my mouth. Saturday. All right, well
do this. Ill come with you and you tell him its over. If you dont, Ill
kill him right on the spot, OK? I nodded. I felt blood drip from my lip.
My nose bled from the slap. He took a hanky out of his pocket, wiped off
the blood and kissed my burning cheek. Go to bed, now. I watched him
going down the stairs. A little later I heard my mother laughing in a
subdued voice. I stared at the ceiling. The yellow streetlight projected
strange patterns.

24. Dumping Tony I prepared myself the entire week to say goodbye. I
tried hundreds of lines in order to hurt Erwin as little as possible. I
couldnt find a single good one. It wasnt a simple goodbye. It felt like
my funeral speech. I finally made up my mind. I didnt give a damn
anymore about the possibility I would get killed. I didnt want to go on
living like this. I didnt


want to be rented out, borrowed, raped anymore. The mere thought of
sex, pain and men made me puke. Every time I had to produce that defiant
smile, while unbuttoning my blouse, cost me an enormous amount of
energy. Even if he didnt kill me, I desired to be dead. I could get
heroine quite easily. An overdose. Only the illusion of a better life,
the feeling of hope that invaded me the first time Erwin gave me a big
warm hug, prevented me from committing suicide that week. I kept
clinging to that faint hope to break free. Tony was in a really lousy
mood. He hit me whenever he could, but something had changed. He seemed
to become more cautious. Was he afraid of visible injury? Did he fear me
filing a complaint? I didnt know, but he had become visibly insecure.
And thats why that Saturday, although being scared to death, I felt a
strength that grew greater with the hour. I got up, got dressed,
riding-pants, black T-shirt, Bordeaux sweater three sizes too big. I
wanted to be the way I imagined myself: half boy, half girl, everything
but a whore. I stared at myself in the mirror for a long time. I had
forgotten how I looked. I saw a strange girl with curly auburn hair
falling to her shoulders, and green eyes that seemed so cold. Who was
that girl that evaluated me like an adult? Who was I? I heard Tonys car
come to a stop. That typical diesel sound that had once been pleasant
when I was still full of hope that he would help me and love me. That
same sound now stirred up feelings of disgust, of pain, sex and being
abused. That sound announced my separation from the only boy, the only
human being, who had ever been nice to me. Tony had just poured himself
a cup of coffee when I walked into my mothers workshop. He scared me
when he looked at me. He was so self-confident, convinced of his power.
In his eyes I could see that he still considered me his property. He
grabbed me, put his hand under my shirt and started fondling my breasts
while he was talking to my mother. I stood with my back against him,
looking down at the floor, overwhelmed by shame. Even after all these
years I hadnt learned how to control shame. It felt so dirty. I clenched
my fists and suppressed the desire to run away, it didnt matter whereto,
just away, gone. Every touch made me feel more disgusted, nevertheless I
put on a natural smile. Thats what I had been taught. I forced myself to
relax, slightly leaning against him to please him with my obedience. I
got into the car, sitting beside him. Hello from Neil Diamond played on
the radio. In fact I dont mind if you flirt with boys. You can have toys
if you want, but you have to obey me. Ill give you a boy. What the hell
did he want? To please me? I would probably get a boy from the network
and what we did together would be recorded on video. That would be his
typical solution. I nodded in an obedient way. Then we entered the
cafeteria of the riding-school and sat down at a table, my parents and
me, and Tony who sat down at my left. Erwin was sitting at the counter
looking at me surprised. Was I that girl who was so in love? Tony
observed me with his complacent smile, but I wasnt afraid anymore. He
nudged me, raised his eyebrows and turned his head slightly. I looked
straight into his eyes, begging: Tony, please dont, I cant do this. But
his eyes went ice-cold. The clock is ticking, Gina and the pain
increased, it invaded my heart, my throat, my belly. The pain, the
solitude, the fear a cocktail of emotions that paralysed me. Erwin still
sat on his stool, looking at me disappointed and sad. I knew I would
lose him if I stayed with Tony but I couldnt get up.


Something inside me wanted to walk up to him and break it off without
prolonging his suffering. I noticed Tony was observing me arrogantly
with a big ugly smile. Erwin was badly hurt. He couldnt understand and
looked away from me wiping off his tears with his sleeve. That nice girl
that couldnt get enough of him the week before was now sitting beside an
older man as yes, as what? Tonys smile got even bigger when he saw how
hurt Erwin was. I saw how much he enjoyed it and then, all of a sudden,
something exploded inside of me. I became filled with anger. I got up to
defend Erwin like a she-wolf protecting her cubs. I turned around and my
eyes pierced Tony, the adrenaline flowed through my veins. His eyes spat
fire, his smile turned into an angry grin. In a split second we silently
exchanged volumes. We were two fighting-cocks ready to attack. At that
very moment it became suddenly clear to me that, with all these people
around us, he couldnt do a damn thing. He couldnt lift a finger against
Erwin, at least not now. So I turned around, walked up to Erwin, hugged
him, and wrote my telephone number on a beer-mat. I cant explain
everything to you right now, but I have a lot to tell you. Call me; day
or night, I dont care when. Please do call me, I love you Erwin. I love
you very much, do you believe me? Erwin nodded. He took the beer-mat
from me. Tony had jumped up from his chair. My parents almost tripped in
their hurry to follow him. He dragged me outside, pushed me into his car
violently, slammed the door shut and raced home. He parked the car
abruptly and hardly took the time to turn off the engine before he
started hitting me. I ducked to protect myself but I didnt make a sound.
I had taken an important step. I had said goodbye, not to Erwin as Tony
had planned, but to his ownership, and I wouldnt go back. Never. I didnt
feel his blows. I was still hunched up but didnt feel any pain. My
mother who was wringing her hands, frightened the neighbours might see
this tried to make him stop, Come Tony, wait until were inside while my
father hurried to unlock the door. Tony dragged me up the stairs and
smashed me against my bedroom wall. He kept hitting me using his hands,
his fists, finally his belt. He was outraged. I stood there with my head
and back bent, but I didnt react at all. Inside of me an exultant voice
shouted, Free, free, free!!! Finally he stopped hitting. He stood there,
gasping for breath, defeated. I raised my head. I noticed the stricken
look in his eyes, those dark green eyes that resembled mine so much
that, by the colour of his eyes, he could have been my father. For a
moment I wanted to hug him. I had almost extended my arm, inviting,
consoling. Why? he asked. My throat contracted. I swallowed painfully
while tears of sorrow and sadness started flowing. I love you Tony, I
whispered. He shook his head. So why do you court a young puppy? I
looked at him, tears rolled down my cheeks. Oh stupid Tony, why dont you
understand that all you have to do is hold me tight and tell me that
youll always protect me? You have made your choice, havent you? I shook
my head violently. No Tony! I want you, as a father, as a friend, as my
eternal lovebut please stop hurting me! He looked at me with deep sadness.


One day hell know he fell in love with a whore. Youll soon lose him
Gina, remember these words! He looked old and tired. I wept, said no,
wanted to stop him. I love you Tony, I love you! I dont want a whore who
fucks every snotnose she can get! My heart broke. I wanted to shout that
I never wanted to be a whore. I wanted him to know that he had gotten me
that far. I wished I wouldnt have to give up on him to have a life. I
wouldnt have minded to be his own whore, if he wouldnt have hurt me so
much. Suddenly escaping my world seemed threatening. The outside world
seemed so big, so dangerous, so frightening. At this very moment at
which I had opened the door to a better future, I wanted to go back to
my familiar environment. But Tony turned his back on me. I saw him go
downstairs. I wanted to go after him, ask forgiveness. But I stayed put.
I heard him slam the door closed, start his car. It took forever before
I had gained enough strength to go to the bathroom and prepare a hot
bath. My back was badly hurt and I started to feel the pain now, but the
hot water helped ease it. Slowly I realised the importance of the step I
had taken. I had had the guts to persevere. Never again would I be Tonys

25. Two worlds My mother hated Erwin. He was a hindrance because I wasnt
available without restriction anymore. He had turned her life with Tony
upside down and she feared he would dump her. Of course she didnt show
it openly. Everything got settled in a subtle manner in my family. She
was nice towards Erwin, but as soon as he had turned his back she
started blackmailing me. She threatened to commit suicide, pretended she
would put me in a childrens institution. But I didnt give in. She was my
mother but I didnt feel any respect for her. How could I? She had driven
me to Tonys places, knowing that men would throw me on top of a table,
tear off my clothes, and rape me. And sometimes it was much worse. She
had never given me any support; she had never opposed Tony when he
wanted me to join their games. She only spoiled me when she wanted to
buy my silence. I ached for love and tenderness. I wanted her to protect
me but I was not able to say the words. I didnt want to be humiliated
asking her for love. So we never talked. Erwin kissed me goodbye and
went home. The moment he left I felt a heavy silence come down on me, as
if a storm was approaching. I went to bed but it took me several hours
to fall asleep. I woke up, startled, by an internal alarm. Stiff with
fear I lay in my bed, my knees pulled up high, my fingers intertwined. I
heard someone open the door and I knew immediately what was going to
happen. Tony was back. He sat down on my bed. His hands removed the
blankets, reaching straight for my breasts, as if I were his doll. My
mind floated away, away from my body, out of the bedroom, away from my
Mom who was giggling downstairs. Why? Why did she let him in? When it
was over I always fled into the bathroom, humiliated. I washed and tried
to hide desperately what had happened during the night. And this started
to happen more and more often. I got confused, lost track of time and
hardly remembered what happened at school. I forgot what I had told


Erwin and couldnt recall what I did an hour ago. I was often startled
when he spoke to me, and then I reacted aggressively not letting him
touch me. But Erwin was strong. He didnt have the slightest problem
making contact with youngsters of our age. This had a positive influence
on me. I learned how to listen, to laugh, and to play as a real
adolescent. I wasnt an outsider any longer. When Erwin was with me I
thrived. He was my guide and I couldnt have handled it without him. I
was so insecure and vulnerable. He had to spend an awful amount of
energy taking care of me. In the morning he came to my house, helped me
out of bed, helped me wash and get dressed. He then accompanied me to
school. In the afternoon he picked me up at school and stayed with me
until he tucked me in. I was so tired, as if I had to catch up on years
of sleep. When we came home in the afternoon, I often didnt have any
energy left to talk to him. He watched me lying on the bed, caressed my
hair and asked me what was wrong. I didnt know. After that 10th of
November I should have been happy, and although I often felt that way
indeed, deep inside of me there was still an immense sadness. Why was I
so sad, as if I had already lived a very long life? I didnt know. What
have they done to you, Ginny? he asked. My throat went dry again. I
looked away. Unspeakable words welled up. There are things you better
not talk about, Erwin, I whispered. No Ginny, you have to tell me,
please let me help you. Is it that man, Ginny? Who? Tony. My entire body
started shaking. I wasnt cold but when I heard his name my entire body
reacted. You dont understand what youre talking abouthe did things I
wanted to cry, if I would have been able to, but somehow the tears got
stuck. I became bitter and hard. You dont have any idea what men can do
to little girls. Erwin took my hand. It is true, I dont know what they
do, so tell me! Slowly, hesitant I told him that Tony did things with
me, things I didnt want, sexual things and other. And what? asked Erwin.
Lend me out, I answered, He lent me out to other men. Erwin, was silent.
He couldnt find anything to say but pulled me close to him and stayed
until I was asleep. But Tony, my tormenter, showed up as soon as Erwin
was out of sight. It was a continual cat and mouse game. I couldnt
refuse because he scared me too much. Deep inside of me I heard Clos
voice. Obey Reggie, or you will die! And my mother kept putting me under
pressure to let Tony have his way. She didnt want to lose him and was
determined to break up my relationship with Erwin. So she told me she
would sell my horse. After Clos death Tasja had become my little sister.
I rode her daily and talked to her as if she were human. I told her all
my problems and this gave me


a huge relief. Now my mother would sell her. I strongly protested and
could delay her decision for a while. In the meantime I looked around
myself and found a man who was willing to buy her for fifty thousand
franks. He would put her in a pasture where I could still visit her and
ride her from time to time. But my mother found out. The day before the
man would come to pick her up I went to Tasjas stall in the riding
school and saw it was empty. The same feelings that I had when I saw
Cheyennes empty little bed invaded me. Nervously I asked the people from
the school what happened to my horse. Dont you know? they asked me. And
then they explained that Tasja had been brought to the slaughterhouse
shortly before. My mother had been quicker than me! My head went dizzy
and my stomach contracted. I was going to throw up. My mother had sold
her for fifteen thousand franks to have her killed, she hadnt even
allowed me to say farewell! It was March 1985. I went into a severe
depression and if I hadnt had Erwin I would have killed myself. As my
mother had hoped my resistance decreased and I let Tony have his way. He
now brought other men along. I silently swallowed the shame and the
humiliation, but poor Erwin started having a rough time with me. What I
had to endure at night, I took out on him. A year after Erwin and I met,
this double life had really worn me down. I couldnt stand Erwin any
longer, his touch, his attention. I didnt want it any longer. I felt
contaminated. The contrast was too heavy and it was destroying me. One
night, after Tony finally left, I put a record on the record player. I
was trembling and had to try three times before I managed to put the
needle on the record. John Denvers warm voice broke through the heavy
silence. I leaned backward against the wall behind my bed, and blindly
grabbed a razorblade that was lying on the bookshelf to my left. Im
sorry sang Denver, and his voice gave me comfort. But I hated my dead
body. I hated the night, the solitude, and the helplessness. I loathed
myself. I looked at the gleaming razor blade. Quietly I started cutting
my arm, line after line. I couldnt utter a sound. I didnt feel anything.
I just saw the blood the punishment. I deserved to be punished, because
I had been born, because I existed. I punished myself because I managed
to stay alive while others Then I got angry and threw the razor blade
away. I wrapped my arms around my head and started rocking back and
forth. I couldnt stop repeating this single word: Why? But then came
dawn, colouring the ceiling blue, pink and then white. The rays of the
morning sun made life bearable again. Erwin entered my room, I smiled,
confused, and threw my arms around his neck, chasing my nightmares away.
He hugged me, surprised because I let him. Then he suddenly froze,
looked at my arms and rolled up my sleeves. Horrified he noticed the
many cuts. My arms looked terrible, with coagulated blood and cuts that
started bleeding again. I was so ashamed that I didnt have the guts to
tell him what I did. For the first time he was angry with me. He took me
to the bathroom, washed my arms, and dried them carefully. I let him,
although I had to suppress the desire not to start cutting again. I
wanted to feel the pain; it had to hurt so at least I felt something.
Why the hell did you do that? he asked in a rather unfriendly way. I
shrugged my shoulders. Ginny, goddammit, tell me! How can you do such a
thing? I looked beside him.


This time you are going to tell me, it doesnt matter if we sit right on
this spot for the next three days! he screamed with impatience. He was
here again. Who? I shut up, terrified to say another word. Maybe I
already said too much. He would be back shortly and hurt me again. I
couldnt speak. Who was here again, Ginny? Tony. Erwin took me in his
arms. His voice trembled when he promised me not to leave me alone ever
again. From now on we will sleep together, live together. I will never
leave you alone anymore Ginny, that scumbag wont come near you again, I
swear! I clung to him, this young lad was more of a man then my own
father had ever been. Erwin was my rock, always present, putting me back
together when I fell to pieces. In 1986 we registered at our new school.
I chose the special youth programme and he decided to stay with me to
protect me. We ended up in a class of sixteen students, all of them
problem kids, who had chosen this programme for personal reasons. We
were all trying to find our true selves and therefore we formed a very
special, unique group. In spite of my enormous difficulties I felt a
sense of belonging there. For the first time in my life I felt accepted.
This yielded results soon. Because I was given enough space to discover
my true self, more and more images from the past resurfaced. I often
thought I was going crazy. Why did I feel so different? Why did I seem
to have had experiences unknown to the others? Bart, a classmate and a
close friend of mine, sat beside me in the class, next to the radiator.
We talked about relationships, friendships and sex. He told me he had
had a very fulfilling relationship with an adult woman. I couldnt
understand. For sure I didnt have nice memories about older men. I asked
him when he had done it for the first time. Thirteen he said, adding
that he thought it was too early. Too early? I waswell, very young. How
old were you? he asked. I wasnt even eight years old, I replied
spontaneously, and in a flash I saw how four men held me down
Immediately I shut the door to my memories, frightened. God Regina,
thats really very young. Thats not normal! I broke off the conversation.
His reaction shocked me. Not normal, why not? This incident kept
haunting me. One way or another, this conversation again and again
disturbed the artificial tranquillity that I had created by suppressing
my memories. What the hell was wrong with me? I went to bed with guys,
so what? Was this so abnormal? Halfway through the last school year, in
1988, the pedagogics teacher, together with the psychology teacher held
a comprehensive lecture on child abuse. In a scientific manner, they
summed up all the symptoms that abused children showed i.e.
self-mutilation, extreme mood changes, depressions, contact problems,
negation, feelings of shame and guilt, the lack of ability to express
ones feelings I was dazzled. Every symptom they had mentioned was
applicable to me! How was this possible? I wasnt battered or abused! On
the contrary, my parents told me that I was spoiled rotten. My father
asked me to do him a little favour and then I got a present,


whatever I wanted. In fact I didnt enjoy his presents. Presents are
supposed to be given; I had to work for them. I used to collect little
statues of horses and they all stood on the mantel of the chimney in my
room. But for every statue he gave me I had to pay him. I started to
dislike the statues and broke them. I felt ashamed, but after the bell
rang I stayed behind in class. I asked my teacher for explanations.
Miss, if you have the feeling that your parents dont care about you, is
this neglect? She sat down again and listened to my story. How I moved
back to Ghent in the summer of 79 and how I only dared to say I was
hungry after three days. My parents had simply forgotten to feed me. How
they didnt wash my dirty clothes and threw them back in the wardrobe
dirty, mouldy. That they often didnt even know if I was home or not.
That they didnt know which school I went to and what I studied. How my
mother was often drunk when she groomed dogs and how I then had to take
over and bring her to bed. How my father kept calling me trash. The
teacher didnt get up from her chair but said: Ginny, if that is true,
you have been severely neglected. I cant say anything else. Is this
abuse, Miss? Yes Ginny, thats abuse. It doesnt matter how you look at
it, thats definitely abuse. But they gave me lots of things? and they
just as easily took them away again! A little voice inside of me
shouted. I slinked off. Erwin was waiting for me outside. Where were
you? he asked. I didnt answer. The little gears in my head were spinning
at high speed. I suddenly remembered that in 1982, I had a Dutch
language teacher whom I really admired. He told us captivating stories
and had an excellent rapport with his students. I completely trusted
him. One day at lunchtime I was alone with him in his class, helping to
clean up. After a long hesitation I mustered up the courage to speak to
him. Sir, I have something to tell you. Yes, what is it? Its my parents,
Sir Oh? Something is wrong at home. My mothershe doesnt like me, I
think. She doesnt want to have me. How do you know? She gives me away
What are you saying there? The bell rang and I got startled and closed
my mouth. A week later he visited my parents and the next day he called
me. He started yelling at me and called me names. You should thank God
on your bare knees for having such wonderful parents! he raved. I was a
bad kid, a liar. I totally lost his favour. This was my second failed
attempt to talk to adults about my abuse. Although I didnt get punished
so severely anymore as happened to me when I talked to the head nun in
Knokke, it convinced me that there was no way out for me. But now my
pedagogics teacher made me realize that I had been cheated. My parents
had made me believe that I had had a happy childhood, a fake world they
were so proud of. That day I felt that the truth was very more complex.


26. Married, all hell breaks loose On 29 June 1988, the day before our
graduation, Erwin and I got married. We were both nineteen. I beamed all
day. Surprised, I looked at that ring around my finger. It was a symbol
of freedom to me. It was my mother who, a few weeks before, had decided
that we should get married. She had asked us what we were planning to do
after our graduation. We had shrugged our shoulders. Erwin and I had
considered going to Africa but we hadnt made concrete plans yet. All of
a sudden my mother pulled out her notebook and turned over the pages
until she came to 29 June. Thats the only day I have free, she said.
Erwin and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. What for, Mom? To
get married of course! she said. Everything was organised in no time. We
got married on a Wednesday afternoon. Erwin wore a suit. I got a
second-hand dress but what the heck! I felt rich like a queen. That ring
meant my freedom; at least thats what I thought then. Our classmates
toasted to our happiness. It was an unforgettable day in all its
simplicity. The next Saturday my mother had organised a party. The
entire family was invited, with my grandmother as the matron. My mother
had personally invited Tony. This made me so angry. He looked at me for
a long time but I turned my head away. I was determined not to let him
ruin my day. Why in the world did he have to be there, on my wedding
day? But dutifully I kissed hem on the cheek. You look great, pussy cat,
he whispered in my ear. I pretended I didnt hear him. I was so excited
when I opened the front door of our first little house. I looked at
Erwin behind me and he encouraged me with a smile. I walked inside
barefoot and felt the cool floor. The stairs made a funny cracking
sound. The small living room was light and sunny and I smelled the
freshly waxed floor. This was great! The only piece of furniture was an
empty cupboard that Erwin had managed to get somewhere. I lay down on
the floor, flat on my back, my arms and legs spread wide open. This
little house at the Voorhoutkaai, a riverside quay in the centre of
Ghent, was my first safe haven. It didnt matter that it was rather
primitive and had a leaking roof. Free!!! I yelled as loud as I could.
Erwin got a job and went out working during the day and I stayed at
home. I sat on the windowsill for hours listening to John Denver or The
Wall from Pink Floyd, and I observed the people from my safe spot. We
had bought a whole set of second-hand furniture, a rotan chair, a
television set and other things that came in handy. My cat and my parrot
made it cosy. I deliberately locked myself up between these four walls.
The first month I spent most of the time, sitting in a corner of the
living room, paralysed by fear because very slowly the horrible memories
of the past started to come back. The safety of my own place and the
fact I didnt have a job gave me the opportunity to think. I didnt really
look for it; the memories just fell upon me. At night I woke up
suddenly, after only two or three hours of sleep, feeling endangered and
threatened. I had the impression that someone had dragged me out of my
bed, slapped me in the face and kicked me in the stomach. I
instinctively doubled up with pain. I desperately fought for 83

several seconds to be able to breathe again. He dragged me down the
stairs, threw me on the icy cold street, chafing my knee. The BMW had
its engine running. I noticed the monotonous drone under the hood. He
threw me in the trunk, closed the cover and left me in this choking
space, pitch-dark, curled up like a scared little hedgehog. Im going to
die, flashed through my mind. I jumped out of bed, went to the living
room and turned on the music very softly to chase the ghosts away. I sat
down on the bench, squeezed my arms very hard, until the fear ebbed
away. The next day I desperately resumed my role. The role of my life:
smile and go on! Every day became harder. Erwin came home to a place
that looked more chaotic each day. I didnt clean, the dirty laundry was
piling up, and the dirty dishes were all over the place. And his wife
was sitting on the ground between all the trash, yelling and screaming
if he dared to come close. Quite often it took him several hours to put
the household back together. Sometimes I was cheerful, full of energy
and life, cleaning up everything in less than half a day. He then hoped
that the hard times were behind us. But the cheerfulness ebbed away
after a few hours and turned into periods during which I was only able
to sit in a corner apathetically, became aggressive or just ran off. I
roamed the streets for hours, not knowing where to go, until I was
exhausted and totally confused, sitting on the doorstep waiting for
Erwin to come home. It got worse every day. I wanted to run, run and
keep running. I wanted to leave everything. I was afraid of myself. What
was I guilty of? Erwin had tried everything: being sweet, paying
attention, not talking back, getting angry, nothing changed my
behaviour. Occasionally we talked about Tony and what he had done. But I
was very protective of him. Was it the so-called Stockholm Syndrome?
Erwin couldnt say an ugly word about him or I lost my temper. Tony had
been like a father to me, I couldnt admit he had ever hurt me. We often
got into a big fight over this. Erwin couldnt understand my reaction and
we slowly drifted apart. We were totally helpless against coping with
the pain from my past. Neither of us could imagine how deep the wounds
really were. Without help we wouldnt get out of this. After another
fight in a long series, I gazed through the window and caught myself
wanting to jump. The peace that death would bring had an almost magical
attraction to me. Winny, Im getting insane. Something is very wrong with
me, I said quietly. I need help. Erwin took me in his arms. He kissed
me. Im so glad you feel that this is the right way, he spoke softly, but
I will always help you, Ginny. I cried in sorrow and regret, I felt so
old. My mother knew something was wrong and wanted to send me to a
psychiatrist. This was a very clever move. After the ordeal in the
mushroom farm, where Tony had refused to kill me, my mother kept
repeating that sooner or later I would talk. Now she had a golden
opportunity to send me to one of her friend psychiatrists who would have
me committed to a mental hospital. This would take away the danger
indeed because who would believe a nutcase? I was smart enough to parry
her move by taking the initiative myself.


The morning after I talked to Erwin about getting help I wrote the
following letter to the centre for relational and sexual therapy in
Ghent. Dear Sir, Madam, A short while ago I realized that I suffer from
the consequences of a difficult childhood. My parents hadnt had time for
me and an older man took advantage of this. He abused me for many years.
I dont know if I say it the right way but this is how I feel about it. I
dont know how I can live with it. Can you help me? Two days later I got
an answer. Carla, a therapist from the centre wanted to make an
appointment with me. I called nervously, fixed the date and could hardly
wait until the day came. Carla was a pleasant, somewhat distant woman.
She was very calm and listened with great interest to what I had to
tell. Carefully choosing my words, I said that I supposed that Tony had
taken advantage of my dependence, and that I felt this was the cause of
my many problems. When she told me that my story showed obvious sexual
abuse, a very heavy weight was lifted from my shoulders. Somebody really
believed me. I had always thought I didnt have the right to complain
about my youth! She explained to me that with her help I could learn how
to cope with my traumatic experiences and come to terms with the past,
making it part of my life so nothing could prevent me from enhancing the
quality of my life. It surely sounded simpler than it would appear to
be. That night I came home, opened a can of beer and sat down on my
trusted windowsill feeling light as a feather. I had always thought that
therapy was humiliating, something for nutcases, but now I looked at it
in a totally different way. And what surprised me most of all was that
my therapist didnt even seem to think I was being ridiculous. She took
my problems seriously and that meant a lot to me. I wasnt insane; what I
felt was normal. Someone had abused me and that was bad. My lifes
history wasnt as self-evident as I had always believed. I told Carla I
didnt know where to start, which events I had to come to terms with
first. Tony, my mothers lover, started abusing me when I was twelve. I
still had memories from when I was even younger but they were very faint
and I didnt want to recall them. I wished I could say: look, this is my
story, do something with it. Every time I came to see her, I played the
smooth girl, as if nothing had happened. When she asked me if everything
was OK, I always said yes. I loved to tell her I wasnt doing well at all
but I didnt. I got more depressed every day. Legions of feelings were
taking me by storm and I couldnt handle them! In the morning I had to
force myself to get up, encouraging myself: Come on Ginny, get up
dammit, get out of bed, put your clothes on, be brave! My house was a
mess, and every time I looked at it I hated myself, because I totally
failed as a housewife, I was good for nothing. I felt awful,
discouraged, wanted to pick up a can of lemonade and burst into tears. I
wanted to get out of this body of mine, crawl out of my skin, flee from
that miserable human being I was. All of a sudden I became so angry with
myself that I broke a glass and cut my arm with a fragment. I hated
myself, yelled at my own skin: Go away, go away!


The blood ran down my arms but I didnt feel any pain. I was angry but
sad because I was locked into this dirty body of a whore. I sank to the
ground and leaned against the cupboard, crying, I felt so damned
helpless, desperate, and lonely. Blood dripped onto my jeans and red
spots appeared. They mixed with the dark circles created by my tears,
litres of tears. I wanted to die. And yet, I didnt slash my wrists. And
I didnt take pills, because deep inside I wanted to live. I just wanted
to be rescued from this hopeless, desperate world of severe depressions
and nightmares that seemed almost real. The blood clotted, the cuts
stopped bleeding. Expressionless I stared at my wounds. I didnt feel any
pain, because this wasnt my body. It couldnt be, my body had died a long
time ago. My body belonged to a girl, so young, so happy. A girl that
cheered and laughed running through the waves, cleverly avoiding the
jellyfish. But the nights? What nights? A zipper was opened, ritsj Mmmh,
oooh, yeah! A bitter disgusting taste. Help, help, help! A male voice,
the local dialect, rough, hard. Shut up, open your legs! I shook my
head, trying to repel these images. Tears flowed down my cheeks. Why?
Why did these images cross my mind? Why, why, why? I never received an
answer. He loved me. Or didnt he, but just pretended? Was I pretty?
Whats so pretty about a scared little mouse, a girl shivering and crying
under his weight? No answer. Could it be true that he broke me because
he liked it, just for the kick? Maybe that was the truth, but God, I
didnt want to hear the truth! I put both my hands over my ears, but the
voices were in my head, I couldnt stop them. My head was going to
explode. Voices, memories, they got all mixed up and drove me crazy. You
fuck well for an amateur. Money from the wallet; dirty money on the
bedside cabinet. What do I do with it? Whats it for? What does fuck
mean? What are you if youre not an amateur? Whore! I decided I couldnt
stay home alone all day because I would definitely commit suicide so I
took up a job as a volunteer in Against her will (also called Women
Against Rape or WAR), an organisation that supported abused women and
children. My mother didnt like this at all because I became really
dangerous now. But she was lucky. In January 1989 Erwin had to do his
military service, which would last for six months. After basic training
he could serve in Ghent though. He was allowed to come home in the
evening and thus I would only be alone at night for a few weeks. My
mother seemed really worried about me. She had a telephone installed in
my house and a spare key made. You never know what could happen. She
said and I started to believe she really started caring. A little later
I heard noise at my front door. I went to look what was happening. Hi
pittimouse! There he was, Tony! He had received the spare key. He
immediately came towards me and started fondling me. I was totally
thrown off balance and didnt dare to react. Its strange that codes that
have been drilled into someones brain can work that long. And


then he raped me. This was a warning. I didnt have the courage to tell
Erwin because I didnt want to lose the only human being who loved me. So
I suppressed the feelings once more. Carla invited me to an incest-view
day in April 1989. The entire day we could watch videos on the subject,
with debates and workshops. Maybe I could meet other victims. I really
wanted to meet people with whom I could talk about sexual abuse. People
who believed me, who felt what I felt. I wanted to break out of my
isolation. O sure, I had friends, but they didnt know the real me. They
merely saw my act, the normal Ginny. They couldnt understand that I got
the creeps at the word sex and that I didnt like to be touched. I got
startled, ran off, got angry, showed a fighting spirit and moments later
I became submissive. They couldnt understand it, neither could I. When I
entered the meeting-room I suddenly realised that I wasnt just a
spectator. These things had really happened to me. My brains icy crust
started to melt. Thoughts started seeping through. I suddenly got a
flashback. I saw myself tied to the bed. I didnt dare to moan. I have a
toy for you honey! I didnt want to, but mesmerized I looked at his
thing, hard and stiff. Oh God, please, I dont want to! Abused. Dont
want, has to. Not able to, do it. But what now, how would I go on? I
wanted to meet people who managed to cope. I wanted to know if there was
a way out. And I entered the room faint-hearted. I was confronted with
films making me realise how bad it had really been. I heard women tell
they had to endure so much pain and sorrow that they couldnt adapt to a
new life. Just like me. Women were telling how they started taking the
attitude of a whore not knowing how to receive love otherwise. Just like
me. So many shared feelings, so many tragedies in womens hearts. I
shared their feelings and they shared mine. Because in the dark of the
night we were crushed by a big man we loved so much, but who stuck his
thing in our mouth as a reward. Daddy loves you. All of a sudden I
looked right in the eyes of a former teacher. My heart missed a beat.
Hi, what are you doing here? I swallowed. I had been sexually exploited,
I was an incest victim, a child prostitute, a mans trashcan, and you,
you have the nerve to ask me what Im doing here? You never wondered what
was wrong didnt you? I am I am an incest victim. I thought so. I thought
so? Why didnt you help me, then? What a humiliation. I was losing my
pride. I bowed my head. I was so ashamed, ashamed because now she knew
what happened at night, how filthy I was. A whore! Fortunately she
started talking to someone else and I got away. A little later everyone
shuffled back into the room. A panel discussion started and I hid way in
the back. The discussion was captivating and before I knew what I was
doing I asked a question. And I got an answer. Strengthened by the
positive reaction I asked a second question. I was part of the
discussion now. I forgot my shame, I listened attentively, I answered
and I asked. To finish the viewing day we watched a video from
Labyrinth, an informative program of


the Flemish television (Belgian TV in the Dutch language). It was the
third time I saw this video. And the emotions started resurfacing. I
came home, exhausted, empty. I sat down in a chair, flabbergasted. So
much had happened today. So many feelings had been awakened. I felt
aggression, anger and helplessness. I was angry with my mother who had
never hugged me, comforted me or supported me. I was mad, raging mad at
him, because he had taken everything away from me; my childhood, my
youth, and my future. And as I now came to realize, it wasnt even out of
love, it was the lust for power, the kick. I felt a primordial scream
come out my throat, the kind of scream a Neanderthal man must have
shouted when he attacked a mammoth. The kind of scream that bundled all
my aggression and gave me the strength to attack everybody I hated. But
instead, I crawled in my corner, wiped off the tears and snot,
shivering. I wished I were able to put up a fight, I wished I dared to
do it. But I remained a victim, bowing her head, closing off her mind,
her body cramped, powerless. You have to chase away that victims
attitude, orate the intelligent professors. But I had been terrorized as
long as I could remember. Twenty years of fear, pain, humiliation, sex
Twenty years? Ginny, give me a break! What about Knokke? said the
voices. Shut up! Keep that door closed!!! I covered my ears with my
hands again. Shut up, please! I hated these voices in my head! Open your
legs! Tony, no Open them, goddammit! Whamm, smash, my head gets dizzy. I
taste blood. I spread my legs. Next scene: Shes yours for
fifteen-thousand. Shes only worth ten. Okay, but just half an hour, not
a minute longer! Everythings allowed? Of course, but she still has to be
able to work tonight! Fine. I wished I could get high, a good shot to
float away, far from here. Would death bring peace and rest?

27. Disoriented and Confused After one year of living together, my
confusion, my memories and my reaction to it, had put a heavy strain on
our marriage. Erwin didnt leave me, but I often had the feeling that


he merely stayed with me out of pity. I was in such a state that I
couldnt possibly take care of myself. Living on my own would have been
impossible. The only thing I had to offer was sex, but that too became
more difficult each day. When we made love the flashbacks came and I
couldnt enjoy it. Every touch seemed threatening although Erwin caressed
me in a soft and friendly way. I loved lying close to him in the sofa,
almost purring like a cat. We stayed like this the entire evening. It
was great, just because it didnt go any further. But then we went to
bed. Erwin put the parrot in its cage, and I dove under the blankets as
fast as I could. He turned off the light; I hated dark rooms. When he
started caressing my breasts I got that sickly feeling again, that
anxiety. My heartbeat accelerated, my throat constricted. When his lips
touched my breasts I froze and tried to think of something else.
Noooo!!! Think of something, quick! I started panicking; my body
stiffened. My hands became fists; my fingernails pricked into the palm
of my hands. I bit my lip and cold sweat broke out. I yelled silently,
please dont touch me, please stop it. Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop
it, STOP IT! I made a faint gesture of displeasure, just enough to make
him look up. Whats the matter, Ginny? Oh God, why am I doing this? Why
cant I let him have his way? Nothing, go on! I swallowed with
difficulty. And then the flashbacks came. Hey girl, I know you. Arent
you in the mood? I dove away. Tony hit my head real hard, threw me into
the seat and pulled my legs apart. Ill tame you, bitch! He held a knife
at my throat, while his left hand pushed deep inside me. Ginny? I had to
sit up, pushed Erwin off me. I could hardly breathe. What was the matter
with me? Why did I keep seeing these images? They were so real that I
had a hard time accepting they were from the past. It seemed as if it
just happened. II cant tonight Winny, I whispered with a hoarse voice.
And again images flashed through my mind. Tony turned me on my belly. I
heard him grab my riding-whip from the table. I felt from the movement
of his arm that he raised it very high, and then it came down on me,
real hard. The first lashes were the worst. I could hardly breathe;
every fibre in my body started revolting against the pain. Then I went
into a trance. My back felt numb, I heard the whip come down but I didnt
care anymore. I floated away, out of my body, out of my head. I didnt
feel anything anymore. I was so sorry. I wanted so badly to give Erwin
what he liked. I wanted to be able to enjoy it, but I felt how an
intense pain re-opened old wounds. I was angry, no, furious, because I
was defenceless against those memories. The harder I pushed them away,
the faster they took control of my mind again. Make love to me I asked
Erwin, hoping to chase the ghosts from my head. He shook his head. Never
mind honey, youre not in the mood and its too hot anyway. My anger
increased. I couldnt take it. I had to fuck, because later, when hed
show up I insisted, tears came to my eyes. Erwin refused.


