Sex In the Hood
(Tokoni 06/03/2009)

(Note: I have not re-read this. I am currently working on 3 blog entries at once.  See “16 Hours” (if it is done yet.  I am very tired.  We all are.  And no, not from lack of sleep.  From … things.  Pain, grief, joy, an inability to shed tears – too F’ing much.  All in 16 hours.)

First: Pardon me if this is a rambling dissertation. The subject matter is . . . bothersome to me, full of questions and doubts which I cannot fully answer. I would go see a shrink about this stuff – but shrinks are pricey, and I don’t have medical insurance, so I have to ‘self-treat’ as best I can. Forgive me if I do it here. And I hope that it can help someone else; maybe put them on the track to the right answers, or at least let them know they aren’t the only ones who harbor these types of feelings, questions, doubts, and . . . jeez. What can I say. It gets downright messy. But then: childhood sexual abuse always is, isn’t it? (Nod your heads, shrinks – because you know you can’t understand if you haven’t been there, even if you try. And nod your heads, survivors of childhood abuse – and know that I feel for you in this – as only another childhood survivor can.) It’s a tough issue to deal with, no matter what angle you try to approach it from.

I can’t speak for all the kids in the ‘hood, only about what happened to me and what I observed happening to others. I have my suspicions – but they are only that: suspicions. No hard proof; no “I saw”. But I do know what I did see, and will draw some inferences from those observations.

For one thing, it appears it started next door, though I can not and will not lay all the blame squarely on those folks. I cannot imagine the man there, nor his wife, engaging in the activities which their eldest son, a teenager, had us engaging in. But I know that appearences can be deceiving; for all I know the father was molesting his children — though my heart cries when I think that, for I loved that big old burly man dearly, and he was always smiling and friendly. I cannot see him doing that. However, I do know that it spread from there like a forest fire across waxed timber. It was an infection, if you will, which touched many of us kids in the neighborhood to varying degrees. Some, like myself, were deeply infected; others, like my friends across the street, not so much. And like an infection, those it touched went on to infect others.

What I do know is that the teenage boy was having sex with his own brother (my age and best friend) – and we were about half the age of the teenager. I also know that he and his younger brother infected the youngest girl (See “My Child Bride” for more on that.) I know he infected my brother, and perhaps even a good friend up the street. And he infected me (“My First Time” has that truly sick and ugly story.) I also know he encouraged US to infect others, bringing them to him in play, and ending in something else. A form of play, perhaps, but one which we all knew our parents would not approve of.

I know that of us all, my best friend, my brother, and I seemed to be popular (or easy) targets for the teenager’s sexual ‘urges’, and he would sometimes encourage us to ‘play’ together before taking us on separately. We had a word for part of it: corn-holing – which was an invitation to engage in anal sex. The other (oral sex) was more simple, of course, taking place without those words sexual adults so often use (you know: “BJ”, etc.). It was, my shrink said, a sick neighborhood to grow up in, and in some ways – yes, it was. Very sick. It was sick with the disease called “child molestation”. And in a lot of ways – yeah, I guess it was – a form of STD. But an STD of the mind.

I sometimes wonder if teen on small child (we’re talking 13, 14 and up on 5, 6 and 7 year olds) is considered classic child abuse (eg molestation). My shrinks said it was. They told me that it was a betrayal of trust by an authority figure, and that I can understand because he was often set as an authority figure over us younger kids – both as a trusted babysitter and an outside playmate. I do know that the kids more susceptible to catching the ‘disease’ were in the families which expressed little love. For instance, the loving mom across the road – always generous with her hugs and kisses – her kids were only mildly infected – that is, they did not pursue it like I and the teenager’s younger brother did. (We actually asked for it, begged for it sometimes – and I think he enjoyed that aspect of us ‘begging’ for it.) I know the teenager’s father was a hard working man – very hard working – and worked his family hard as well. They were one of the poorest families in the ‘hood. I know the mother was very subservient to him – meek and mild, with her head always lowered – that was her, and was still her when I met her again about thirty years later. Soft spoken – voice almost always a whisper, even when we were kids. So maybe there was something going on there that I did not know about.

And what about sex ‘play’ between children of the same age and gender? Was that abuse? I think not, and yet the shrinks said that the depth of play – six, seven, and eight year olds engaging in oral and anal sex – was ‘sick’. Is that true? How can I answer that? I don’t know. I have no ‘references’, no way of knowing. For me it was normal – as normal as air – and I know children do play ‘doctor’. But what IS playing “doctor”? An examination of each other’s genitalia? We went far beyond that. We were taught more than that by the teenager. And so it seemed only natural to us to do to each other (even with my own brother) the things we’d been shown. So does that count as ‘abuse’? I guess if you haven’t had this sort of thing happen to you, you can’t understand the depth of confusion. It’s like being presented with two boxes: one labeled “abusive behaviors” and one labeled “normal behaviors” – and you have this puzzle piece which belongs in one or the other – and you are desperate to know which one to drop it in – but for the life of you (and your own sanity) – you can’t figure out which one it goes in. But it hurts to keep holding it in your hand. Sometimes . . . Christ. Sometimes I’d give my left arm just to know. And it hurts bad enough sometimes that yeah – even now, I wish for physical pain. (But no – I won’t cut myself. I’ve been there, done that, and it’s an addiction I refuse to give into – no matter how much it hurts to deny.)

My own parents, of course – an oft absentee dad given to frequent sadism, and what I still think was an insane mother – her marrying him to escape her own abusive step-father – a loveless life (I never remember her ever hugging us, nor saying the words “I love you”) – set us up to seek affection elsewhere. See the piece I wrote called “Harlow’s Monkeys” for more on how that sets children up to become willing targets for sexual abuse. And while my dad did show us affection when he was around – he wasn’t around very much, being gone for one and two years at a time due to military demands – I told him to stop hugging me when I was seven. It felt too much like something else – something wrong. I don’t know if it was because of him, or me, or what was happening in the ‘hood. But I still remember that evening, telling him that I didn’t want him to hug me anymore when he came to tuck us in. And it hurts, knowing that – and not knowing the reasons why, when this was the proper form of parental affection. Weird, isn’t it?

But of all the kids I knew, me and my best friend were the ones the teenager seemed to find easy – eager – targets (to the best of my knowledge that is – there were probably others). And of us two, I was always – always! – more than willing. I wanted it. Loved it – or at least liked it to the point I condemn that ‘inner child’ of mine. Like I said; there were times I begged him to “do it”. I have trouble saying the words I used to use. Ones like ‘cornhole’ – god, that’s a sickening word for me to even SEE. And yet I type it – trying, I guess, to become immune to its effects. And yet – its so friggin’ useless. It’s a distasteful subject for me, even if I do have bisexual tendencies, which I believe, may have been due to that door being opened to me at such a young age. I started off pretty much with ‘same-sex’ sex; therefore, even if I was born heterosexual, I learned there was nothing ‘wrong’ or ‘strange’ or ‘off’ in homosexual behaviors. Go figure. I’m still trying to, and probably never will completely figure it out. Another question with no clear answer – and one that will be with me for life.

This behavior; this sexual ‘abuse’ if you will, went on for about six years, minus a one year hiatus when I ‘escaped’ from the ‘hood for a year, courtesy of my father’s endless travels. I came back, of course – hungry for more (a sad thing to say). I find some things bothersome, such as the fact that the teenager, when he would ