As with everyone, my life is a personal journey. Recent events have illuminated surprising and unknown pieces of my foundation. As I continue my adventure, I intend to share my thoughts

0n relationships,

current events, and the multifaceted landscape of our society.

So why the title "The Cotton Picker Scat?" It ties into some great family history of mine!
My literary research thus far has proven to be priceless. I want to share my failures, my joys, my successes, my lessons. My story.

Because what is mine, may also be yours.

I'm glad you're here! The journey of the cotton picker continues…

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Regarding the Children of Men

A friend began telling me his story, without any warning, and without getting my permission as to whether or not I wanted to hear it. I was not asked if I wanted the pain of his experience to become a part of my consciousness. We were just talking, and the next minute I was hearing about the most horrific things. Things I could not imagine happening to a young boy. I was so stunned I didn’t have the strength to tell him to stop. I felt trapped, but I was his friend. I had to support my friend by listening.

It’s been many years since my friend told me his story. When he was a twelve year-old boy, a male relative would sometimes invite him over when he and his buddies would have beer-drinking parties. On several occasions, the relative would have him strip so that he was totally nude, tie a rope around his genitalia, and parade him around the room. The other men would laugh, beat him, call him lewd and sexually demeaning names, and totally degrade him. Sometimes, another male partygoer would bring an additional young boy to abuse. The boys were often called upon, under threat of violence, to perform oral sex on the men.

The current headline-grabbing, head-snapping news regarding Penn State has completely overtaken the media. Having been in social services for most of my professional career, I am a bit surprised at the pervasiveness of the behavior, and the length of time over which it occurred. I was not surprised when I heard the title the perpetrator held, or the venue in which it occurred. Sexual abuse perpetrated onto young boys by trusted men in power or holding celebrity status is an unfortunate yet common event.

However, there is one note in this story that continues to ring in my ear. Many of the victims are referred to as children. The ‘child’ I saw this morning bravely telling his story on television had a full beard. I assume that most of the victims are men now. I imagine there are many who are dealing with alcoholism, and experiencing failed marriages and/or relationships without knowing why. Many may have single or multiple convictions, based upon unresolved anger that led to uncontrollable behavior. Many of these victims may lack self-esteem and have become unbelievably passive, their desire to fight having been drenched and ignored long ago. Almost all, whether it is topical or buried, are probably very angry. The acts were unspeakable. And unspeakable acts are usually consumed without benefit of being examined, let alone being resolved.

Children are presented with cultural situations very early in their lives. They understand what is okay to talk about, and what is not. They get a sense of who is supposed to be trusted. Teachers, relatives, religious leaders, celebrities, community/political leaders, people who are in the helping professions, etc. The dangers of the internet are promoted continuously.  Yet many child molesters and pedophiles are people with whom the child knows, and with whom the family has trusting relationships.  And when a trusted person does something that just ain’t right, conflict occurs and the child doesn’t talk about it because it wasn’t supposed to happen and stuff that wasn’t supposed to happen does happen anyway…and the child internalizes it as being his (in these cases) fault.

Many men have somehow survived the silence, somehow navigating through the pain and the struggle to lead a “normal” life. You know these men. They are your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, the guys on your bowling league, the men who attend your church, the 10-years sober gentleman in the local AA group, the anchorman you watch on CNN. The fathers who are determined to establish a safe haven for their children, free of any sexual or verbal abuse that was prevalent in their own lives as children. I know many men like this. I have heard stories of abuse, neglect, pain, suffering, and the tremendous anger, shame, and guilt that can accompany such damaging events. With help, support, therapy, the coin can be flipped. But it’s not easy. It may take a few generations for the victim’s family to recover.  

Please, fire the coaches, fire the president, and rid the school of anyone who should have mandatorily/morally reported these abuses. Clean house. To me, that is an expectation. For many of these male victims, what has been sealed in the past may burst scarily and uninvited into the present. I encourage us, as a society, to take care in how we communicate our thoughts. No rape jokes, no funny stories like “did you hear the one about the coach…” blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Pay attention to the bathroom humor that is already a result. Not all victims of sexual abuse live in Pennsylvania. One may be sitting next to you, existing silently in shame and embarrassment. Be aware of your own biases, and perhaps your own uneasiness with this subject. Otherwise, the real crime of child sexual abuse becomes trivial, and more perpetrators are hatched. Those of us who hear, who question, who are angered, who are appalled, but NOT abused…we are not the victims.

A boy was violated, without any warning, and without his trusted relative getting permission as to whether or not he wanted it. He was not asked if he wanted the pain of this experience to become a part of his consciousness. They were just talking, and the next minute he was feeling the most horrific things. Things he could not imagine happening to him. He was so stunned he didn’t have the strength to tell him to stop. He felt trapped, but the man was family. He had to support his family by…being quiet.

Flip it. Pray for the men who are our children.

If you are a victim of male sexual abuse, consider visiting www.MaleSurvivor.org

1 comment:

  1. Great Post David - I will post it to the ManKind Project Journal ASAP. Thank you!