A couple of friends with children have asked the pressing question about what they can do to prevent their kids from getting diddled. One raised the issue after that chap in Texas beat a guy to death who he caught with his daughter (which, while being the correct response is entirely the wrong response, considering what that girl has now seen, what she will feel responsible for, whether she will now grow up without her father, etc. etc. etc… )
But I am not an expert on buggery. I don’t read books on it, I don’t treat those who have been buggered, I don’t go to support groups. I tend to avoid the topic entirely – my wife bans me from watching films like Mysterious Skin because she doesn’t like the dark, brooding creature that walks out of the cinema afterwards. All I can rely on is my own experience, and that knowledge of mankind which comes from a healthy appetite for acquaintance, literature, and history. As Richard Greenberg pithily wrote: “The world is old. There have been a lot of people. I extrapolate.”
One way of looking at the issue is to ask the question: Why does it happen in the first place? Well – we infantalise sex all the time. Pick up a Penthouse or Hustler magazine and I’ll bet you a fiver there will be at least one girl in there with pigtails, or a lollipop in her mouth, or pictured in a playground (or at least that was the case back in the days when I was buying dirty mags…). Or just look at the state of pubic hair: Do we remove the threat the vagina poses, deep in our psyches, by rendering it naked? Is it some Vietnam War-style gynaecological deforestation, clearing the undergrowth so we can see the teeth better? Or is it just that the great Western Male really needs to look at a ten-year-old pudenda to get turned on? I’ll elaborate on THAT at another time…
Or check out this great plotline idea: There is a boy, with a crazy father (or, more likely, none). He’s isolated and imperiled, picked on, until he runs into an adult, usually a male, who is down on his luck, outcast, misunderstood, sensitive… The kid is fascinated. In a way, he falls in love, and presses this love on the unwilling adult who eventually caves in and reciprocates. The friendship, unlikely as it is, grows and blossoms as the boy learns from the man the ways of adulthood, and the man slowly comes out of his isolation, learns to love again, discovers the beauty of life… until the cruel, unfeeling world crashes in again and kills or exiles the adult.
If you said – Hey! That’s Shane! – you are absolutely correct. It’s also Karate Kid. Oliver Twist. A Perfect World. Annie. Jerry McGuire. Keep looking – you’ll find it, or portions of it, everywhere. Identifying films that have this basic pedo-wish-fulfilment plot in them is actually a fun wee parlour game. Here’s a hint of how to find one: 1: Think of a child actor. 2: Name one of their films.
We sexualise kids. We kidualise sex.
BUT – I’m avoiding the question. How do we prevent the bad stuff happening to OUR kids? No-one wants me to practice amateur psycho-sociology on this blog. You want cold, hard tips.
But in order to answer that, I have to answer the question of why it happened to me. I have to dive into deep, murky waters. I have to figure out why I was targeted, as opposed to the next kid. I have to figure out what made me a good target (and for twenty f**king years, obviously, I was great). These things I can do. But I also have to ask: what could my parents have done to prevent it? Which leads to: what didn’t they do to prevent it? Which leads to: Why didn’t they prevent it? And there, my friends, is pain, and anger, and hurt, and scars. Not mine. Theirs. I cannot begin to know how deeply, how painfully, how devastatingly cruel the fact of my buggery is to my parents. And I fear that no matter how gentle the archaeologist, I may end up hurting them by digging around in here.
But I will. And I think I must. Lovingly, loyally, caringly, just as my parents have been loving, loyal, and caring to me. This forum gives me a chance to explore things that are a bit too close to converse about. But give me a day or two…