Dont you dare get tense, bitch. Dont you dare! He pushed the barrel of
a rifle into my vagina. I moved back, it hurt, it was so painful. I bit
my lip to keep the scream inside. Oh, little missy doesnt want to play,
and he pushed harder. I moaned, grabbed the sheets, and threw my head
backwards. Oh God, help me, help me please! It hurt so much. I slid off
the bed, sneaked down the stairs. Pushed my face against the cool
window. No tears, just a desperate sob. The pain it hurt like hell the
despair, the solitude, the memories. I was shaking when I put on a
record. I cut into the flesh of my arm, slowly driving away the pain
from my heart, until a dead silence remained. I wanted to run, to run,
never to stop. What have you done to me, Tony? What about me was so bad
that you decided to lend me to other men, who beat me and tortured me,
put their cock inside of me with a triumphant grin on their face? Why?
What have I done to deserve such punishment? All I ever did was to love
you Oh Daddy, where were you? Mommy, why did you turn around when Tonys
boss pulled up my skirt? You went out to get a bottle of wine; you were
necking with Tony who told his boss with a big smile that he was
fingering a professional pussy. Class, dont you think? Where were you,
Daddy, when I needed you the most? Sometimes, when I saw my friends
talking happily together, I wondered how they would react if they knew
my true story. What would the people whom I encountered at these
meetings say? I tried to imagine what my teachers thought about me when
I went nuts again. Was I insane? I couldnt stop asking myself. I didnt
know. There was that contest at the riding-school, I won a prize, a nice
cup and the man who handed it to me waited for the three kisses, a
typical Belgian custom, that traditionally sealed this handing over. I
bluntly refused. I didnt want him to touch me. I could hear people
whispering to one another: Shes crazy. But I just panicked. When a man
walked straight up to me I ran away, when someone put his hand on my
shoulders, I could hardly avoid screaming. And I couldnt even stand
affection anymore. I hated hugs. When Erwin put his arm around me, I got
a chill. I felt fear waking up. I got tense and pushed him away,
abruptly. He then gave me a sad look and wandered off. And there was
that guilty feeling again. I went after him and let him hug me,
suppressing a scream at the moment he touched me. I couldnt bear what I
was craving for, to be loved, to be caressed. I had to be insane,
totally insane! Every hug awakened the pain from the past. Love made me
feel what I had missed, attention made me suspicious. They had made me
that way. I had loved but this cost me my body and my soul, I had hugged
and as a reward I got a penis tearing me up inside. For a few moments of
attention I had years of suffering. How could I show love, how could I
receive love? How could I ever be happy? I loved Erwin, al least I
thought I did and thats why I gave him my body. I made love with
abandonment; I wanted him to be satisfied. Sex was the only thing they
taught me, my sole means of expression. Its all I had and all I was. But
I loathed it. I wanted to learn how to caress, how to play, how to have
fun. I wanted to explore, to feel, to sniff, to touch, to taste. I
wanted to crawl away in a shell, in his arms, in his soul, in
everything. I wanted to be Erwin, just for one moment, and experience
the feelings I never knew. I


wanted to forget. I wished I didnt know sex, that I was an innocent
girl. Do it again. Starting over. Sex. Whore. Thats exactly what I
wanted to forget. When I made love to Erwin, even during those rare
moments when I really liked it, I remembered those long nights, those
men smelling of expensive cognac, talking like a sixteen year old to
look cool. These images flashed through my head and made it just about
impossible to enjoy Erwins fondling. I had to be insane. I desperately
longed for love, for tenderness. But my skin crawled when Erwin
approached me with open arms. I wanted lots of friends, because for so
many years I didnt have any. But when my house was full, I couldnt
breathe and I hoped everyone would leave soon. And all these many images
that kept popping up in my mind, they were the main cause of my
confusion. I always looked behind me when I was out in the street. I
really became paranoid. I got panic attacks when I was in the middle of
a crowd, on the bus, in the movie theatre. Even a faint sound startled
me. Was this insanity? I always thought insanity meant that one wasnt
aware of anything anymore; that one fell into apathy. I refused to
become insane because of what happened to me. I wanted to fight again;
there had to be a way out! I couldnt possibly be insane. I was just a
girl, prematurely locked into a womans body. I still dreamed of castles
in the air, of gallant knights on horseback, of fairies and princesses.
Please let me be a child for a short while, let me float on my childish
fantasy. I have missed this for too long. I floated away, listening to
the sounds in the street, to a place far away from my safe little house
and I enjoyed the warm sunbeams on my neck. I saw a little girl running
on the beach, splashing in the water with her feet. She had curly gold
brown hair and smiled as she threw her little arms into the air. The
girl didnt feel lonely there, with the wind blowing through her hair and
the sea curling around her legs, comforting her. The girl wasnt scared;
there was no pain here, no peering eyes, touching hands, no commanding
voice. Here was only the song of the seagulls, the rolling sound of the
waves. The wet sand between her toes made her feel free and sharpened
her senses. She heard more, saw everything even the little crab trying
to find its way through the cracks of the breakwater. She felt how the
salty air called her Come on little girl, fly away, flee, run until your
mind is far away Why was I such a weird child? A perfect child that
shook hands with a nice smile, while her heart was filled with pain and
loneliness. Why did I accept Tonys dominance without resisting? I
browsed through my mind, desperately seeking an answer. Again and again
at night, when Erwin was fast asleep beside me, I got that overwhelming
feeling that I was being touched, and touched, and touched by a thousand
hands. I couldnt stand hands on my body anymore. There had been too
many. Hands, mean, dirty hands that groped under my sweater, over my
buttocks, slowly into my panties. Hands that treated me roughly, grabbed
my breasts, mean and hard. Hands that stripped me naked, fingered my
body. Hands that had power. Hands that went inside of me like big hairy
spiders, ripped me apart, filled me with disgust I hated hands. When
people were talking using a lot of gestures, I became fixated on their
hands, got uneasy and thought: there we go again, theyll start touching
me any minute! I hated those big male hands; I hated their fingers,
their nails that pierced my skin, their filthy index and middle finger,
yellow from nicotine. A mans hand is never tender. Male


hands hit, claw, pull your legs apart. Male hands are strong and
merciless. They grab your throat and squeeze your mouth closed. When
youre lying on a bed, helpless, one hand keeping your mouth closed,
another hand under your clothes, the only thing you see and feel are
those hands. And nowhere around are hands that save, comfort, caress.
Hands everywhere. On your legs, belly, buttocks, breasts. Theyre all
over. And there is silence. In your head, heart, belly, throat. Theres
loneliness in your soul. There are tears, deep in your eyes. And your
own two hands are powerless, weak, limp, and useless, except to collect
your clothes. God, I wanted to hug myself, comfort myself, and rock
myself. I wished somebody would use his hands at this very moment, to
embrace me. Where were the good hands? Where did they go? I caressed my
body, trying to establish contact. I touched my breasts, my belly, and
my legs. Body, where are you? I tried to remember what I liked as a
child, how I was cherished? I didnt remember anything. I had never been
hugged. There must have been at least something? But there was nothing,
no fights, no highs or lows, no hugs, nothing. It was toneless, without
a ripple. I was a shade, I am a shade! And in the middle of the night I
tried to experience feelings. My body was a machine, it functioned, but
it didnt feel anything, it was dead, clinically dead. Where was the
warmth, the butterflies in the belly? Where did I stop living and when?
Why did they leave me alive? Why didnt I die the first time I was taken?
Oh Erwin, I wish I could sleep and dream the way you do, with a new
muffler for the car as the most important problem. I wish I could shed
my skin like the lizards do, start all over again. A new skin, a new
untainted face. Live my life a second time. I felt cast away,
insignificant. A deep hole opened. In October 1989 after nearly a year
and a half, my first therapists role seemed finished. I had already felt
for a long time that something was very wrong with me, and that it was
different from the other victims problems. My moods changed rapidly, I
couldnt make a decision not even about the colour of the wallpaper
without lengthy discussions with the voices in my head. My behaviour
could switch from submissive to almost male aggressive, on the spur of
the moment. I reacted to different names. I couldnt write a single page
without changing styles at least three times. One moment I was wearing a
leather jacket, cowboy boots and jeans, and immediately after, I changed
into girls clothes or dressed up like a whore. I lost track of time,
time that had been used by somebody else, as if they borrowed my body.
What did this mean? Was I a schizophrenic? My therapist didnt answer my
questions. I looked for literature on this subject, because it felt as
if more than one person lived inside of me. What? Hell no, it looked as
if a hundred persons lived in my body! I was relieved when it appeared
that schizophrenia didnt fit my profile. It had to be something else.
One day someone from the support group for incest victims lent me the
book The three faces of Eve. I read it with growing interest. It told
the story of a woman who had split herself into three personalities to
survive the prolonged sexual abuse that she had undergone. The book had
been written by a therapist who had followed her for many years, and
because of this the character didnt totally match with what I felt, but
it came close enough.


I talked about it with my therapist but she rejected my recognition. My
childhood had been too good to make me split, she said dryly. And that
was the second point on which I disagreed with her. How could she say
that I had a good childhood? We hadnt even talked about it! It made me
think. I had hoped that one way or another she would have understood the
signals I was transmitting. But she didnt. I felt betrayed. As a
therapist she should have understood the signals. Within a few weeks
time I had the impression that she ignored my feelings in exactly the
same way my parents and my grandmother had done. I wanted to talk about
multiple personalities but she refused. I wanted to talk about my
childhood and she cut me off by pointing at my problem-free years as a
child. The trust was gone. I didnt make new appointments, stayed behind
alone, but determined to recover. I thought I could handle this by
myself. And it workedfor a while.

28. Eli, our son It happened in the fall of 1989. I looked at the
gynaecologist in disbelief. Only one week ago she had told me that Erwin
had a severely reduced fertility and would probably not be able to
father children. We had had a long discussion and Erwin couldnt accept
the idea yet of having to adopt children. I couldnt wait to have kids. I
wanted to fill up the emptiness and missed my deceased children so
badly, but I understood that Erwin had to go through a period of
mourning first. He was very disappointed that he was the cause of the
problem and that he was powerless to do anything about it. But I felt
nauseous and had passed out a few times that week. I felt sick and
listless and wondered if this was caused by the fertility drugs I had
taken for several months. The gynaecologist took a urine-sample and I
went into the waiting room. A few minutes later she beckoned me to come
into her speaking-room. I sat down. She kept looking at me, shook her
head and started laughing. Congratulations she laughed, You are
pregnant! I didnt react. I had heard the words of course but the
significance didnt reach me but a few moments later. I am what? I asked
in disbelief. Only then I started laughing too. I jumped up, spun around
and danced a few steps of joy. She had no explanation for this little
miracle, but why would she. I was pregnant! Finally life was growing
inside of me again! My heart filled with pride. Erwin hugged me when I
told him the happy news in the evening. In both of us the hope started
growing that the bad times were finally behind us. I wanted to be fat
this time. I wanted the entire world to see that I was pregnant. I
wanted to show off my big belly! So I ate kilos of candy and biscuits. I
compensated for everything I had ever avoided in order to hide my
pregnancy. I bought pregnancy clothes, ate ice cream at three in the
morning, dragged Erwin out of bed to go get me fries; he sighed. But it
worked, my belly got colossal. Near the end I waddled like a duck, but
oh God, was I happy. I could shout it from the rooftops and beamed every
time someone looked at my belly.


And then came the day of delivery. This was the first time I would give
birth in a hospital. I didnt really like the idea but I felt safe as
long as Erwin held me close to him. Labour was induced, that was the
agreement with the gynaecologist. I was indeed terrified of doctors and
strangers and I wanted to give birth with as few people around as
possible. Pain went up and down just like the waves of the sea. But the
pains suddenly unlocked hidden memories. And I hadnt reckoned with them
at all. All of a sudden I saw them come in again, Ppre, the baron, the
brothers. I was back in Knokke at my grandmothers house and they started
hurting me. I cried, called my Mommy but they just beat me. These
terrible memories were back and sent me into a panic. Then I heard Erwin
shout at me. Come on Ginny, youre almost there! Be strong girl, a little
more and our baby will be in your arms! And with a last desperate
effort, I pushed Eli out of my body. A steaming, sweet smelling little
human bundle slid across my belly and crying and laughing at the same
time I pulled him towards me. Hello Eli, hello my sweet, beautiful son!
I greeted him and kissed his sticky hair. Erwin too was crying, and
caressed our baby son with his shaking big male fingers. The midwife and
the gynaecologist moved away for a little while and for a very short
time the world disappeared and there were only the three of us, our
triple alliance. Never ever would I let this child be taken away from
me. It was the third of July 1990. We had chosen a Jewish name, Eli. The
night after the delivery I took Eli in bed with me. I couldnt stand the
thought that he would be in his cradle unguarded. My traumatic
experience when Cheyenne disappeared was very much present in my mind.
The thought of her empty cradle made me panic. When I was asleep someone
might take Eli away. The nurse mumbled angrily that I should put my baby
in a separate room. She thought I should rest and said I spoiled my baby
too much cherishing him like that. For a second or two I wanted to obey
but then I shook my head. Forget it, Im keeping this baby in my arms; no
one will take my baby away from me again! The next morning already I
packed my suitcase. Erwin tried to convince me that it was much too
early to go home but I didnt want to stay at the hospital any longer. I
got really upset when a nurse or a doctor wanted to touch my son to take
care of him, and I wanted to lock myself up with my baby, ready to
defend him against all the evil and mischief in the world. The wild
she-wolf in me had broken loose, a force to be reckoned with. I would
protect the baby at all cost. I was ready to die fighting for him. Love
had been preserved inside of me. For him, for Eli, I felt all the love I
had in me. We slept together. I fed him tenderly and felt tears of joy
in my heart every time he held my breast in his tiny little fists. In
him I recognized the faces of Cheyenne, Eliah, Tiu, Nanook. He was
everything I still wanted to live for. And Eli grew, learned how to
laugh, and cooed a greeting sound when he opened his eyes. I cherished
his laughter, breathed in his divine baby smell every day. My heart was
filled with the joy of his arrival. I had gotten fat. In a mere nine
months I had gained twenty kilos, but I didnt care about it. I didnt
want to be attractive at all, on the contrary. The less men looked at me
the better. My beauty, my youth, it all belonged to my son now. My life
wasnt the most important thing anymore. I went through an extremely
difficult period. My mother in law had whispered in Erwins ear that I
suffered from post-natal depression. How could she


know that I was scared to death that, one morning, Eli would be gone? I
couldnt sleep anymore, watched over my son in an unhealthy obsessive
way. After three months I was totally burned out. The household chores
didnt get done because I stayed in bed with Eli, exhausted. I was afraid
to leave the house because of the feeling that somebody would take Eli,
grab him out of his baby carriage. Fear paralysed me and kept me between
the four walls of my house. The past often came back to me, just like a
boomerang. The harder I tried to lock out the past, the more intense I
relived certain episodes. I woke up terrified two to three times a night
after having nightmares. My grandmother occupied an increasing part of
my emotional life. How she taught me how to do a blowjob on a bottle of
lemonade. The pieces of the puzzle, in which I had divided my memories
of the past, came slowly back together. In my head I started overseeing
larger parts of the puzzle. Images that hadnt been clear to me before,
suddenly fell in their place. Two years old, how my grandmother took a
hotel guest to my room. How he spread my legs and fondled my genital
area while I froze and couldnt make a sound. Three years old, how my
grandmother hit my fingers with an iron ruler because I hadnt
satisfactorily masturbated a customer. Four years, how her doctor anally
raped me while she and three other men held me because I fought, kicked
and floundered to escape their abuse. How they beat me and kicked me in
the lower back until, crying from anger and helplessness, I had to let
them do their thing one after the other. How that day my resistance was
basically broken because I was taught a cruel lesson. The more you
resisted, the more painful it became. And you could never win. The mix
of voices in my head came into sharper focus every day. I recognized
voices of my alter egos, whom I had forgotten a long time ago. They told
what happened to them to me. I couldnt control them. They just popped
up, the persons I had created to please adults who demanded impossible
things from me. What was impossible? Have sex with them, make them get
off with that too little a body of mine. Lonely, Nobody, Nameless my
earliest protectors. They were the adult alter egos, the first ones
comforting me when I lay hurt and disturbed in my little bed. Hey little
girl, stop crying. The next time someone touches you, hide safely under
our coat. Lonely will plug your ears, Nobody will rock you to sleep and
Nameless will undergo the abuse After all these years, while I was
holding Eli close to me during the night, I heard their warm and
familiar voices again. Forgotten long ago, I immediately recognized
them. But nevertheless these voices scared me. This wasnt normal, was
it? If you heard voices in your head, talked to them, listened to them,
didnt that mean that you were crazy? The voices asked me if it surprised
me that I split myself into different personalities. If it was so crazy
to create entities that did protect me, comforted me, helped me. If it
was abnormal to protect the little abused girl in me, by encapsulating
her, surrounded by alters who could help absorb the dire misery of her
life. It felt weird to hear voices, to feel that you were composed of
several personalities, but what they said didnt sound crazy at all. It
sounded like this was the only right thing to do. I couldnt flee but I
was indeed able to hide inside my own head!


The fact that I had a baby again made me very vulnerable, as I would
find out soon. Not long after Elis birth I suddenly heard the front door
opening. I knew the typical squeaking sound. Was Erwin home already? I
tiptoed towards the living-room door, so I didnt wake up Eli, and opened
the door. It wasnt Erwin but Tony who stood in front of me and he wasnt
alone. He had brought a guard dog with him. Erwin had taken a job as a
truck driver and wouldnt come home until very late in the evening. Hi
pussycat. He said. Paralysis. Agony. Obedience I looked at him,
flabbergasted, paralysed with fear mixed with submission after my eyes
and brain had registered him. I took a step back, he entered, looked at
my breasts full of desire. My throat had contracted, tears came to my
eyes. A feeling of panic spread through my body. But in a split second,
Whore, the alter who best knew Tony and stood the best chance of
pleasing him, took over from me. Eli! He had to focus on me, he couldnt
hurt my baby! So I sank on my knees, bowed my head obediently. Now Tony
was the God, the pimp, the one who decided, acted and ruled. Suck me, he
said calmly. When it was finished Tony told me I had to come along with
him. If I were good nothing would happen to my baby. Otherwise, you
know, accidents happen. Little Eli might die from crib death. I didnt
know what to do. I was terrified they would hurt my baby and after a
long hesitation I agreed to come along. The guard dog would stay at my
house to watch my baby. And Tony took me to a sex-party where I had to
abuse children. He then brought me back home. I was terrified because I
expected Eli to be gone but miraculously my baby was all right. But I
had received a serious warning, open your mouth and your baby dies! When
Erwin came finally home I thought I was going to die but I didnt say
anything. And life went on. I didnt see Tony for a long time. I hoped he
would forget me, but I would find out later that my mother kept him well
informed. When the police would search his apartment much later they
would find birth announcements of my children. My mother had sent them
to him! I still worked at Against her will but I had a paid full time
job now and I had to put Eli in day-care centre in Ghent. I didnt like
leaving him there. Not long afterwards I got pregnant again and on 18
July 1991 Eli got a little sister: Yentl.

29. Bee Heyse Near the end of 1991 I lost my job at Against her will
because the government had cut subsidies. I was disappointed but happy
at the same time because I could stay at home now and didnt have to put
my children in a day-care centre anymore. Although the centre was all
right I felt much better. It was December 1991 when I heard someone
knocking at the front door. I opened and I gasped for breath. It was
Tony and of course he was not alone. The guy with the tattoos who had
also been present at Chrissies murder at the


mushroom farm was with him this time. Erwin was on the road driving his
truck and wouldnt come home until very late at night. My mother kept
Tony very well informed. Hi pussycat. He said. The two men entered my
house and Tony told me I had to come along with him again. If I were
good nothing would happen to my kids. Otherwise, you know, accidents
happen. Little Yentl might die from crib death. I didnt know what to do.
I know, people have asked me why I didnt tell the police, but there had
been policemen among my abusers and I was afraid of them. At the same
time I was convinced that I would be thrown in prison myself and on top
of that my mother kept repeating me that I had to be nice to Tony
because she loved him so much and didnt want him to dump her. I was
terrified they would hurt my kids and after a long hesitation I agreed
to come along. The guard dog would stay at my house again to watch the
kids. Id find out later that he took nude pictures of them. Tony drove
towards Antwerp asking me if I wasnt too young to have a family. He told
me that it wasnt too late to come back into the group and that it
wouldnt be hard to take care of my children. He thought he was being
funny. We arrived at a little castle that I would later recognise, as
the Kattenhof in s Gravenwezel, east of Antwerp. I didnt know that I was
considered a high risk factor for the network because I was writing down
my experiences as part of my therapy, and I had acquired a lot of
acquaintances through my job at Against her will. They knew all of that
through my mother. They were afraid that sooner or later I would talk
and thus they had decided to make me an accomplice. They would go far
beyond child abuse now, as I would soon find out. Several people of my
network were already present, Mich, Annie, Michael the lawyer, a
businessman, Paul the politician and a few others. Mich asked me if I
knew why I was there. He told me I had to learn something. If I did all
right, I would be allowed to return to my children, otherwise … The
group left the castle and walked towards one of the adjacent buildings.
There I noticed a young girl named Catherine. Her hair had just been
washed, I could smell the shampoo. She was very scared. Tony asked me to
make love to her. When I refused he grabbed a mobile phone and started
dialling my number. He told me that if my phone rang at home, his friend
would make sure that Yentl would die from crib death. This put me in
total panic; I couldnt lose another child. And I finally accepted to do
what they told me to. Catherine was terrified so I told her in a very
soft voice to relax as much as she could. But sex wasnt enough. They
started torturing Catherine and wanted me to join. When I refused Tony
started dialling my number again shouting: Last chance Gina, Im counting
until three. One, two, … Totally crushed and confused I gave in. I
looked at Catherine and said: Im sorry. And then we killed her. I was an
accomplice now. I was convinced that if I went to the police I would
certainly be arrested. And my children would be put in an institution
and probably end up in the network. Tony had won. I wanted to die but
when I came home and took Yentl in my arms, I realised I had to stay
with my children. It was my duty to give them a life. From time to time,
sometimes after long intervals, Tony came back to get me and made me
participate at sex parties in the castle. It was clear that they didnt
really want me to be a regular member of the network but they wanted to
keep me under control. But what terrified me was that I realised that
sooner or later my children might be drawn into it.


Because of all of this the flashbacks kept haunting me and I was only
able to sleep a couple hours a night. I hadnt told anything about it to
Erwin and this created an immense emotional conflict inside of me. I
realised I wouldnt be able to cope with this alone. I needed help. After
a long hesitation I made an appointment with Beatrice (Bee) Heyse, a
therapist whom I knew had experience with patients with split
personalities. A few weeks later I sat down for the first time in that
little chair in which I would feel so comfortable for years to come. I
liked Bee immediately. She was a down-to-earth, serene woman, who didnt
give me an uneasy or sceptical look when I told her I had DIS, and also
that I had been used as a child prostitute from a very young age. I told
her that I didnt want hypnosis. I wanted to remember in a conscious way,
without tricks, and I didnt like those hazy methods like reincarnation
and dream-interpretation. She laughed heartily and reassured me by
telling me it was not her style. She appeared to be realistic and
pragmatic and that was exactly what I wanted. Because there was one
thing I knew for sure: I had been severely abused in a childrens
prostitution network and that was damn real! Every week I talked to Bee
about my doubts, fears and sorrow. I was not able to tell what really
happened, I could only write it down and often I re-read, confused and
depressed, what I had written. These scenes were so cruel. I shuddered
at my very own memories. It was crazy, as long as they were inside my
head I could still handle them but when they were written on paper in
black and white it stung me to the heart. I couldnt hide from them
anymore. What had been done to me was simply appalling. I happened to
look at the few pictures from my childhood I had kept. I tried to
reconstruct, to find out what was hidden behind this laughing little
face. And I was shocked when I remembered that I used to start smiling
again immediately after having closed the bedroom door behind me. When I
came downstairs the abuse was almost suppressed. And by the time I was
out in the garden at the pond with the goldfish, the abuse had only
taken place in a dark corner of my soul. I tried to understand why I
reacted so slavishly. Did codes exist? Could humans be trained like
Pavlovs dogs? Strange, when the telephone rang once and then stopped I
still got nervous, expecting to be picked up by a car with chauffeur
within the next half hour. I remembered the small round whistle. When
they blew it I knew the pain would stop because I had done my best. A
snap with the fingers meant that I had to open my legs. But why did I
let Tony in while my entire body protested? Honour your father and your
mother. The ancient code! The code that made me execute immediately the
orders from … no! I cant, I may not do it! I cant think of … oh God,
dear God! My entire body started shaking. I crawled into a corner and
buried my head in my arms. Somewhere far away, in the living room that
was at least three thousand meters away from me, my little kids were
playing. Pushed by an irresistible force, something I couldnt oppose, I
grabbed the razorblades that I hid in a drawer. I had to cut myself as
punishment for almost thinking about things that had to remain a secret.
Because I was disobedient, and disobedient children had to be punished.
Disobedient children had to watch how their little bunny was skinned
alive, or how other little children were being tortured, bled and
screamed in pain because you had been bad.


I systematically cut line after line, blood was running along my arms,
the drops spattered on the ground one after another and made
surrealistic patterns on the tiles. I couldnt stop even though tears ran
down my cheeks and an internal voice cried for help. I didnt want this
but a mechanism had been started by God knows which thought or memory,
that prevented me from stopping. Horrified I looked at the destruction
on my arms. What had I done? Was I insane? Completely nuts? What was it
that by simply allowing certain thoughts, took away my self-control and
forced me to do such terrible things. And not only that I had to fight
with all my strength to protect my children from me. Quite often I got
ambushed by the feeling that it was high time to teach them about the
real world, to make them strong These thoughts scared me because they
matched the sentences used by my grandmother to justify her evil deeds
against me. Why did I sometimes think that way? I wanted to love my
kids, protect them, and offer them a childhood where warmth and the
sense of security were central elements. Thats what I really wanted, but
nevertheless I sometimes felt the urge to take up the thread and adopt
the role of my grandmother. As if the circle of violence couldnt be
broken. My mother wanted to see the children. I obeyed. Why, for heavens
sake? Why was I such a coward, so docile? I prayed and tried to overcome
my anxiety. Mothers and fathers love their children and grandchildren.
How could I be so disrespectful to even think they would hurt them?
Exhausted by this inner struggle, I slid into my next depression. I got
up, switched on my automatic pilot and took care of the kids, I smiled,
I laughed, I acted, but got sucked into a marsh full of memories. I felt
guiltywished to die. How long did this misery have to last? Bee looked
at my arms with compassion. She accepted, didnt judge, but wanted to
talk with me about what caused me to do this to myself again. Because I
was guilty, because I wanted to be punished, because I wanted to leave
this dead and raped body of mine, to release the sorrow and anger I
couldnt utter more than enough reasons to cut. Sometimes it was an
emergency brake when I was entrapped in memories and reliving
experiences. This was a way to come back to reality. The pain calmed me,
chased the ghosts from my mind. I tried to find other ways, less
destructive ones, but nothing helped as much as carving into my arms,
legs or belly. It was a cry for help with a big exclamation mark. Nobody
in fact could help me really. The only thing they could do was give me
enough time and space to recover from these enormous wounds.
Disapproving of the self-mutilation had just the opposite effect. I got
an increased sense of guilt and wanted to punish myself even more. Bee
realized this very well. It was better to keep the subject discussable,
to grow slowly towards other solutions and finally to flatly forbid it.
I had been carefully trained to endure pain. It became a way of life to
me. Out of fear of becoming weaker and thus being more vulnerable, I
often cut myself to keep my pain tolerance at a high level. Did they
teach you to hurt yourself? Bee asked me casually. I broke out in cold
sweat. It was forbidden to talk about such things, I felt Damocles sword
above my head. I dodged the question. There were things you couldnt
speak about. How you were trained to endure pain, step by step, to do
things so painful that you almost died inside but which you did anyway
because you had to obey. How you carved


yourself, or raped yourself with an object even if you got the order
over the phone. You did it because your master had given the order. I
hated my docility but I couldnt help it. It became so bad that I missed
many appointments with Bee, simply because my mind knew that going into
therapy was treason. I was so tired so terribly tormented and exhausted,
being thrown back and forth between giving in to my masters and opposing
their orders they had instilled in my mind so carefully. I wished I
could get strong enough to break the secrets that scared me so much, to
fight them. Somewhere inside of me lived the alters who guarded the
memories, who held the keys for breaking the codes. After several weeks
of absence I stepped into Bees little room again. Slowly, bit-by-bit, I
squeezed the words out of my mouth. I couldnt come Bee, because someone
forbade me. My abusers had drilled it into me. Do you mean codes? she
asked. Yes, I answered seriously. Most of the time I laughed away my
worries, but right now I was deadly serious. And I dont know how to
oppose them. Theres only one thing we can do. Cope with them. Try to get
all the alters together and have them share information. Try to become
one. Stay in therapy. It could take years before I might be capable of
breaking the codes they had instilled into my mind. But Bee gave me
hope. There were things that could be done to block the orders, e.g. to
teach the strongest alters to protect the weaker ones. To erect a screen
in my head that disturbed the codes. I shook my head. Theres only one
good solution, I sighed. Which one? she asked. To fight, Bee, I replied,
To fight the assholes who did this to me. And I tried. In 1993 I spoke
to a well-known psychiatrist. She didnt believe that child prostitution
networks were possible in Belgium. In 1994 I gave the addresses in Ghent
where children were being picked up by their pimps to employees of
Against her will. They talked to the police, but the policemen refused
to write down the information. They said they knew things were going on
but they didnt want to risk their careers. I then talked myself to a
police lieutenant, a nice guy, but he didnt want to write anything down
either. It was a human reaction. They knew that this was not about a
small supplier; this was big game hunting and it scared them to death.
So I did talk to the police. But the result was and will always be the
same: Thats not possible, you made it all up. And is a career not much
more important than a few little children being raped and tortured? Full
of anger I threw a glass against the wall. The anger in me was enormous.
Because I was alone. Because I couldnt turn back time. Because
everything I touched seemed to die. Because I was never good enough.
Because not one of these goddamn people who took care of me, brought me
up and trained me, allowed me to be good at something! They meant so
much to me my grandmother, my parents, Tony and the other abusers I grew
up with. My entire life I had tried to win my Mommy, to prove to her
that I was


worth loving. I tried really hard to be good at the things I had to do.
I had been trying to call her: Turn around Mommy and come to me! Every
day I still longed for her, I wanted her to choose for me. If I let them
go I would lose part of myself. I had Erwin and the kids, but I was
afraid to get too attached to them. I still lived with the fear that
tomorrow they would be gone. Tomorrow Id wake up and find out that all
of this was only a silly dream. That Tony would be sitting on my bed
again telling me that there was another party coming. I couldnt run the
risk of giving myself to them totally, because I couldnt cope with
losing them. I was so scared, so terrified that my happiness was merely
borrowed time. Just as Cheyenne had been borrowed time. I closed my
eyes. Why did I still live? Me, the only one who wanted to die so badly,
who wanted to trade her life for those who could still laugh naturally
and spontaneously? Why did I stay alive and not they? Why had I not been
able to save them? I was twenty-five now, how long and for how many
years did I still have to suffer, to wait until I could join them? The
death, the place where I belonged, because I belonged with Cheyenne,
with Clo, with all of these who died. And I felt so lonely, abandoned,
because the ones who knew about my misery werent there anymore, the ones
who hurt me and could take the pain away still didnt love me. And
whatever I did, my Mommy would never hold me, cherish me, and comfort
me. I missed the Mommy she should have been so much. I missed my
deceased little children. That empty feeling remained, even after I had
my new kids. I couldnt replace my dead children. Emptiness stayed inside
of me as if part of my heart and womb had been ripped out. How often did
I think: She would have been fifteen now; and then I cut myself and ran
off, fled, to avoid feeling the pain that overwhelmed me. Would the pain
never go away? Not even for a single day? And again I cut myself. I had
to because this was the only way I could show my immense sorrow. I had
to because I didnt have any tears left. Twenty-five years, a little heap
of misery. Tony still picked me up from time to time because he didnt
want to lose control. And then I suddenly got this great idea. In
September 1993 I started a dog-grooming parlour at home. I had a lot of
experience because when I was still living with my parents I regularly
had to take over from my mother when she was drunk again. Such a
business would allow me to make some money while I was able to stay home
with my kids. I hoped that the fact that customers would come with their
dogs would make it impossible for Tony to force me to come with him. But
in the beginning I had only one or two customers a day. My mother kept
Tony well informed and he still managed to make me follow him. He even
brought a young girlfriend along who could groom the dogs while I was
away. But I got more customers and it became really difficult for Tony
to come after me. I didnt see him for long periods in a row. And then I
got pregnant again, and on 19 May 1994 Eli and Yentl got a little
sister, Hannah. I had to take care of three children now and run my
business in constant fear that Tony would show up again because my
mother was still keeping him informed of what I was doing.


Bee let me in, I settled down in my chair in front of her. The memories
from Knokke were breaking loose now and the divisions between my
different alters had started weakening. The need to separate them to
survive didnt really exist anymore. We had become strong enough to look
back into the past. It was painful indeed but I noticed it was better to
know than to live a lie. Everything I had become was in my past. I
understood much better now why I had DIS and could accept it much
easier. Will I stay like this? I shot at her, together with Will it get
better? and Where do I go from here? She smiled at so many questions,
questions that she must have heard probably a hundred times. But I could
hardly believe her answer. Bee promised me it would get better, but it
seemed to take so long. I couldnt wait to learn how to live, to leave my
past behind, to merge with the anonymous crowd, to live a normal
everyday life. I wanted to leave everything behind me so badly.

30. My grandmothers death My grandmother had gotten too old to live
alone in her big country house and the family had decided to move her
into a home for the elderly in Ghent. In the beginning I had visited her
a couple of times because my parents had put a high pressure on me, but
I tried to get out of it whenever I could. Was I such a coward that I
was afraid to confront her with what she put me through? On one hand, I
couldnt stand being hypocritical any longer. On the other hand I was
still very much afraid of her. All these years of drilling me hadnt
missed their effect. And I also feared being rejected by the family,
being cast off again if I told them what my grandmother had done to me.
Thus I kept silent and avoided potential problems by simply not visiting
her any longer. My parents disapproved of my behaviour, but I couldnt
provide them with an explanation because I knew they would call me a
liar. I knew they would choose her side, so I kept my mouth shut. I
secretly hoped she would die soon since this would solve the problem. I
felt how terrible my thoughts were but it looked like if this would
finally liberate me a little bit. My grandmothers health declined
rapidly. I heard it from the comments of the family members. They
circled around her like vultures, or should I say around her bank
account? In my head I saw pictures from my youth again. Her gruff voice
resounded in my ears. When I closed my eyes I could see the little
second kitchen, the beige cupboard with the glasses, her large medicine
compartment, the compartment where she kept the honey cake, the
compartment with the old Lego blocs. I saw the paintings, the old sofa,
the tiles with the pattern, the plants in front of the window, the old
sewing machine. Images from my childhood, images which, although
innocent at first glance, were extremely painful. She would die shortly
now, but for how many years would I have to carry this past with me? The
creaking of the bed in room six, the little reed bench with the plush
red seat on which I had to sit, naked, so my customer could watch me. I
wished I could cry, just once, or get really angry. I wished I could
feel something. What have they done to me?


I was pregnant with our fourth child. I touched my belly with my hands
and smiled quietly. I promised that I would take care of him, that I
would be a good Mommy to him and his little brothers and sisters. He was
welcome. And deep inside of me I hoped he would fill the void, the
gaping hole they left when they took my first children away. I knew he
would never be able to replace my other children. I also knew I couldnt
ask him to do so, although I often looked at my children and tried to
find a familiar feature in their face. But I hoped this baby would prove
they hadnt been able to destroy me. I could have children; pass on my
genes and my zest for life to the next generation. I hoped I could give
them enough love to make them thrive. June 1995. I heard a noise in the
income hall. I was startled and went to the kitchen to grab a large meat
knife. Tony was back, but this time he was alone. This was my chance. Hi
pussycat! he said, with his arrogant smile. I firmly grabbed the knife
with both hands and pointed it in his direction. Go away or Ill kill
you! Youll go to jail pittimouse. He smiled full of self-confidence that
the codes would work again and that I would give in. But this time I
didnt back off. If he had taken one more step I would have plunged the
knife right into his heart. And he immediately understood that he had
lost control and that I was going to attack him indeed. He turned around
and stepped outside. This was the last time he harassed me. I would only
see him again on 23 April 1998 during a terrible confrontation at the
police station in Ghent. Janek was born on 30 January 1996. He came into
this world the day after my twentysixth birthday. My grandmother died
one month later. They told me she died at the end of a week of terrible
nightmares in which men persecuted her great-granddaughter. She was
afraid and upset. She died with a heart full of fear. Maybe she was full
of remorse of what she did to me. Maybe she had finally acquired a
conscience. I dont know. But it seemed fair to me. People who treat
children the way she did will inevitably, sooner or later, wake up at
night bathed in sweat. The thought that so suddenly crossed my mind
startled me. All these years, and I was an adult now and
self-supporting, I had tried to ban all negative thoughts about my
parents and my grandmother. I felt guilty if I thought about them in a
negative way, but now that my grandmother had passed away, and the
family was running back and forth to arrange the cremation and to
distribute the assets and the money, I had mustered the courage to think
of her in a logical and distant manner, for the first time in my life.
The evening after the cremation I wrote her a letter: I was a girl,
nothing special, not strikingly beautiful, but with a big smile and an
insatiable hunger for learning. I was a girl who wanted to be loved,
protected, and cherished. I saw how you loved my cousins, in particular
Danny. I saw how nice you were to the children of your physical
therapist. I always thought you treated me differently because in some
way I was a naughty girl, or even a bad one. I thought I deserved the
way you treated me!


During all those years I had this slumbering feeling of injustice that
I didnt understand. Because deep in my heart, and sometimes I have to
force myself to believe this, I knew I wasnt a bad kid. My crime couldnt
possibly have been that bad to deserve such punishment. Your disdain,
your violations of my bodily integrity, the selling and lending out of a
little body that wasnt yours sometimes I ask myself bluntly if its not
your fault that Im still in so much pain. Maybe I havent done anything
wrong at all. Maybe its you who did wrong. Could this be the case? I
know its disrespectful and rebellious to think of you this way now youre
dead. But Grandma, I was simply too scared and cowardly to tell this to
your face. You dont have any idea how much I still fear you, even now.
But there is something I have to get off my chest. I have the feeling I
will suffocate if I dont put this on paper. You were a monster to me
Grandma, cold and malicious. You used me as a puppet on a string. You
abused me without remorse. During all those years nobody saw how I
languished, became lonely. Everybody thought: oh well, shes just a
quiet, precocious kid. And you watched carefully so I couldnt tell the
truth. The punishments up in the attic, the things I had to do in bed,
the postcards my parents sent me but you never gave me, until years
later, I discovered a shoebox full of old Walt Disney cards that had
turned yellow. You told me my parents didnt want me, that this was my
punishment for being disobedient and bad. I wasnt allowed to wear the
clothes they bought me. You turned my parents into strangers so I
couldnt tell them my secret. I know that my mother abused me, that she
gave me to Tony. But Im convinced she went through the same ordeal as
me. I think you made her like that. I dont love you Grandma, I never
did. Our relationship was built on fear and obedience to avoid
punishment, but I never loved you. I am glad youre dead. Sure, you had
your good side, Im not afraid to remember how good you could cook and
the hundreds of stories and fairy tales you could tell in such a
captivating way. But they dont compensate the pain you inflicted on me.
I really hope that during that last week before you died, you came to
realize what you have done to me. Im the last one now, the last witness
of our family tragedy. Spring was alternately beautiful and rainy. Baby
Janek was cherished by his Daddy, brother, sisters and Mommy. Tonys
threats seemed to float away further each day. I slowly started to
believe that there was a future after all. I started allowing myself to
love my family. I realized I couldnt keep them at a distance anymore,
solely because I was afraid of losing them. It wasnt easy to lower my
defences but more and more I could do it. I didnt try to understand why
Tony stopped threatening me I hadnt heard from him for several months
now but I was just grateful for every day he didnt harass me. The
therapy was starting to bear fruit now. I felt a lot stronger than I
used to. I observed my family. More often than before a genuine smile
appeared on my face when I looked at Erwin and the kids. I wanted to be
different from my grandmother and my parents. I wanted to protect my
children. I felt bitterness and anger come up again. I felt increasingly
determined. Anyone who wanted to touch my children would have to defeat


me first. Anyone who wanted to threaten my children would have to kill
me or be killed himself. Codes or not, I would fight. I knew where and
how to inflict heavy wounds. I knew I had to use my knife just once,
fast and in surprise, before it was used against me. I knew this because
I learned everything from them. Maybe the time had come to use
everything they taught me, against them. The borders between the
different alters had faded away. Our memory, once fragmented and
preserved with separate entities, had come together again. From a
splintered victim I grew into a more stable woman. Many alters were
still present inside of me, but the huge differences had disappeared. We
met each other in a natural way. We moved towards a core, a unity. We
could feel how near the total integration had come. Bee felt this too,
was proud of me, knew how hard we struggled to get cured. An enormous
fire was growing inside of me, a force that sometimes scared me. It was
the desire to live, to breathe, to break free. That year, when spring
seemed to explode, something inside of me seemed to explode too. After
twenty-seven years, I got up for the first time without feeling this
all-embracing pain. There were nights without nightmares, days without
pain, not too many of them but I cherished these like precious diamonds.
These are the days I wanted to remember when things would go bad again.
I didnt cut myself as often either. Sometimes three to four weeks went
by without self-mutilation. This was a real success; it proved to me I
was slowly breaking loose from my abusers. I didnt notice this
immediately, but a few months later I discovered I didnt have any
feelings left for Tony. The devotion, the dependence, the fear, it was
all gone. An immense weight lifted from my shoulders. I laughed and
cried in my heart. All those years of fear, pain and oppression. All
those long years that I carried my secret with me, that I had to
confront my abusers alone, too scared to resist, too stubborn to abandon
hope. All those years of loyalty. And this because he had washed my hair
just once and had given me a sweet smile. Only now I had come to realize
how desperately lonely I must have been, deprived of love, to give
myself to such a cruel and sadistic man. Erwin and I were getting to
really know each other. Funny, considering we had been together so many
years. But my love for him had really deepened. We talked a lot about
our future. I told him with some hesitation that I was withering away in
the city. I felt so imprisoned between the four walls of my little row
house, with the small garden surrounded by two-meter high walls, which
only allowed me to see the sky. I longed for quiet and space, chickens,
rabbits, sheep … I dreamed of a farm. He listened. But you have a
business, he said, and you worked so hard to build it up, are you going
to abandon all of this? I shrugged my shoulders. I felt young, younger
than I felt ten years ago. Why couldnt I start over? A hotel for dogs? I
talked to dogs. I understood them better than humans. I was convinced I
could handle this. Erwin caressed my head. He was more stable and down
to earth than I was but he knew a city was not where I belonged. Well
look around, he promised.

End of Part One

Part Two: Witness X1
31. Little kids are disappearing June – July 1996. There had been a lot
of news coverage about little kids, mostly girls, which had disappeared.
Little Elisabeth had disappeared in December 1989 and her mother was
still actively looking for her. Nathalie, twelve years old, disappeared
in 1991. She was waiting for the bus near Leuven. Witnesses saw her get
into a car. On 5 August 1992 Loubna, nine years old disappeared in
Brussels when she returned from the supermarket. Kim, eleven years old
and her little brother Ken, eight years old disappeared in Antwerp on 4
January 1994. On 24 June 1995 Julie and Melissa, both eight years old
disappeared after they had been waving at cars from a bridge across the
motorway near Lige. On 23 August 1995 An and Eefje, seventeen and
nineteen years old disappeared after they attended a hypnosis show in
Ostend. On 28 May 1996 Sabine rode her bike home from school in the
village of Kain near the city of Tournai but she never arrived. It
seemed as if the disappearances became more frequent. Many people
started supporting the parents and there were posters with the childrens
faces everywhere. Big searches were organised. This was quite different
from my friend, Clo, I thought. She had disappeared without a trace,
without having been on a poster. Maybe this was the reason I hoped she
was still alive. Had people changed? Why did these parents so stubbornly
keep trying to find them? Theyre dead. My friend looked at me. I had
said this in a cold and toneless way and she was shocked. Why do you
think that? I shrugged my shoulders. I just knew. Kids didnt just
vanish, and certainly not in pairs. The picture looked familiar to me. I
recognized little tell-tale signs from my network, small details, more a
matter of feeling than of hard facts, but I new there was no hope for
these children. Do you think they ended up in a network? I nodded
briefly. I could only hope that they hadnt suffered too much, that they
hadnt lived very long. I was astonished about the parents of the kids
who also got a face in the press, how more and more parents came
together and asked for an explanation. This was so different. In the
past you never heard the parents. Elisabeth, Nathalie, Loubna, one name
after another hit the press. Kim and Ken. And again I felt this smarting
pain. It continued, it never stopped. In a case of incest there is a
real possibility that the offender stops when the child grows older
because the child has been used up. There is no guarantee that the
offender doesnt make victims outside of his family, but the chance that
he just doesnt have the guts to do that is quite real. Abusers from
networks will never stop. When a child is used up they eliminate it and
get another one. I felt so powerless when I looked at the little faces
on the posters. Nevertheless the parents of the


disappeared children kept me intrigued. Could it really be that they
kept fighting so hard to find and save their children just because they
loved them so much? Hi, Im home! Have you been out? asked my mother. She
didnt care where I was unless Tony needed me. It was totally new to me
that parents took leave of absence and postponed their careers to look
after their children. I watched them and I secretly wished that my
parents had been like this. Should I tell someone what I went through?
Should I go to the police again? I tried but they didnt want to do
anything. Would it help if I gave the names of some of my abusers? Fear
paralysed me. I knew my abusers would find out that I turned them in.
What would the reprisals be? Maybe the police knew everything already; I
tried to ease my conscience. Maybe they were closing in on the network.
These parents would certainly force the police to keep looking. I now
realised that my parents reaction towards Tony, who had abused me so
shamelessly, right under their nose, wasnt normal. My father once told
Erwin, when he asked them desperately what they had done to me to
traumatize me so heavily: What the hell is she worried about? That was a
long time ago! This was the first and the last time Erwin tried to
confront them with their shortcomings. He was often furious because I
didnt want to break off the relationship with my parents, but I couldnt.
My mothers health was deteriorating and I felt responsible for her
wellbeing. If I broke with her she might die, and that was a risk I was
not prepared to take. But I didnt have the courage to talk to them about
the past. Although Tony didnt have any emotional grip on me anymore my
parents still did. Every time I tried to steer the conversation towards
my childhood, my mother became very emotional and the discussion usually
ended with my apologies. And of course, at that time I didnt know yet
she was the reason why Tony knew everything about me, Id find that out
later. Time after time they pointed out how good they had been to me,
that they had given a lot to me Look, heres some money, and that I
should be grateful that they worked very hard their entire lives. If I
dared to insinuate that money and material things werent everything in
life, that I had lacked affection, my mother burst into tears. I have
always done everything for you, everything! She pulled out hair with
shaking hands. I immediately felt guilty. I knew that some day you would
reproach me! I just knew it. I can never do anything good! No Mommy,
dont do this. Youre right, it is my fault, I stammered. She went on with
a quavering melodramatic voice. Ive always wanted the best for you. You
were such a difficult child. I never knew what to do to make you happy!
The only thing you should have done was to love me Mommy, sincerely love
me just like other mothers do. The way I love my children Mommy, I dont
want to hurt you, please stop crying. I know you did your best. Adult
but still a child. I couldnt attack my mother. She was gasping for
breath, trembling while she tried to find her inhaler. I got really
scared, if she got an attack it would definitely be my fault. Ma, please
calm down. I didnt mean it like that.


I am bad. She spit out the words while she was jerkily trying to
breathe. It was a painful view. I didnt want to hurt her. I didnt even
want to reproach her. I just wanted to talk about the pain that had been
lacerating my heart for so many years, about the abnormal circumstances
I grew up in. I wanted to talk to her about these terrible years, to
find some support. I wanted a mother who listened to me just this once,
listened to my pain and sorrow. You arent bad Mommy, I whispered
defeated. My father gave me a cold look. I made his wife miserable
again; I could read from his eyes. Ungrateful bitch, said his body
language. I bowed my head with sadness. You wanted all of that yourself,
he said shortly. Yes, yes, dammit! I did love Tony at least thats what I
thought. But where were you? Where was the Daddy I needed so much? Where
were you when I was so lonely that I tried to find some comfort with a
pimp? Why did you close your eyes to a secret you knew about but didnt
want to face? Why did you do these things Ill never be able to forgive
you? I turned around and disappeared like a wounded animal. I couldnt
cry, I just couldnt anymore, my tears had dried up, turned into stone
inside my heart. Why did I carry a secret that was too heavy for me?
When would this nightmare be over? My parents brought terror that was
very subtle. It was a constant pressure to surrender. When I tried to
address the problems caused by my past, they focused on their problems
and on their, oh so unhappy, childhood. I didnt deny their problems. But
what they did to me was really appalling. I got so tired of their lies,
half-truths and distortions they hid the big secret in. They refused to
admit to themselves that they failed miserably in their parental duties,
and tried to convince me they were in the right. When I was with them
and listened to them talking, I got almost hypnotized. They made me feel
responsible again and again. If I didnt visit them, my mother called me
on the phone. Regine, I havent seen you for the entire week, is
something the matter? No Mommy. I couldnt tell her that in fact I wanted
to get away from her, escape from her strangling, suffocating mental
grip. When will you come? I dont know yet. Sunday Ill make dinner for
all of you, is that OK? Are you coming? All right mama. I felt
frustrated when I put down the telephone. For how many hours did I have
to listen already about how things were when she was young and lived at
Grandmas? How she went to boarding school and how Grandma was always
angry with her. How she looked up to her father, how he took her along
to the casino. How pretty she was. I listened for hours, paying
attention, hoping to win her affection. Longing for that moment she
would say: and now its your turn to tell your story. I was tired of all
this and I didnt want my children to come under their influence. But I
obeyed, protected them, and defended them. When Erwin commented on my
parents I


tried to downplay their shortcomings, while my heart revolted. But I
nervously suppressed the voice in my heart. In the summer of 1996, one
year after Tonys last threats, my healing process had really begun. I
knew for the most part what had happened during my life, I was aware of
the abuse I had had to endure and, during the past twelve months, I was
able to liberate myself from that invisible emotional tie with Tony.
This was a real achievement. I knew I was still too much under my
parents influence, my mothers in particular. I would have to break loose
if I wanted to acquire my own identity. I couldnt keep denying my past,
as they wanted me to. During that summer, just before the entire country
got into turmoil when the two little girls, Sabine and Laetitia were
found alive in Marc Dutroux cellar, I felt reasonably happy. For the
first time I dared to hope that everything was behind me for good. If I
would have known what was going to come down on me…

32. Mich gets arrested August 1996. I didnt like to watch the news; I
tried to close myself off from the world. But Erwin watched it every day
and I then wandered around the house or the garden. On 15 August he
suddenly called my name very loud almost like giving me an order. I ran
towards the living room where Erwin had turned up the sound of the TV. I
was perplexed and felt a mixture of tension, hope and emotion when I saw
the images of two little girls coming out of a house, escorted by a
dozen policemen and journalists. I watched them get into a car. I only
heard snatches of the reporters comments. Sabine who had been kidnapped
three months ago and Laetitia who had disappeared a week before, had
been rescued from Dutroux cellar, I heard. Children who were doomed but
now got liberated. I ran to the bathroom, forgetting everything around
me, leaned against the fresh enamel of the bathtub and covered my face
with my hands. Oh God, dear God, thank you! And I cried without tears, I
laughed without a smile on my face, my feelings were all-internal. But I
was jubilant, exultant and thanked God that I could witness this. This
was the moment I had looked forward to my entire life. This was the
moment I had secretly hoped for as a child and as a young girl. I hoped
the world would see in which a miserable situation I had lived. I hoped
people would come to help me, to rescue me. That people would have come
just in time to save Clo and all the others. That I wouldnt have been
forced to see what happened to them. That it would have had a happy
ending. I was so happy for these little girls and my whole being desired
to hug them and kiss them. Judge Connerotte and prosecutor Bourlet from
the Neufchateau judicial district, whose team managed to locate the
girls hiding place, became the peoples heroes, and they were my heroes
too. I looked at their faces and would never forget them. I silently
thanked them for their courage and competence. And I wanted to flee, but
I kept staring at the TV, petrified, when Marc Dutroux was led through a
howling crowd. I turned around, left Erwin behind, astonished and went
outside into my small garden to take deep breaths. A big closet full of
fear and memories had burst open. I yelled in silence.


Noooo! Go away, go away, go away! I didnt want this anymore! I couldnt
take this anymore! I didnt want to remember anything! I closed off my
mind and waited until the news was finished before I dared to sneak in
again. Erwin looked at me, I didnt show any emotion. Youre thinking
about before, arent you? he asked. I nodded but didnt say a word. It was
still hard to talk about these things. The obligation of absolute
silence, imposed by adults who had to hide their secret world, still put
a crushing weight on my shoulders. Do you know him? Erwin asked. I
quickly shrugged my shoulders. I didnt want to say anything because
every answer raised a new question. Erwin couldnt get anything out of me
anymore. The recent developments were on everybodys tongue. I tried to
react in a neutral way, tried to conceal the things that I wanted to
hide. The reactions of the people made me think of a pack of hungry
wolves. Finish him! Put him against the wall! Lynch him! I shrunk
together. Was I guilty too? Would they come and arrest me soon now?
Afraid and confused I ran out of the living-room and hid myself between
my flowers and plants; I looked up at that little piece of sky above me.
I heard the phone ring, it was Tania. I met her in 1991 when I worked in
a project for the womens support group and we became close friends. She
asked me how I was doing. She was concerned because I had told her parts
of my story, enough for her to know that I probably relived a lot of
things now. I agreed to visit her the following evening, to talk, to
calm down. The TV showed a handcuffed man walking through a furious
crowd. I immediately recognized Mich! There was shouting and screaming.
Surrounded by police officers he nervously walked up the steps of the
palace of justice of Neufchteau. I gasped for air, turned around and
fled again. I breathed heavily and hid in a corner of the bathroom. This
couldnt be, these were my people! How much time did I have left with
Erwin and my children before I would have to walk through that crowd? I
was shaking all over. Ginny? Erwin knocked at the door. I was startled,
realizing that I was exposing myself and jumped up. Everythings fine, I
smiled with difficulty when I opened the door, I just wanted to freshen
up a little, Im going to see Tania. He nodded, caressed me and looked at
me thoughtfully. You got startled, Ginny. You know this one too, dont
you? I turned my face away. Do you want to talk about it? he asked. I
shook my head. Tania opened a bottle of wine. I drank my glass half
empty. My heart was pounding. How are you? she asked. I shook my head. I
didnt know, I was totally mixed up, I felt persecuted, resigned, scared,
confused and relieved at the same time. First give me another glass of
wine. I sat down on the bench as comfortably as I could. We silently ate
our Chinese take out dinner, drank another glass of wine, and had some
more small talk. Midnight approached


and my head felt a little dizzy. I was a little drunk but it sure felt
a lot better than the chaos in my head. The subject that I had been
putting off the entire evening finally surfaced. I was more talkative
than usual and told her that Mich had been arrested too. They know
everything! They will be on my doorstep any minute now asking me to come
with them. Maybe they will arrest me. Tania told me I was a victim, not
an offender, and that it was not sure at all that they knew everything.
We didnt know in fact who they were: the national police (Rijkswacht),
the judicial police, judges, who were they? But we agreed that judge
Connerotte and prosecutor Bourlet were among the few white crows in the
system. Hadnt Tania and I been trying to co-operate with the national
police for quite some time already? All in vain. We tried to encourage
victims of sexual abuse, like rape victims, to testify against their
abusers. Tania had given a lot of hints concerning my abusers to the
national police. In 1994 after Tony had threatened me in my own house
when Erwin had gone to work, I gave her permission to provide
information about the locations in the Ghent area where kids were still
abused including the names of their abusers. I was afraid to go myself
out of fear of my pimp, but Tania invited two officers from the BOB
(Special Investigation Squad of the national police) and gave them all
the information. They officers didnt even want to make a report. They
told her they knew those places including the individuals and were aware
of the fact something was wrong. But, they told her, with a shrug of
their shoulders, that they didnt want to get their fingers burnt. The
same had happened to Patsy Srensen, a lady from Antwerp who was running
a shelter for prostitutes and helped those who wanted to get out. Nobody
wanted to listen. The fact that Bourlet and Connerotte had been able to
find two girls who were still alive and arrest several suspects, was a
miracle. They were probably the only two people in Belgium who could
make a difference. This is your chance, Ginny, she said, Maybe there is
a small chance now that you will be heard! You have to tell them what
you know. I looked at her, frightened. Are you nuts, Tania? Turn in my
abusers? If I talk, they immediately know who did it. I dont want to
take such a risk! But maybe theyll do something about it right now! I
shook my head in a resolute, No. Ginny, listen! If you keep silent,
children will remain at risk. Is it that what you want? It might be your
own children! If they get away with it because you kept your mouth shut,
you will never be able to forgive yourself! I returned home with a heart
heavy as concrete. Though fearful from head to toe, hope sprang inside
me. The hope that maybe there might be a small, very small chance to
make the abusers in my cruel network stop. The hope that I could keep my
own children out of the network.
33. Tania calls judge Connerotte


I almost sneaked into Bees little therapy room. She looked at me in
such a way that I knew she suspected something. Of course she too had
watched the news and I didnt make an enthusiastic impression. I settled
myself in front of her, my back bent, my head bowed and my fingers
intertwined. I didnt say a word because I simply didnt know where to
start. Bee said hello and asked me what I wanted to talk about. I looked
at her and sighed. I know him. I saw Mich on TV, I could only whisper. I
shrank internally while pronouncing these words. Fear was everywhere
now, in my heart, arms, belly and head. It was as if I was turning him
in right here. What do you want to do? Bee asked with a neutral voice.
She was such a great therapist, just the way I liked it. I had to think
myself, come to conclusions, decide what to say and what to conceal.
Nevertheless I sometimes wished she could give me solutions with a big
s, for the complicated problems in my life. I shrugged my shoulders, a
typical Ginny movement, an I-dont-have-a-clue movement. Im afraid Bee.
Of him? Yes, of him of everything. Im afraid they know everything. That
I will be forced to tell things It almost sounded as a sob. The
artificial peace of the previous year had been blown to smithereens by,
yes my same tormenters. I didnt know whether I were still happy or not
with the discovery of Sabine and Laetitia. You dont have to tell
anybody, the choice is entirely yours, Ginny. Bee didnt show any signs
of nervousness, the tone of her voice calmed me down. Words started
rolling out of my mouth. I told her almost like a robot what Mich did to
me, how cruel and merciless he was. I told her about my fear of him, of
Tony, of the network. I realised they would know who talked. I was
indeed the last witness of my generation of victims, but I didnt tell
her that. I had decided long ago, that I would take that to my grave.
Bee listened. The hour flew by. Bee told me I could always call her if I
couldnt handle it any longer. I thanked her. She knew me, I would only
call in case of extreme need, I usually handled my problems alone. Erwin
drove me home. I was silent and tense in the car, staring at the world
rushing past me. I wish I were someone else, a plain, anonymous, simple
woman. Why, I asked myself, did my life have to be such a punishment?
Why didnt I just die in the mushroom farm with Chrissie or even before?
My head was filled with whirling thoughts, memories, and images from a
life that was far away and close by at the same time. Let this stop! Why
couldnt I just turn off a switch inside my head? It was late in the
evening. I was lying on the sofa in the safety of Erwins arms. He was
watching TV; I was much too tense to do anything. The phone abruptly
pulled me out of the cocoon I had woven for myself there in his arms. It
was Tania. She started talking to me, trying to convince me with
arguments why I should testify. It was important she said, because it
was the only possibility to take on a network of child prostitution.
Maybe this was our only chance to find people who were willing to listen
to us and act. The longer I waited, she told me, the smaller the chance
would become to find evidence, the abusers


were probably very busy right now destroying or concealing it. I
refused at first but she sounded quite convincing and I hesitated.
Tania, for Heavens sake, what if they dont believe me? And who can I
trust? There were policemen in the network. I dont know to whom I can
tell what I went through. After some cross-talk we settled for a
compromise. I only wanted to talk to Bourlet or Connerotte and tell them
parts of my story. I only agreed to tell them what I knew about Mich,
nothing else. And it had to be them personally, they were the only ones
I trusted with reservations. Tania breathed a heavy sigh. How the heck
did you get to such people, how did you contact them? Make an
appointment over the phone, but what was the number? I hated to call
someone on the phone, I avoided new contacts, I didnt have the nerve to
go look for Connerotte. Tania agreed to take on that part. We agreed
shed let me know as soon as she had any news. I put the phone down.
Erwin had heard parts of the conversation and I felt the tension. But he
cuddled me quietly. Ginny, I support you, whatever you decide to do. I
let him give me a big hug, made myself forget about this telephone
conversation. I desperately wished we were back in the peaceful year
before this crisis emerged. I did the ironing, the dishes, and worked in
the business. I fooled myself by thinking that my life would continue
peacefully if I wished this hard enough. The phone rang. It was Tania.
Fear caught me by the throat when I heard her voice. The bubble, the
peaceful life, suddenly burst. I managed to reach Connerotte, she
laughed full of excitement. She explained how she got the number of the
palace of justice of Neufchateau from the directory assistance service,
how she had repeated several times that she wanted to speak urgently to
Connerotte concerning a witness, and how after several transfers she
suddenly heard his voice on the other side of the line. It hadnt been
easy since Dutch was her mother tongue and she had to speak French
because Neufchteau was in the French speaking part of Belgium, but she
had done it. I explained to him in a few words why I called. He was
interested Ginny! She sounded enthusiastic and I smiled, tired. But when
I wanted to give him my address there were communication problems. I
couldnt translate the name of my street from Dutch into French. But, he
said, it just happened that one of his Dutch-speaking co-workers was at
his side and that he trusted this man entirely. He told me I could talk
to him without any fear. He was a national policeman, BOB-adjudant De
Baets, and because Connerotte trusted him so much I gave him my address.
An uneasy feeling came over me. There you go, the BOB I already saw the
face of Dani, one of my abusers in front of me. He had driven me several
times to the hunts and to the factory where they made the porn movies.
He was a BOB agent. Hes coming tomorrow. A short silence followed. I
swallowed with difficulty. Tomorrow? I asked. She confirmed. Dont worry;
if I dont like him I wont say anything. Promised. I insisted she should
be careful and not tell too much. Only Mich, you know that dont you?
Nothing else!


When the phone rang the next day I immediately knew it was Tania. There
were two BOB policemen in her house who could give my life a totally new
direction, and I hadnt the slightest idea whether I had done the right
thing or not. Trembling with fear and stress I answered the phone. I
hoped that Tania would tell me that it wasnt worth the effort, but at
the same time I hoped she would tell me that the two policemen really
wanted to help me. I was totally confused. Ginny, I have adjudant De
Baets and his colleague here in front of me, and they are interested in
what you can tell them. I told them a few things already but it would
mean a great deal to them if you would agree to see them. Told them a
few things? Theyre quite OK, Tania went on. Total silence on my side.
Can I let adjudant De Baets talk to you for a second? Hed like to, she
asked, and I muttered Yes, while everything inside of me yelled No.
Hello? a self-confident voice. I am Patrick De Baets. Hi, I answered.
What can I do for you? He explained that he wanted to talk to me but if
I wanted to stay anonymous, this was no problem at all. No strings
attached. I listened but the words didnt reach me. I tried to imagine
what he looked like, to feel who he was and what his intentions were.
The obligation of secrecy put a heavy weight on my shoulders. What I was
doing was wrong. It was wrong to listen to that unknown man on the
phone, I should obey my abusers, parents, Tony. De Baets told me hed
pick me up on Sunday morning, and asked me if this was OK. I answered
yes. The train of the past rumbled in my mind, the intimidations, the
punishments, the fear. Tania talked to me again for a few moments but my
mind wandered off. That evening I fully realized the impact of my
decision. I broke the obligation of secrecy. What would be the
reprisals? Frightened I nestled up close to Erwin, but I couldnt stop
the shaking. I wanted to flee, run away from this body, from this life.
I wanted to die, to forget, to be faithful to my masters. Every time you
try to talk we will hurt a child, do you understand Regina? Every time
you even think of betraying our little secret, it will be your fault
that someone else gets hurt. Oh God, what was I doing? Of course I
believed my torturers. I had seen things, witnessed and endured things
that I would never be able to describe with words, simply because there
were no words in our language to describe them. I believed them and I
believed that nobody, not even the BOB guy on the phone could help or
protect me. Because how could you protect someone who was mentally
tortured, and had feelings of guilt because others had to suffer in her
place? How could I protect these other victims? By remaining silent! So
I cancelled the appointment refusing to explain why. Why would I? Nobody
would understand it anyway. Because nobody could understand how bad it
was. I wrongly assumed that they knew about these networks. After all,
they caught Dutroux and Nihoul. I assumed they knew a lot already, and
that my testimony would not contribute a whole lot to the dismantling of
the child prostitution network I was part of. I was relieved, I had
taken the right decision. I tried to convince myself that I had been
able to contain the damage. De Baets only talked to me over the phone,
didnt know who I was and thus it


would be unlikely for him to find me. Mich would not give any names so
nobody would discover my secret. Thats what I thought. Until Tania
reluctantly told me that she had given my 1988 manuscript, which was the
basis of this book, to the BOB guys. During my years of therapy I had
written down a lot indeed, partly because speaking about the abuse was
too painful but also out of intense frustration because nobody wanted to
understand that child prostitution did really exist in Belgium. I hoped
that one day I would be able to tell to the world what went on in
paedophile networks. I had given it to Tania to read, but she didnt
realize that my name was in it. I looked at her in despair. Yes, she had
done this. Because she had wanted to convince them of the seriousness of
the issue, because she couldnt just tell things about Mich without
putting them in perspective. They wanted to know how, where and when of
course. And thus she had given them my draft book. I understood on the
spot that I had finally betrayed my abusers without really wanting it. I
was infuriated with my friend, felt betrayed because this hadnt been my
decision and I asked myself how I could have been so damn stupid to give
away the control. Tania felt guilty too. Although she didnt really
understand why I was that terrified, but she only knew small parts from
my past. I would never have mustered the courage and found the right
words to tell her, or Bee, or Erwin, who had been involved, and that
children had really died there. The following days were like hell to me.
I couldnt sleep or got nightmares that went on during the day. My
thinking process got totally invaded by fear. I expected the national
police to stand at my door any moment, to force me to explain what had
happened during all these years. I made myself believe that my case had
become extinguished under the statute of limitations and tried to calm
down. However I had scribbled down De Baets mobile phone number and
after three days of fear and doubt I hesitatingly called him. I
concluded that, given the circumstances, it would be better to go talk
to him after all. Maybe I could limit the damage by telling him
personally what I wanted to be said. My fingers were shaking when I
dialled his number. I could hear the ring tone. I had decided to put
down the phone after the third ring and never to think about it again.
Hello. I got startled and almost dropped the phone. Hello, I replied and
told him reluctantly that I had changed my mind and agreed after all to
talk to him and his colleague. He was happily surprised, or thats the
way it sounded to me, and we set up an appointment. A few more days and
I would openly commit treason. Erwin caressed me prudently when he heard
about my decision that evening. He thought it was the right thing to do.
All these long years together that we had remained silent, because he
respected my wish to put everything to rest, hadnt driven us apart. The
white nights during which he had to comfort me after my thousand and
first nightmare, the depressions, and the self-mutilation, he had been
there through it all. He was the only one who knew how seriously I was
hurt emotionally and physically. He knew how I sometimes used to hide in
a little corner of the living room, my head in my hands, totally hunched
up. How I tried to build up a life, struggling painfully, while the
wounds of the past paralysed me. He thought it was time for the abusers
to answer for their crimes. Just like me, he didnt seek revenge, but he
wanted acknowledgement. The acknowledgement that I had been a victim of
heavy, frequent and long term sexual abuse.


We both wanted to hear from the abusers what had driven them to do such
revolting things. We discussed my decision for a long time, estimating
the impact on our lives. We talked about the fear of reprisals, the fear
of losing my parents when they would get to know that I was going to
betray them. Ginny, what they have done to you is inexcusable, you know
that dont you? But I dont want to lose them I feel just as inhuman as my
abusers if do that to them. I just cant. I felt small and insignificant,
totally isolated. Was I then the only one having to take such extremely
painful decisions? Was I the only one who had lived through things like
this? 34. The initial hearings The closer the appointment came the more
tense we all got at home. I reacted unfriendly and bitchy, I didnt want
anybody around me. There was chaos in my head. My life got split into
little compartments again. Fear and panic had exhausted me during the
past week. When the bell rang my dogs jumped up making lots of noise,
wagging their tails. Erwin opened the door. He let a tall fair-haired
man in, an imposing figure, self-confident but quiet and friendly. He
entered the living room and we shook hands. He introduced himself as
Patrick De Baets and I introduced myself as Regina. He smiled. Of course
he knew my name although weve never met. Are you ready? he asked and I
nodded. I was trapped once again. I had reached the point of no return.
When I kissed my husband goodbye, I had the feeling that my life was
controlled by events that I could hardly influence. But when I got in
the car of the BOB officers, and shook hands with Patricks colleague, I
realized that my choice was the right one after all. Erwin was right;
time had come to call the abusers to justice. We drove to Brussels. The
police buildings were large and intimidated me at once. I felt uneasy
when I walked behind the policemen. The labyrinth of narrow passages and
the endless rows of offices almost gave me claustrophobia. I felt
trapped like a rat; even if I wanted to escape, I would get lost in
these catacombs. The fact of being at the mercy of people who knew what
to do reminded me of Tony but I tried to suppress this thought. I
greeted De Baets colleagues timidly and tried to remain as invisible as
possible. In his office, a narrow room filled with files, cabinets,
computers and other office equipment, he explained me what would happen.
In order to preserve my anonymity my name would not be made public and I
would receive the code number X1. I was the first of the so-called
X-witnesses. There would be about ten of them in the following months.
Patrick and his colleague would interrogate me in a specially equipped
room. Video cameras would record the interrogation. A third person would
operate the cameras in the adjacent room. Im afraid of cameras, I
whispered. He nodded. Tania already told me, and I know why. They made
you do things in front of the camera, didnt they? My stomach contracted
when I nodded yes. Oh God, this was going to be so difficult. Its quite
different here Regina. We use the cameras to prevent us from having to
write everything down and repeat every question during the
interrogation. Believe me, it is very


annoying to always repeat or correct your answer, while one of us has
to type it. I promise the cameras wont bother you, they are very
discrete. I would have loved to say No and run away, but just like I
didnt resist in the past, I quietly stayed put, and underwent the
events. They lead me through a labyrinth of passages, elevators and
corridors, to the Serge Creuz room, which was specially equipped with
cameras, built in microphones, childrens toys and pastel coloured walls,
to facilitate the interrogation of paedophilia victims. I looked around
uneasily; I didnt feel comfortable at all in this artificial living room
atmosphere. It reminded me of the past; of the rooms they brought me to,
a stranger in an environment where anything could happen to you. I would
not have to do the things of the past anymore, but from now on they
would want me to talk about it. I didnt know what was worst and
swallowed with difficulty. Talking about it seemed even more difficult,
more confrontational. The toys and the little paintings at the wall,
made me feel younger, smaller than I really was. I was afraid and
nervous, but nevertheless I smiled and faked that I was relaxed, just
like before. The dj-vu feeling was complete. We sat down at the table
and I took my shoes off. This made the well-organized cops a little
uncomfortable, but I wanted to be myself and got ready to talk in my own
way. I pulled up my legs and looked defiantly at Patrick. I was ready
for it; at least thats what I wanted them to believe. The discussion
lasted for several hours. I drew them a rough picture of my childhood,
my early years in Knokke and how I lived in Ghent during my teenage
years. How I met Tony in my mothers studio, and the ensuing years of
sexual abuse. In the meantime it had gotten dark outside and the
building around us had become very quiet. When I stopped talking,
looking at the floor, there was total silence. The BOB guys, whom I
expected to know everything already, almost looked defeated. The cameras
were stopped. I got up from the chair and settled on the windowsill.
Everything was quiet and peaceful outside, even here in the heart of
Brussels. I saw the stars high up between the apartment buildings. I
felt dejected, as if by speaking about it I finally grasped the
seriousness of what had happened to me during all these years. I felt
depressed, ashamed, and sad. Other people knew my secret now, my rotten,
dirty secret. Philippe, Patricks colleague, who had been also at Tanias
place and was my second interrogator, asked me how I felt. I shrugged my
shoulders. I felt dirty. He leaned against the windowsill. He had
remained very calm the entire time, an ocean of rest, and I felt at ease
with him. You dont have to be ashamed Regina, you really dont. The
adults who did this to you should be ashamed; you know that, dont you?
Youre not alone anymore now, Ginny, do you realize that? You dont have
to carry your secret alone, we carry it with you. After this evening you
will never be alone again. I nodded. I didnt believe what Philippe said
because I was overwhelmed by a chilly loneliness and a deep sadness. But
years later I understood how true his words were. Since that day the
weight on my shoulders became much lighter. Everybody was ready to quit
for the day. I looked at Patrick and asked him if he could do something
with my story, because I wasnt convinced at all that I had really
contributed to the investigation. Of course, he said, with his warm
booming voice, This is the beginning! Next time we can work in much more
detail. I was startled.


Next time? I faltered. Yes, what did you think, that you were off the
hook already? I gave them a grudging laugh. The three policemen made a
grin. And in spite of all my fear and misery I felt relieved. When I
came home I heard Erwin snoring upstairs. I waved goodbye to the people
who listened to me and quietly closed the door. I was emotionally
exhausted but not physically tired. I had the feeling that I would never
be able to get a wink of sleep anymore for the rest of my life. I felt
drained. My fear had decreased and I realized the magnitude of the step
I had just taken. I had broken the code of silence, my obligation not to
talk, and I had talked to cops! I tried to imagine what my abusers
reaction could be, but my brain refused to co-operate. Enough for now,
whispered one of my alters, let it rest now. I drank a mug of hot milk
and went upstairs. Erwin snored loudly; dawn was near. I crawled next to
my husband, made a warm little nest under the blankets. Half asleep he
put his arm around me. I listened to his breathing. I knew I would never
be able to tell certain things. I was too afraid to be declared insane,
not to be taken serious. When the street outside had come to life and
when I heard my kids little footsteps in their bedrooms, I finally fell
asleep, exhausted. The first week after the hearing I felt terribly
guilty. I was afraid of what was still to come, afraid to talk, but at
the same time I wasnt capable anymore of keeping my mouth shut. I knew
that I would have to implicate my parents and certainly my mother during
the next sessions of the interrogation. I would have liked to protect
her but if I wanted to be honest about what I had been through, I
couldnt remain silent about her involvement. This was very different
from the therapy sessions. I understood very well that whatever I said
could have an impact on the life of others. With Bee I could unburden my
soul and discuss my problems, it didnt really matter if was entirely
correct or not. Bee listened and gave me advice, but I could still lead
a quiet and anonymous life. When I talked in the interrogation room,
everything was recorded and God knows who could listen to my stories. I
had started up a gigantic machine. What would the impact on my parents
be, on my mother who had worshiped Tony and given me to him as the
ultimate present, well aware that he would use me and abuse me? I was
afraid to lose her but I realized that, if I kept protecting her, I
would disavow my entire life and lose my credibility. Above all I wanted
to remain honest, because the lies and false appearances of my parents,
family members and abusers drifted further away than ever from my world.
The phone rang. Hello Regine. Hi Mom. I closed my eyes while a feeling
of guilt filled my head. I was a traitor. Are you coming to visit this
weekend? I dont think so Mom. Why not? I havent seen the kids for so
long, is something the matter? No, but Im really busy. Why did my
resistance melt away when I heard her? Why was she so important to me?
Daddy will get food on Sunday so you can stay for dinner. I dont think
And presents for the children! And dont forget Daddys birthday, Its not
nice to forget that!


Why did I always have this irritating feeling that we talked next to
each other? My arguments obviously didnt count, she reeled me in like a
fish on a hook. She broke my resistance by imposing her will in a
compelling way. She didnt want to give me too much leeway because her
influence might decrease. More than my father she realized how important
it was to keep me from talking about what happened. She didnt get sick
on purpose of course, but she exploited her disease to keep me chained
to her. She blackmailed me every time I saw her by making me understand
that shed die if I besmirched the good reputation of the family. She
knew how scared I was to hurt her. My entire life I had tried to be a
good, even perfect daughter. I still felt compelled to fulfil her
wishes, hoping to finally win her love. But at the same time I hated
myself for living a lie. I should tell her I testified to the BOB. I was
ashamed I still talked to her while I tried to unravel the truth in the
interrogation room. I was carrying a new secret; I was leading a double
life again. I grudgingly agreed to come for dinner on Sunday. I didnt
really want to but couldnt muster up the courage to turn her down. Maybe
now that she was sick and wouldnt last that long anymore, my Mommy would
finally take up her responsibility and help me confirm my terrible
secret. I longed for her to say that she knew what went wrong, that she
made mistakes and was sorry about it. Erwin came home and noticed
immediately that I was brooding over something. He asked me what was
wrong but I didnt say anything. The kids demanded my attention. I played
with them, tried to read them a story with enthusiasm, got their pyjamas
ready. I tried to be a good mother, but inside of me pain and sadness
were storming. Why was I different? I tried to have clean clothes for my
children every day; I tried to offer them a regular life, healthy food,
but I had to struggle to do it. I hugged them, tried to give them
physical contact and a feeling of protection, I told them stories, made
time available to listen to them. First I tried to be the perfect
daughter, now I tried to be the perfect mother. I had a strong feeling
that I didnt succeed in either of them. My mother looked so
self-assured, while I was constantly having doubts about myself. All she
ever did, right or wrong, she always did for my good. I wanted to
believe so badly that it made me a better person. But I hardly slept one
and a half hour per night, had the worst nightmares for many years.
Nightmares that took me back every time to the ordeal of the past. I had
to fight against paralysing depressions, against fear and pain, against
the intense desire to die. I still needed weekly therapy to get through
the next couple of days. Did her upbringing make me a better person? Did
I feel protected, loved, cared for? No. Never. These two worlds, the
world of my parents and my abusers, and the world of the truth and my
family, were fighting for victory. Would I go on testifying or would I
comply with the wishes of my abusers? Would I have the courage to break
the ties with my parents and my abusers, and leave the world I grew up
in? It felt like walking on a tightrope above an immense abyss. I didnt
feel very confident when I got into the car of the BOB agents who came
to pick me up again. They talked about motorbikes but I didnt really pay
attention. I wanted to get out of this life. I didnt want to testify at
all. I wanted to forget. When we entered Brussels I got the shivers. I
hated this city, I hated being dragged along, and I was terrified of
speaking about what was in my head. My alters were struggling for
control. But when we got out of the car it became clear that Stone was
taking the lead. He was the toughest


and had the guts to walk through the doors of the police building
without being terrified. He stood tall, pretended this was easy, as if
he had already done this a dozen times. He did as he had been taught,
year after year. Entering the factory in Zaventem had always been an
ordeal. Stone forced our body towards the entrance door, step by step.
Tony or the driver, a private driver of one of my cruellest abusers,
walked behind me. I could have escaped easily, my physical condition was
much better than theirs and they would never have caught me if I had run
off. But where would I have run? I had been trained, tuned in to my
abusers and their abuse. My grandmother and my mother would have pushed
me right in Tonys arms again. Stone was the alter who suppressed the
desire to flee and made us go inside, no matter how scared we were.
Trained to overcome fear. Trained to obey, simply to survive. Walking to
the interrogation room gave me the same feeling. Deep inside there was
that intense fear. But nevertheless I followed them meek as a lamb, just
like before when I didnt run from my abusers. Who was there Ginny?
Patrick asked. I saw the abusers in front of me again, dead sharp. I was
no longer the Ginny from the interrogation room, but the little child
that was brought in and recorded the men and the two women who were
already present. I shivered. How many people were present? I saw them,
counted them, but couldnt utter the words. I was afraid, afraid to use
my voice and be punished. Six, I whispered, and shrunk together because
I knew what would be the next question. Who were they? Did you know
them? I nodded. I stopped talking because pronouncing their names made
me feel so afraid. I cant do this, flashed through my mind. God help me,
I cant. Ginny? I was afraid to look up. Who was there? Can you tell us?
My throat had contracted. A long period of silence followed. The
detectives waited patiently, while I was fighting a tough internal
struggle. I didnt know how much time went by. Ginny, how long will you
go on protecting these people? Help us, tell us who was present, and
please describe them. Dont you want them to stop? I nodded, my eyes
filled with tears. I didnt want to cry, I didnt! Of course I wanted to
stop them, thats exactly why I tried to overcome my fear. And slowly,
fighting the pain that overwhelmed me, stuttering, I pronounced the
names of the abusers who made me do things I prefer to forget. I
hesitated when I wanted to tell the names of the women. There was one
woman I couldnt name. I cant remember her name, I whispered, because I
was unable to talk normally. Patrick looked me right in the eyes. He
understood. He knew whom I was protecting. But I stubbornly refused to
tell her name. The hours went by. This was torture, not just for me, but
also for the BOB detectives. They watched me struggle to answer their
questions. They saw how I tried to flee into forgetfulness to stop
feeling the pain. I told them little by little that my friend Clo, I
didnt know her real name, might not be alive anymore. Silence followed.
What do you mean Regina?


Clo isnt alive anymore. What happened to her? I stared outside, to the
normal world that went on as usual, while time seemed to have stopped in
here. I was shaking inside. She died My voice sounded as if I was crying
but I fought to keep looking unmoved. Nobody should see my sadness,
certainly not the cameras. I refused to cry and make my abusers feel
victorious. How did she die? Bitterness overwhelms me. She died after
she… I swallowed, had a baby. Were you there? Patrick asked, a little
less roaring than usual. I nodded. The impotence, the fear, the anger,
all these feelings popped up again at full strength. I experienced a
strong feeling of loss. I missed my big sister, my Clo. I felt the
gaping wound that her death had caused to me. My defences broke down. By
indicating that Clo had died, I couldnt suppress her death and the
circumstances surrounding it any longer. I was taken inside a house,
some sort of bungalow. Where? I dont know; it was along the old road to
the coast. You have to get off and follow a narrow winding road. Would
you recognize it? Yes. Again I saw the landscape slide past. It was as
if everything were happening this minute, past and present seemed to
merge. What did the house look like? The pain. I felt the warmth of the
sun shining through the windshield. How the car stopped in front of a
bungalow, took a turn and moved up the driveway. The little concrete
square pond under the window next to the door, the step at the entrance,
the starlings defending their territory chirping aggressively in the
tall poplar close to the shed, the ditch that surrounded most of the
property like a moat. Step by step I forced myself to describe the
interior, the people sitting in the living room. It was much worse than
the first time. At least I didnt know then what was going to happen. How
I yelled, how I didnt want to let her go. How Tony kicked me out of the
room into the corridor and insulted me. This was a terrible nightmare to
me. The detectives had to pull every answer out of me. De Baets got
irritated every now and then and tried to make me give more details.
Nobody seemed to realize what I was going through. To relive this was
terrible, to put it into words was inhuman. How could I explain what it
was like to feel my sisters life slipping away while I was holding her
in my arms? How could I describe that I desperately called for help but
didnt receive any? What were the right words to describe the pain, the
desolate loneliness, the bewilderment and the extreme sadness that
slowly made me insane? I wanted to leave. I couldnt go on with this.
After many long hours the interrogation was stopped. Totally exhausted
by all the emotions I crawled onto the windowsill. It was five AM and
the blue hour, this familiar blue hour, which reminded me of the past,
had come. I gazed through the window silently. I was drained, exhausted,
burnt out, lonely and insignificant, terribly hurt.


Peter, the policeman who operated the cameras was leaning against the
windowsill. What next? I asked quietly. What do I have to do next? Its
over Ginny. They cant hurt you anymore. I shook my head with bitterness.
Patrick came in and listened along. I think theyll get away with it, I
whispered, a feeling of total impotence and despair pervaded my body. A
heavy feeling that made me lonelier than ever. In a short while I will
go back to my family. I dont know if I will be able to talk to them. The
detectives didnt say anything; they were as moved as I was. They surely
hadnt expected this. Its time to make the abusers pay for the suffering
they inflicted on you and Clo, De Baets said firmly. I looked at him and
wanted to believe him so badly, but somehow I felt Id never win. The
people I knew were too powerful, too influential, and too untouchable. I
knew that very well, the detectives still had to find out.

35. The Spaghetti Verdict The White March The investigations in the
Dutroux case had steadily progressed. In August 1996 the bodies of two
abducted girls, Julie and Melissa, were discovered buried on one of
Dutroux properties, and in early September the remains of two other
girls, An and Eefje, were found under a concrete slab on a property
owned by Bernard Weinstein, his closest associate. Unfortunately
Weinstein was dead; Dutroux had killed him after a dispute. Being close
to Dutroux is very hazardous to your health! Everyone expected the
Neufchteau magistrates to solve a whole series of child disappearances
in the coming weeks or months. There were rumours that Dutroux had
buried a whole group of murdered girls in a mineshaft in Jumet, a small
village in the South of the country. The entire Belgian population was
glued to their TV screens. But suddenly, in October 1996 a bombshell hit
the country. The item in the news that made me sink into the earth
lasted for four minutes. The anchorperson mentioned it without emotion.
I didnt hear the rest of the news anymore. The investigating magistrate,
judge Connerotte would be taken off the case! Connerotte, the highly
motivated judge who had arrested Dutroux, had attended a benefit evening
in support of the victims. He had received a plate of spaghetti. This
was totally understandable in the atmosphere of euphoria following the
rescue of Sabine and Laetitia, the two girls who were found in Dutroux
cellar. But Marc Dutroux defence attorney filed a complaint claiming
that Connerotte had violated his impartiality. The case went up to the
Belgian Supreme Court (Hof van Cassatie) that decided to take Connerotte
off the case. This decision of 14 October will go into history as The
Spaghetti Verdict. He was replaced by an inexperienced judge, Langlois.
For one of the biggest cases in Belgian history this decision was
absurd. It would have caused a popular uprising if some parents and
family members of the victims hadnt calmed down the people who were
massed in front of the palace of justice in Brussels waiting for the
verdict. At first I felt a terrible anger, because the judge whom I so
strongly believed in, had allowed himself to be compromised. I knew this
was the beginning of the end. The


abusers scored their first victory. They never showed their power and
influence openly but the results were clearly visible and this was only
the start of the cover up operation. There would be much more to come.
At this very moment I realized that the battle that I had accepted to
wage was lost from the start, and that the people who took me seriously,
were running a big risk. Patrick didnt show his feelings. He remained a
cop, with a steel face, his feelings locked up while on duty. He
believed in the system and in the people he had known during his entire
career. I tried to take over his confidence but I had seen too much to
be able to do so. In spite of the many tortured and murdered children,
not one of my abusers had ever been punished. None of them even had to
pay a fine. If the attorney of a little handyman like Marc Dutroux
already got his way by using legal tricks, what could I do against the
others? What could I do, me the insignificant little victim, with my
voice and memory as only proof? I wanted to quit, abandon everything,
but I noticed I was not alone in my anger and impotence. The people in
the street reacted with the same bitterness. They didnt want to lose
Connerotte. The parents of the disappeared and murdered children, who
had organised themselves in a group, openly vented their anger. Their
hope hurt me. Before the case reached the Supreme Court they had still
believed that Connerotte wasnt doomed and that the old judges would use
their common sense and keep him on the case. Their naivety reminded me
of the time I had still hope. But I had learned to be prepared for the
worst. And the worst had happened. The old judges of the Supreme Court
extended a helping hand to the abusers. The entire population was
ignored as if they were the populaces, far below them. Connerotte was
thrown out. That evening I felt lonelier than ever before. Erwin looked
at me with compassion but I turned my head away and tuned in upon
myself. I was thinking of all the children who had been abused after me
and the victims who were being abused maybe right this very minute. If
one by one the people I trusted and who tried to verify my story
disappeared, what could I still do? Would my story die without a
struggle? If what Connerotte had done, were considered a violation of
impartiality, if this was enough to throw him off the case, what would
happen to De Baets team? What would they be accused of? My fingers
trembled when I dialled his GSM number. I decided to tell him I would
stop testifying. I didnt want him to jeopardize his career for me. I
didnt want to be responsible for that. Connerotte had the people
supporting him. But De Baets was an unknown guy, and I was an X-witness,
without a name, without a face. That evening we had a long talk that
lasted for at least an hour. My voice clearly showed my despair, but he
tried to convince me that he and his team would go on, no matter what
happened. When I put down the phone I stayed sitting down for a long
time, my back leaning against the wall. I had accepted a new hearing on
Saturday. Although I had the feeling that a splinter of glass was
cutting through my heart, I stubbornly decided to keep fighting. As a
result of the Spaghetti arrest and to force the political world to
provide clarity in the countless abduction cases, support groups of the
victims decided to organise a march, The White March, through Brussels
on 20 October 1996. All participants were asked to wear white clothes
and white hats. Philippe asked me if I wanted to participate. I sadly
shook my head. I cant cope with the crowd, I whispered.


Why not? he asked. It took a lot of effort to explain to him that I
felt ashamed of what had happened to me. I was afraid that people would
notice this by just looking at me, and that they would condemn me.
Something evil happened to you, Ginny, he said calmly. You dont have to
be ashamed about that. Be proud you survived. Be proud of your courage.
Courage? I felt so scared and so little. I guess it took a lot of nerve
for you to come testify in front of us, isnt it? I swallowed. How could
he know? You make the difference Ginny, you really do. You make the
difference for todays little victims. Are you going? I asked in a small
voice. Yes, I am. The fact that a man like him would march to support
girls like me, and to demand justice and change, meant a lot more to me
than I was able to explain. I watched on TV how the enormous crowd
serenely moved through the streets of Brussels. Three hundred thousand
people giving a one-day long cry of distress to the leaders of the
country. Help us! Dont let this happen again. I wished I were among
them, and that I could lay down flowers at the stand with the many names
of missing children, but I was so afraid of people. The march left an
enormous impression on me. Several parents of missing children talked to
the crowd. Sabine and Laetitia said a few words to thank the
participants and received a deafening applause. The balloons, the white
flowers and sweaters, the serene atmosphere, the silence that sounded
louder than a scream, my entire heart was there, in Brussels, with the
victims. And inside me grew conviction, stubbornness. I had to keep
talking, testifying so nobody would ever forget. So nobody would ever be
able to close his eyes to this scandal that undermined the very basic
values of our civilisation. As a result of the White March the Belgian
parliament decided to establish the so-called Dutroux Commission chaired
by Marc Verwilghen. This Commission had to investigate why so many
things had gone wrong in the Dutroux case. The errors that had been made
were so enormous indeed that many believed that they couldnt have been
caused only by incompetence but that there might have been deliberate
acts of obstruction and protection. Why else had Marc Dutroux, a known
sex offender, been released on probation after he had served only a
minor part of a previous sentence? The lack of cooperation between the
different police organizations and between police and magistrates had
also become notorious. In 1996 Belgium had three independent police
organizations: the Federal Police (Rijkswacht) depending from the
Minister of the Interior, the Judicial Police depending from the
Minister of Justice, and the local police depending from the local
communes, headed by the mayor. One of the major decisions of the Dutroux
Commission would be to merge all the police organizations into one
general Federal Police. But the rather rough way the Commission would
treat certain magistrates and policemen would create hard feelings and
would explain the lack of cooperation Marc Verwilghen, would receive
later after he became Minister of Justice in the next government.


36. The torment of testifying The biggest problem at every hearing was
to come up with concrete facts. I had a lot of problems with dates.
Through the years the abusers were mainly the same people; but I had a
hard time determining if a specific event had happened in 1981 or e.g.
1984. Was I eleven, fourteen or eight? And yet, if I felt safe I could
vividly remember amazing details as if I were looking through the eyes
of a young girl who was being taken along by her abusers. I mentioned
license plates, described the interior of houses. I could tell what
season of the year it was. There was a treasure of information inside my
head. But sticking the right date on the right piece of information
proved to be quite difficult. It may sound weird but the long years of
torture and exploitation were so monotonous that I had a hard time
differentiating between the individual years. Every day, week, month and
year resembled the previous one until I met Erwin. There were dates of
course that I knew reasonably well, like the first time Tony lent me out
during the Ghent Feasts, a milestone in my career as a victim. Sometimes
we kept talking in the car when the BOB agents took me back home.
Patrick urged me to be as accurate as possible. Every question they
asked me could be considered as a leading question, he said. He was
clearly bothered by this and I understood his worry. After all, the
abusers in the unlikely case they would ever be arrested wouldnt have
any problems hiring very experienced solicitors. My fourth hearing was
tough and lasted for hours again, but for the first time I overcame my
fear. I gave them a lot of details about Clo, names, and locations. I
described in detail what they did to her and how she died. I also
described sexual acts that I thought I would never be able to talk
about. Shame overwhelmed me, but I looked at the floor and stubbornly
kept telling them what they demanded from me, what they taught me and
other little victims, what they forced us to do without or, if
necessary, with violence. There was bitterness in my voice, the sadness
was so deep, the confrontation so painful, but my secrets emerged with
the hours going by. And then they showed me a book with photographs and
asked me to indicate the girls I recognized. Talking about what happened
to girls I knew years ago was very difficult because I betrayed my
abusers. But coming face to face with a girl or boy whom I had seen
being tortured or killed was unbearable. It was as if their little face
begged me: Why did you abandon me? Couldnt you have saved me? For an
outsider it was just a nameless picture, but I had the impression that
the picture would come to life any moment and that little arms would
drag me into it. Every session with photographs was an ordeal to me. But
I believed that I could really make a difference with my testimony and I
tried to overcome that nauseating feeling. During my fourth hearing I
recognised Clo and Vero. And again I crawled on the windowsill,
exhausted, while the BOB agents put labels on the videotapes. During the
ride home I started to feel better and just before I got out of the car
in Ghent I mentioned to the detectives a number of names of girls who
had died in the network. During my fifth and sixth hearing I described
the hunts in the Ardennes. I explained that Tony, Dani or another guard
dog drove me to the castles, how I saw children being 126

killed during the perverted games. At that time I didnt know where the
castles were located, my abusers had told me that we went to Luxemburg.
Later I would find their exact locations with the help of some good
friends who had done research for me. I also explained how they made
child porn and snuff movies, many times with dogs, in the factory that I
would recognise a little later when Danny, one of the detectives, took
me on a tour in Zaventem near Brussels. I described very accurately the
inside of the building and the awful smell of the cleaning product, I
guess it was Dethol, they used to clean the bloodspots. I told them that
I was often driven to the factory in a BMW with tainted glass windows.
When I later gave a detailed description of the interior of the car it
appeared that the BMW was of a special type that was only used by an
exclusive group of people. On 13 November at 11 p.m. one of my toughest
hearings started; it would last until 7 AM the next day. I had often
told De Baets about my uneasiness. He always repeated the same i.e. that
no journalist would get even half a word from him. And I believed him
because he was so straightforward. Only a few people knew my real
identity, he said. But every time he introduced me to someone else I got
startled. This time prosecutor Bourlet was present and he briefly shook
hands with me. He would watch an interrogation from the camera room,
together with Vandoren and Duinslaeger, other magistrates, and
lieutenant Michot a policeman. I didnt say a word but became totally
inhibited, because new people always threw me off balance. Patrick
explained to me that this was very important to the investigation. If
the magistrates could witness the interrogation, they could evaluate
whether everything was done by the book and verify if no suggestive
questions were asked. The interrogation started slowly. I told them that
Dutroux and Nihoul knew each other for quite some time already. Dutroux
liked to play games and sometimes brought his two dogs along. They then
pushed my face in a pillow of a seat and let the dogs do what they liked
them to do. Dutroux was only a second class figure though, a handyman. I
explained that Dutroux friend Weinstein loved to bury animals alive. And
then we came to Chrissie. I had mentioned her name before I got out of
the car at home on 25 October and the detectives remembered an unsolved
murder at an abandoned mushroom farm near Brussels. One of them had gone
to the parents of Christine Van Hees, the name of the murdered girl, to
get some photos of her. When they asked me questions about Chrissie the
old images came slowly back to me and made me feel awful. After some
difficult moments I told them that Chrissie had been sacrificed. And
then they showed me photographs. The images of the ordeal of Chrissies
torture and murder resurfaced in my head and my alters had to come to my
help. Little Girl, one of my alters, was sitting on the windowsill, her
knees pulled up, filled with pain and sadness. She had just turned
fifteen, and felt the presence of the other little victims so intensely
that, in her mind, she could almost touch them. She trembled and crawled
against the wooden window frame. She pressed herself against it so hard
as if she wanted to disappear in it. Her eyes looked at the past, at
Tony who had hurt her so many times, by making her do things she wasnt
able to do. Tony was nearby too and Little Girl bowed her head because
of all these painful memories. Patrick walked up to her and leaned
against the windowsill.


Which other girls do you know, little girl? he asked, accidentally
pronouncing her name. Vero, Mieke, Clo, Noelle, Chrissie … she said
immediately, because she remembered every little face, every child.
Patrick stood baffled. After a tough interrogation, he suddenly heard
his witness speak with the voice of a young girl and pronounce names
that made him silent at once. It all came out so easily. Are they still
alive? Little Girl shrugged her shoulders. Some maybe, I think. Others
no. And she looked at him with big desperate eyes. Who is dead? he asked
quietly. Chrissie, she whispered. Patrick asked how she died. They
burned her. Where? In a cellar, she whispered and her voice became very
weak. She withdrew to herself, fighting the smell of the liquid they
poured on her. But at the next question she shook her head. I want to go
home, she begged, away from those awful memories. But Chrissie didnt
leave our head anymore. Her screaming, her begging for help Tiu.
Everything flowed together again, as if time could be manipulated, and
became alive when the images were called up. My baby son whom I had
cherished; Chrissie who got punished in such a cruel way; the screaming
in my head; the feeling of insanity I had those days; the madness that
had started when she but I refused to let those images through.
Everything in the interrogation room seemed filled with pain, and the
teddy bears painfully reminded me of Cest pour toi ma petite! (This is
for you my little sweetheart). Mich had given her a big present wrapped
in the paper of a famous toy store. Chrissie had been in heaven.
Impatient, excited and giggling like a young teenager, she had unwrapped
her present. The teddy bear dressed in a nightgown with nightcap held
his arms wide open, inviting her. It was so painful. It hurt so much
that I could only tell who had been with Chrissie that day, in a
roundabout way. It drove Patrick and Philippe almost crazy. In front of
them they could see a scared, adult woman, but now they suddenly had to
communicate with Kenny, the severely traumatized little alter, who had
become almost autistic since the death of Tiu and Chrissie. Kenny had
the information but couldnt talk. Since that specific day so long ago,
Kenny had never manifested himself again. Now, for the first time, I had
to convince him to talk about what exactly happened to Chrissie. Kenny
put up a struggle; he didnt want to go back. He was scared, scared to
death, scared of the people down there. Scared of the pain and of No! He
didnt want to say what and who scared him so much. Obstinately, full of
fear, in an evasive way, he dodged the BOB agents questions. It was only
because of the support of the other alters, who were listening and stood
close by him, that Kenny released little parts of his story, stuttering
like a confused little kid. Kenny had been silent for more than ten
years. He never understood what had happened to him and now, all of a
sudden, he had to find words to describe what he couldnt


understand. He was unable to tell at what time or even which year this
all happened. Kenny had never learnt to read the clock nor was he aware
of years or seasons. Kenny knew only the nights during which he was
abused or tortured. That little alter, who only showed up when the
abusers needed someone who couldnt scream or cry, was suddenly asked to
reason as a normal person aware of the time of the day. 1974, 1980 or
1984 were all the same to him. Over the years he remained a deeply hurt
little child; a scared abused little being. He hadnt aged a single day
since his first appearance. He put together events that had happened at
intervals of say, a week, a fortnight, because he hadnt actually lived
during the periods in between. The alters had helped Ginny, the girl and
the body, to survive the inhuman atrocities, but in an interrogation
room this didnt sound very convincing. The detectives had to come up
with a usable testimony, something we werent able to provide them on
demand. Patrick felt powerless. He really wanted to have the
perpetrators arrested, but he started to realize the huge resistance he
faced. Connerotte was gone, judge Langlois, who had replaced him, had a
much more hierarchical attitude, and only wanted to communicate with the
detectives through their boss, commandant Duterme. Patrick knew very
well that Duterme and Langlois didnt attach a great importance to
anonymous witnesses, so imagine their attitude towards victims suffering
from DIS. The mere fact that he gave me a chance to testify, knowing
that it would backfire on him, is really admirable. For people who were
used to working with criminals, a victim like me must have been a
nightmare. But I felt powerless too. I wished I could give them more,
tell everything just like that, without fear of reprisals, I wished it
were a lot easier. But I had to talk about offences that were much more
serious than traffic violations and I was afraid, very much afraid. Who
would watch the videos of the interrogations or read the transcripts,
where might they end up and who could make improper use of them? I had
to give up so much of my private life that it really scared me. Did I
have anything personal left? Soon everybody would know what happened,
how often. How would people who didnt know me react? But very slowly I
gave them more and more information. How they tortured her, raped us
with objects and tied her up like a rabbit; how Annie let the snake she
brought along slither over Chrissies naked body; how they untied her,
let her run off, caught her and tied her up again. I gave a summary
description of the rooms we were in. And as if this hadnt been painful
enough the detectives then stuck the photographs under my nose again. I
revolted. It was five oclock in the morning and I wanted to go home. I
had to work a few hours later, take care of my kids and I knew that if I
indicated the right picture, Patrick would continue for at least two or
three more hours. So I did something stupid, I pointed at a photo of a
totally different girl that I had never seen, photo P10. And I looked at
Patrick defiantly making sure he understood that I really wanted this to
stop. And he gave in. I was allowed to go home. Although I will
recognize Chrissies photo later, this indication of P10 will be one of
the main reasons to discredit my testimony. Yes, I had done something
stupid but what else could I do to make them understand that I really
had enough of it that day?


When I came home Erwin hugged me, I let him but I was tense, my head
was filled with sorrow and fear. Because what would happen if tomorrow
they told me that they didnt believe me anymore and that the
investigation was closed? Would the abusers walk? Would I have the
courage to fight on, to testify in a courtroom with the abusers present?
This scared me to death. Was I strong enough to confront my torturers?
The nightmares hardly allowed me to sleep. I tossed and turned, I roamed
about the house feeling depressed and finally fell asleep, exhausted,
only to wake up with a start a little later. I never screamed, Erwin
continued to sleep peacefully, not aware of the ordeal I had to face
every night. Hi Mommy! laughed Eli my oldest son, throwing his little
arms around my neck. I held him close to me, while my little girls
competed for a place on my lap. My baby son crowed with excitement
hearing the voices of his sisters and brother. Hi little kids of mine! I
smiled and my heart filled itself with love. I took them in my arms,
took in their smell and warmth, and forced myself to remember how good
it felt to touch them. In spite of everything, I had received a lot in
this life. The bogeys of the past often took over but I was fighting for
a better life. My children deserved a sweet, warm mother and a family
that allowed them to grow up peacefully. Shall we go on a trip today? I
asked them. They cheerfully shouted through one another asking me where
we would go. I looked at Erwin and he shrugged his shoulders. To the
sea! I wanted to show them how good it felt to walk on the beach when
the cold wind was blowing around you. I wanted to let them experience
the soothing sound of the waves rolling back and forth. I wanted to show
them my secret little places in the Zwin, and on the beach. Today I
wanted to run with my kids, enjoy being alive. They made a lot of noise,
jumping up and down cheerfully. I tried to get their clothes and shoes
together while their excited little bodies were jumping all over me. It
was a cold winters day, typical for November, but it was dry and there
was some sunshine. When we arrived at the sea we all ran along the
water, five dogs ahead of us, our arms up in the air. A Mommy with her
three children while Daddy carried the baby on his back. He looked at us
jumping wild, he was our protector. I sang with my kids, we tumbled
through the cold sand but didnt feel the winter-cold. This was the place
I always felt at home as a child, where I found peace. And now I could
share this spot and this special day with my children. I turned towards
the sea, closed my eyes and throw my head back. Three children stuck to
me like glue. Erwin came to stand behind me and put his arms around my
shoulders. And together we enjoyed the wind, the salty air and the
solitude of the abandoned beach. There, at this unique moment, we all
felt united. I hugged my children and thanked nobody in particular for
this exquisite day.
37. My farewell letter to Clo


On the eighteenth of November the policemen picked me up again. My
eight hearing would last from 11 p.m. until 10 AM the next day. But I
felt better now and gave them a lot of information about what happened
in the mushroom farm. I described the sex party that happened before
Chrissie and I were led to the farm. In my mind this happened the same
day but my sense of timing, which had never been very good had been
totally shattered after Tius murder so I might have described a party
that happened a few days earlier. I gave them a detailed description of
the buildings and the people who were there. When I told them how they
burned us with cigarettes, how they tied Chrissie up shortly before they
sprinkled her with fuel and burned her I was very close to a total
collapse again. This was the longest hearing I ever had. Everybody
seemed to be getting ready for a major action now. Several targets for
house searches had been identified. But the operation was cancelled.
Tensions had started to build up between Patricks team and superior
police officers. Patrick didnt really mind that the searches wouldnt be
carried out. The longer he could keep working to get the information
ready, the stronger his case would be. I heard that Anke, my little
friend from Knokke, was testifying too. This news overwhelmed me with
intense joy and relief. I admired her courage! I was not allowed to
contact her for the sake of the investigation but I felt very close to
her now. My heart broke when I recalled that I had to leave her behind
to save myself. But by the end of November feelings of anger and deep
sadness had built up inside of me. I had lost Clo, Chrissie, four little
children of my own and countless children without a name. It seemed as
if the major part of my life consisted of loss and saying goodbye. When
would the abusers have to explain what they did to me, in the
interrogation room with cold cameras pointing at them? What they did to
my little sisters, while I was watching helplessly, or being forced to
join them? When would the cold sweat ooze from their pores? I wanted to
talk to Clo, escape from my isolation for a short while. And I wrote her
a letter. Hi Clo, After all these years Im close to you again. Im so
close I can almost feel you. I can hear the echo of your laughter,
cheerful, open, a little cynical sometimes. I miss you terribly and for
the first time I realize I will never hold you in my arms again. That
never again will I hear Hey Reggie! while you throw your arms up in the
air and hand me a bottle of beer. We werent part of this world you and
me. Together with a few other girls we lived in a world that was just
beyond the field of view of the regular people. We knew it but never
said it. We were sisters forever linked to each other by our common
past. I wish so much I could have saved you Clo. I would have given
anything to keep you alive. And when you died, slid out of my arms like
water through my fingers, I decided to forget you. Oh Clo, I couldnt
live with the idea that you had given up. I was so angry with you
because you dared to leave me behind in a world in which I thought I
couldnt survive without you.


You taught me everything. You pulled me out of my fantasy world by
shaking me and yelling Fight Reggie, fight goddammit! and by asking me
to stay alive to see, to remember, to fight. You gave me self-confidence
You are special Reggie, youre going to make it, I can see it in your
eyes. You will find someone who loves you, you will protect children
like us. but I didnt believe you. I hated you. I was very mad at you.
How could you leave me? You were the one who always helped me get up
again, who stopped me when I wanted to commit suicide. I felt so
powerless, so abandoned. Can you understand Clo? You made me believe we
would be together forever, that you would always help me. But you gave
up and faded away. Time went by. I refused to face reality. To me you
were still alive, had a boyfriend every now and then, but remained
cheerful and independent. You had shaken off the past just like a snake
shakes off her old skin. You stayed young. I didnt want to say farewell
to you. And thus I kept you alive in my mind. And when time went by it
became almost real. Deep inside I knew it was a lie but the dream was
stronger. And slowly my anger ebbed away and love returned. I loved you
so much, girl. My friendship for you was almost supernatural. I
cherished you, loved you, talked to you in my mind. When Tony and the
others abused me, I crawled to the spot where you were. I looked at your
smile and felt comforted. During all those years Clo, you had your
little place in my heart and mind, the prison and refuge for girls like
us. You were alive there, you werent dead to me. But then I told the
detectives about your death, about the house where it happened. I
described the house, benumbed, and got thrown back into the past. I
couldnt cry. There was emptiness, a gaping black hole in my heart. The
heavy wound that your death had created hadnt even started to heal. And
I didnt feel anything but that wound. But time goes by, as it always
does. And even if I didnt want it, the wound slowly heals. The intense
pain decreases, despair turns into sorrow, sorrow becomes mourning, and
mourning lets you say goodbye. I touch your smile, your comforting
smile, for the last time with my mind. I feel sad and tears have come to
my eyes. I take your hand in mine and kiss your fingers, put them
against my cheek. I try to remember how you felt so long ago. I love you
so much that I do have to let you go. Farewell Clo girl, Ill never
forget you. I see in you the common sense of my alter Oochi, the grin of
Bo, the fighting spirit of Stone. Youll be in my heart. Always. I was
learning to cope with the traumas of my childhood. To say farewell to
Clo, in my own way, was a new milestone in the healing process. For the
first time I allowed my emotions to come to the surface. By allowing
sorrow, the pain-alters integrated into a larger entity. I was living
on; unaware of the process that I got going by allowing the trauma that
Clos death had caused, to come to the surface. My computer became my
steady interlocutor. Everything I felt and all the feelings that came
loose, I entrusted to the screen. After Bee this was my second therapy.
But I still hated to speak about those


things, it remained very hard. I really did my best in the
interrogation room, and I did trust the interrogators, at least the ones
in front of me, but I remained frightened.

38. The murder of Carine Dellaert Clo was dead. I had accepted it. I had
recognised her pictures and given lots of details about her to the
police. But I only knew a small part of the story then. I know a lot
more now. Here is what happened. This is a summary of the findings of
the three Belgian journalists who wrote the book The X-files. Its based
on the police reports. Carine Dellaert was the daughter of Emile and
Nolla. She was born on 1 April 1966. Emile, her father had already been
convicted as a sex offender and there were serious suspicions of incest.
He had taken sensual photos of her. In 1982 the parents decided to
separate. On 30 August 1982 Carine suddenly disappeared. She hadnt taken
clothes or official documents e.g. ID card with her but her bike had
disappeared too. Emile waited until 6 September before he reported his
daughters disappearance to the police. He left the house shortly
afterwards. Around end October he came to pick up Carines furniture and
other things. This caused a major fight with his wife who accused him of
taking too much and some time later he brought back a wardrobe with
clothes. Nolla was surprised when she discovered pregnancy clothes.
Nobody knew that Carine was pregnant. All of this exactly matched with
the period I stopped seeing Clo at our meeting places. She was murdered
in the summer of 1983 while giving birth. In December 1983 (this was
thirteen years before my testimony!) the judicial authorities decided to
interrogate the neighbourhood. No progress was made. On 13 June 1984
Emile declared that he had visited a psychic in The Netherlands and he
gave a description of a location that matched the Kuhlmankaai area in
Ghent, where Carines body would soon be found. When the psychic was
confronted with Emiles statements he didnt recall having ever seen him.
On 24 September 1985, during the demolition of an old building, a
severely decomposed female body was found in a cesspool at Kuhlmankaai
2. The body was tied up with a white electrical cord. In the womans
pelvis a laminaria stick was found. This stick is made from the roots of
a plant, an Irish plant I have been told, and because it can absorb a
lot of water, it was often used in the past to speed up births or to
trigger abortions. Found also were some jewels, two razorblades and a
teaspoon that appeared to be part of Emiles utensils. The medical
specialist of the court, professor Timperman wrote in his report that
The presence on the cup of the bra of a rectangular piece of fabric
indicates a swelling of the breasts and a loss of fluid. The bra size
90C, was a lot bigger than what Carine used to wear according to her
mother and her sister. Judicial Substitute Nicole De Rouck identified
the body as Carine Dellaerts. She had recognized the jewels. On 1
October 1985 Emile was arrested. His solicitor Piet Van Eeckhaut,
managed to get him out on 27 December. The investigation stalled and in
1989 the file was returned to the judicial authorities as unsolved.


In October 1996 I testified about Clos murder and the detectives
remembered the unsolved murder in Ghent. The case was reopened by the
team working for Prosecutor Bourlet, the so-called Neufchateau antenna
with Patrick and his team. They received the file from Ghent and I
recognized Carines pictures. But half 1997 when my testimony and the
other X-witnesses started being ridiculed and discredited, the Ghent
Prosecutor Soenen, stopped the cooperation with Neufchateau. In spite of
the large number of very accurate details I had provided, the Ghent
police concluded that Clo couldnt possibly have been Carine Dellaert.
Even the fact that I had declared that Carine was pregnant and had
recognized her in several photographs didnt seem to matter. A major
element was the probable time of death. Ghent pretended that Carine died
shortly after her disappearance. According to my statement she died in
the summer of 1983, almost nine months later. I had seen her several
times with a wealthy older man at sex parties in the months before her
death. Did she go into hiding somewhere, or was she held captive? The
exact determination of the time of death would almost certainly solve
the case. Such a test could easily be done by an examination of her
teeth. Eddy De Valck who is an internationally recognized specialist in
this field, lives in Grimbergen Belgium. He has never been asked to
perform the test on Carines skull, which is kept at the court in Ghent.
Although Neufchateau has asked Ghent several times to perform this test,
Ghent has categorically refused to do so. Is someone trying to prevent
the truth from coming out? Who is protecting whom? According to the
statute of limitations the case will be finally closed next year. Is
Ghent waiting for this? What really made me angry after I found out
where Clo had been dumped was that during the period after her death
Tony took me regularly to the abandoned building at the Kuhlmankaai to
have sex. Did he want to check if there was a risk that her body would
be discovered? I was much closer to my friend than I realised. How could
he do such a thing?

39. More hearings Between nine and fifteen December I was interrogated
not less than four times. Philippe, who was one of my initial
interrogators, had some unfinished business that he had to take care of
and he asked me if I would object if Danny replaced him. I felt very sad
to see him leave but I told him I understood. Danny was nervous. He had
the tendency to ask too many questions at once, which made me shut up. I
tried to convince myself to be patient. Indeed it must not have been
easy to interrogate a victim of lengthy and serious sexual abuse. During
these four hearings I gave a lot of additional details about Chrissie,
about the sex party we had in the mansion in the outskirts of Brussels a
few weeks before the murder. I described the library, the garage and the
impressive collection of miniature ships that I saw there. I described
the people who were present, Flemish businessmen, Mich, Annie, Michael
the Brussels lawyer, a guy from Mechelen who had a dog business. I
talked about the riding school not far from Brussels where they had
killed my son.


Just before my twelfth hearing Danny and one of his colleagues took me
for a ride North of Brussels. I recognised the riding school in Meise. I
was later told that Mich used to have a horse there and so did the
driver of the former top government official whom I had often mentioned.
I continued to give details about Tius and Chrissies murder and told
them about Marie, the prostitutes daughter who told Mich about Chrissies
treason. She was murdered in Knokke at my grandmothers place a few
months after Chrissie. De Baets would be thrown off the case before he
would get the chance to find out if there was another unsolved murder
case, and his successors … what do you expect! The hearings had really
worn me down. It seemed as if my entire life only consisted of my past
and the painful interrogations, so I asked the BOB agents for a two week
Christmas break. After a few days I felt I was back among the living. I
played with my kids and managed to laugh again. I read them stories for
hours on end, while we were hiding under a blanket on the sofa. Only
then I felt how exhausting these hearings had been, how I felt squeezed
like a lemon. The image of my parents that I had tried to keep up until
now, started to get distorted. I closed my eyes and huddled up with my
legs pulled up close. My parents had known everything. I had struggled
so hard to be accepted and loved by them, but they didnt know the
meaning of love. Neither of them had been able, not even a single time,
to give me that little bit of warmth that I needed so desperately as a
child. Why? Did the reason lie in their childhood? I guess so. If you
havent received love, in principle youre not able to pass it on but I
sure was capable of caring for my kids in a loving and cherishing way. I
had struggled to break the circle of violence and abuse. I realized that
once you had reached adulthood, you had to make choices in life. You
could break the circle or remain part of it. You could choose for
yourself or choose for your children and for being human. A terrible
childhood didnt absolve you from being responsible for what you did to
your kids. In the afternoon, when work was finished and the children had
come to rest in their room, in the tented camp we had set up together, I
realized that something had changed in me. For the first time I hadnt
cut myself because I had bad thoughts about my parents. My grandmother,
father and mother had always convinced me, that everything they did,
they had done out of love for me. They had worked so hard to satisfy all
my whims. But I didnt have any whims! I didnt care about material things
as a child, nor did I as an adult. I never had a real childrens room, I
hadnt asked for a lot of toys, even as a teenager I had never asked for
a weekly allowance! I had never asked for nice clothes, for a new bike,
not even for the horse Tony got me. My parents had never taken me on a
holiday trip, not even to the Ardennes. I had been in the Ardennes for
the child hunts but the first time in my life I went there without fear,
was during a school trip when I was thirteen! When I was twenty years
old I was still wearing the same sneakers I wore when I was twelve.
Everybody who knew me was aware of the fact that I was always dressed
the same: a pair of jeans or leggings and a T-shirt. I hardly had any
clothes. Except of course the ones I needed to go to work. But Tony
brought these along and took them back with him each time. No evidence,
no traces! I lacked the most basic things, like underwear,


sandwiches for the school lunch, stockings. I never had stockings
except the two pair I got from a friend at school, but nobody paid
attention. Everyone talked about the horse, because it was big, because
at every opportunity photographs of it were put on the table, because
presents were only given when there was a big enough audience. Never did
they give me a little present without other people noticing it, except
when I had to give something in return. Black and blue marks, sprains, a
limp now and then? I had a horse, you know. Even the visible bruises
could be made to look normal by using this trick. Is it possible to fool
family members that easily, just as outsiders can be fooled? Well, its
so easy to do that its frightening. I started feeling less depressed and
sent Patrick several faxes with additional information. The third fax
contained a long list of names of children I knew had been murdered,
several of them during the hunts. Hereafter follows the text of this
fax. Out of respect for my own children, whom you wont find anymore but
who mean so much to me: Cheyenne, born in February 1979 and killed in
the factory 2,5 years later. Eliah, born in August 1982 and killed
shortly afterwards at my grandmothers. Tiu, born on 3 September 1983 and
killed at the riding school in February 1984. Nanook, born on 16 June
1984; died immediately after birth at my grandmothers. Bieleke: a little
boy of approximately three years old. He was the first child I saw being
murdered. I was three too. He was from the province of West-Flanders but
not from Knokke. Short hair; he was wearing little shorts and a jersey
with stripes. Ildiko: Hungarian girl. Abused in my grandmothers country
house from the early seventies until 1976. She then suddenly
disappeared. I guess she has been killed. Katrien: girl from the coastal
region. Blond braids and freckles. Was killed in 1977 or 1978 during a
hunt. Els: I dont know where she came from. She was about ten and was
murdered between 1973 and 1976. Olivier: A French-speaking foster child.
The family stayed quite often at my grandmothers and he was abused there
also by his foster-father. He died at the end of the seventies. I think
he must have been fourteen or fifteen. Jan: spoke the Brugge dialect.
Was approximately sixteen when he was murdered during a movie in the
early eighties. Lieve: spoke the Knokke dialect; was also around sixteen
when she was killed. I think I was six then. Marie-Christine (Mieke):
from Antwerp; killed in the early eighties. She was about fifteen.
Jolle: spoke French; murdered between 1976 and 1979. Pamela:
approximately two years old, I even think she might have been
MarieChristines baby. Murdered in 1982 or 1983. Cathrine: murdered in
1980; spoke French and Dutch. She must have been twelve. Sarah, Maude,
Tom: killed during the hunts. I havent a clue where they came from. But
it definitely happened before 1980.


Michelle: approximately eight years old. Dutch-speaking but spoke
standard Dutch, no dialect, so I dont know which region she came from.
Veerle: between 1980 and 1984; from East-Flanders but no specific Ghent
dialect. Cristel: about sixteen; in 1983 I think, during a movie.
Antwerp accent. Cathrine: French-speaking, around fourteen years of age.
Between 1980 and 1984. Vronique (Vero): French and broken Dutch; in
1979. Luc: Antwerp accent; movie (1982?). Was thirteen or fourteen.
Paulke: French-speaking; four or five years old in early eighties. In a
movie. Valrie: bilingual, I think from the coast; early eighties. Anja:
approx. fourteen; from somewhere in East-Flanders but from a rural area.
Thamara: from the province of Antwerp; was eighteen when she committed
suicide after having been raped in a terrible way. She was the daughter
of a regular customer. I knew her from Knokke. Kris: boy of about ten
years old. Spoke West-Flemish dialect. They let him bleed to dead; in
1983 I think. Sonja: from Holland. She must have been sixteen; in 1980.
Lindsey: two years. In a movie in 1983. Anouk, Belinda, Murielle,
Nicole: regular girls from Knokke. Disappeared one after the other end
seventies, early eighties. Murielle and Nicole spoke French and broken
Dutch. The others spoke Dutch. I think Nicole was from Ghent. Nefry:
Turkish girl, eight years old. I guess it was 1982. Marie-Thrse (Marie):
March or April 1984 I think. In Knokke. Clo, Vronique and Christine. And
the following ones might still be alive. Soetkin, Leila, Chantal,
Natanja, Sammy, Nathalie, Marleen (from Oostakker). I have figured out
that I have seen approximately thirty other children disappear but I
forgot their name or never knew it. Its a large number and Im sorry I
cant remember more about them. But there were certainly children among
them like Cheyenne and Tiu; children who never officially existed. I
helped Clo and about six other girls to deliver their baby. Victims who
survived like Chantal never witnessed a murder as far as I know. And the
victims who survived and did witness such things committed suicide,
became drug addicts or turned insane. I thus dont have a lot of hope
that there are many witnesses left who can tell what I have told you. I
hope Im wrong. I certainly know several youngsters who committed suicide
or ODd. Greetings, Ochi. In February the hearings resumed. During my
fourteenth hearing I recognized murdered girls on photos, among them
Catherine and Hanim. But in the meantime the police team had reopened
the old file of the murder at the mushroom farm and they would come to
startling conclusions. So before addressing my last set of hearings with
Patrick I will give an overview of what happened in the mushroom farm
case. The next chapter contains a summary of the findings of the three
journalists who wrote The X-files. It clearly shows how poorly the
investigation had been carried out before and after I testified.


