Trauma Shame and the Power of Love Book Review by Christopher E. Pelloski MD
Although child sexual abuse and pornography is nothing new in this society, whenever it is discovered and reported, there is such a knee-jerk reaction of anger, disgust and mistrust that ensues that it becomes difficult to see the many facets of the whole truth about the situation, as was the case with Christopher E. Pelloski MD In his book, Trauma, Shame and the Power of Love, which is a biographical work, he bares his soul and shares his experiences from arrest to trial as a productive non-participant in child pornography.
From the beginning, reading Dr. Pelloski’s austere memoirs created an intense paradox of emotions in me, especially because I am a parent of six children. On the one hand, he was a pediatric oncologist whose job and intention was to help children at their most vulnerable time and he made great strides in doing so. But on the other hand, he also participated in the very vulgar and harmful activity of viewing child sexual abuse online, a sickening activity prompted by his own efforts to come to terms with his own childhood sexual abuse.
At first I was furious, how can a doctor who is also a father be so rude, so vicious, so sick when it comes to our young people? He was supposed to help them not find them sexually attractive. However, once I got more deeply involved with the book, I began to see more clearly the other side of this scenario that perpetrators of child pornography, whether producers, actors, or viewers by proxy, might also be victims of childhood sexual abuse and badly need it. rigorous follow-up and psychological help. Don’t get me wrong, while my heart goes out to author Pelloski, in regards to his horrific experiences as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I’m extremely happy that he got caught and get the help he needs.
Overall, the quality of the book was well done; Author Pelloski’s narrative was well written and thoughtfully organized. Its inclusion of related sexual offense laws, the presiding judge’s sentencing statement, medical and psychiatric statements related to his particular disorders made this book a thorough and compelling read, especially when it comes to understanding the punishment of perpetrators. Although reading this book was not a pleasure, it was a truly illuminating reading experience that I found deeply moving and stayed with me long after I finished the book. However, I found that at times in his narrative there was a narcissistic bent which I found somewhat off-putting given the nature of the book, but ultimately understood as it seems to go hand in hand with the mental disorders he suffers from. It is unfortunate that Dr. Pelloski’s excellent work in the field of oncology, including the many patients he has helped, is now largely overlooked by his criminal actions and resulting penalties. Sadly, the war on cancer is real and he was a warrior in his field albeit broken.
In summary, Dr. Pelloski’s work in this book forever changed my personal views on child pornography/child sexual abuse, applicable laws, punishment, victims, perpetrators and their varying levels of participation. It’s a stormy read, but I recommend it to adult readers with the gut guts to tackle the subject strong.