"I never did anything I did not want to do."
Among other things, Van Hove states:
"I absolutely cannot make any general statements about 'pedophilia', so I want to talk exclusively about my personal experience. [...]
I deliberate call it a 'relationship', because that's what it was for me. I never felt like a victim. I also want to stress explicitly that I didn't become a homosexual because of this relationship.
I already knew that I was gay at a very early age - well, I didn't even know the word in those days - but I soon noticed what my feelings were about. When I was twelve it was crystal-clear that I was gay; which doesn't mean that I never kissed a girl, of course I did. But I soon felt: this is not what I want.
My homosexuality never was a problem either. Not that I used to talk about it - you have to realize we're dealing with the [very Catholic] Flanders of the seventies - but it didn't bother me, I was not confused or anything.
Feeling like an outsider
My story is classical as well, I think. When I was eleven, I went to a boarding school in Hoogstraten. Not that I was out of control as a teenager, my parents just wanted me to go to a good school.
It was there that I started a relationship with a teacher. This developed very gradually, very naturally. Of course there was sex involved, but it meant much more than just that.
Thanks to this relationship I got to see plays for the first time in my life, I read all kinds of books, I listened to records I never would have discovered on my own. Isn't that how it goes in relationships?
I've had a relationship with my present partner for
thirty years already and he's constantly telling me what strikes him as beautiful or good too. Life amounts to continuous learning, and that's how it was then as well. [...]
The relationship took on new shapes with the passing of time: we stayed in touch even when I or he didn't feel sexual needs anymore, because there still was so much left.
I'm 52 now, and if this relationship ever had any negative consequences, I should have noticed it by now.