40. The murder at the mushroom farm Christine Van Hees was born on 6
April 1967. She was the daughter of Pierre and Antoinette, hardworking
parents who owned a newspaper shop in Brussels. She had two brothers,
fifteen and eighteen years old. Not long before her death, during the
so-called classes in the woods with her school, she had a long talk with
a boy called Jean-Claude J. and she complained that her parents gave her
too little freedom. She had to use tricks to escape from home. From
Friday 20th until Wednesday 25th January 1984 she didnt show up at
school. On Wednesday afternoon she received a medical certificate from a
certain doctor Hallard that covered her absence of the previous days.
Christines parents didnt know that doctor and they could never explain
the absence. Up to this day it remains a mystery. Before she died she
mentioned a community in a letter to Patricia S, a friend of hers. To
another friend Fabienne K. she said that she had become part of a group
of older people who practiced group sex and that other young girls
belonged to the group too. She said that she would definitely be killed
if she talked about this to her parents or her brothers. A few days
before her death she told her friend Nathalie G. that she was very
scared. On 13 February her former Girl Scout leader Didier saw her
around 5.20 p.m. with her friend Chantal whom she took the metro with.
Chantal got off halfway, Christine normally got off at the station
called Petillon. Some witnesses stated they had seen her heading home
not long before 6 p.m. On 13 February at 8.47 p.m. the fire brigade got
a call from a car phone that there was a fire in an abandoned house
called La Champignonnire i.e. the mushroom farm. They arrived at the
location very quickly and discovered two fires, one in the house and
another one in the cellar. And in the cellar they found a charred naked
body in a heap of smouldering crates; it appeared to be the body of a
young female. Her hands and feet were tied up with some sort of metal
wire that also went around her neck. Her legs were bent backwards. Her
left wrist was pierced with a heavy nail, eight centimetres long and
three millimetres thick. Several other objects were found in the cellar
and in the house. In the evening of 14 February Pierre Van Hees reported
his daughter missing. During the night of 15-16 February the judicial
police informed him of the death of Christine. Investigating magistrate
Michel Eloy was put on the case. He was already in charge of the
investigation into the CCC attacks, which put a heavy burden on him. In
the early eighties Belgium had to cope indeed with several bombings by
an extreme left terrorist group, the Cellules Communistes Combattantes
or CCC, of which the leaders got eventually caught. Two chief
investigators from the judicial police were appointed in the mushroom
farm case, Ceuppens and Collignon. The latter one would appear to be a
visitor of a sex-club called The Dolo that was located in the Philippe
Baucqstreet. There were allegations that sometimes children were abused
there. Because Christine had mentioned a community in her letter to
Patricia S. the investigators concentrated on a group of punks whom
Christine was said to have had contacts with. On 12 and 15 September
1984 one of them, Serge Clooth, addicted to sniffing glue, and severely
mentally disturbed according to a psychiatric report, told them


a fantastic story about the murder of Christine in the mushroom farm.
On 3 October he said that he made everything up but in January 1985 he
confessed again and came up this time with a story about a Black Mass
during which Christine would have been sacrificed. But six months later,
in June he retracted his statement again. In January 1985 the
investigating magistrate Eloy suffered a heart attack and resigned from
active duty. On 1 October 1985 Jean-Claude Van Espen took over. He didnt
seem to pay a lot of attention to the case, he never talked to the
parents nor did he ever visit the mushroom farm. In June 1996, twelve
years after the murder and a few months before Dutroux arrest, he would
send a letter to the parents mentioning that the murderer of their
daughter Claudine had not been found. Serge Clooth who had been put in
prison was released on 17 November 1987. He had changed his version of
the facts eleven times. The European Court would convict Belgium in 1991
for holding him unreasonably long in prison without a trial. Bizarre
things happened in 1991. A. Van Asse, who owned a newspaper shop in the
same area as Van Hees received threatening phone calls. His shop was
burglarised and the burglars committed arson. Did his name, which
resembled very much Van Hees, have something to do with this? One day,
investigator Collignon picked up Christines younger brother from school
and gave him a ride home. He told him that the investigation was leading
towards important people and that it would be better not to bother them.
A short time afterwards Collignon got promoted. He was replaced by a new
judicial police investigator who discovered in a report dated 27
February 1984 that in October 1983 Christine had talked for a long time
to the driver of a black car that had an eagle-head on its hood. He
interrogated people from the neighbourhood and even seven years after
the crime several people remembered the dark car with the eagle-head.
The people in the car who were in their twenties, avoided contact but
Christine seemed to know them. But there was no breakthrough in the
investigation. The policemen stubbornly kept investigating the punk
community in spite of very valuable other leads. In 1989 the mushroom
farm was demolished to make room for a social housing project. And in
June 1996 the parents got Van Espens letter about Claudine. Two months
later, in August, Dutroux arrest shook the country. The judicial
district of Neufchateau received reinforcements to investigate the
witness accounts concerning murdered children. In September my hearings
started with Patrick De Baets team. During the extremely painful
interrogations in November and December, which I described earlier in
this book, I provided a detailed description of what I remembered about
Chrissie and of the way she was murdered. I didnt know her last name at
that time. The detectives were shocked by the accuracy of the details
that I had given, many of which had never been published in the press.
They dug up the old file of the murder at the mushroom farm. Aim Bille,
one of them, discovered that there had been an anonymous phone call on
27 April 1987 suggesting that the policemen should have a look in the
sex club The Dolo and that they would find the solution of the murder
there. The judicial police had always avoided following that lead. The
Dolo was a popular place and several members of the


judicial police were regular visitors according to the owner. It was
the successor to another club, Les Atrbates, which had been closed down
by the Brussels BOB in 1983. Michel Nihoul was a regular visitor of Les
Atrebates. After its closure most of the customers, including Nihoul of
course, moved to The Dolo that was opened in 1987 by the same group of
people. This was the period of the sex orgies with important people in
the meeting facility De Gerlache in the Brussels commune of Etterbeek
and in the castle of Faulx-les-Tombes near Namur. As I said before,
during these parties the regular guards of the castle were sent home and
the Etterbeek police took over. They probably wanted to make sure that
the important people were well protected from the curious looks of the
taxpayers. Aim discovered that in 1983 Marleen De Cockere, a friend of
Nihoul, had bought a dark brown Mitsubishi with an eagle head on the
hood. According to Christian V.G. Nihoul had given him a ride in it
several times. In the period preceding her death Christine Van Hees
visited the Poseidon skating rink in Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe, a Brussels
suburb, weekly. Michele Martin, who would become Marc Dutroux wife, had
met Marc at the skating ring in Vorst, not far from the Poseidon.
Dutroux, who was an excellent skater, had been denied access to the
skating rink of Charleroi, close to his house, because he had harassed
girls. Martin declared on 4 December 1996 that Marc visited the Poseidon
every week, end 1983. She wasnt allowed to come along because she was
pregnant. Many former Poseidon visitors recognized Marc Dutroux during
interrogations in 1997. One of them, Ariane M. stated that a short time
before she was murdered, Christine had a date with a guy called Marc
from the Mons area. Mons is located not far from where Marc Dutroux
lived. Another witness Freddy V.D.S had told the police on 23 August
1984 that Christine was a regular visitor of caf Les Bouffons, the pub
where the staff of Radio Activit, a free radio owned by Nihoul, used to
meet. She was sometimes accompanied by a paracommando named Marc
Goossens, who has never been found. In Christines notebook the
investigators found the telephone number of Philippe Moussadek who
worked at FM Inter, a free radio that closely collaborated with Radio
Activit. Moussadek was interrogated on 27 September 1984 but fled
Belgium afterwards. On 15 February 1984, two days after Christines
murder, Dutroux had opened a bank account at the Crdit Professionel du
Hainaut. His account was immediately credited with 35000 Belgian franks
(about 850 Euro). On 17 February 100000 franks were deposited. Another
account of Dutroux at the same bank received 65000 franks on 15
February. Christine had also exchanged several letters with Pascal
Lamarque, a young criminal who belonged to the group Nihoul-Bouty
according to a memo of the Belgian State Security. They had indeed
carried out an investigation into the dangerous cults in Belgium and
Annie Bouty had been the leading figure in The Celestian Church of
Christ that was part of an organisation that illegally imported Africans
into Belgium. She was Nihouls lady friend in the seventies until they
broke up in 1982. But they always stayed in close contact with each
other. In March 1997 Patrick De Baets team would be taken off the case
as is explained later in this book. The new investigators would give the
witnesses a hard time. Judge Van Espen resumed the lead of the
investigation. On 20 March 1997 the police would search my house to find
out if I kept newspaper articles or other reports that could explain how I


could know all the details I provided about the murder. I had told them
indeed things that had never been released to the public and the son of
the former owner of the mushroom farm had stated to the police that it
would have been impossible for me to describe the premises in such great
detail without having been inside. Of course nothing was found in my
house. I would even give them additional information. When Marc
Verwilghen, Chairman of the Parliamentary Dutroux Commission wanted to
investigate the way the mushroom farm file had been handled, he would
encounter an aggressive opposition from Van Espen and prosecutor
Dejemeppe. Because of the ongoing inquiry by the Parliamentary
Commission, the investigation of Christines murder was temporary put on
hold, but the Commission was denied access to the files. And then
journalists discovered that Van Espen had worked for Bouty as a
solicitor in 1984, after the mushroom farm murder. On top of that Nihoul
had stated during an interrogation on 8 October 1996 that Van Espens
sister was the godmother of his son. In January 1998 he would be
replaced with judge Damien Vandermeersch. On 29 April 1998 the Flemish
newspapers De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad would publish the twelve
reasons why the Brussels judicial authorities concluded that I was not
present at Christines murder. I have listed them hereafter together with
my comments. 1. The building that X1 described certainly wasnt the
building in which Christine was murdered. I described clearly that there
was a house and a cellar. Christine was not murdered in the house but in
the cellar as I described. As I mentioned above the son of the former
owner declared that it would have been impossible for me to describe the
premises in such great detail without having been inside. 2. X1
described how she was forced to introduce a knife in Christines vagina
and how Christines body was abused with a metal object. The doctors who
did the post mortem didnt find traces of this on the body that was
however severely burned. An internal autopsy showed that there werent
severe wounds of the type that X1 described at the genitals. The doctors
report also stated that the accuracy of every finding could not be
guaranteed because a major part of the body was charred. 3. X1 stated
that a tampon was used against the bleeding of the internal wound. The
detectives found a tampon indeed but in another building of the mushroom
farm. There was some blood on it but not very much. The mother of Anne,
another girl from the group, used several tampons as I stated during my
hearing on 19 November. Only one seems to have been found. 4. The blood
type on this tampon was Christines however this is the most common blood
type. Vandermeersch was still waiting for the results of DNA analysis.
The results of DNA analysis seemed to be inconclusive. This seemed also
to have been the case with the DNA analysis in the murder case of Julie
and Melissa. Strange! 5. Details of the way Christine was tied up and
the material that was used have been partially published in the press.
X1 could have read this. I described how Christine was tied up first
with a rope. The press never mentioned this. And a 1,80 m long rope had
been found indeed at the murder site. The papers described how Christine
was tied up with an electric cord, barbed wire, steel wire etc. Christine


had been tied up with an electric wire before her final execution. I
had described this in a way that was much more detailed than had ever
been published in the papers. 6. X1 said that a nail had been slammed
through Christines wrist. Vandermeersch had made enlargements of the
photos and concluded together with experts that the nail had melted into
her wrist because of the fire. The nail came from the pallets that were
put over the body in order to burn it. The autopsy report didnt mention
a wound of that type. The head of the Oudergem (Brussels suburb) police
Jacques Dekock, who had made the first police report, stated: A nail is
planted in the left wrist. Dekock would state later that during his
hearing in 1998 the Brussels BOB agents showed him enlarged photos and
that they tried to convince him that he hadnt looked properly the night
of the murder. After carefully studying the photos he declared that he
maintained his 1984 statements and that the BOB tried to make him
declare something else than what he had seen with his own eyes. 7. X1
stated that Christine had led a double life the last few months before
her death. No proof of this double life had been found. There was
abundant proof of a double life (see above). The negation of this is
such utter nonsense that I wont make any additional comments here. 8.
Christines parents declared that X1 could not have known Christine.
During a confrontation Christines mother had totally ridiculed X1 by
telling her e.g. that Christine had made a trip to Canada a few weeks
before she died. This was not true because Christine had never been to
Canada. X1 said that she remembered what Christine had told her about
this. Total nonsense. This is confirmed by the report of the
confrontation which stated: Mother Van Hees: And then she made a big
trip. She went to Canada. Didnt she ever mention this? X1: I dont think
we ever got a chance to talk about those kind of things. Thats what was
said. 9. The file mentioned Marc Dutroux and Michel Nihoul. No, said
Substitute Somers (who worked the file for judge Vandermeersch), The
file mentioned a person named Marc from Mons, and Dutroux came from
Charleroi. Dutroux mainly skated in Vorst, Christine in the Poseidon in
another Brussels commune. The statement of Dutroux wife Martin is
crystal clear (see before). Dutroux went to the Poseidon every week in
that period. This was confirmed by an ex-accomplice of Dutroux, Francis
H. Furthermore, during a search at Dutroux the detectives found a table
with the opening hours of the Poseidon. Many Poseidon skaters have
recognized Dutroux. In spite of this Dutroux stated during an 11 June
1998 hearing that he had been at the Poseidon only once or twice and
that this happened before 1980. He also stated that he didnt remember if
his accounts had been credited after the murder. 10. According to the
investigators Christine sometimes attended parties at Radio Activit.
Maybe she met Nihoul there, maybe she didnt. Nihoul still had to be
questioned about this. Dutroux and Nihoul certainly didnt know each
other at that time. The contacts Dutroux and Nihoul had before 1985
still had to be examined in detail. I dont know how serious the judicial
authorities have taken this.


11. X1 was at school in Ghent until at least 4 p.m. as was indicated in
the school register. She pretended she left school. She said that she
was eleven years old when the murder happened. She admitted having
problems with timing and dates. Several of my former schoolmates have
stated that I didnt show up in class regularly and that the pupils
themselves filled in the register. I have stated before in this book
that in my school, the Provincial Institute for Commerce and Languages,
it was very easy to disappear. They didnt really care that much. The
school received government subsidies according to the number of students
they had registered. Frequent absences didnt look good so most of the
time the absence was not written down. 12. Vandermeersch awaits the
results of a DNA analysis of a cigarettebutt that was found at the
murder site. I dont know if results have become available. Consequently
my testimony was considered totally unusable. But Nihoul hadnt been
questioned about his pre-1985 contacts with Dutroux yet. The
investigation concentrated again on the punkers, without result of course.

41. The murder of Katrien De Cuyper During hearings on 8 and 15 February
I described how Tony picked me up and drove me to the castle in s
Gravenwezel threatening to kill my children if I didnt come with him. I
was not able to give details about my role in the murder of Catherine. I
felt these immense feelings of guilt and fear again and I had to stop
the hearing. But I decided to send Patrick a fax with the details. In
this fax I admitted that I had been forced to participate at Catherines
murder. As I said before in this book, Tony was dialling my home number
on a mobile phone and told me that if the phone rang at home, his
accomplice would make sure something very bad happened to my children. I
expected to be arrested but because of my history of prolonged sexual
abuse and the threat that my children would be killed I wasnt. I was
told however that I had to file a complaint against Nihoul, Tony and
businessman Y, which I did in the name of my three children who had been
threatened, Eli, Yentl and Hannah. On 1 March before my last hearing
with Patrick, the detectives took me to s Gravenwezel where, after some
driving around I recognized the Kattenhof castle as the place of
Catherines murder. I witnessed several other child murders there during
the last series of sex parties at which I was forced to participate.
During the hearing that took place immediately afterwards I gave the
detectives a lot of additional details. What the journalists who wrote
the X-files found out concerning Catherines murder follows hereafter. On
17 December 1991 around 9.30 p.m. Katrien De Cuyper phoned her parents
from her boyfriends house in Antwerp. She promised to take the last bus
of line 64 to come home. Around 10.45 customers of a lorry driver caf
Les Routiers saw her make a phone call there. The telephone switch was
of an old model that wouldnt allow the investigators


later to identify the person she called. Katrien wouldnt be seen alive
again. Her disappearance caused a big shake up in the Antwerp region
because two other teenage girls Ins and Inge had disappeared without a
trace during the same period. On 19 June 1992 construction workers
discovered a female body during infrastructure works they did in the
Antwerp docks area close to the hangers of an import company called
Katoen Natie. A dental identification revealed the body was Katriens.
The autopsy report showed that she must have been murdered shortly after
her disappearance. After the discovery of Katriens body several
anonymous letters were sent to the parents and to a magazine by a person
who stated that he had given her a ride to Brasschaat, North of Antwerp
around 11 p.m. I dont know if this person has ever been interrogated. A
year later a Dutch psychopath, Ludo De Beukelaer was arrested and
accused of murdering the three girls. He showed almost spontaneously
where he had buried Ins and Inge but denied stubbornly that he had
anything to do with Katrien. The investigating magistrate Michel Jordens
spent a lot of effort on the case but there were insufficient leads and
five year later the case was still unsolved. When I talked about my
involvement in the murder of Catherine during my hearings in February
1997, the time of death of Katrien perfectly matched with what I said
about Tony picking me up when my daughter Yentl was a little baby. I
have never been good with dates but this time everything fit including
the description I had given of the premises, the entrance, the moat, the
little bridge, the old orangerie etc. De Baets and some of his
detectives would meet with their Antwerp colleagues on 13 February. The
Antwerp guys reacted with enthusiasm because several details matched
perfectly. They further investigated the secret life Katrien was
supposedly having during the months preceding her death. Some of her
friends had confirmed this but her parents reacted exactly like
Christine Van Hees parents and didnt want to accept the idea. The
detectives discovered that above the caf Les Routiers a Dutch porn
company was established. Gerrie Ulrich, at whose apartment in Zandvoort
near The Hague, the police would discover in 1998, 50.000 child porn
photos, showing the cruellest ways of torture, as I mentioned earlier,
was a customer of them. Among these photos there was one showing a girl
who looked exactly like Katrien. But in March the slander campaign to
discredit myself, De Baets team and the other Xwitnesses had started.
According to Patrick he had been told clearly on 24 April 1997 that if
he didnt stop digging he would get problems. In October 1996 Tony had
been followed by the police a couple of times but only during daytime
because the overtime allowances for night work appeared to put too heavy
a strain on the BOB budget. End 1996 all his telephone conversations
were registered and on 24 October between 4.55 and 5.17 p.m. he made
eighteen phone calls to B.V.H. an officer of the national police
detachment of Brasschaat, situated very close to s Gravenwezel. Tonys
ex-girlfriend Odette would later state that B.V.H. was one of Tonys best
friends. And De Baets detectives would discover that the Antwerp team
had been reinforced by B.V.H.! A little later In March 1997 the Special
Intervention Squad of the national police put a special tracking device
commonly called gonio into Tonys car. This device that used satellite
communications was in principle only used to locate


top criminals. When Prosecutor Bourlet asked to keep the device in the
car for two more months, the national police refused to do so. During
April Tony would be reported twenty-one times in the immediate
neighbourhood of four schools. One of them was Katriens school were her
sister still attended classes. But the slander campaign against the
X-witnesses was starting to take its toll. Begin 1998 a search was
finally ordered at the Kattenhof castle. This was too late. Renovations
had been carried out and the search warrant didnt allow the detectives
to search all the places involved. They wanted to request a new warrant
but the press storm that had started early 1998 had discouraged them.
The prevailing attitude was Why are we wasting our time her? In the
meantime the first investigating magistrate, judge Jordens had been
promoted and replaced by a new one, Vyncke. On 21 October 1998, the
Minister of Justice, Tony Van Parijs would declare that Investigating
Magistrate Vyncke had decided to close the verification of the X1
testimony based on the conclusions of a meeting between magistrates from
Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels. That was it! The murder of Katrien would
remain unsolved just like so many other child murders.

42. My house gets searched Although the hearings took a great part of my
time, I refused to be dominated by the past and the slow digestion of
it. I now went through a period during which my alters manifested
themselves much more expressively and I knew my many selves very well
now. The little ones, as I called the younger, emotionally damaged
little alters, had gotten the opportunity to tell their story without
the sky falling on their heads. It might sound weird but the young
alters still believed that terrible things would happen to them when
they broke the code of silence. The bigger alters, the tough ones, the
adults, understood that telling what happened had a liberating effect.
The secret wasnt such a heavy burden on them anymore. It was enriching
to share our awful experiences with the detectives. Even if not a single
offender got arrested, the experience this team had acquired in working
with victims of heavily traumatizing facts had an immense value. My
story could contribute to the recognition of the problems that the
victims of paedophile networks faced. It might help establish a team of
specialized investigators, who would be better able to handle these
types of crimes. Bee and I discussed the integration of the alters very
often now. We werent there yet but it didnt seem impossible anymore. I
trusted my mind and my body as I had always done. After all, I did
survive my personal holocaust and I had confidence in the enormous
vitality that resided in me. Patrick was alternatively stressed and
motivated; he strongly believed in the justice system and the police.
Sometimes I shared his enthusiasm but we had collisions too. Patrick was
right when he said that I had to stop protecting my parents. If I didnt
talk about what happened at my home or didnt mention that my mother
drove me to those


special places, I might lose credibility. He was also right for getting
angry with me when I refused to identify photos for the hundredth time.
I didnt like working with photographs. I didnt like to indicate people
or children; it felt too much like finger pointing. The confrontation
with a face from the past was sometimes very traumatic. One day I
described a tattoo of one of my abusers. The detectives showed me a book
of suspects with their tattoos. I was terrified to see the face of that
man again, so I turned the pages very slowly, prepared for a
confrontation at any moment. I suddenly froze when I saw a particular
picture. I turned around towards Patrick who stood behind me and for a
moment we looked at each other in disbelief. Then we burst into a laugh.
Three other BOB guys looked at us, surprised. How could they know that
the man in the picture resembled Erwin so much! One day I called Bee.
Bee, Am I crazy? Was it possible that I imagined what happened in my
past? I wished I could produce at least one single piece of hard
evidence, a photo, a medical record or something that could corroborate
what I had said. Bee and I had a long talk about my doubts. I did know
what I had been through but I had only my memory and my voice as pieces
of evidence. And could I really trust my memory? Bee thought I could. It
wasnt my responsibility to prove that I was right. She considered the
fact that I was testifying a very courageous act; the detectives had to
come up with hard evidence. I didnt have the power to order
housesearches or interrogate my abusers. At home I dreamed away in my
little garden asking myself what to do with my life. I was twenty-eight
now and if I ever wanted a farm with sheep and chickens, I couldnt wait
much longer. Erwin and I talked about it a lot. What did we want to do
with our lives; stay in Belgium? I didnt feel connected to this country.
There was too much narrowmindedness, and I wanted to break with my
family. I lacked the courage to tell this to their faces, but if I
emigrated the problem would automatically be solved. The only thing
keeping me here was my stubbornness. Erwin had started to browse through
the newspapers. Who knows there was an affordable little farm somewhere
out there? He knew that living in a row house would slowly drive me
crazy. And looking to the future was good for me. I hadnt done anything
else lately but looked into my past. After every hearing I needed about
two weeks to come to terms with the flashbacks. The future seemed to be
something purely theoretical. Looking for a farm gave me energy again.
On 20 March 1997 I suddenly heard the doorbell ring. I walked to the
front door, opened it and to my big surprise I saw Danny, Steve and Rudy
from the Brussels BOB standing in front of me. I didnt expect them and
asked nicely what they were coming to do. They seemed a little tense
when Danny put an official looking document under my nose, a search
warrant! I let them into the living room, relieved that my little kids
were at school and baby Janek was asleep. Danny made me sign something,
I didnt know what because I was too bewildered to ask what I was
signing. He then went to get one more agent who must have been waiting
in the car. Dazed, I saw them enter my bedroom, my private territory, my
safe haven. They browsed through my photo albums. Steve picked out two


albums, one with the few childhood pictures I had and the other one
with the photos of Tasja my little horse. This was my only souvenir of
her. Are you taking these? I asked with tears in my eyes. It looked like
as if they took her out my life for the second time. This album meant
more to me than money or jewellery. Yes, they took the album. I would
never feel safe again in this bedroom. Once more men had penetrated my
privacy without my permission and without me being able to defend
myself. My feelings of safety were crushed again. They also searched my
childrens bedrooms. They took the book of Helga, a friend of mine who
died of cancer. She too was an incest victim and a few years before she
died she wrote a marvellous book: Medusa beheaded. This little jewel was
taken away from me too. They took my childrens toys, looked at them and
put them back. Janek woke up disoriented, an hour before he normally
did. An acute feeling of anger and powerlessness invaded me. Three men
in my sons bedroom, this too awakened many memories. I quickly moved
past them, took him out of his little bed and held him close to my
pounding heart. They then searched my living room. They messed with my
papers, my poems, and my drawings. I kept Janek close to me and tried
not to show how much all of this hurt. I got nauseous. This was exactly
the way it used to be, when my father nosed around in my bedroom and
Tony turned my stuff upside down, whenever he felt like it, to verify if
I didnt keep incriminating material or had written down something
dangerous to them. This living room too would never give me the safe old
feeling again. They boot up my computer. Danny made a backup of my
diary. It didnt seem sufficient to them to know my most intimate details
from the hearings, no, they wanted to turn my most intimate feelings
into common property. They took a few copies of the weekly magazine Humo
and a one-week-old newspaper containing an article about Chrissie. Erwin
had given it to me but I hadnt read it yet. I couldnt. But it seemed
disrespectful to me to throw the article containing her picture away.
Not knowing what to do with it I had left it on the bookshelf. And they
threw it on top of the heap of the things they were collecting. A Life
Sentence, the book that I had written in 1989 but that I never
published, was taken too. It was the copy of that manuscript, which I
had given to Tania and that she had passed on to De Baets at their first
meeting. I gave them my last copy because I wanted to keep the original.
It looked as if they were packing my entire me. It was pathetic. My
entire life seemed to fit into a small box. All these little things that
had a great emotional value to me were taken away from me, wrenched from
my life. Why? I asked them finally. They clearly didnt feel comfortable
about it. One of them replied that they received the order to search my
house to find out if I didnt collect articles out of which I got all the
information that I provided during the hearings. I kept watching them in
silence. The prosecutor ordered us to do so, whispered the detective
trying to make me feel a little better. I have nothing to hide, I said.
I didnt invent my suffering just before I decided to testify, neither
did I lie when I said these hearings caused me a lot of pain. I had been
sexually abused and not just occasionally. I sincerely hope that the
next house search will be at one of my abusers house! I yelled at them.


The days following the house search I went into a depression. I lost
all motivation to go on testifying. I felt targeted; my integrity was
under attack. I clearly sensed this was the beginning of the end and I
said so to De Baets. Believe me Patrick, this isnt supposed to be known
by the public. I believe theyre organizing a cover up. But he stubbornly
disagreed. There certainly would be actions against the abusers; his
team was now at the stage at which more and more facts were being
verified. Speaking with great fervour he kept convincing me to go on. He
believed in the justice system, in his team, in the police. He
successfully concluded many important cases, why would this case be
different? He encouraged me to continue testifying and I agreed, but
there was a lot of doubt in my heart. And the house search was only the
beginning. They wanted to find out now if I was a credible witness or
not. In April they decided to have me examined by a group of
psychiatrists and psychologists. I didnt know them but they were highly
respected people, Igodt, Adriaenssens, Vertommen, Verlinden, Verelst.
Why did they appoint such important people to examine an insignificant
little woman? Was it because many of my abusers were so important in
business and politics? Should I have said that in fact they hadnt raped
me but that I had begged them to do so because already as I small child
I couldnt live without sex with adults? The hell with them! And then
came the IQ-tests, psychological tests, and discussions. I felt turned
inside out. Was it really worth it? A year ago my life was quiet and
peaceful; right now I felt as if I were being roasted on a barbecue
grill. The key issue of course was my credibility. Every sentence, every
memory was evaluated and weighed. I became increasingly scared of saying
something I shouldnt have said. The pressure was about to become
unbearable. My feelings didnt have any value anymore. My memories were
reduced to technical study objects. Testifying about sexual abuse can
severely damage your health! There were funny moments too though. I had
to look at ink spots and write down if I saw some shapes in them. Its
amazing what you can see in ink spots. It would have been much more
amusing though if I would have been allowed to make the spots myself. I
could certainly make much nicer ones. Im sure that I would have been
able to make an ink spot that resembled a psychiatrist. But I was afraid
that their report would make me look like an ink spot. The psychiatrists
wondered why I laughed so often, they didnt understand how a girl with a
heavy past like mine was still able to laugh. They didnt know that this
was the way I had been taught. I had to laugh to deceive the outside
world, to please my abusers, to protect my parents. Often I really
wanted to cry but nevertheless I managed to produce a smile. Nobody had
ever noticed this until one day doctor Igodt, asked me if I always
laughed away my pain and sorrow. For a moment I looked at him in
silence. Then I bowed my head and answered very seriously, for the first
time, that indeed I always did. It was a grave moment. Then I whispered
that I was totally exhausted. I could hardly put up any longer with
these lengthy interrogations I let slip out. Unlike during the police
hearings I now provided details on how I had coped with what happened,
how I still coped with it today. How I laughed to survive, about my
nightmares, about the depressions I had to fight all the time. The
psychiatrists listened in a different way than


my therapist but I could sense their deep human respect. I knew that
they worked for the Neufchateau justice department and that they had to
judge my credibility. I couldnt predict what their judgment would be but
above all I wanted to be honest with them. If they decided that I was a
total nutcase, so be it, but I refused to continue acting. I didnt want
to pretend I was someone else any longer. And thus I told them honestly
what went on inside of me. I was on the road for hours in a row, from
this hearing to that psychological examination. I spent entire
afternoons filling in test forms. It was like a school exam. The shrinks
were going to judge me now; it was beyond my control. And more and more
my motivation to continue faltered. And the idea of dying came up again.
In the morning I got up with an increasing feeling of impotence. Erwin
supported me enormously. He tried to comfort me when I withdrew into
myself, full of anger. This is becoming too hard on you isnt it? he
asked softly when I was sitting in the chair beside him without saying a
word. I just nodded. I couldnt find the words to explain to him how the
yearlong battle against my abusers and my parents had drained my
strength. But he offered me an important luxury. He believed me! He
didnt require tests, he didnt ask for hard evidence. He watched
helplessly, tried to take over as much work from me as possible, during
the days following a hearing or a test. I gratefully accepted, although
I didnt always like to show it to him. I often fell asleep during the
day, exhausted, because my nights were like a hell. Nightmares succeeded
each other at high speed. I was so terribly hurt.

43. I find the little farm of my dreams I didnt know if it was my
destiny but I discovered my farm in a newspaper that I got from my
father: Farm for sale with three thousand square meters of land, with a
natural creek and kennels for dogs. I stuck the ad under Erwins nose. He
sadly shook his head. Too expensive, and I understood. But we decided to
have a chat with the bank anyway. The broker took us to the place and
let us in. I was hardly interested in the house itself, and before the
broker got the chance to give us some information, I ran outside. I
walked through the kennels, which looked abandoned and neglected,
counted the inside kennels, ran to the meadow in the back. I had my
heart in my mouth from excitement. This was it; this was what I had
wanted my entire life! I was lost, infatuated, captured; it was love at
first sight! Erwin and I exchanged a look of mutual understanding. If
there were one thing in the world wed both fight for, then this was it.
I knew it; this was the place I would call home. My parents told me I
was insane to borrow such a large amount of money. But I had found what
I had been looking for my entire life: a home, a safe haven, a place to
hide. My mother looked at me. For a moment I noticed doubt in her eyes,
or was I only imagining? Did she want to help me because she finally
wanted to admit that she was sorry, and that she wanted to show it to me
this way? Or did she agree to help me hoping that I would isolate myself
on a farm and keep my mouth shut forever? But whatever her


reasons were, it was the only way to make my dream come true and thus I
decided to accept some financial support from my parents, keeping it to
the absolute minimum. I accepted their gift, but I realized that I was
wrong hoping that my mother would express her regret this way. She
whispered softly to me, while my father and Erwin were watching the
news, that it might have been difficult to me in the past but that right
now it had certainly been a good thing for me. I was shocked, too dazed
to even undertake a faint effort to react. Was this never going to stop?
The insinuations that everything was my own fault, as if I had asked for
it myself goddammit! But you loved Tony! No Mommy, this wasnt an adult
love. The love I felt for Tony was the desperate need for having a
father! And by the way, you imposed him on me! I didnt have any choice.
I had to accept him. Will you never make up for the past, Mommy? But I
took the money and I felt like a prostitute again. By the end of May I
made up my mind and asked De Baets for a two-month break. Patrick walked
with me across the farm and looked around. I stood beside him and
enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. Enjoy it, girl, he said in his friendly,
heavy voice. I nodded. Before he got into the car I yelled at him if
something was going to come out of this investigation. He shrugged his
shoulders, thought for a second and yelled back, Of course, just be
patient! Full of hope I watched the two detectives drive away. Moving to
the farm was a very intense and busy period, but it was really good for
me. I enjoyed the physical efforts I had to make in order to get all the
furniture in and out of the moving van. I enjoyed redecorating my new
home leaving my personal mark upon it. I put all my little statues of
elves, witches and other things carefully in my glass display case. Some
witches were hanging from the ceiling; others were here and there on top
of the cupboards. My dreamcatchers and mandalas, American Indian
bringers of good luck, went at a central spot in the living room. We
opened the kennel and the dog grooming place and the every day routine
settled in. I took care of the dogs, put sun lotion on the children, fed
my brand new chickens. Sometimes I walked through the meadows with my
little goat Choco, a present from a good friend. The peace I experienced
with the scent of summer hanging over the fields was a huge relief to
me. After living one month at the farm I knew that I would never be able
to return to city life again. I tried to loosen the ties with my
parents. We still talked to each other on the phone, but I seldom
visited them anymore. We were slowly becoming estranged. They kept
living a lie; I tried to liberate myself from it. But for the time
being, I only wanted to recover from the hearings and enjoy my new life.
I inhaled the smell of the uncultivated earth and stubbornly refused to
use chemicals to kill weeds. I believed in natural methods and explained
to Erwin why I let sheep, a pony and a goat graze the meadow, and why I
cut the thistles with a scythe. I pleaded in support of the frogs hiding
under the weeds, the pheasants and partridges that nested there, the
plants that could grow in a natural environment like forget-me-nots and
wild violets. This was my little piece of soil that I was allowed to
borrow from Mother Earth. I wanted to treat this valuable land as
carefully as possible. Right here I wanted to create the conditions
allowing every living


creature to live in peace with all the others. I was thriving. My
sister in law, who lived at the farm with us, and I, played practical
jokes on each other. We sang songs aloud in the kennels. Nobody could
hear or see us and we invented the craziest things. It was as if I could
finally release the little child in me. In the evening I sang folksongs
in the meadow, while I was enjoying the warm air of summer and the
cricket concert in the background. Singing helped me heal from the
wounds inflicted on me during the long years of abuse. I hayed the land
and fully enjoyed my freedom. I worked very hard and intensely, but
without these four walls around me I felt freer than ever. I lost
weight, got a healthy colour again and my lust for life increased every
day. I didnt go see Bee that often anymore but kept her informed about
what happened inside of me. The integration of the alters wasnt an
illusion anymore. The number of personalities was decreasing and I felt
this process wasnt finished yet. If I kept progressing this way I would
become a total human being again. Fear? Yes, I was still afraid. But I
accepted fear instead of pushing it into a little corner of my mind. I
dared handle it and, more important, I didnt hide my feelings so much
from Erwin anymore. After nine years of marriage I finally managed to
talk openly about my past with him, sharing my sadness and fear. This
brought us much closer together and I felt something really beautiful
was growing between us. I now trusted him entirely and believed we would
grow old together. He gave me the protection I needed to give my past a
place in my heart, although I felt certain things would never be all
right. I accepted this. I was traumatized indeed. I got panic-stricken
when I got into unforeseen situations. But on the other hand I became a
much warmer human being. Everyone was welcome at my farm, as long as
they came in peace. I always kept too much food and was always available
for someone who needed me. Animals were also welcome. I petted them,
talked to them in their own language without words but with subtle body
language. We understood each other. Dogs never bit me, cats didnt
scratch me, and horses, goats and sheep followed me around immediately.
I could put myself into their world very easily and sensed their wild

44. De Baets gets thrown off the case This peaceful situation came to an
abrupt end when Erwin, a little worried, showed me a newspaper article
with the following title: Prosecutor from Liege investigates suggestive
working methods: detectives under scrutiny. Before I read the article I
understood that, just when I really started to believe in a successful
ending of the investigation, the abusers had scored another victory. The
newspaper didnt give the names of the five top investigators who were
taken away from Prosecutor Bourlet (The Neufchateau judicial district is
subordinate to Liege), but it wasnt difficult to imagine who had been
kicked out. My stomach turned upside down when I read that De Baets team
had been put on compulsory special leave and was being transferred to
the financial department, because judge Van Espen questioned the loyalty
of the investigators and accused them of suggestive interrogation
methods. Defeated I


threw the newspaper against the wall. I felt angry and powerless and
understood that the possibility of catching my abusers had been
destroyed. Everything you say can be used against you, Ginny. Tony was
right! My abusers were winning again, I should have known. Why did I
believe the police officers? Why didnt I keep my mouth shut? I closed
myself off from the outside world, tried to keep busy working, hoping to
keep the panic under control, but I shook at every move. What have I
done, flashed through my mind all the time. I allowed honest and
incorruptible people to ruin their career, knowing that my abusers were
much too influential. My fingers shook when I dialled the number of
Patricks GSM that night. He answered. I wanted to tell him I was sorry,
that I should have known better, but for the first time in a long row of
endless years I burst into tears. Regina? he asked surprised. He knew me
as the tough woman who never showed her emotions. It must have been
weird to hear me cry. I sobbed Yes and tried to ask him if the newspaper
was right. It is true, he said, quieter than usual. He didnt show it but
I felt in his voice how hard he had been hit. Is this because of me?
Does it have anything to do with me? I asked him between sobs. Yes. Im
so sorry Patrick, I whispered. The feeling of powerlessness reached new
heights. I had the impression that again people were being punished
because I dared to talk, just like in the past. Regina, dont. We arent
giving up, I hope you arent, are you? With a little voice I said goodbye
and wished him all the best. Immediately I burst into tears, I totally
lost control for several minutes. Erwin came in and hugged me softly. He
didnt say a word and let me be. I became silent and sad. What else was
coming at me? Would I give up or should I go on stubbornly with a new
team of BOB agents? And what was really going on? I knew as much and as
little as every outsider and I followed the stories in the newspapers,
worried. Articles started to appear now mentioning Patricks name and
insinuating his partiality. I knew very well what I had said during the
interrogations and exactly remembered the questions De Baets asked me.
They seemed ordinary questions to me, they didnt suggest an answer, and
they didnt differ from the type of questions other police officers would
ask me. Who was there? Do you remember the day, the year? Do you
remember details? These were questions all right, but he never gave me
or suggested the answer. How would he have been able to? He only started
looking into old cases after I made my statements. He hadnt ever heard
of child prostitution networks before! Near the end of 1996 I had
already noticed that there were internal frictions. I didnt know at that
time but would learn later that end November Commandant Duterme had been
appointed as chief of the BOB team that supported Neufchateau. He
immediately showed his excellent management skills by making a tour of
the battlefield. He wrote memos to his superiors complaining about the
individualism of some investigators and reminded the


detectives that some basic rules had to be followed i.e. that the keys
of the official vehicles had to be returned after each assignment and
that it was forbidden to stay overnight in the offices. This had
happened once indeed because an overworked detective couldnt make it
home anymore. Duterme further urged the investigators not to leave the
lights on unnecessarily and to stop using so much toilet paper. He got
very angry when on 7 May 1997 a detective was tasked directly by a
magistrate bypassing the chain of command (him). Unfortunately he was on
leave from 5 until 9 May. In the beginning of 1997 he also started
reading my testimony. I had testified in my own language, Dutch. Duterme
was a French-speaking person with knowledge of Dutch, a requirement to
become an officer, but from the comments he made on the reports it
clearly appeared that he didnt understand half of what he had been
reading. He accused Patrick of being much too close to me and obviously
didnt like his independent attitude. So he appointed three detectives,
all three of them French-speaking, to re-read my testimony, a very
unusual process in the judicial world. On 2 July 1997 the first report
from the re-readers was ready. It focused on my testimony about the
murder at the mushroom farm and emphasized all the inaccuracies and
contradictions. The impressive amount of correct details that I had
given was simply not addressed. The report accused De Baets detectives
of falsifying my testimony and of suggestive questioning, leading the
witness. But the re-readers re-wrote, cleaned my testimony thereby
falsifying it in such a way that it became harmless to my abusers. It
would take too long to describe everything here but I have given a few
examples hereafter, with my comments of course. The report mentioned
that I was totally wrong when I said that they tied Christine up with a
rope. The charred body of Christine was tied up with an electric wire.
That is entirely correct. But before we went into the cellar, Christine
had been tied up with a normal rope. This rope was part of the pieces of
evidence. The report mentioned that on 8 February 1997 the detectives
showed me the objects that had been found in the mushroom farm to give
me a hint so I would know what to tell them during my subsequent
hearings. I had been shown these objects indeed on that day and this had
been a very shocking experience to me. But what the re-readers didnt
mention was that on 18 November 1996, I had already described them i.e.
the rope, jerry can, etc. The detectives only gained access to the old
file of the mushroom farm two weeks later. The report mentioned that De
Baets had omitted to report that I had pointed at the wrong photo, P10,
during my 13 November hearing. In a report of 6 December numbered PV
117.487 Philippe Hupez, one of the detectives stated: X1 said that
Christines photo was among the set that was presented to her but that
she had indicated the wrong photo on purpose. As I have mentioned
before, it was five oclock in the morning, I was totally exhausted and I
thought this was the only way to make Patrick stop.


