Last night I watched 3 episodes of the Netflix show “Broadchurch.” I usually watch 1 to 2 episodes and then read a book. But the series was at a crucial turning point and the person who killed young Danny Latimer was being revealed.

The 38 year old man who admitted to killing the boy said he fell in love with 11 year old Danny.

You must be wondering, as I was, how a 38 old man could possibly think himself in love with an 11 year old boy? He said he had not molested the boy. But even if he didn’t harm him physically, there are other ways to molest a child that leave them traumatized.

Danny Latimer’s Parents

Covert Abuse:

Another type of abuse is called covert abuse.

Covert abuse includes any type of underhanded and deceitful behavior on the part of the abuser used to manipulate others in order to gain power and control.

Covert abuse tends to contain the following dynamics:

  • Abuses occur “casually.”
  • It is subtle, which makes it easy to ignore, deny, and minimize.
  • It rarely occurs only one time.
  • Interactions can include one or all of the following: criticism, boundary violation, sensuality, gas lighting, confabulation, or cognitive dissonance.
  • The abuser tends to be perceived by others as a “good guy or gal,” friendly, or even above reproach.
  • The abuser is very convincing.
  • Victims become desensitized to their own experiences over time.

Definition Of Pedophilia:

The definition of pedophilia involves sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children, usually under the age of 14.

In order to be classified with this disorder, the person must be at least 16 years of age and five years older than the child or children for whom he has these feelings that are possibly acted upon.

In the small village of Broadchurch, everyone is suspect. People turn on one another. Long standing relationships are forever ruined.

Neuro-developmental Causes:

Some experts propose that the causes are neuro-developmental. Differences in the brain structure are found.

According to research, these differences are similar to those of people with impulse control disorders, such as OCD, addictions and antisocial personality disorder.

The Detectives

Intelligence Levels:

Other neurological differences found in pedophiles included lower intelligence levels. And the lower the intelligence level, the younger the preferred victim.

Studies also found an increased level of pedophilia in those people who sustained serious head injuries as young children, especially prior to age six.

Another finding was that more pedophiles had mothers with psychiatric illnesses than the average person (Hall & Hall, 2007).

Developmental Issues:

Then there are developmental issues that occur in these individuals more often than in the general population.

Sixty-one percent of pedophiles repeated a grade or were enrolled in special education classes (Hall & Hall, 2007).

Environmental Factors:

You can’t discount environmental factors. There is much controversy over whether or not being sexually abused as a child causes that child to grow up to be a sexual abuser.

Statistics do weigh out indicating, that in general, more people who abuse children as adults were abused themselves as children.


Despite what children are taught about “stranger danger,” most child victims are abused by someone they know and trust.

The results of a three-state study of reported rape survivors under age 12 revealed the following about offenders:

  • 96% were known to their victims
  • 50% were acquaintances or friends
  • 20% were fathers
  • 16% were relatives
  • 4% were strangers

(Advocates for Youth, 1995)

The Journalists

This is another Netflix show that I am truly enjoying.

The characters are well developed and have their own individual story.

The writing is compelling and there is always much to be learned about human behavior by watching how people react to tragedy.

I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who haven’t watched this series, so I’m not writing about events in the story line. But if you watch it, I think you will be surprised by who the murderer turns out to be.

It will leave you questioning everything you might have believed about ordinary people living around you.

Everyone has secrets. Everyone is capable of actions they don’t believe themselves capable of.

If you have watched Broadchurch, I’d love to read your thoughts.

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  1. We watched Broadchurch when it first came out and honestly, I was sorry I did. Don’t get me wrong – the storyline and acting were superb. As a Highly Sensitive Person and also someone who has lost a child, it was just way too much for me. I couldn’t handle this little boy being killed and what the family went through.

  2. I just finished watching the Broadchurch series for the second time. I loved it. Great interaction between the characters, especially the detectives on the case. I wish there were more, but the Male detective has gone on to other interesting characters, and the female detective just won Best Actress at the OSCARS! Wow! There was also an American version of this a few years ago. It was shot in the bay area of San Francisco.

  3. Last yr a neighbor boy that was 10 yrs old wanted to help me rake my lawn. I told him to go ask his mom first, to see if it was ok.
    Well, when we were raking my back lawn, this guy on a bike, never seen him before, rode by at least 15 times! So when we were done raking, I walked him home, of course with a couple choc zucchini breads, so I knew he would be safe and sound! I told his neighbor to tell his Mom incase he didn’t.
    He came over a few days later to show me his new bike and said I was his hero. His mom and sister’s 3 , explain to him, what could have happened? Then 1 by 1 his sister’s came over to meet me. Lol. They were so thankful that I was paying attention and I also got him to stop studdering bc I listened to him, without telling him to be quiet, like they did. He helped me a couple of times raking my front and back lawn!
    Now I’m so happy that he made a friend, that he hangs around with and he always says hi, when he sees me outside.
    It makes me shudder to think about these scumbags, sick people that go around preying on the innocent little ones!

  4. So many thoughts! Wife of abuser totally blindsided.
    Families torn apart by the stress, suspicions, etc.
    The stress of knowing the perpetrator was known to them all because such a small, isolated community.
    Statistics prove perpetrators not able to be rehabilitated.
    I, as the viewer, felt all these emotions too.
    Everyone was forever changed and tried to find their own way to healing and new life.

  5. Well written, Brenda! Also interesting the comments here. I so agree…it does not need to include intercourse to cause us some degree of damage for the rest of our lives. And some then look at us, as somehow “less than”…when it was a choice we did not have. I do hope things will get much better, from a law perspective especially…people who abuse others, at the least should not be out in general population!! Sorry…but if we care about the future of our culture and country, we better be fixing this awful problem!!

  6. Wow.

    Thank you.

    Thank you for taking the time (and courage) to talk about dif forms of abuse.

    Years ago… I’ll never forget it.. a therapist told me there are many forms of sexual abuse.. all the way from intercourse to a look.

    And you never know how traumatized the victim will be. It’s not in relation to where on the spectrum the abuse fell.

    xo, Darlene
    P.S. I found this stat fascinating: Sixty-one percent of pedophiles repeated a grade or were enrolled in special education classes (Hall & Hall, 2007).

  7. I enjoyed Broadchurch very much even though the plot is a very sad subject. I am in that 96% category. I found the information you posted very interesting. However, I have never thought of my abusers as pedophiles. Maybe because they were family members, 2 uncles by marriage and a stepfather. I am 64 years old and this is not something that was ever talked about when I was a child. Thank you for posting the information.

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