In June 1998 the following text appeared in a book of Ren-Philippe
Dawant a journalist working together with the leading TV programme in
the French language Au nom de la loi (in the name of the law). The
author presented it as the authentic text of my testimony and proved
that I was manipulated. Who leaked this text to him and why? D
(Detective) : Do you smell something? X1 : No. D : Can you describe the
smell? X1 : If you know already what happens, why do you still want me
to tell you? D : They are burning her. Dont you see that? Dont you have
an image of whats happening? X1 : (no answer) And now the complete text
of my original testimony. It was around five a.m.: D : Is Kristien still
lying on the table? X1 : Uh-huh. D : Tied-up? X1 : Uh-huh. D : Is
Kristien still lying on her back or on her belly? X1 : On her back. D :
On her back. Do you have to cut her throath? X1 : (Nods yes) D : And
does the screaming stop? X1 : Yes. D : And do they do anything else? Do
they hurt you? X1 : (Nods yes) D : Do they rape you? X1 : (Nods yes) D :
All of them? X1 : (Nods yes) D : Is Dutroux wife there? Does she stay
there much longer? Does Bouty stay there much longer? X1 : I dont know.
D : Do you smell something there? X1 : I know very well that, uh…
that… I know very well that… D : Is there a smell? X1 : Yes. D : Can
you describe that smell? X1 : No. D : Is there someone else who can
describe that smell? X1 : If you know already what happens, why do you
still want me to tell you? D : If? X1 : If you know already what
happens, why do you still want me to tell you?


D : No, no. I dont know what happened. Maybe I know what happened, but
you have to help me to… Dont you want to help? X1 : Yes I do. It was
like this, like this… uh… They burned her. D : What do they do? X1 :
They burn her. And tears were rolling down my cheeks. The difference
between the falsified version and the real one was fundamental. In the
falsified version they made the detective tell me that they burned her
while I said this myself. Its easy to understand how the detectives
could be accused of leading the witness after falsified parts of my
testimony had been published. On 3 June 1997, before the first report of
the re-readers was available Duterme had written a memo to his superiors
mentioning that De Baets was too close to me, that he manipulated me,
was subjective and liked to put himself in the spotlights. On 22 June
1997, judge Van Espen wrote a letter to the national police (Rijkswacht)
complaining about the fact that De Baets had given information about a
witness who pretended to have information about links between Nihoul and
a former prime minister, to a magistrate who was part of the Dutroux
Commission. Van Espen had always been avoiding investigation by the
Commission. He further stated that he didnt need support from BOB (part
of the Rijkswacht) anymore. This implied that De Baets team wasnt
allowed to investigate the mushroom farm murder any further. A copy of
this letter including the first report of the re-readers would reach
Ghent shortly afterwards. Prosecutor Soenen also decided to cut ties
with De Baets team, thereby ending any serious investigation into the
murder of Carine Dellaert. Antwerp would follow in the beginning of 1998
after the press storm broke loose. This would mean the death of the
Xfiles and the end of any serious investigation into paedophile
networks. An ordeal would start for De Baets and some of his colleagues.
On 20 August 1997, the team would be temporarily removed from the
investigation and on 30 September an investigation of them would start.
Charges were essentially forgery and manipulation of the witness. De
Baets would later be cleared of all charges but his removal killed the
investigation. The Dutroux Commission would state that after the teams
removal twenty times less acts of investigation had been performed in
the mushroom farm case. Of course this might have been very beneficial
to Dutermes budget. Spending less money on overtime could have allowed
the remaining detectives to leave the office lights on a little longer
and of course to procure the desperately needed additional toilet paper.

45. The new team of investigators I was totally lost. I hesitated,
waited for a police officer to contact me, but nothing happened. Nobody
seemed to deem it necessary to inform me. I finally called Danny. He


hadnt received any sanction and this made me suspicious, but what else
could I do? Danny seemed happily surprised to hear from me, at least
thats what he made it sound like, and he told me that he was not allowed
to call me. I expressed my concern and he agreed to have an informal
discussion to talk it all out. This reminded me of the past. Tony could
be so sweet sometimes, but as soon as I poured out my heart, he punished
me. He was an expert in all forms of intimidation. I learned over and
over again that everything I told him always backfired against me. I got
the same feeling with Danny. The two BOB agents I would have to work
with from now on came to get me for an informal chat. I didnt feel
comfortable but tried to stay cool anyway. To be taken along by new
people again resuscitated bad memories. But I was too obstinate to show
my fear. So I laughed again, seemingly unconcerned. For the thousand and
first time I got the remark that I looked really good! What was I then
supposed to look like? What did victims look like? Like gravediggers,
like bent and broken creatures? Did it have to be marked on their face?
What the heck did I have to do to look like a real victim? But I tried
to be patient and answered that the move to the farm had done me a lot
of good. They didnt know that the more I suffered, the less I was
inclined to show it to the outside world, the result of years of
training. Unfortunately, exactly this was used against me and I
considered with bitterness that my abusers had turned me into a perfect
victim. The three of us sat down at a little table in a village pub. I
evaluated them carefully from behind my smile and even before the
conversation started I knew that I was waging a losing battle. Even if
these guys believed me or at least believe that terrible things had
happened to me, they would nicely do what their bosses told them to do.
They werent of the pig-headed type searching for truth and justice. They
were puppets of the system. If their boss told them to look for
inaccuracies, to find a way to undermine my credibility, they would do
that with just as much enthusiasm as if their boss had asked them to
discover the truth. They wouldnt lose their sleep over the little
victims to come. The only thing of importance to them was their career.
And after just twenty seconds I got confirmation of this. Eddy
translated my thoughts in the following words: We dont care if its true
or not. The only thing that matters to me is my pay at the end of the
month. And then they told me that they had been asked to look for
inaccuracies in my testimony. I smiled in resignation. Was I a
clairvoyant? The discussion went as I expected. The BOB estimated that
it was my turn to play. I had to come up with hard evidence. They quit
doing further fieldwork. With these words they asked me to cooperate.
When I told them that I didnt have the authority to do house searches,
and that it didnt make sense either to provide indications to them if
they didnt want to investigate them, they just laughed at me. That was
really too bad for me then, thats what it boiled down to. Eddy started
insinuating that it couldnt have been that bad after all. Look, I had a
husband and four children. I had all I wanted and I laughed all the
time. I shook my head because of so much unwillingness and explained
once more that, as a victim, I had the right to a better life. I had
struggled hard to be happy, I went through years of therapy, and it
wasnt because I had been lucky in my present life that my past was less
terrible. I realized I was wasting my time. Behind these police
officers, and Danny had known me for several months now, were their
bosses and the magistrates, who didnt even bother getting to know me. If


BOB agents were so biased against me already, how in the world could I
convince the others? Come on, Eddy said quite loud, you did have fun too
didnt you? You cant tell me that everything was bad? I was in love with
Tony wasnt I? After exactly one year of hearings, during which I had
been treated with respect, I tried to explain nicely the nature of my
love. I wasnt in love with him, I loved him like a daughter loved her
father. And did I have fun? There had been some scarce moments,
fortunately, I went on, because otherwise I wouldnt have been here
today. But did that make the torture and the sexual abuse less serious?
Sometimes my pimp had smiled at me, sometimes he had given me a warm hug
to force me then into the bed with the man he had rented me out to. The
conversation lasted for two hours and didnt lead anywhere. On the
contrary, it taught me that I didnt have to hope for a lot anymore. I
realized I would never be free. I was totally discouraged after Eddy and
his colleagues interrogated my friend Tania. The way they questioned her
was so degrading that I started to feel nauseous when I heard about it.
Her interrogation was not taped on video and they knew it. The two BOB
agents abused their position to destabilize Tania, and to intimidate her
by digging into her private life. They questioned her in an office where
other BOB agents walked in and out and where my supposedly
well-protected files lay out in the open. Tania rightly asked what her
private life had to do with this case. After all, the only thing she had
done was encouraging me to talk, and organizing the first contact over
the phone with judge Connerotte. Her private life didnt have anything to
do with this she repeated. But the detectives kept insinuating. Are you
a victim too? Have you been in the network too? Youre not going to tell
me that you havent had anything to do with Ginnys network? How long have
you known De Baets? Was the fourth of September really the first time
you talked to him? Are you sure you havent been involved in
prostitution? Really sure? They spent the entire afternoon with this
kind of questioning. Tania got intimidated. She even got so scared that
she came to see me in the afternoon, gave me a long and silent look, and
advised me to stop testifying. It was clear in which direction the
investigation was oriented. For the first time my friend fully
understood the words I said to her just before she called judge
Connerotte in 1996: This is too big Tania, I cant do anything against my
abusers. Only now she realized how right I was then. It didnt matter if
I went on or not, I knew they would destroy me. This investigation was
totally dishonest and not objective at all. I didnt believe in a major
conspiracy, I explained to Bee, who had listened to the latest
evolutions, dazzled. But I did believe that if they took me seriously,
they would have to acknowledge the existence of paedophile networks in
Belgium. And this had enormous consequences. Belgium would have to adapt
its laws, set up specialized cells of police investigators, arrest high
ranking abusers and take care of the victims. Belgium would get one more
blot on its reputation. By recognizing the existence of paedophile
networks, Belgium had much more to lose than to gain, except the respect
of the victims. But were they really worth the cost? Wasnt the world
overpopulated already? A few children more or less certainly wouldnt
make any difference. Bee nodded quietly. There was so little she could
do except support me. What are you going to do now? she asked a little


I shrugged my shoulders. What could I do? A hard question with an even
harder answer. I dont know Bee, I sighed, defeated. But can I give up
and abandon the victims who cant talk anymore? I cant let them die a
second time. And I remembered how I had seen the life of others slide
away, how parts of me had died there. I knew that I would never be able
to liberate myself from the horror that kept going on in my heart.
Nobody would bring the abusers to justice. Nobody would punish them.
Nobody would make them stop. I felt so little, like little David against
an immense Goliath. In the Bible David won. In real life this seemed
most unrealistic to me. I still dont understand even today why I let
myself get talked into another hearing. But I did and allowed myself to
be humiliated. First they asked me about Tania. I told them again how we
met each other when I worked for the womens support organisation Against
Her Will, how we got along together well and how I slowly started to
tell her about my past because I trusted her. No, I didnt know her from
the network; we differed too much in age. I only met Tania after I was
married! When they noticed that I reacted nervously and unwillingly to
their questions about my friend, they focused on my DIS. I patiently
explained to them what this meant, that this was a typical self-defence
mechanism. It alone, should tell more than enough about my childhood.
You dont acquire DIS just like that, without a reason. But I was talking
to the deaf. When they addressed again what we discussed during the
informal chat in September, I got angry. There was an atmosphere of
hostility and distrust in the interrogation room. A few days later I
sent Danny a fax that I stopped testifying.

46. I talk to the press I read the newspaper articles about the Dutroux
case. Would Marc Verwilghen know what was really going on? Would he
listen to me? One way or another I had to let him know how alarming the
situation really was. I didnt know how to reach him and I was wrestling
with my many doubts and questions when all of a sudden a part of the
answer reached me through the mail. I received a brown envelope,
addressed to me, but the originator was unknown to me, someone from
Brussels. I thought it was publicity and opened the envelope without
suspicion. When I looked at the letter inside, several pages long and
addressed to me personally, I gasped for breath. Two journalists Annemie
Bult and Douglas De Coninck, introduced themselves and explained that
they had been following up on the Dutroux case and the X-files for quite
some time already. They stated they were very uneasy about the fact that
De Baets team had been eliminated. They doubted whether the
investigations would continue and were afraid that all these files would
die a silent death. Theyd like to meet me, as a witness, to have at
least an idea about who was hiding behind the X. They left the choice to
me, I didnt have to meet them if I didnt want to, and they wished me the
best. I read the letter, read it again and again. I got this eerie
feeling that I was no longer anonymous. If two journalists could get


to know who I was this easily, who else knew my identity? And why did
they ask the same questions I had been asking since September 1996? I
stared at the letter and came to a conclusion quite rapidly. What did I
have to lose? I picked up the phone, nervously, and dialled the number.
Hello, with Douglas De Coninck. Hello, I am X1, I answered. I started
laughing when it remained silent at the other side. This wasnt at all
what he had expected, and he told me so. He had expected that I would be
timid and serious. I sighed and shrugged my shoulders. I did not fit the
image that people had of a victim. But I was a fighter and I didnt want
to let a year and a half of hearings go to waste. We understood each
other, this was clear. But because we were both very cautious over the
phone – God knows who was listening – we agreed to meet. Douglas and
Annemie would come to my place. I told them jokingly that they certainly
wouldnt have too much trouble finding my place, given the fact that they
already knew the address. He laughed and I hung up. I fully realized the
importance of this new step. I had no idea about how this would impact
my life, but I had promised De Baets not to give up and I always kept my
promises. The journalists appeared to be quiet and pleasant people. One
way or another I felt immediately comfortable with them. We sat down at
the table, closed the door and let our baby-sitter take care of the
kids. My children didnt need to know what would be said and what was
going to happen. They deserved their own life and didnt have to carry
along the burden of my past. And I started an interesting conversation
with Douglas and Annemie from De Morgen (Belgian newspaper in the Dutch
language) and Marie-Jeanne from Tlmoustique (Belgian magazine in the
French language). It quickly appeared that we shared the same worries.
They had an impressive knowledge of the case and they too had been
following the recent evolutions with a very uneasy feeling. My technical
knowledge was much inferior to theirs, I had sensed everything from the
sidelines, but they had observed the power structures inside the
national police and the justice department. But our conclusion was the
same: this was definitely going the wrong way. What could we do about
it? Why wasnt there any movement in the case anymore and why had the
investigation been halted? Why the re-reading of my testimony? Why did
the people from the BOB focus on the mistakes in my testimony while so
many important elements were deadly accurate? Even without my testimony
there were enough indications that clearly pointed in the direction of
the abusers I had indicated, but there was no further investigation,
why? How could we ring the alarm bell? None of us had an answer. I
wanted to send a letter to Marc Verwilghen. In February 1998, about
three months from now, the Commission had to present its conclusions. It
was high time to contact the Commission. I couldnt testify, because the
Commission couldt intervene in ongoing investigations, but I could still
alarm Marc Verwilghen and maybe a few other members. My influence was
limited; the investigation had been destroyed anyway. With a little luck
someone could enter the BOB offices and look at files that were
supposedly secret and anonymous. But on the back of each file there was
X1 in giant letters.


The journalists gave me the address to which I could send my letter to
the Commission. I decided to write them as soon as possible. I didnt
know if this could make a difference for De Baets but I hoped so. Maybe
nobody would accept this from me but he had done his job correctly. On
the other hand, the BOB agents who humiliated me and said this had to be
in my blood how else can you let this go on for so many years would
probably never be penalized. If we allow this to happen, I whispered,
Every victim after me will be outlawed and every offender protected.
Every offender is watching closely what happens to the files concerning
paedophile networks. Every offender watches what will happen to the
victimwitnesses. This is a test case. If a network like mine survives
such a crisis, it shows that from now on they can do everything they
want, without ever being punished. Douglas, Annemie and Marie-Jeanne
nodded in silence. It was very late again when I finally dared to
express my worst fear. I stared at the black sky outside and swallowed
my tears. I knew I had lost, even if De Morgen and Tlmoustique published
the story. This would mark De Baets forever, just like his colleagues
who stood behind him. The abusers would walk, even Tony. The victims
would be forgotten. The network would never be attacked. But what about
me? The rumours that I was insane and a pathological liar were going
around already. It wasnt that difficult to make people believe that a
victim was insane. My judgment of time was not a hundred percent
correct, I suffered from the consequences of my traumatic past, and I
couldnt always remember everything correctly. And if De Baets would be
found guilty of suggestive questioning, my testimony would be totally
destroyed. I looked the journalists in the eyes. I told them grimly that
I intended to fight, whatever the consequences might be. This is going
to be tough, Annemie said and I nodded. Had it ever been otherwise?
Christmas and New Year 1997-1998 I wrote my letter to Marc Verwilghen
and wrestled with every word I put on paper. How could I find the
correct words to indicate what had happened during the last few months?
I didnt know but I tried to describe the latest developments and my
feelings about them as accurately as possible. I was afraid of the
press, even of De Morgen. It was my life that was at stake! I didnt want
to be branded as a victim but even less as pathological liar. I hoped
that my letter could make something happen so I didnt have to fight it
out in the press. In spite of everything I still had contact with my
parents. I went to wish them a happy New Year but the alienation had
become greater than ever. The child I used to be had grown into an adult
woman who was ready to break with them. I looked at my parents house for
the last time and tried to memorize every detail. Id never forget the
loneliness I felt when I was sitting in the bath, crying, with terrible
pain in all my muscles. Id never forget that my father and my mother
never cared about me, that they worked and joked with the abusers after
they had just raped me, and that they never took the time to really look
at me. I closed the door behind me, put the children in the car and
gazed through the window on the way home. Farewell Mommy and Daddy. I
tried to love you, I really did. I turned around to Erwin, who was
guiding us through traffic. Promise youll never leave me Winnie? I asked
him shivering, and I squeezed his free hand.


You are the only family I have left! He smiled at me and caressed my
head. I guess were stuck together until hell freezes over. Must be my
lot! I smiled and put my head upon his shoulder. The kids giggled. Mommy
is in love! Eli shouted and he clapped his hands. ..ovve! Janek echoed.
End December Annemie and Douglas visited again. We drank wine and coffee
and talked about our doubts again. As expected Marc Verwilghen couldnt
do a lot because I was not allowed to testify in front of the
Commission. There werent many options left to the journalists but to
start publishing. On 6 January theyd start a big series of articles
about the X-files. They also wanted to publish a long interview with me.
The tension turned my stomach into a rubber ball. We discussed what
might happen. They were rather pessimistic themselves. It was quite
possible that nobody was interested anymore in the Dutroux case and the
related X-files. I nodded and replied that at least we would have tried.
Nobody believed in a shockwave, but we couldnt wait until the Commission
ended their activities. If it could still make a difference, then this
was the right moment. I was glad that they informed me about their
plans. I promised to keep it quiet and gave them my full approval. Of
course I couldnt stop them from publishing but it was so much nicer if
we all stuck together. Annemie, Douglas and Marie-Jeanne were aware of
the fact that they rendered themselves very vulnerable. We were fighting
against huge power structures. We were fighting institutions that didnt
like at all to be criticized. We were fighting people who didnt want
their perversions and dirty little business exposed. It could hurt or
even destroy their career. Not many journalists would take such a risk.
But they judged that it was their moral duty as journalists to expose
dirty things that are about to be covered up. And they started to
realize now the enormous suffering caused by these networks. Parents of
disappeared and murdered children, victims, honest policemen thrown off
the case, all of us had an impressive and unbelievable story to tell. If
nobody wanted to listen anymore, then we would shout it from the
rooftops! 6 January 1998 My stomach felt weird when I got up this
morning. I knew that De Morgen had started the publication of their
series of articles on the Neufchateau investigation and the related
Xfiles. A number of radio messages and a short message in their
newspaper had announced the articles. And now it was D-Day, the start of
a new episode in the unfolding saga. I was a little worried though.
Would anybody still care? And what if someone recognized me? What if my
parents understood what this was all about? My little sister in law Bea
bought a copy of De Morgen, which was almost sold out. She raced home on
her bike and together we nervously read the first article. I sighed,
shivering, and gave her a big hug. This article the investigation of the
murder of Chrissie hit like a bombshell. It was a great example of
investigative reporting. I thought with bitterness that many police
officers could certainly use some of the energy spent by Annemie and
Douglas in putting this series together. I read it over and over again.
I sensed a strange mix of sadness, despair and hope. Chrissie girl, this
is for you, I whispered in silence.


This was the day that the world really came alive for me. I had lived
with these secrets for so long, not realizing how terrible they really
were, until I read it in the papers. I got frightened of my own past. I
could easily understand why many people couldnt or didnt want to believe
it. I knew this existed. But the ordinary citizen would certainly have a
hard time accepting that this kind of a holocaust was still going on. I
also wanted to send a clear message to my abusers: Im still there and
ready to fight! Douglas called me. We discussed the possible
consequences of this article. The offices of the editor were being
stormed already. We listened to each other, surprised. There still
seemed to be a lot of interest in the X-files. The next morning we had
to hurry to get a copy of De Morgen. People sent countless letters to
the editor. Many of them expressed their admiration for the series; many
offered their support. It was too good to be true. The same day, a VTM
(Belgian television station in the Dutch language) team was standing in
my living room, without ringing the bell, without being announced.
Brutally as if they had been living here for a long time, they stuck a
camera under my nose. Fortunately Annemie, Douglas and I had extensively
discussed a possible press storm in the weeks before publication. I had
the VTM journalists sign a paper that specified that I remained
unrecognisable. The phone didnt stop ringing. News reporters introduced
themselves, dictated their GSM-number, and demanded an interview. I
tried to brush them off as much as I could. I wanted to contribute, ring
the alarm bell, I didnt want to turn Belgium upside down! That had never
been my objective! Then my mother called me. She was friendly at first
but her voice quickly got a bitchy tone. Was that me, that X1? Mom, you
know what Tony did to me. I testified against him and against what he
forced me to do. I was careful because she was ill and I was terrified
she could have an attack. I didnt want her to die and certainly not that
she died because of me. Mom, please, stay out of this. Leave the press
to me. I dont want to hurt you but I cant remain silent any longer. What
do you want me to do? she asked. Mom, Im afraid nobody will punish them.
What did he do, Regine? Her tone was very unfriendly. She sounded
pathetic, but alert and I was on my guard, losing my last little bit of
hope. You know very well what Im talking about, Mom, I said in a distant
way. Why did we have to talk now? I tried for years but she and Dad
never wanted to. I told her Id call her back at a quieter moment, that
there was no time to talk right now.

47. My fathers threats The following Saturday De Morgen would publish
the article about me. It was an enormous article, an entire page long.
Annemie and Douglas didnt twist or misinterpret a


single word of what I had said. It was very confrontational. It hurt me
and gave me relief at the same time. The secret had been broken. With a
heavy heart I dialled my parents number for the last time. I wanted to
say farewell to them, in a dignified and serene manner, without
fighting, yelling or words that hurt. Quietly, as calmly as possible, I
explained to my mother that I didnt want any contact for a while. I
wanted time for myself; time to figure out what could still exist
between us. Did she want to allow me this time? She hesitated; there
were long periods of silence. I had the impression we had so much to
tell to each other but neither of us was able to take the first step.
And thus we remained silent, both of us, two people who totally grew
apart from each other, not able to express our feelings to one another.
She promised to leave me alone. I thanked her. I hoped this didnt hurt
her too much. Fifteen minutes later my father barged into my living
room. My in-laws were sitting on the couch while I was fixing the beds
upstairs. Erwin came to me and whispered that my father was there. And
again I got the feeling that I was sinking into the ground. They
promised to leave me alone! Angry and afraid at the same time I came
downstairs. A painful silence filled the living room. My in-laws were
watching nervously. Erwin came to stand behind me and put his hands on
my shoulders in a protective way. What the hell is this, all this
nonsense in the newspaper! my father shouted nervously. I shrank
together. I almost stood to attention again. I might give a tough
impression to the outside world, but when I was confronted by him I was
that little girl again. You know best what this is all about Dad, I
mumbled. I could hit myself, I didnt sound assertive or ready to fight
at all. I do not know! Is this the Tony stuff? Again I shrunk ten
centimetres. It was totally clear to me again why I kept silent for all
these years. Why I never came to him with all my problems and worries,
way too big for my little shoulders. Its obvious what he had done. Yes,
you cant imagine what he did to me, I whispered with tears coming to my
eyes. But I didnt want to cry in my fathers presence. I shuddered. But
Regine, you asked for it yourself. You couldnt wait to fall in love with
Tony. You were unstoppable goddammit! His hands trembled with suppressed
anger. I trembled with fear. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Where were you
Dad? What have you done? You did do things, didnt you? Or was I not
allowed to talk about it? You didnt mind at all that your daughter was a
whore. I did not ask for it myself. He abused me sexually! He mishandled
me, can you understand? Why havent you said anything? But Dad, you were
watching, what the hell could I add? I tried Dad Oh yes? When? I started
giving examples. Erwin helped me. Because he was there when we tried to
talk about my past. But my father denied with the grim stubbornness of
people who knew they were guilty. I started crying. My heart broke for
having to fight him. Why didnt he comfort me? Wasnt that what fathers
did? Or not, I didnt know, I never had the privilege to have a real
father. But Erwin he would protect his daughters as a lion. He would
never allow these terrible things to happen to his children!


If anything happens to your mother and listen to me very good then Ill
hold you responsible, do you understand! I have the means! I will break
you! I looked at him in disbelief. My in laws were shocked too. My
father was a man who always looked nice and friendly. That was his act,
and he seldom failed to play it well, except at moments like this one.
Ginny had stretch marks when she was just sixteen, I saw them myself!
answered my mother in law firmly. You saw these, or didnt you? You cant
deny things have happened? And the shouting and name calling started. I
asked everybody to stop this, crying. And in an almost superhuman
effort, I asked my father to leave. My children were watching surprised.
They were the main victims now, I told my father. Go away, I want to
keep my children out of this! I said. I have the means! he threatened
again, and I stayed behind, small and insignificant. This confirmed it
to me. I was never able to talk, because they always shut me up. For the
first time after thirteen years of marriage, Erwin saw how my father
really was. My mother in law looked at me flabbergasted. For thirteen
years she had seen my parents as nice people who had spoiled me rotten.
Now, for the first time, she too saw how life with my parents really
was, behind these closed doors. And it suddenly dawned upon her that I
was more right than she had thought all these years. She felt guilty,
when I started sobbing as soon as the door closed behind my father.
Erwin hugged me and I held on tight. Oh God, why did all of this have to
happen? Erwin calmed me down, while the grandparents took care of the
kids. You are strong Ginny. Youll be all right. We can handle this
together, he assured me. For the first time after so long I hugged him
without being tense. I dont want to lose you, Winnie. Im so terrified of
losing you too, I sobbed. Erwin shook his head. He promised eternal
faithfulness, with the same honesty as he had done on our wedding day.
It had finally happened; the ties with my parents had been cut. I made
one last attempt to communicate and let their grandchildren call them.
This would be used against me later. My father used this phone call,
which was meant to give the kids the opportunity to say goodbye to their
grandparents in a nice way, to prove that I was totally insane and that
I had created a storm in a teacup. I had asked them to avoid the press,
but just like I had asked them in the past to take me home, away from
Knokke, and to liberate me from Tonys claws, this was a useless
question. My parents came on the TV news, they could not be recognized
but my picture and my son Janeks were clearly visible. They stated that
I was insane. Shes crazy sir! Theyre going to put her away! It was so
silly. I supposedly became insane because I had read too many Stephen
King novels. A little later I heard the story of Leo Stoops, a VRT
(Belgian television station in the Dutch language) journalist, arriving
in Neufchateau with his backseat full of Stephen King novels. When the
other journalists asked him what his intentions were he answered: I will
expose X1! Ill prove that she got her ideas from these books! These
little anecdotes were important to me. It put what happened to me in
perspective. It was not me who lost it, became hysterical or obsessed,
but the people whose view of


society had been turned totally upside down. This was very hard for
them to cope with, because it hurt. They imagined they were living in a
safe, controlled society, but all of a sudden their illusions were taken
away from them, destroyed. And I was the one who had caused their nightmare.

48. On TV Shortly afterwards Paul Bottelberghs, a journalist of VRT
(Belgian TV station in the Dutch language), dropped by and asks me if I
would agree to tell my story on TV as part of his programme Panorama. It
would be in a casual, quiet and serene way without special effects or
sensation, just like I was talking to him right now. The interview would
be shown to the public on Thursday 22 January 1998. I looked at him for
quite a while, realizing that, if I agreed, I would entirely give up my
anonymity, there wouldnt be a way back. I looked out the window, at the
meadows around the farm, considering that I might ruin my business. If I
agreed to come out in the open with my real name, without any disguise,
I might lose my customers. I might also lose my farm, our home. I
swallowed painfully and took the little bloodstone bear, my Navajo
talisman that was hanging from my necklace, between my fingers. I
believed in its power of helping me make the right choice. This was such
a difficult decision. A long period of silence followed, just like when
I had to describe very painful experiences during the hearings. Ill do
it, I nodded finally. I believed I had made the right decision. If I
agreed to choose for the victims, I might eventually win, even if I lost
my farm. I hated cameras and the hearings surely hadnt changed my
feelings about them. They reminded me of the past when I almost died of
shame being filmed and they wouldnt stop until the abusers had seen
enough. At these moments not the men but the cameras were my monsters.
They registered how my privacy was being so terribly violated. They
frightened me terribly as a little girl because I was convinced that one
day the police would find the films and take me away from my Mommy and
Daddy. If anyone ever finds out what you do in front of our cameras,
they will put you in a childrens institution for a very long time,
remember, whore! They will immediately notice that you love to do this!
they had told me repeatedly. The Panorama crew came to my home and
started setting everything up for the TV interview, which would be shot
at my farm, my safe haven. I didnt know if Paul Bottelberghs realised
how important all of this was to me, but by instinct he did all the
right things to make me feel relaxed. He explained every detail of what
would happen. I learned that the old fears were dead fears. I didnt have
to take my clothes off; my intimacy would not be violated. Whatever
happened in front of the cameras, I could control it. I was allowed to
decide myself what I would say and do. I could decide to break when it
became too much to me. It was a painful but healing confrontation. The
old times were really gone. I was capable now of looking the monster
right in the eyes and defeating it. The crew around me gave me a lot of
support. It gave me a strange happy


feeling. I smiled when I realised that I was using the cameras now to
unveil my secret. The roles had been inverted. That night I dreamed
about the movies the abusers made. How I was forced in a subtle way to
do things. I went to see Bee and told her that reliving my past hurt so
much. The articles in De Morgen had caused a lot of upheaval but this
appeared to be good for me. It had allowed me to break down the walls in
my mind that protected me against the terrible memories of my abuse. Now
that my secret was being unveiled, now that I had been victorious in my
confrontation with the cameras, the walls were coming down. My defence
mechanism seemed to be no longer required. I could survive without other
personalities; I was strong enough now to stand on my own feet. I still
felt anger, fear, pain, sadness and hatred, but the emotions that had
been locked up behind the walls of my alter egos during all these years
were now flowing through one another. It was an avalanche of feelings
that destabilised me but on the other hand made me feel very much alive
again, finally. I feel all of this in an adult way now. Not chaotic like
in the past, but structured and I hesitated, Integrated. Bee looked at
me for a long time. I cant believe this, she faltered. Dont I have DIS
any longer now? I asked a little sheepish. Bee thought it wouldnt take
long anymore before I was a complete human being again. I sighed and
told her I was not convinced that everything would be sold now. My past
would keep affecting me anyway. Some painful memories had been awakened,
like Chrissies death, my little children who died. Id have to learn how
to live with this one way or another. Thats right, Bee confirmed, But
slowly you will notice that they will get their place in your life. You
will see that the time between two difficult periods will increase. I
know youre going to make it. I nodded and we then discussed what was
going to happen in the near future. RTL, a Belgian TV station in the
French language was very eager to get me on TV too. But I had made an
agreement with VRT that they would be the first to show my face to the
public. We found a solution acceptable to all by allowing RTL to
interview me with my face unrecognisable a few days before Panorama
would show my real face. I came on TV in the RTL programme Controverse.
As always I looked very calm but my hands were soaked with sweat. But as
soon as the cameras started running I became a girl who knew what to do.
The fear and nervousness disappeared, I paid attention to the signals
the operators gave me and obediently did what they wanted. I was still
an anonymous woman but the room full of cables and the men giving
indications through their mikes almost threw me back into the past. I
kept smiling, alert and obedient, just like I had been taught. When it
was all over and I felt the cool outside air I got the shivers. An RTL
employee drove me back home and we had a nice chat. He was such a sweet
guy; I felt this right away. A big friendly chap who talked about the
animals he cared for when his neighbours went away on a trip, about his
little garden which he spent his free time in, about his kids. I
listened and realized it was 1998. I wasnt driven home by an offender or
a driver who couldnt keep his hands off me. I was not returning to
people who knowingly pretended they didnt know where I had been driven.
This was 1998, and look Ginny, how different


everything was, I made myself think, a nice guy behind the wheel, a
beautiful day in spite of the rain, and nobody who caused me any pain. I
smiled at this anonymous guy, whom I probably wouldnt ever meet again
after today, but who meant a lot to me. He didnt realize that he helped
me learn that some people were trustworthy, that some people simply were
good human beings. The BOB still talked to me; they didnt have much of a
choice now that the press was on their backs. The magistrates too seemed
to have suddenly remembered that I existed. It had even become possible
to meet them. Judge Vandermeersch wanted to see me on Wednesday, the day
before the Panorama interview would come on TV. He was friendly and
attentive but could I trust him? I wouldnt bet a penny on it. I had lost
my faith in the justice system and I didnt trust the police anymore
either. Eddy, the BOB agent who had made the rudest comments so far,
like calling my torturers my lovers, fuckers and screwers, had become
more careful now, but he remained vicious. Danny was friendlier and
tried to protect me from the press, but even him I didnt trust anymore.
No one, not even Vandermeersch, provided me with any explanation why De
Baets was being criticized so heavily, so I answered the questions but
remained distant, even a little hostile. I was fed up playing their
hypocritical little game, but yet suppose they would go after Tony or
Mich. I had to keep testifying because I was terrified that I would
destroy this elusive little chance that my rapists might ever be brought
to court. When I left the catacombs of the justice building it was so
weird that all those magistrates and cops seemed to be buried alive in
tight, choking little spaces that looked a lot like prison cells I had
to survive a massive attack by press photographers. They knew that
Panorama was supposed to be the first to show my face to the public the
next day, and they wanted to shoot the first picture to beat Panorama.
We drove off leaving the photographers behind us. Eddy mentioned that
this was what I had chosen. My eyes spat fire when I looked at that
self-righteous little asshole behind the wheel. No Eddy, this is not
what I have chosen. The investigation was stopped, what else was I
supposed to do? Before he started shouting Danny stopped him. He knew
very well that the Rijkswacht (National Police) didnt come out of all of
this very nicely and he didnt want to blow the image of his organization
to smithereens entirely. Paul had shown me the programme before it went
on the air, but when I was sitting on the sofa on Thursday evening with
my sister and brother-in-law besides me, I was nervous. We had put chips
on the table as if we were going to watch a video. But my throat
contracted from the pent-up tension. I forced myself to stay seated but
I had a really hard time. The sound of the jingle went right to the bone
and startled me. But this was it; no one could stop it now. And suddenly
I got carried away on an enormous wave of relief. Now that I saw the
programme on TV, knowing that a lot of people were watching, I knew that
I was partly liberated. My secret wasnt a secret any longer; never again
would it be one. When it was finished I hugged Erwin and Bea. I
swallowed in order to keep my tears under control. I had done it! Oh
God, I had had the nerve to do it! From now on I wasnt just a victim
anymore, I was a victim that fought back! I started dancing; I hopped and


jumped in the garden. Not because I believed I was holding the whole
world in my hand, not because my face had been on TV, but simply because
I had managed to kick my abusers butt. Look at me Tony, and guzzle down
your glass of good wine, I hope you choke on it! Im free! Erwin looked
at me a little apprehensive. Ginny, he said with some hesitation, If
someone sees you hopping around here, theyll certainly believe youre a
loony! I laughed cheerfully. I knew, I knew! But please let me enjoy
this at least once. Tomorrow theyd try to break me down again. Tomorrow
theyd do everything to make my testimony look ridiculous. Let me enjoy
for once, this major thats what it was to me victory. The next day all
hell broke loose. It seemed as if the entire press wanted to take my
farm by storm. Even The Netherlands seemed interested. I felt
overwhelmed but fortunately we owned thirteen thousand square meters of
land, all fenced off. This allowed the children to play in all peace and
quiet. Off course they noticed something was going on but they were
carefully protected from this horde of sensation-mongers. And I refused
to take advantage of the innocent faces of my children to arouse
sympathy. I wanted to fight my war in an honest and fair way. I
therefore never openly name the abusers and I avoided sensation. I
remained rather distant, which wasnt appreciated by certain newspapers.
I called my friends in the evening trying not to isolate myself.
Surprisingly this worked fairly well, even though I felt bad about the
rupture with my parents. They had watched Panorama in the company of a
journalist of Het Volk (Belgian newspaper in the Dutch language). They
hadnt shown anything but disapproval, exactly as I had expected. I
discussed this with Erwin, Bee, and with my friends. They approved of
what I had done or at least understood my feelings. Unlike in the past I
did now share my pain and doubts with other people. This was like a
revelation to me. My life had changed so fundamentally. Because the ties
with my parents and the rest of my family were ruptured, I didnt have
the feeling anymore of having to live up to certain expectations that
they had imposed on me like being obedient, defending the family honour,
keeping my mouth shut. I didnt have to be perfect anymore, nor did I
have to act. I knew that from now on, I could do it my own way. Id live
without them. I felt bad about having attacked my parents but I knew
they would never be able to admit that they were wrong, that they abused
and neglected me. And thats exactly why I didnt want my sons and
daughters to contact their grandparents anymore. I didnt want them to
get caught between hammer and anvil in that conflict of ours. We all sat
down on the sofa, Janek on my lap, Hannah against me, Eli and Yentl with
their feet on the sofa, their chins on their knees. I told them gently
that Grandma and Grandpa wouldnt see us anymore. Why not? they asked
with surprised little eyes. And with my heart full of pain I explained
to them that when Mommy was a little girl, evil people had hurt her very
much. Did Grandma and Grandpa know that?


Not always, but I have told them several times. And what happened then?
Eli asked. I looked at him and caressed his head. They didnt believe me,
Eli, I answered sadly. Even now that Mommy has become a big person, they
still dont believe that Mommy has had lots of pain because of what those
bad people did to her. Eli and Yentl frowned their eyebrows, thinking.
The two little ones didnt realize the importance of the conversation and
were playing with my long hair. Thats not nice of them, Eli whispered.
No, I answered, feeling my throat tighten. We hugged each other. I
answered their questions, trying not to make their grandparents look too
bad to them. I didnt want them to go on with bad images in their head
that woke them up at night. We talked about the family we still had,
like my in laws and Annie on the farm, about aunt Bea and uncle Miguel,
about our friends whose children they grew up with. I explained that
sometimes friends were just like family. Because being family meant that
you loved the people around you and did everything to support and help
each other. That too my sweet kids understood. We were so close together
and I was filled with love for my four little kids. I loved them so
intensely that I was about to start crying. I love you, I whispered and
they stuck to me even closer. We believe you Mommy, Eli said. Thank you
Eli, I smiled. This was the most beautiful present I ever received and I
promised myself that I would remember this special moment my entire life

49. The press storm What I expected happened, a press storm broke loose.
Newspapers described how ill my poor mother was. The TV had shown her
lying on a bed with plastic hoses in her nostrils; they hadnt told the
public that she had been a chain smoker for many years. They mentioned
my fathers miserable childhood, showing photographs that were really
pathetic. My mother, a hush puppy look in her eyes, my father with
slanted head and big sad eyes should convince the readers that I was
bad, really bad. Some media even managed to publish a weekly article The
lies of X1 in very large fonts. My mothers brother, his son and a whole
bunch of family members were allowed to voice their complaints, and boy,
did they like it! It made them famous for a few moments, like Kathy, the
neighbours daughter who preached her expert opinion Shes totally nuts,
Sir! with grand enthusiasm. I was amazed that obvious mistakes from the
press were labelled as lies from X1. But since I couldnt possibly fight
every blunder or insinuation, I put the newspapers to their most
efficient use by peeling my potatoes on them. My parents played their
part with a lot of conviction, the way they always did. I have to admit
they seemed to be much better actors than me. While I kept my distance
from the press, they skilfully manipulated the sentiments of the
readers. Sometimes they goofed and started stuttering. I almost died of
laughing when I heard my father say on the news:


I dont know a T. Sir, I dont know who shes talking about, then looked
at my mother asking, Do you know a T. other than Tony? Suddenly he
remembered that Tony started with a T and then said that he was a friend
of the family. A real nice person Sir. Annemie and Douglas gave my
father a hard time when they asked him if they contacted Tony lately.
No, said my father with his innocent surprised voice. Really not? No, he
repeated, really convinced this time. Then the journalists showed him
the record of a conversation that had taken place not long before and
had been registered on the Zoller system, that is used by the police to
track phone calls. It was an eighteen minutes long conversation with
Tony! VTM, another Belgian TV station in the Dutch language had sent a
team of reporters to my house but because they were so arrogant I had
thrown them out. They didnt forgive me for that. They had obviously
decided to ridicule Panorama. They made a programme (Telefacts) showing
classmates and former teachers who obviously didnt know about my secret.
I never saw the programme myself but a lot of friends and victims of
sexual abuse reacted to this program with a lot of anger. I was more
concerned though about what they told about me in Au nom the la loi (In
the name of the law), the flagship of RTBF (a Belgian radio and TV
station in the French language). It was obvious that the reporters had
been leaked information from the police. They showed my face with music
and images from The Blair Witch in the background. This dirty trick will
be shown later in Belgiums X-files, an excellent programme about Marc
Dutroux made by Olenka Frenkiel from the BBC. The information they
showed on RTBF was biased and carefully calculated. Every little mistake
I had made was blown out of proportion. First names that werent correct,
fake license plates, all these little errors that the abusers taught us
on purpose why take the risk indeed to use their real name if the fake
one seems real to the child now seemed to be the evidence that victims
of networks fantasized about their traumas. The large amounts of
gruesomely correct details that I had provided were omitted. It
frightened me to realise that from now on, all victims would be
ridiculed and destroyed. That an important part of the media co-operated
with this cover up operation gave me the creeps. When doctor Igodt, the
leader of the team of psychologists that evaluated me declared on TV
during an RTL programme begin 1998 that X1 was a well-balanced woman
whose testimony had its importance, he was immediately branded a
believer. For hours in a row the media showed the funeral of Julie and
Melissa, with all the necessary sentimentality. They called for revenge
and heavy punishment of the abusers but when witnesses showed up, when
victims had mustered up the courage to break the code of silence, they
tried to shut them up brutally. I got the impression that paedophile
networks were treated in Belgium like the concentration camps in Nazi
Germany. Even today there are negationists who stubbornly deny the
existence of the camps. Unfortunately, unlike the SS, the abusers in
Belgium had gotten all the time in the world


to destroy the evidence or transfer it to safe places. I seriously
doubt that one single movie will be discovered showing me as a child. A
large amount of videotapes clearly showing the paedophiles faces had
been found at Dutroux place, and also at the houses of other paedophiles
like Raemakers, who had been convicted to life in prison. I have never
heard about prosecutions of the people on the tapes. No newspaper asked
whom these many anonymous children on the videos were. Nobody in the
justice department seemed to worry about it because most of the tapes
had been destroyed. The anonymous little faces had faded away in the
flames, even before anyone had gotten the chance to identify them. Were
they still alive? Did they die, tortured to death in snuff movies?
Nobody seemed to care. Thats what was unbearable to me! The aggressive
tone of certain magazines, newspapers, and TV programmes was scary. This
wasnt normal anymore. How strong must the abusers feel themselves now?
For a moment I had probably scared the living daylights out of them but
they had to feel safe again now. And what more could I do to turn the
tide. I felt really bad for the little victims. Had everything been
useless? Had I been so damn stupid to believe that my testimony would
help other victims? The signals from the press were clear enough. Shut
up otherwise youll be dragged through the mud. I was insane, a
pathological liar who had invented networks that didnt exist in Belgium.
Even Dutroux was carefully being justified. He was just a lonely
paedophile who had had a terrible childhood, a psychopath. But why did
he have these cages in his cellar? And who had so brutally raped Melissa
when Dutroux was in prison? Dutroux had indeed been in prison for three
months when Julie and Melissa were supposedly in the cage in his cellar.
He pretended that he had asked his wife to feed them but she would later
state that only once she had put some food at the entrance of the cage,
because she was too scared to go inside. According to Dutroux he had
found one girl dead and the other dying when he returned from prison. He
said he had never raped them. But nobody asked questions anymore. Only a
few reporters still listened to me, to my cry of distress. But they were
not allowed to publish or transmit. They all told me that their bosses
were muzzling them. At least you tried, Erwin comforted me. I nodded.
But I was afraid I would have to give up my farm because my sales figure
was plummeting. Nobody wanted to do business with a lunatic woman while
reporters were all over the place. Fortunately there were the phone
calls, the postcards and letters from people supporting me. Fortunately
there was Tiny, the mother of the two disappeared children Kim and Ken,
who became a good friend of mine. She repeatedly let me know that she
supported me and that she had gone through the same ordeal. Her
suffering was indescribable. Imagine yourself being a mother, not being
taken seriously when you tell the police that your children should have
been home a long time ago already, and that on top of that the police
tell you that you are suspected of murdering them! I was so grateful for
the friends I had. I let Erwin hug me and together with the kids we
tried to spend the scarce leisure time we had left right now, as happily
as possible. The teachers and the school director took really good care
of the kids too. I was happy that I knew so many intelligent and good


50. The March against Silence But a few good men and women didnt give
up. Marc Reisinger, a psychiatrist who was the driving force behind the
Brussels group Pour la Vrit (For the Truth) became a close friend. He
wanted to uncover the truth and help the victims, without putting
himself in the spotlights. I admired his courage and energy very much.
It was Marc who called me and motivated me for a new White March, the
March against Silence on 15 February 1998. I was still uncomfortable
around people, certainly now that I was being portrayed as a roving
lunatic, but I felt that I had to be present this time. I had already
missed the first White March but this time Id support the parents, to
give a face to the victims. I agreed with Marc that we would walk
together, that way I didnt have to face the horde of press guys all by
myself. It became a unique experience, which liberated me from the fear
of mingling in a crowd. Together with Erwin and my dog Tembo, who
followed me around everywhere and was my favourite animal, I walked
among the people. Some embraced me and shouted encouraging words, others
kissed me and allowed their tears to flow freely. Witness X1 had become
a symbol, like it or not, of the malfunction of justice and police. Many
understood that a cover up operation had started and made this clear to
me by expressing their sympathy for my struggle. I felt relief when I
could get away from the crowd for a moment behind the stage that had
been put up. Tiny was there too and when I embraced her, dozens of
flashlights went off. I petted Tembo, the most famous German bulldog of
Belgium. He wagged his long tail whipping away a couple of journalists.
I liked this sweet (little) revenge. I met Karel Pyck, youth
psychiatrist and lecturer at the Leuven University. He too had been hit
by the backlash, as he denounced the negationist evolution in the press
and among magistrates. He had supported victims before and had become
the villain. He went through a very depressing period all by himself,
ridiculed and rejected by his colleagues and the press. He felt close to
De Baets, the new backlash victim. We returned home happily after the
March against Silence. The fighting spirit that had almost been eaten up
by doubt and despair had come back. If so many people still agreed to
march to break the silence surrounding the X-files, there was still hope.

51. The confrontation with my father In February 1998 my heart stopped
beating when I suddenly noticed agents from the Ghent BOB at my front
door. Their self-complacent attitude and their disdain for victims
intimidated me in advance. They had interrogated me the year before and
their brutal arrogance had turned the hearing into a disaster. I opened
the door, feeling the same fear and submission I had always felt with
Tony, and let them in. I felt panic sting me when the one who had
interrogated me the year before, demanded that I came to the office the
next day. It was important, he said, at the same tone as Tony used to
do, when he warned


me not to be late. I nodded. They could pick me up tomorrow. I knew why
they wanted me there; it dawned upon me all of a sudden. They wanted to
confront me with my father. The next day Substitute (a magistrate) De
Rouck tried to convince me to fully co-operate. They wouldnt force me,
oh no, but there were three of them around the table, and again I obeyed
just as I always did with Tony. I was shaking inside and I put up a weak
protest but in the end I gave in. They presented it in such a beautiful
way. They wanted to listen to me. I was allowed to show sadness and
pain, theyd give me all the time I needed. Then we went into the
interrogation room. I heard the door close and they told me that my
father was there too. I bowed my head. I didnt want to see him, I said
bluntly. But here I was in the same situation as in the past. No clue on
how to get home, totally dependant on the people who had power over me.
They said I was allowed to make my own choice, but when I said I didnt
want this, nobody got up. I started crying, I was so ashamed. Tears were
rolling down my cheeks and I was trembling and stubbornly shaking my
head. I didnt want to see him; I wanted to get out of there. Oh God, I
didnt have the strength to let my father humiliate me again. But they
didnt let me go this time either. They talked to me until I nodded yes.
The confrontation was pathetic. He kept lamenting that he didnt know
anything and I tried desperately to confront him with things he
certainly had to remember. But he didnt give in a millimetre. He didnt
even admit that I often didnt get anything to eat. With the ease of an
experienced actor, he lied that I got three meals a day and was never
short of anything. He mentioned all the money my parents ever gave me
but he didnt say that it was a bribe to keep me silent. How could I have
been so stupid to go along with that, I bitterly asked myself. How could
I have been so dumb to believe that they gave me money to compensate for
the lack of love? How could I have been so nave to believe that this
money would never be used against me? I didnt know my father anymore. He
had become a total stranger tome. Whatever tie ever existed between us,
there was nothing left of it. It didnt even hurt anymore to see this. I
looked at him and to my amazement, I didnt feel any love or regret
anymore. His arguments we have worked very hard for her and spoiled her
rotten didnt have any effect on me. I didnt feel guilty any longer. I
bowed my head knowing that things would never be made up between us. And
this gave me a feeling of relief. I knew now that I could give up all
hope that he would ever be sorry about what had happened. And it was
good to know this. It became a sad certainty today but that was still a
lot better than the uncertainty I had lived in during the past months.
What hurt me is that Substitute De Rouck acted as if it were a classic
case of lack of communication between a father and his daughter. When
would I finally be relieved of these useless hearings? When I came home
I cried, threw plates against the wall, lashed out at Erwin when he
tried to come in my vicinity. I cut my arms again, hoping to make the
pain and the panic go away but I was devoured inside. On TV I looked
self-assured, laughing, as if everything were so easy, but if people
just knew Erwin grabbed me, pressed me against his chest and I started
crying uncontrollably. I hit his shoulders with my fists, wanted to
wrestle myself loose, but he held on to me, soothing. They hurt me so
badly, Winnie


I remember my father as a cold man, incapable of showing or giving
love. Maybe this was caused by his childhood. He grew up in a miserable
orphanage and went to work in a factory when he was fourteen years old.
If he had been more fortunate as a child, he probably would have been a
different person. His entire life he had been obsessed by the image that
the outside world would have of him and his family. He liked living in
his perfect make-believe world. I still dont know who he really was and
what he really thought. He had never shown any spontaneity. He was so
different from me. I was chaotic, spontaneous and optimistic in spite of
the abuse. It was simply my nature to be full of life, and although they
often tried, they never managed to break me. My father had imagined he
would have a sweet and lovely little daughter, a kind of Goldilocks, but
it didnt quite turn out that way. My mother was 33 and my father 36 when
I was born. And this gave added responsibility to people who barely
managed to keep themselves afloat. Family tragedies are often passed on
from one generation to the next one. My parents chose to make money
instead of sharing love and happiness with each other and me. My father
gave me things, presents, toys, candy in exchange for services. Just
like many other victims I learned that I could get what I wanted in
exchange for sex. I learned at a very early age that this kind of trade
was the only way of communicating with my father. When I wanted
something I gave him what he wanted and so I got my thing too. He told
the press repeatedly that I always got what I liked. I often think You
did too! but I was embarrassed to say this aloud. For years I felt like
an accomplice for having accepted toys, candy and money. It made me a
bad girl. I knew deep inside that something wasnt right about this, but
I played along anyway. Is it possible for a child to say no? As a young
child you think your parents know whats good for you. You accept what
they do because youre young and theyre your role models. It used to be a
businesslike transaction, I gave something and I got something in
return. Nobody ever told me that there was anything was wrong with it. I
only realized that trading sex for presents was morally wrong when I
understood the meaning of the insult whore. But that was many years
later. And only then the guilty feeling came. My father obviously didnt
love me. I think that this was mainly caused by the fact we blackmailed
each other. Because he rewarded me to keep my mouth shut, he was
vulnerable. And it didnt make an easy child of me. But when I threw a
fit he gave in quickly, afraid that I would burst the balloon of his
fake world. That made me do what he wanted again and, the way I felt it,
turned me into an accomplice and made me guilty again. Everything had
been OK until that day when I was one and a half year old and my father
abused me for the first time. The trust had been shaken, that day we
stopped being father and daughter. I indeed received a lot of toys, but
they didnt make me happy. These presents werent given from the heart.
There was some unpleasant smell about them. They also increased the
confusion every time. Was I good or bad? Was I bad because I gave my
body, or good because I obeyed? On the one hand he gave me material
rewards, on the other he despised me. He thought I was bad because I
gave affection in exchange for toys and candy, but when I refused he
stopped talking to me. But after a while he came up with a present
anyway and I felt obligated to pay the price. It was a vicious circle, a
downward spiral. I had depressions at a very young age. I wanted to
sleep never


to wake up again, because my problems seemed to increase with the day.
I felt weird. I didnt feel connected with other kids. They seemed to
belong to an entirely different world. But I was afraid to be jolted out
of my familiar environment, so I kept my mouth shut. I was filled with
fear of not being able to survive in the other world. And after I had
experienced how the police interrogated adult victims, I was damn happy
that I had already gone through several years of therapy before my first
contact with the Ghent BOB. Imagine a fifteen year old being brought
into a room with a big window of mirror glass, with a dozen BOB agents
being present, dressed in civilian clothes, their pistol clearly visible
I had been threatened with pistols many times during all these years and
whose uniforms resembled my abusers very much. They didnt bother to tell
you who they were but stuck a big camera in front of your nose, after
you have been raped countless times in front of the camera. As a fifteen
year old I would have gone totally mad from fear and would have squeezed
my jaws together, that I know for sure. I would have sworn on the Holy
Bible that nothing was wrong with me until they let me go. The reason
sexual abuse can remain hidden from family and friends for such a long
time is because the victim always gets punished the most. He or she is
always the biggest loser. I gave my body to receive love in return but
never succeeded. To the outside world my parents faked they cared for
me, and they were believed, no questions asked. I stayed behind totally
isolated. When I finally mustered up the courage to talk, I lost my
family. My father could pretend, using his most innocent face that he
had never seen anything, that I was spoiled rotten. Nobody has had the
guts to ask him why then I was so early mature, why a group of
psychiatric experts declared that I had been sexually abused repeatedly
and for a long time, starting at an early age. If no journalist has had
the guts to ask him that, why then was I attacked for having waited so
long to talk?

52. Dont believe the victim, destroy her! I was getting used now to the
press harassing me, I was even getting used to the cameras. I didnt pay
attention to them anymore. Even the looks from people who recognized me
in the street had stopped bothering me. But I was still Ginny, an
insignificant human being with a message. But although I pretended not
to care, the lies that were published about me hurt me deeply. Sometimes
I was so angry that I wanted to use my legal right to answer, but then I
figured that it wouldnt make much of a difference anyway. When I read an
article from Frank De Moor, a reporter of Knack Magazine, I really got
the shivers. He didnt hide that he had copies of the official police
reports. He mentioned parts of the hearings, and I felt cheated again.
The BOB detectives had promised me that my testimony was safe and would
not fall in the hands of the press. That no one would read the reports
except the people directly working on the case, that my testimony would
remain secret and protected. But the press printed fragments that were
totally taken out of context. The purpose was to show how De Baets had
manipulated the hearings and how I


had given answers that didnt make any sense. Of course I had often
answered, I dont know, what else could I have done when I didnt know?
Invent things? The journalists from De Morgen were given a real hard
time. Some demanded the resignation of the editor in chief, Yves Desmet.
The police paid them a visit. Michel Bouffioux from Tlmoustique came
under attack too. Marie-Jeanne Van Heeswyck would eventually lose her
job. All the people who held information about the cover up that was
being organized were being targeted. Le Soir Illustr and Knack were left
in peace and the same happened to the journalists from Au nom de la Loi;
they all had ridiculed me. The journalists who had taken me serious were
being attacked, the cops who listened to me were being accused of
leading the witness and had been thrown off the case, the people I had
identified as abusers werent bothered at all and me, I was branded a
lunatic, an unreliable witness, a pathological liar. The files could
easily be closed now, who was still going to object? Even Chrissies
parents had stated, together with their attorney, that nothing in my
statements was true. I could understand them in a way; it must have been
a real nightmare to them. The truth was probably too hard for them to
live with, but it was so sad they that missed a unique opportunity to
catch the murderers. Even without my testimony there was enough evidence
to arrest the real killers. All they had to do was look into Dutroux
past, after they arrested him. They could have discovered, from the
information in the old files that Dutroux and Nihoul had been meeting
each other much earlier than they thought. They could have established
that link. But they never did. When I met Chrissies parents at the BOB,
they told me that they couldnt imagine that their daughter wouldnt have
defended herself. But An and Eefje were older teenagers, abducted
together by Dutroux. And although they were together, they hadnt been
able to defend themselves. Dutroux knew how to use drugs like Rohypnol
to sedate his victims. Chrissie often didnt come home, but they refused
to admit this. They stubbornly maintained that they didnt have a clue
about what their daughter had gotten herself into. I couldnt really
blame them for that. I wonder if I would be able to live with such
memories if my little daughter were murdered. Maybe I would like to
believe that the witness was lying, to be able to move on in life
without too much remorse and too many nightmares. But what made me
really angry was the press interview with Substitute Paule Somers, the
Brussels magistrate who worked on the mushroom farm file for Judge
Vandermeersch. She pretended that I had taken the bait of certain
suggestive questions from the parents and that they had trapped me that
way. Of course she referred to Chrissies trip to Canada with which
Chrissies mother tried to prove that I was making everything up. I
showed earlier in this book that this was nonsense. I understood that
parents denied such horrible events because they couldnt cope with them,
but I didnt understand how a magistrate either lied or didnt react if
she was quoted incorrectly. The cameras had registered everything. Why
then did Mrs Somers send the wrong information into the world, while the
video could prove the opposite? Were the videocassettes about to
disappear too, just like a copy of the entire file on the mushroom farm
had been stolen from a policemans car in November 1997? Had they
vanished already? I didnt know but I didnt feel comfortable at all.


It was stated also that Chrissies wounds had other causes. This scared
me. In the original files the wounds had been described, exactly the way
I described them. And then, all of a sudden, when I seemed to remember
too much, everything got modified. I didnt feel safe in Belgium anymore.
I had kicked some powerful peoples butts and made them nervous. I was
afraid that the real harassment hadnt started yet. Were they going to
put me through a second psychiatric examination, because Dr Igodts
report from the first one was too positive for me? Would they also
appoint a team of psychiatric re-readers? Would they start harassing me
administratively? Would they keep tapping my phone? They were tapping my
phone indeed as I would soon find out. Did they want to prove that I was
the gang leader of a conspiracy, left wing, right wing or any other
wing, to bring down the government as some suggested? My sister in law
and I had the same voice on the phone. Our voices were so identical that
even Erwin and my mother-in-law never knew who was on the phone. And
this must have caused some confusion at the Brussels BOB too. After the
hearing that made Tania feel terrible, Eddy asked her if she knew
anything about my lovers. Tania looked at him, surprised, and told him
she had never heard or seen anything about lovers of mine; she started
laughing, being very well aware of the fact that I was not interested at
all in love affairs, and that I was faithfully married to Erwin for
almost ten years now. She asked if he, Eddy, knew more about this. Did
you never hear her talk about some Guy? Eddy asked. Tania shook her head
but remembered the name. When she told me about her experiences with the
Brussels BOB, she immediately asked me who this Guy could be. I was
totally caught by surprise and after some thinking I came to the
conclusion that I didnt know anybody with that name. I forgot about this
until Bea, my sister in law asked me if she was allowed to call Guy to
find out if the new antenna she ordered for her GSM had come in already.
Then it dawned on me why Eddy asked Tania if I had a lover. The BOB had
obviously listened in on the telephone conversation during which Bea had
been joking with a friend of hers. They had pretended they were lovers.
During my last hearing in Brussels in April 1998 the new investigators
had shown me a series of fourteen black and white photos of Turkish
looking girls who looked very similar. But I picked out the right photo
of a girl that had been killed during a hunt. I was so tired. These
hearings were totally useless. Their only aim was to prove that I made
everything up, or that De Baets had given me the information. I didnt
feel threatened so much by my abusers anymore. I guess theyd think twice
before doing something against me now. But I felt threatened by all
those ridiculous conspiracy theories that went around these days. I
heard from journalists that several investigations had started against
De Baets and his team. They even interrogated his ex-wife to find out
if, eighteen years ago, he didnt mention a certain Regina. At first they
wanted to check if I didnt have a relationship with him, then they
wanted to know if maybe I was his secret daughter! And if all of that
wasnt absurd enough, they also wanted to know if he didnt know Tania
before and if he hadnt arranged for her to call Connerotte exactly at
the time when he was standing next to him in Neufchateau. Who was insane


It wasnt easy to be a survivor of a paedophile network. Although I was
doing quite well in therapy, a part of the feelings of guilt, shame and
sorrow remained. It felt mostly like a gnawing grief or a chronic pain.
I coped with it like someone who has a physical handicap; you live with
it because you dont have any other choice. What really helped me survive
the negative attitude of the press and the BOB was my farm. When I got
up in the morning, I didnt have time to brood over the smear campaign. I
had to take care of my animals, work with the dogs, clean the kennels
and go through the daily routine. From time to time a friend called me
outraged, but I just shrugged my shoulders. It didnt matter to me any
more what they said about me. I knew damn well what I went through, and
I knew how I had always tried to tell the truth, or at least tried to be
as accurate as I could be. I had made some mistakes, but I knew they
were caused by the traumatic experiences I had endured, and nobody could
make me doubt about my past. I hoped that, after all the emotions would
have cooled down, I would be proven right, bit-by-bit. Paedophile
networks did exist and I had to bear the consequences daily. It was
really funny that every time I was losing faith and was on the verge of
giving up, someone wrote me a letter or sent me a postcard, and this
gave me the strength again to carry on fighting. I liked very much the
letters from Ruf, a man who often wrote me a postcard or an entire
letter full of questions and considerations. He was as concerned as I
was about the fate of the little victims. His letters were often moving.
This showed me that people with feelings really existed, people who
didnt get influenced by an orchestrated negative attitude from the
press. One day, when I was coming back from the store, putting my bags
in the trunk of the car, a lady walked up to me to show me her support.
I smiled at her, a little embarrassed, but it really made me feel good.
I often felt like Don Quixote fighting windmills. Nobody seemed to want
to listen to me. Nobody seemed to want to know that there were new
little victims all the time. The abusers wouldnt stop; they only would
if they were locked up and put through compulsory therapy. And the pimps
would never stop, with or without therapy. They were criminals who
exploited children, played and experimented with them, just as if
children were merchandise. They made the children believe that it was
their fault, made them dependent and loyal, and intimidated them into a
code of silence. If nobody wanted to hear my cry for help, what would
happen to the little victims who were being abused today? Sometimes I
was really desperate. How could I possibly stop my abusers, and the new
ones to come? What more could I do to make people aware of this terrible
reality? Because it was not just a few victims I was talking about. It
concerned large numbers of children who suffered anonymously day after
day, or should I say night after night? According to statistics one girl
out of four was confronted with sexual abuse, varying from being
touched, to frequent abuse that went on for a long time, inside or
outside the family. The number of boy victims was on the increase too.
Networks consumed lots of children. It was a social problem comparable
to traffic accidents and drug addiction, but it was a lot less visible.
It was a creeping poison that worked in silence. It took more victims
than most people thought. I sincerely feared that Justice and the press
had done an enormous amount of damage by breaking me down and ridiculing
my testimony. Many abusers would see that the media supported them, and
enabled them to go on more zealously than ever. Nobody criticized them,
they werent held responsible.


53. The confrontation with my pimp I think it was Andy Warhol who once
said We will all be famous for fifteen minutes. Forest guard Stphane
Michaux moment of glory came in the afternoon of 23 April 1998. He
noticed a stranded car that was stuck in the mud on a dirt road in the
woods. Inside the car was Marc Dutroux. Five thousand policemen with
helicopters and support of the Army were looking for him; it was
probably the biggest manhunt in Belgian history. Stphane Michaux became
an instant hero and received official congratulations. What had
happened? Marc Dutroux was allowed to consult his judicial files at the
Neufchateau Court House. He was supervised by two policemen but wasnt
even chained or handcuffed because this was against the basic human
rights of the criminal. Criminals usually have more rights than victims.
When he asked to consult another file, one policeman went to get it in
another room. Taking advantage of a short lack of attention Dutroux
knocked over the second policeman, took his gun, raced outside the Court
House and carjacked the first car he bumped into. How could the driver
have known that the gun wasnt loaded! It was 15.15 p.m. Three hours
later Dutoux was caught again on his way towards the French border. You
would think it impossible for criminal number one to escape like this,
wouldnt you? Wrong! It was possible in Belgium, the land of unlimited
opportunities for paedophiles. The escape made headlines all over the
world. Immediately afterwards the Minister of Justice De Clerck, and the
Minister of the Interior Vandelanotte resigned from office. This was a
courageous act because it was very exceptional in Belgian politics that
ministers accepted the political responsibility of blunders, even though
they werent personally involved. And end April the Chief of the national
police General De Ridder had to step down too. Ill never forget 23 April
1998 because this was also the day that I was confronted by Tony at the
Ghent BOB. First I had to wait for hours in a poky little office, with a
policeman as my guard dog, until they finally pushed me, deadly nervous
and without any preparation, into the room where my pimp was already
having a friendly chat with a police officer who was sitting at a desk.
He was wearing black pants, a black shirt that wasnt entirely closed
this alone made me take a step back paralysed with fear, obedient as in
the past and a matching tie from which hung a little Eiffel Tower. I
really had to make an effort to sit down on a chair. I forced myself to
look at him, how his left ankle rested on his right knee, the way he
always used to do, how he still looked very vital and felt very much at
ease. He hadnt changed a bit. It was as if the energy he took from my
little friends and me prevented him from getting older. But I felt old,
ugly, scared, defeated. I remained alert though. I knew from the BOB
agent who brought me to the office that he had partially confessed, so I
tried to adapt my body language to look more assertive than I really
was. For many years I had been trained to hide my real feelings. He had
been my teacher and now I wanted to show him that I still knew all the
tricks. I looked him right in the eyes. The seconds ticked away. With
his typical accent he said: Hello Regina, and I kept staring at him. No
guy, you dont have to greet me. And I finally stared him down.


There were no cameras in the room. At this crucial moment the police
estimated that cameras were not necessary. This made me understand a
lot, and I knew that Tony would never have to suffer as much as I did
during the endless interrogations. He didnt have to be filmed. The life
of an abuser was so beautiful! During the few minutes before the hearing
started I realized in a flash that the only emotion that remained was a
throbbing fear in my stomach. His abuse and his subtle manipulations had
had a far-reaching impact on my life. In all these long years there
hadnt been a day, when I got up in the morning, without feeling the pain
he inflicted on me. There hadnt been a day without me remembering his
face, his voice, and his touch. I swallowed my tears with great
difficulty and felt anger and hatred rise from deep inside me, emotions
that I had hidden for so many years, because I was simply forced to hide
them. Why dont you just die? I asked him, trembling with anger. He
looked at me for a second, surprised, and shrugged his shoulders. I
noticed I had been making the same gesture for many years and this
increased my rage. Do me a favour and just drop dead! I hissed. I didnt
know if it hurt him but he didnt look at me anymore. He stared uneasily
at the wall in front of him, but there wasnt anything else than boring
beige wallpaper. The interrogation was terrible. The Brussels BOB agents
were sitting beside him, the Ghent agents were sitting behind the desk.
One of them asked the questions while another one, using two fingers,
typed in the questions and answers on the computer keyboard. No
psychological assistance. I was in a room with five men. My anger slowly
faded and turned into a claustrophobic panic. I wanted to leave; I
suddenly became scared to death. They didnt pause; they didnt allow me
any time to recover from the shock of meeting him again. A Ghent BOB
agent explained what I told them about the abuse and the torture Tony
put me through. I shrunk together. My pimp was right there! That man who
used to beat me up with sadistic pleasure, who raped my little friends
to keep me silent, to that man the BOB agent explained what I had said.
I had to fight to keep going, to struggle not to shout that I withdrew
everything if they just let me go This confrontation was pure hell. This
was the most humiliating thing I ever went through. I was slowly dying
there in that room. I wanted so much to go to sleep never to wake up
again. Tony flatly admitted that he raped me in every possible way,
several times a week since I was twelve years old, and that my parents
knew about it. He first tried to say that I was fourteen but after a
remark of mine he admitted that it started at twelve. He admitted, with
a faint smile on his face, that he had a key of my parents house.
Stuttering, my head down, I told the policemen how he lent me out for
the first time at the Ghent Feasts. He nodded and shrugged his
shoulders. He even named the man whom I was only able to describe. He
admitted that he forced my friends into sex games. He said he forced me
to participate to make sure they wouldnt alarm their parents. The BOB
agents typed in only a very succinct version. I looked at it with
despair. Why didnt they use a video? Why did he get a chance to modify
what he had said, after they repeated the question and didnt type in the
first answer? Was this professionalism? These BOB agents wouldnt be
removed from the investigation, I thought bitterly. I asked for a break
to get out of this choking room for a minute but they refused. So I used
my old trick and said I really had to go to the toilet. Danny, the
Brussels agent followed me closely. Today


I was obviously much better guarded than Dutroux, who was at large at
this very moment, but I didnt know that yet. Halfway down the corridor I
leaned against the wall and started crying. I put my hands in front of
my face; I was so terribly hurt! I couldnt go on with this. I felt the
loss of my little friends, of my youth, of my babies, of my innocence. I
cried and cried while Danny looked on, embarrassed. He tried to soothe
me in a clumsy way, put his hand on my shoulder for a few moments, but I
couldnt stop. After several long minutes I managed to walk through the
corridor again, one step at the time. I concentrated on the movements of
my feet and tried to move forward, but I had the impression I wouldnt be
able to reach the toilet, which was only twenty meters away. This was
exactly the same as after Clo, and Chrissie. Then too I thought I
wouldnt be able to go on, that I couldnt live any longer. But life went
on, as if my body reacted purely mechanically until my soul had absorbed
the heavy shock. I didnt want it, but it happened, just like the beating
of my heart. And look, I was able to open and close the toilet door. I
was able to wet my face with the cold tap water. I managed to stroll
behind the cop, back to hell, to the room where my pimp was waiting.
There was no resistance; I obeyed Dannys voice that whispered Come on!
The sooner youre through the better. I wasnt free yet, I still obeyed. I
sat down again with my head bowed. I knew I should attack him, tell them
what he did to me, and repeat what I had said during the hearings. But I
couldnt. I might have been able to with my therapist present, or someone
else I felt comfortable with, but I couldnt do this surrounded by people
I didnt trust, people who looked at me mockingly. Come on, this is your
chance, tell it right to his face! joked the Ghent guy. I wished him
just one night in the hell I managed to escape from, without any help
from the police or the justice department. I crawled inside myself,
staring at the door. I kept staring at it, even when they asked me
questions. Their voices seemed to come from far away. I was not really
present in that room anymore. I wanted to go away, away, away. Tears
were rolling down my cheeks but I couldnt stop them. Years ago I had the
courage to stand up and resist my pimp. I had lost that courage. Couldnt
anybody see this? The hearing went on forever. The compelling sound of
the telephone helped me out of the cocoon that I had slowly woven around
myself. The cop answered curtly, then hung up and said that I was
allowed to make a short phone call to Erwin in ten minutes. He was
worried. I nodded and my heart missed a beat. Oh God, Erwin. I needed
you so much! I stared at the door again until the Ghent BOB guy got fed
up with it and sent me to the adjacent office to call Erwin. With
trembling fingers I dialled my number. After two rings Erwin picked up
and I heard his familiar voice. I said hello, crying. He was sweet and
understanding. He already called Bee and she too was anxiously waiting
for me to come home. I could call her as soon as I got back. Home? I
couldnt imagine that this nightmare would ever end. I cried without
being ashamed. Danny was discretely waiting in the corridor when I told
Erwin that I didnt dare to attack Tony. He urged me not to give up. He
said hed wait for me no matter what time Id be back. Dont let him walk
over you Ginny, remember, Im standing right behind you, he tried to
support me, and I nodded. My tears were flowing freely now. It was as if
all the pentup tension had caused a dike-burst.


Hey, do you know what? Dutroux escaped! Erwin had his rather unorthodox
methods to cheer me up. I was sobbing but couldnt help laughing through
my tears. Was he pulling my leg? Yes its true, but dont worry, I just
heard they caught him again. I shook my head and laughed and cried at
the same time. This was only possible in Belgium, the country of Lucky
Luke, the Smurfs and Tintin! I tried to look at it from the funny side
but that had its limits. Today the parents of An and Eefje, of Julie and
Melissa, of Sabine and Laetitia must have gone through hell again. The
hearing report was read aloud now. I didnt pay attention; my thoughts
were escaping home. It was my method of survival because otherwise I
would run away screaming. The Ghent BOB guy gave me a pat on the
shoulder telling me that I should be very happy. Happy? I looked at him
and my eyes spit fire. Happy to hear that he had confessed without any
regret, that he could walk away just like that, that he was allowed to
make new little victims? Happy with this consolation prize? Why didnt
you just get lost! That same day, before Tony admitted he was my pimp
with the ease of a man who knew he would never do any time, the
magistrates had decided to close the X-files including, of course, the
X1 file. Finished, schluss, it was over. Go after the networks and
attack them? Why did I have the illusion, back in 1996, that anything
would change? I already knew in September 1997 that the X-files would be
closed, but it hurt terribly to see it happen the exact day my pimp
confessed. Just when I had the impression that I would never be brought
home again, Tony was allowed to leave and the BOB agents got ready to
drive me home. Danny was silent during the ride. His usual nervousness
was gone. I was broken, tired of fighting and he knew it. Did he feel
guilty? After all, he had turned his back on his superior, adjudant De
Baets and danced to commandant Dutermes piping. I couldnt feel sorry for
him knowing that, no matter how bad he might feel now, hed forget me in
no time. Id never forget how I had been treated though. Erwin was
waiting at the front door. He hugged me and I didnt look back at the
cops who couldnt wait to leave. I wasnt happy about Tonys confession, I
felt much too sad. I thought of my father and my mother who had allowed
this suffering to happen and never had shown any remorse. They lied to
the press, No Sir, Tony didnt have a key, we didnt know anything about
this! and said I was insane. I had to struggle so hard to be believed
and exactly at the time that my asshole pimp confirmed an important part
of my story, they closed the files. I didnt feel like informing anyone
about this, it all looked so useless. But Douglas called me and after a
short hesitation I told him that Tony confessed. He reacted in a much
more enthusiastic way than I was used to from him. He pointed out to me
that this was some form of recognition after all. I sighed. My parents
had filed a complaint for slander and defamation of character, together
with a demand for visiting rights of their grandchildren. This gave me
something else to worry about. Douglas called my mother. He told her in
his phlegmatic way that Tony had confessed. There was a moment of
silence, and then she said, not at all short of breath, This is
impossible! and threw down the phone.


When Douglas told me this I could finally smile. I hoped she was going
to lose a nights sleep. De Morgen was the only newspaper commenting on
this confession. The rest of the press paid hardly any attention to it.
But I didnt give a damn anymore. I had lost, I surrendered, was
everybody happy now?

54. The historic verdict On Wednesday 29 April 1998 Substitute De Rouck
from Ghent declared on TV that most of my testimony was baloney but that
I indeed had had a sexual relationship with an older man from age
twelve. I had however agreed to the relationship and my parents had
condoned it. This statement would be part of the official general
conclusion dated 2 June 1998, of the investigation into the murder of
Carine Dellaert and contain the following text: It has been established
that Regina between her twelfth and her sixteenth year of age has had a
sexual relationship with a much older and adult man named Van Den
Bogaert Antoine. Regina had this relationship willingly and not against
her will. Her mother knew about it, allowed it and even facilitated it.
Her mother was at least platonically in love with the same Van Den
Bogaert. As far as all the other items are concerned: and then follows
the list (abridged): – that I was abused by my father – that my
grandmother forced me to be a child prostitute – that Tony lent me out –
that I had several children who were killed – that I met important
people during sex parties – that I had contact with other girls from the
network e.g. Carine Dellaert and Vero D. have not been confirmed during
this investigation. It hasnt been shown at all that Reginas stories are
true. Nothing indicates that this would be the case. … (more text)
More specifically concerning the story of CLO it appears clearly that
the CLO described by Regina doesnt correspond at all with the girl
Carine Dellaert. Furthermore nothing has been found that can prove that
CLO has really existed. ….. (more text) The accusations of abuse by
Tony or that he lent her out have not been confirmed by him. And thats
it. Tony would never be arrested. During her last hearing on 6 May 1998
my mother would admit that Tony had the house key and that he had a
sexual relationship with me.


After this verdict an offender could admit that he had abused a child
in every possible way, between her twelfth and her sixteenth year of
age, with the permission of her parents, with her little friends
witnessing, without being punished. He would be allowed to have a
relationship with the twelve year old, so everythings fine, why bother?
This was more than just a hit below the belt. This completely ridiculed
all the victims of sexual abuse. In which century did these people live?
In the century of child labour, or was it Ich habe es nicht gewusst?
Sexual abuse is OK as long as it doesnt bother us personally? I sadly
shook my head. The telephone hadnt stopped ringing after this ridiculous
verdict. Lots of people showed their support; many knew what it was like
to go through hell, and others hadnt experienced it but could very well
imagine what it had to be like. After this verdict the law had abandoned
the victims of sexual abuse. But, strangely, more and more people
listened to me now, appalled by what had happened. I was not fighting
alone any longer. The group of people that had become aware of the
arrogant complicity of people with cushy positions among magistrates,
politicians and civil servants was growing steadily. I didnt believe in
big conspiracies. Nor would I volunteer to be a musician in the band of
the Titanic that stubbornly kept playing while the ship was going down.
But people would have to be forced to review their idea about the world,
their modern civilized world. They liked so much to close their eyes.
But more and more people started sharing my views now. It was high time
to admit that sexual abuse, individually or in a group, organized or
not, was a disease of our society, a cancer we couldnt ignore any
longer. Children had become merchandise, things we could show off with
on postcards, in slogans and in speeches. Children were being sold
because adults could benefit from it, it was never the other way around.
The big institutions and the crowds didnt want to hear about it, they
didnt want to change their ways, come to realize the magnitude of it.
Individuals did. Patrick De Baets and his team, Annemie Bult, Douglas De
Coninck, Karel Pyck, Tiny Mast, Patsy Srensen, GP-er Suys, Mike, Paul
Bottelberghs, Marc Reisinger, Tania, Bee, my sweet Erwin, Connerotte,
Bourlet, Chantal, Chantje, Nathalie, Bea, Miguel, Marika, Tony M., An,
Sanne, Dirk and Paul, Annie, Anke, the other X-witnesses, Carine
Hutsebaut, the anonymous policemen supporting me by ensuring that the
large amount of information didnt get lost, Christine Mussche, the
journalists who listened to my story in an incorruptible way and tried
to bring it, honestly without trying to be sensational, Liliane Moerman,
Frans Lozie and Vincent Decroly from the Green Party, Patrick Moriau,
parents and boy scout leaders, Marie-Jeanne Van Heeswyck, Ruf, and
scores of anonymous people whom I couldnt list here because there were
so many of them that it made me feel overwhelmed. By breaking the code
of silence I had chosen the hard way. I knew very well that I was going
to be quarantined, declared insane, dragged through the mud. But I did
what I had to do, not simply because I chose to do so, but because I was
inspired to. I had a strong feeling that in spite of all that
negativity, my testimony had brought people closer


together. People who wanted our society to be better, who didnt want to
keep listening to the sinking ships band. Respect and dignity,
generosity, fighting for others knowing that it might hurt their career
or even endanger their life, selflessness a deep love and respect for
life, the life of a child, of an adult, of every living creature. I have
met these people and they have made my life so much more valuable. These
people have given me back what others i.e. the civilized, conservative
crowd, had taken away from me. They gave me back the capability to trust
people, to love life. I have become a richer more complete human being.
For the first time I felt safe and protected, and I knew my choice was
the right one. And all of you who want to listen, you have chosen the
right way too. Are you afraid to know that people can treat children in
such a cruel way? Do you prefer to close your eyes and forget? I
understand though, I really do. Dont believe me if you dont want to.
Believe that Im a nutcase or a pathological liar if you wish, but I wont
be the last witness. Every day children are forced to go through the
same ordeal as I did, because negationists abandon them. Each day, here
and abroad, children have to endure similar acts of cruelty. Many of
them dont survive, but some make it into adulthood, as I did. The larger
the group of people gets who dare to listen, the bigger the chance is
theyll muster up the courage to speak. Children, adults who suffered the
way I did, dont remain silent! Silence is for the abusers. Liberate
yourself; help us carry your weight. Live! A few weeks later the Ghent
Prosecution followed up by closing the file, kicking me in the back one
last time by considering Tonys confession to be an element of little
importance. Had they forgotten the name of the guy Tony admitted lending
me out to? They nicely admitted though that I had been sexually abused,
but that the abuse had taken place with other people and at other
places. This almost made me burst out laughing were it not so tragically
unbelievable. Did they indeed mean that there was still another network?
It has been enough now, said Prosecutor Soenen, repeating what had been
said by Prosecutor-General Anne Thilly from Liege almost word for word,
This is the last thing I want to see being written about it. And justice
for all!

55. Mieke speaks out and gets locked up in a mental institution Mieke, a
girl from the network and a little colleague of mine during my Knokke
period, had disappeared out of my life since May 1979 when I was
abruptly moved to Ghent. She suddenly showed up again in 1998. I
immediately recognized her and felt elated as if it were a major
victory. She had been resilient too and was still alive. She too
recognized me immediately and felt the same shame and guilt towards me
as I felt towards her. We both felt that we had abandoned each other, we
both believed that we had hurt each other but I touched her and told her
this wasnt the case. The abusers had hurt us, had forced us


to do things we were unable to refuse. I knew that I would have to
repeat this little sentence many times, but I didnt mind doing that at
all. If there was one thing I insisted on then it was the importance of
liberating the victims from their feelings of guilt. Because guilt
belonged to the ones who raped us; to the onlookers who didnt do
anything to stop it; to those who closed their eyes. Mieke was shy,
almost destroyed, and she had gotten herself into a downward spiral of
problems that had taken away her joy of living. Her story made my hair
stand on end. She had demanded to be able to react after the denigrating
Telefacts programme that had been made by VTM in the beginning of
January 1998 as a reaction to my appearance on Panorama. Before the
shooting of her testimony started she suddenly got put into mental
institution. She lost her house, her friends and her little daughter.
The girl was sent to foster parents. Mieke and I were a dangerous duo,
because she too had been part of my network, thus she knew the same
people, the same places, the same names. She confirmed my story. We
didnt understand the nature of the forces that got unleashed but it soon
became obvious that they want to shut Mieke up. They wanted to keep us
apart from each other. With my natural stubbornness I took her under my
wings and accepted my little sister in our family on the farm. And
slowly, a little more each day, Miekes fighting spirit started to come
back. After three months the pale, withdrawn Mieke had become a strong
young woman, and although the struggle to get her daughter back was a
huge undertaking, she persevered in not giving up. I was proud of her.
And I joined her fight because I wouldnt allow anything or anybody to
stop me anymore. Almost twenty years ago now, I had bitten and scratched
an abuser who was causing her too much pain, now I was fighting again
for her and her little daughter. I couldnt stand injustice; this was a
fundamental part of my personality. But it surprised me that I could
still feel so much love. It looked as if my heart was stretchable. I
loved Mieke, as much as I loved Erwin, my children and her little
daughter. I loved all the animals who suffered, every individual who had
been treated dishonestly. And the more I loved the people around me, the
less I felt anger and bitterness. I who thought never to be able to love
again, I dared to open my heart again. I was not that scared anymore to
be taken advantage of, to be hurt, ridiculed. And this felt like a major
victory. They hadnt been able to take that away from me. I felt a strong
urge to meet other victims, maybe the other X witnesses. I was worried
about them. Knack magazine kept publishing vicious articles about them.
The journalist, Frank De Moor, yes always the same one, didnt know any
of them personally. He refused to see me as if he owned the truth. The
other victims didnt choose to become known in the press, like I did, and
it made me very angry to see how he tried to ridicule their testimony.
Even if there were some inaccuracies in their testimonies, the sole fact
that they had the courage to come forward and tell about their past,
their torturers and the things that happened, should inspire the
reporter to observe at least some basic human decency.


56. Our tenth wedding anniversary I had to have surgery but I was still
terrified of doctors. I delayed the surgery for a week because we had to
appear in juvenile court. As I said before, my parents had sued me for
slander and demanded visiting rights of their grandchildren. My father
showed up all by himself. Erwin and I were accompanied by the White
Committee1 from Ghent, people from the Brussels group Pour la Vrit, and
the non-profit organization Kim and Ken2. The press was there, of
course, but I ignored them, annoyed. My lawyer was rather comfortable
with the outcome, given Tonys confession. Not me, I had been through too
much to believe in a happy ending. My father didnt show any sign of
remorse, as usual. His lawyer was almost jumping up and down from anger.
He heavily insulted me, in civilized legal words of course, and I had to
make a big effort to keep myself under control. He demanded a social
investigation to find out what the hell was really true about this whole
thing. To investigate what? Tony had confessed dammit. Christine, my
lawyer, made a beautiful plea. I swallowed when I heard how carefully
and sensitively she described the pain I felt and explained why my
confidence in my parents was hurt. I didnt want to leave my kids anymore
with people who had hurt me so deeply. No, I didnt want my children to
still be part of their subtle games and their psychological warfare. And
I definitely didnt want to run the risk that my children would be
dragged into the network one way or another. The only thing left for me
to do now was to protect my children. Only after they would have
admitted that Tony had turned their daughter into a whore with their
permission, only then I would accept a discussion. But I did know that
they would never admit this, even not after having read the text of the
historic verdict that clearly stated that my mother knew about it and
facilitated it. The night before the surgery I cried myself to sleep
softly. You did this to me too, I whispered to the walls. I went down
hill physically. My fingers were stiff, my joints suffered from
arthritis. Back in Knokke I often dropped a brick on my fingers behind
the little garden house, because I didnt want to masturbate the men I
was sent up in the room with. If I couldnt find a brick, I slammed my
fingers against the wall, until they had become red and painfully
swollen. I thought touching those men was so disgusting. But now I
suffered the consequences of my self-mutilation. My hands had become two
clumsy paddles. I couldnt tie a knot anymore, close zippers, or get
buttons through the buttonhole. Grooming the dogs had become difficult.
There was this permanent pain in my joints, which made me aggressive
because it reminded me of my past in Knokke. I tried to save my fingers
as much as possible, knowing they would never heal completely. My back
hurt all the time too, because my abusers had kicked it countless times.

In the wake of the arrest of Marc Dutroux White Committees were
established all over the country. Their aim was to make people more
vigilant to the reality of pedophile networks, try to uncover the truth
and remember the many victims.

Kim and Ken are the murdered children of Tiny Mast (see before)


My body had been used at a moment when I was young and blooming. Now
the beauty had gone, and this hurt me sometimes. I felt old and tired. I
often had the feeling that I had lived two lives already but I never
could enjoy being young. After the operation I was very weak and I
stayed in a chair during the day. I was not into my daily routine
anymore and this made me slide into one of the deepest depressions Ive
ever known. For several weeks I had to drag myself through the days. All
the emotions, all the fear and tension seemed to slow down my recovery.
The police had interrogated me since 1996 and in 1998 the harassment by
the press had come on top of that. I had reached my limits. But
fortunately I had my sister-in-law, Mieke and Erwin, doing the work,
taking care of the kids and allowing me to slowly crawl out of the hole
again. On 29 June 1998 Erwin and I would celebrate our tenth wedding
anniversary and I wanted to organize a big barbecue. Because of the
depression I couldnt afford to do a lot but my sisters ran the entire
operation marvellously and I was slowly gaining strength again. When the
phone calls started coming in from the people who wanted to come to the
party, I had gathered enough energy to smile again. I drew the pattern
that had to be put on our old wedding rings. The rings were from the
time my grandmother was still alive and I didnt like to wear mine
anymore because of the bad memories. I wanted a special ring that
symbolized our marriage. I choose symbols in Cree, a Native American
language. They looked a lot like the Viking rune signs. The symbols
meant freedom to all people. I had acquired my own personality now, my
multiple personalities were no longer required. Nature had taken its
course. The borders between the alters were gone. All sorts of feelings,
including pain and anger, had blended together. I had grown into one
person. This is normal to most people but it was a magic discovery to
me. No discussions in my head any longer, no excessive mood changes
anymore. This was the birth of a new human being. I knew now that
recovery was possible. Just as it was possible to split into different
personalities as a child, in order to survive, there was a possibility
of integrating these personalities into a single one again. Not with
high tech psychological tricks, but with confidence. By simply having
the confidence that your body and mind would eventually find the proper
way out. It was weird that I fell into a depression right at the moment
that I had developed my own personality and that all fundamental
characteristics of my alters had blended together into one. But this
depression seemed to be a transition. It finally allowed me to mourn the
loss of my little friends, my babies, my parents and all the rest. For
the first time in twenty-nine years I could spontaneously feel all my
emotions, without separations between them. I finally knew who I was.
And the party turned into a huge success. For the first time I felt
surrounded by real family. I enjoyed the peace and serenity. I remarried
Erwin, in our own way, in total harmony with nature surrounding us.
Again we put our unique wedding rings on each others fingers, and
promised to keep fighting for our principles, against all kinds of
injustice inflicted on people. The campfire was lit late at night and
people sang and talked. Ruf played his didgeridoo, giving the evening a
touch of magic.


57. Intimidation, harassment and cover up The re-readers of my
testimony had produced four reports; the last one was ready on 5
February 1998. Every report addressed different hearings. The re-readers
must have gotten clear instructions to destroy my testimony because if
my testimony would fall, the other X-witnesses could be discredited too
and the danger for a group of important abusers would be gone. If you
try to solve a crime isnt it logical that you try to investigate all the
leads that could bring you closer to the criminals? I would think so.
This wasnt what the re-readers did. They emphasised every inaccuracy and
falsified important elements in my testimony, some of which were
subsequently leaked to the loyal press. As I mentioned before, in June
1998 a falsified part of my testimony about the mushroom farm appeared
in a book with the ominous title Lenquete manipule (the manipulated
investigation) of Ren-Philippe Dawant a journalist working together with
the leading TV programme in the French language Au nom de la loi (in the
name of the law). He had been allowed to read my true testimony. Marc
Reisinger the psychiatrist and the driving force behind the Brussels
group Pour la Vrit discovered this and immediately alerted me. We
compared sentence by sentence the new text with my original testimony
and I got the shivers when I noticed all the falsifications. It gave me
a creepy feeling to discover that someone had twisted the sentences in
such a way, that it seemed as if De Baets had put all the answers in my
mouth. Reisinger mentioned this in the RTL TV-programme Controverse, the
same programme I first appeared on TV in, unrecognisable, and
immediately a house search was ordered. Not at the house of the
journalist who wrote the book with the manipulated testimony, but at
Marcs house, who had had the nerve to bring this out in the open. The
Parliamentary Dutroux Commission was denied access to the reports of the
rereaders and when the Commission wanted to look at the way the
investigation into the mushroom farm murder had been carried out they
met heavy opposition from the Brussels magistrates. Based on the reports
of the re-readers, and in particular the first one, which was made by
three French-speaking re-readers, my testimony got destroyed and
consequently the other X-witnesses got discredited too. Although
Dutch-speaking policemen joined the team later, the re-readers made
several important errors when they translated my testimony from Dutch
into French e.g. they translated a snake that could strangle me (i.e.
the snake that Annie brought along to the mushroom farm), into Boa
Constrictor while there are many snakes that can strangle children. But
the BOB guy didnt know the correct French word and took Boa Constrictor,
not realizing that such a snake could reach a length of ten meters and
cannot be lifted. Consequently this part of my testimony was considered
hardly believable. Many other elements had been wrongly translated, even
at crucial points. When I described a torture that ended with death and
mentioned a metal object, the translator turned it into a knife, and
during the second re-reading (where they translated the


translation a second time) it became an axe. All these mistakes were
put on my account and I couldnt defend myself. Only the videos and the
original minutes in Dutch were the correct reflection of what I said,
but this material wasnt used. Frank De Moor from Knack magazine
systematically attacked the X-witnesses and made no secret of it that he
had access to the files. Do you think his house was searched? Of course
not. On 29 April 1998 the newspapers De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad
would publish the twelve reasons why the Brussels judicial authorities
concluded that I was not present at Christines murder. A little later
the X1 testimony would officially be declared totally useless. Also on
29 April 1998 Substitute De Rouck from Ghent declared on TV that most of
my testimony about the murder of Carine Dellaert (Clo) was baloney. Clo
probably never existed or was certainly not Carine Dellaert. Antwerp had
stopped investigating my testimony concerning the murder of Katrien De
Cuyper in the same period and on 21 October 1998, the Minister of
Justice, Tony Van Parijs would declare that Investigating Magistrate
Vyncke had decided to close the verification of the X1 testimony based
on the conclusions of a meeting between magistrates from Ghent, Antwerp
and Brussels. The national police kept harassing individuals who
reported irregularities in the handling of my files. De Baets, and most
of his team members had been kicked out. In September 1997 an
investigation would start against them. They would eventually be cleared
of all charges. News reporters told me that they were not allowed to
support me anymore or to ask annoying questions about the
investigations. People who supported me or were close to me were being
targeted. Mieke would be unable to get her little daughter out of the
hands of the foster parents organization. This would drive her into a
depression. BOB agents interrogated my veterinary surgeon. He used to
come by to worm and vaccinate my sheep and has known me for twenty
years. He spontaneously testified at the Ghent BOB that he had always
known me as a calm, quiet and intelligent young girl, but that he hadnt
seen me at home very often when he came to my parents house late in the
evening to take care of their dogs. A year later the BOB agents would
specifically ask him if he treated the sheep of X1. My vet smelled a
rat, worked them out of his house and told me about it. I discovered
that the BOB had only interrogated those people from my surroundings who
didnt remember anything or hadnt noticed that anything was wrong. They
had never talked to the parents of a former classmate from Knokke. Their
little daughter often walked with me to my grandmothers country house
after school, and one day I had been brave enough to describe certain
things that had happened to me. The girl was so shocked that she had
told her parents. They wanted to know who I was and invited me over for
a birthday party. And indeed, I started telling them things, probably
because I had reached the limit of what I could endure. I told them
stories that made their hair stand on end.


They both knew that I, as a ten year old, couldnt imagine those kind of
stories unless I had been involved. Concerned, they told the school
principal. Unfortunately she informed my grandmother and I got severely
punished for my indiscretion. And thus I disappeared one month before
the end of the fourth grade as I described in the beginning of this
book. I had forgotten all this, but the parents of my little classmate
still remembered this clearly because they thought that I had been taken
away by the child protection services and was safe now at a different
place. After I had become known through the press they realized that I
hadnt been helped at all. As soon as I had left Knokke the rumours had
stopped and the abuse of children could go on undisturbed. The BOB
obviously didnt think these witnesses were interesting enough to be
interrogated. A little later I discovered that Clo, who probably never
existed according to the Ghent investigators and certainly wasnt Carine,
had classmates who called her Clo too. One of them confirmed that only a
very few people knew her under that name and that she believed me as
soon as she heard me talk about Clo. The description I gave of Clo
matched with what she remembered about her. Months later an older woman
approached me and confirmed that another little victim that I had named
had died indeed in very strange circumstances. I nodded. Sometimes I
would prefer to be proven wrong. These witnesses and many others who
could corroborate my story had never been interrogated and after what
happened to me, it was easy to understand how scared they were to
testify. I understood them, although I was often angry because I felt
that I couldnt convince these people to talk, but I didnt want to force
them. The signals from the press were clear; they were in accordance
with what Tony had said: Everybody who supports you will be destroyed.
As a consequence I joined the platform Break the Silence a group
consisting of vigilant citizens and victims of dysfunctions in the
justice system or in politics. As a group we were stronger, we could
support each other better and mobilize the population. Although the
different issues were sometimes far apart, the similarities were
striking. The way the investigations were killed, how testimonies were
modified or ended up under a layer of dust, how abusers or the ones who
gave the order always stayed out of reach, and how incorruptible
investigators were taken off the case as soon as there was a possibility
of a breakthrough. A good example of another major enigma was the so
called Nivelles gang, which carried out a serious of brutal attacks on
shopping centres in the early eighties killing dozens of people. The
investigation had been sabotaged just like the investigation into the
paedophile networks. The case still remained unsolved. Dozens of
murders, unsolved, can you believe this?
58. Paedophile networks dont exist in Belgium


The summer was hesitating to break through. Rainy days were alternating
with days with a timidly shining sun. But here on the farm, it didnt
matter what kind of weather it was. For the first time in my life I felt
liberated from the yoke of my parents, and I was thriving. I believed I
had become a good mother to my kids and we spent a lot of time together.
One evening we decided to take our kites to the sea. We quickly loaded
the kids into the van and in the evening when all the tourists had gone
back to their apartments, we started running through the sand and flew
our kites in all freedom. Janek nose-dived into a tidepool and screamed
with laughter. We ended up fleeing from the rain that all of a sudden
poured from the sky. I never felt so happy in my entire life. To walk
through a natural reserve with the rain splashing on our heads was a
fantastic experience. I could never have played with my parents, or make
them do crazy things like my kids who managed to make me do summersaults
between the little creeks that had formed on the paths in woods. It
became a real adventurous journey when we crossed through a marsh and
sneaked along the reed in search of pirates. We had become much closer
because we survived the immense pressure from the outside. But the
thought of little children being raped and murdered didnt leave my mind.
In 1988, when I first talked about my activities as a child prostitute
at the organization called Against Her Will, nobody wanted to listen.
Even psychiatrists and psychologists didnt want to admit that child sex
networks existed, and certainly not in Belgium. My story, and I didnt
even dare to mention at that time that children were also murdered and
taken away from their families never to return, was too fantastic.
Incest was just starting to become discussable. I stood alone and
thought I was the only survivor. I felt so strange, so lonely and so
ashamed. But now I knew that there were many of us, and although they
didnt speak out for whatever reason, they suffered from the same
traumas. Witness X3, for example, had written a book even before the
Dutroux case broke loose. I read the book and immediately felt close to
that woman although I had never met her. The feelings she described were
so recognizable that it hurt. How could anybody have doubts about what
we went through? This pain was universal. The fear of hearing the stairs
creak, the fear of nightfall, the guilt we felt. It made me so angry to
see how victims were being ridiculed. As a child we werent believed and
they shut us up. Did we have to go through the same as adults? Was a
little respect too much to ask? To obtain a correct impression on the
number of child victims of sexual abuse, we need to show them more
respect. We have to create a climate in which victims arent any longer
afraid to testify. Only when victims are listened to, even if the abuse
happened a long time ago, when their story is written down and a profile
of the offender is established, will we have a better estimate of the
extent of the problem. Im convinced that it will become clear then how
alarmingly high the number of abused children really is, and how many
victims one offender can make. We need an attitude change among the
population, the national and local police and the politicians. It should
be very well understood that abusers wont stop until they are forced to,
and that they make more victims than commonly thought. Suppose an
offender makes his first victim when hes twenty and abuses the child for
a few years, after which he takes a second victim and starts
experimenting with several


children. At about thirty-five he will probably have become so cunning
that hes able to abuse two or three children at the same time and can
control them in such a way that he doesnt get into trouble with the law.
At forty he has made six to ten little victims and he knows exactly what
he has to do to silence the children; he knows how to pick weaker and
lonely kids out of the crowd because he can make them dependent on him.
He knows exactly when there is a risk of being discovered and he dumps
difficult kids, replacing them with new victims. Encouraged by the fact
that he hasnt gotten into trouble yet he starts experimenting more
heavily. The perversions become crueller but more difficult to detect
because he has perfected them and is able to make the kids shut up and
obey in a subtle way. He has become really experienced now, reads books
on child psychology (Tony even attended university classes on this
subject), and knows the law and especially the holes in it, which is
convenient in case things go wrong. Hes still sexually active at fifty
and even at sixty. Not many adults suspect that a sweet grandpa still
has an active sex life molesting children. At seventy he doesnt seem to
be sexually active anymore but he has adapted his techniques. Even
though he cant penetrate his victims anymore, he can still touch them,
rape them with objects, and force them to watch porn movies. Even at
eighty and, if his health permits, he can still abuse new victims.
During his career he has made many victims, girls or boys who go through
life for many years with feelings of guilt, because he has made them
believe it was their fault, because they wanted it so much. They become
adults who are afraid to talk because they are ashamed or afraid nobody
will believe them. Because the offender is often a wellliked individual,
an intelligent person highly regarded by his surroundings, a close
family friend, the father, the mayor, a priest, an uncle. Female abusers
are even shrewder than men, and nobody suspects women to be capable of
such cruelty. Victims of female abusers are hardly ever taken seriously.
So they can go on easily for many years, even if some victims or
ex-victims send out signals. They arent often believed, their complaint
is not followed up on, and many times their complaint becomes
extinguished under the statute of limitations. They cant prove anything
because of the lack of hard evidence. And if there is any evidence e.g.
photos or films, they arent in the possession of the victim. If the
police dont actively look for evidence, the victim remains a very weak
opponent to the offender. The victim is indeed traumatized, feeling
guilty, might still have some loyalty and is usually terrified. The
offender is always prepared and knows what to say and what not to. Thus
the complaint gets dismissed, the victim doesnt dare to open his mouth
again and the offender gets confirmed in his status of untouchable. The
crueller the abuse or the torture, the less the victims are believed.
People dont want to know what abusers can do to kids, thats why exactly
the most sadistic abusers are the best protected. And victims of these
sadistic abusers are often not capable anymore to produce a coherent
testimony, except when they are interrogated under very favourable
circumstances. This implies a special room, taping everything on video,
specially trained interrogators who know how to talk to victims of such
lengthy traumatic experiences. You also need magistrates and judges who
know the consequences of sexual abuse, understand the symptoms, and know
about the specific problems. There has to be good


communication between the interrogators and the magistrates, in order
to exchange experiences and to filter usable evidence out of a
testimony. One has to clearly understand that the abusers are very
intelligent, self-confident and shrewd individuals. And since it is
clear that abusers wont stop by themselves, a probable offender should
be observed, followed, and caught during the act. And if an offender is
arrested it should be checked if he has already made several victims.
One should anticipate that an offender always abuses several children.
Networks consist of many abusers who protect each other. Networks are
therefore much less vulnerable than individuals who act on their own.
The abusers dont have any other choice but to protect each other, and
they often do this beyond the child abuse scene. They use each others
services, companies etc. They blackmail each other and form a very
closed circle where everyone controls everyone. They know each other
very well and alarm each other whenever theres a risk that something
might come out. They exchange little victims, but also places where they
can do their sickening things. Victims are often not capable later on to
tell where exactly the abuse has taken place and who was present. By
using strange rituals they make the abuse more threatening, more
confusing and anonymous. Little victims arent believed because nobody
can imagine that such things can really happen. Often the child abuse is
part of a deal between the abusers. They are on each others board of
directors, give each other contracts, and make illegal deals. The child
prostitution is merely like sealing the contract, the cherry on the
cake. Often the abusers arent even paedophiles. They consummate children
because they simply happen to be voiceless, dependent and mouldable. A
network can thus make countless, severely traumatized little victims,
who mostly remain anonymous, invisible. Some disappear or die. Among the
runaways there certainly are children who died in the network. From time
to time a child commits suicide and a little body is found. But most of
the time these cases remain unsolved. But the public isnt aware of this
because theres no such thing as paedophile networks, certainly not in
our small country, according to the ones who create our opinion. If
something isnt supposed to exist, it cannot be investigated and
consequently doesnt make any victims. So a network doesnt need a lot of
organized protection but if push comes to shove, there will always be a
couple of prominent citizens who can seriously obstruct an
investigation. And as long as Justice keeps destroying videos and thus
make it impossible to identify the abusers and victims, there will
always remain doubts about the existence of paedophile networks. And
network negationists ridicule victims who have the courage to talk about
their experiences in the network. These people collaborate with the ones
who want to sabotage the recognition of the existence of networks, and
put the population to sleep. And the cover up operation is a big
success. The abusers can go on, undisturbed, with renewed assurances of
invulnerability. Are there alternatives? The most important thing is to
establish a team of police officers specialized in the detection of
organized sexual child abuse and capable of attacking the networks. They
themselves, and certainly their bosses, have to be convinced of the fact


that these networks are criminal organizations that do a lot of damage.
It should be possible to hear the witnesses anonymously, if they so
wish. The video material should be an essential element, because the
body language of the victims, their hesitation, the way they explain or
describe something is extremely telling. You cant see someones fear from
a paper report, how a witness suddenly whispers because she hardly dares
to put into words what has been done to her. This is crucial information
that gets lost if one only works with written minutes. Recently aid
workers and doctors have been allowed in Belgium to report sexual abuse
without violating their professional secret and this is a very good
thing. But if there isnt a specialized team of interrogators and if
Justice doesnt show a lot of interest, what is it good for? There has to
be a close co-operation between Justice, investigators, aid workers and
victims. This co-operation has to include specialized services from
other countries. Networks dont know borders indeed. Since children are
in high demand, the supply has to keep up with it and thus foreign
children Eastern Europe is a favourite hunting ground at the moment are
imported, held captive somewhere and abused until theyre used up.
Business people and rich Belgians travel frequently and need to be
supplied at their yachts and at their holiday resorts abroad. Many of
them want children who are familiar with their language and customs;
consequently Belgian children are being transported throughout Europe.
Theres intense smuggling activity back and forth but no one seems to
take this seriously. Networks do a lot of damage and by breaking down my
story and not wanting to learn from what I have to say we will not save
the childrens lives. Can we allow this to go on? I cant. At least I try
to fight back and change things. I hold every cop, every magistrate and
journalist who, knowingly, looked the other way in my case, responsible
for the death of all those children. By breaking me down, they protect
the abusers. And Ill not just hold them responsible but will also
consider them as accomplices, because watching and knowing that Im
telling the truth, is a criminal act if nothing is done with the
information that I have provided. Great injustice has been done to me.
But Ill learn to live with it. I refuse though to give up and allow them
to intimidate me. I deeply respect the people who listened to me and
tried to follow their heart and go after the abusers. There still are
magistrates, politicians, policemen, psychologists, journalists and
ordinary citizens who take my story seriously and who want to protect
the victims the way it should be. I lost my trust in institutions, but I
still believe in individuals. I believe that the group of people, who
dont accept anymore that so much injustice is possible in a so-called
civilized country, is steadily growing. I dont believe that the
population can be put to sleep that easily anymore. Shall I go on? Yes I
will. I want to show to every child that cries itself to sleep after
having been abused once more, that there is a way out. There is hope. I
want to help carrying out that message. I have met people who hold a
place in my heart forever. They fight to be able to do more for these
abused children and the ex-victims.

They are the brave ones, and Im so proud to be with them.


Epilogue So, this is my story. But it doesnt end here. Almost four
years have gone by since I published my story for the first time in
1998. The X-files had just been destroyed by the justice system and the
press and were considered useless. The X-witnesses were portrayed as
lunatics and even conspirators who wanted to bring down the government.
My story was published in Dutch and in French, the main Belgian
languages. Time has gone by. Some things have changed, others havent. My
former pimp Tony who is now almost sixty, still abuses children in
Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and probably in other countries as
well. He has a business in Poland now but I dont know how many children
are disappearing there. He bought a camper, which makes it a lot easier
to rape children in an anonymous environment and to make appointments
with other paedophiles in parking lots along the motorway. He doesnt
have to rent apartments anymore, hes mobile and fast, more elusive and
better equipped than ever before. None of my abusers, except Tony, who
had a confrontation with me at the Ghent BOB, has ever been punished, or
even interrogated by the police. He admitted that he raped me when I was
twelve and that he lent me out, but he was let go. The policemen who
worked under Patrick De Baets and were about to discover and prove the
existence of my large network are not working as investigators anymore,
except Danny. Some became ill from harassment by their colleges and
bosses, and quit the police force, others went – or have been moved – to
different assignments like Patrick who is now teaching interrogation
techniques in the police academy, refusing to work anymore for our
justice system. Patrick and his team were accused of manipulating the
investigation, leading the witness, falsifying evidence and conspiracy.
They have all been exonerated now. It was indeed almost impossible to
falsify my testimony because all the interviews were filmed with
different cameras to prove that there was no autocue with the right
answers or someone holding up a board or signalling. The new team of
police officers, whose task it was to destroy my testimony falsified it
in such a way that it became harmless to the abusers. They have never
been accused of any wrongdoing. I filed a complaint that is still
waiting to be handled in court. And since they acquired such a valuable
experience with my case, they now work in the Paedophile Cell in
Brussels, interrogating victims! These are the guys who thought that I
was a child prostitute because I enjoyed it. Prosecutor Bourlet is still
there. Hes a great man but he doesnt receive any support. The other
judicial districts of Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp are not co-operating.
This is clearly shown by the refusal of Ghent to perform a test on the
skull of Carine Dellaert to determine the exact time of her death and
also by the refusal of Brussels to put a satellite tracking device in
Tonys car long enough, as I described before. This makes it almost
impossible to solve the Marc Dutroux case. Six years after his arrest
Marc Dutroux is still


awaiting trial and all possible leads to prove that he had links to a
paedophile network are systematically neglected. Around twenty potential
witnesses have been murdered. It is so bad that the parents of Melissa,
one of the murdered girls, recently decided not to be present at the
trial because the outcome is already known i.e. Dutroux acted on his own
and had nothing to do with a network. Why he built the cage in his
cellar, why he received money on his bank account after several
kidnappings, who raped the girls while he was in prison, no answers. And
all the testimonies and other evidence linking him to Nihoul are not
being taken seriously. The Dutroux case was originally connected to the
investigation into paedophile networks. But Marc Dutroux has been in
prison for almost six years now and his trial cannot be postponed
forever, because Belgium would be convicted again for keeping someone in
prison without trial for an excessively long period, as happened in the
mushroom farm case with the punker who was the first suspect (see
before). The delay has been caused by the enormous waste of manpower and
energy trying to cover up the existence of networks and trying to prove
that the testimony of the X-witnesses was useless. But Prosecutor
Bourlet was finally authorized to disconnect the paedophile networks
case from the Dutroux case, and to treat the networks separately. This
leaves a small chance that the testimony of the X-witnesses including my
testimony will still be used. And I hope they will use my original
testimony and not the falsified one. But of course the statute of
limitations will allow the powerful paedophiles to walk; only the
murders might still be investigated. The journalists who wrote the most
unbelievable things about me, who quoted the falsified testimony and did
a lot of damage, not only to me personally, but also to all the other
victims and witnesses, have been acquitted in court of slander charges
because they believed their sources! My parents had applied for visiting
rights to my children, but my mother died in December 1998. My father
who also abused me and admitted in court that he knew Tony was abusing
me, was granted two hours visit a month, supervised (thank God!) in May
2000 by the juvenile court. One more of those court decisions! I will
never forget my abusers. Most of them are very wealthy and important
men, but many are unknown to the general public. Some still come on TV
from time to time and it hurts to see that some of them are still
invited to important official occasions and even given a noble title.
Ppre died in 2001. I saw his funeral on the TV news. If people would
have known! And a few months ago another important abuser died, I saw it
also on the TV news. Is justice going to wait until theyre all dead
before prosecuting them? And what about their sons, several of them who
were also involved? Im convinced that my network is still operating.
During my hearings I explained links between my abusers that nobody knew
about. When De Baets team analysed their companies, contracts etc, they
found out that I was correct. I knew their hobbies, country clubs,
holiday homes, where they used to put their stuff in their expensive
cars. I could describe their yachts that were often used for cruises with


important people. I participated on several cruises. I told the police
where some of them had learned how to handle the crossbows that were
used during the hunts. None of that was known to the public, or even to
the journalists or policemen. But when they looked it up, I was right.
And I can go on and on with details that our justice system, the police
or the journalists couldnt explain. But they will never admit I
witnessed it, Im sure of that, because the consequences would be
enormous. I have the uncomfortable feeling that the ridiculing of my
testimony, the discrediting of the police team that was closing in on
the abusers, was orchestrated, to protect our fragile country, our
credibility. But Belgium is strong enough to get rid of a group of
perverts. We have brilliant, hard working and very competent people here
and a new generation of young clean politicians. What are they waiting
for to cleanse the Augean stables? I did my best. I talked, instead of
keeping my mouth shut. I testified and gave up my private life, my most
intimate feelings and memories. I fought a battle on TV and in the
newspapers. Even when some media accused me of insanity, of being a
vicious cheater and conspirator, I went on telling what happened. And I
will never stop. I will not abandon my friends and the children who are
still being abused now. Im convinced that even a single person can make
a difference. I barely speak to Belgian journalists anymore. The
establishment has silenced them. But more and more foreign journalists
from Europe and America call me and ask what in the world is going on in
Belgium? They are all very shocked when they read my story and when they
see the virtual reality produced by our justice system. On 21 April 2002
Frank Connolly, a journalist from the Irish Sunday Business Post,
published an article about my story on the newspapers website. He had
interviewed me before at my home. He had also spoken to Wilfried
Martens, former Belgian prime minister and chairman of the European
Peoples Party. Although his name was not mentioned in the article,
Martens filed a slander lawsuit in Brussels against the Sunday Business
Post. On 5 May 2002 the BBC showed an excellent film on the Dutroux
case. It was called Belgiums X-files. It had been made by Olenka
Frenkiel and clearly demonstrated the cover up that was going on. I was
very grateful to Olenka that I was allowed to speak and explain briefly
that my testimony was being destroyed because too many important people
were involved in the networks. At least the BBC didnt think I was crazy.
The film was also shown on BBC World. I have to mention that when the
BBC team returned home after they investigated, their suitcases had been
broken into. Was it to find something the world wasnt supposed to know
or was it just a coincidence that the luggage of only the two BBC people
had been searched? Marcel Vervloesem from the Morkhoven Group, an
organisation fighting paedophilia on the Internet has had over thirty
house searches in two years. They were the people who exposed Gerry
Ulrich the Dutch paedophile at whose apartment near The Hague the Dutch
police in 1998 found over 50.000 photos of children tortured in
unthinkable ways.


This was shown on CNN. Some people would love to catch Marcel with
photos in his house so they could convict him as a paedophile. On whose
side are the police? To my amazement the Belgian TV station in the Dutch
language VRT showed the BBC film in June and Olenka was allowed to speak
about her film on VRT on 20 June. She clearly stated that it was obvious
that the normal course of justice had not been followed in the Dutroux
case because of numerous interventions. I was impressed that VRT took
this risk and I hope that the journalists who allowed Olenka to speak
will not be harassed as happened to other ones before. Or are people
really starting to believe me now? I will always remember my good friend
Clo, her smile, but also her tears and her death. I still miss her every
day and sometimes I visit her grave. I will never forget the screams,
the yelling, the begging or the silent tears from all the other victims.
To all the victims I say: I respect you dearly. I will always honour
you. You were my voice, my strength, and my reason to speak out. I
salute every one of you. And finally to my husband, children and
friends: With an incredible patience you all gave me back the belief in
life, the belief in myself. You healed my wounds; you all are my reason
to live and to go on. Not in a hundred years will I be able to pay back
what you did for me, but I can say, thank you, thank you and thank you
again. I love you all very much. But I have still hope that we can
eventually do something about it. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King,
Nelson Mandela and many other great human beings had to go through
enormous suffering to achieve the freedom of their people. But they
never gave up, they accepted to risk their lives, to face death. My
people are all the children who are being tortured and abused. And I too
have a dream that once, in a near future, my children will be free of
torture, free of abuse by paedophile creatures that arent worth the dirt
on their shoes.
Ginny. (Witness X1)



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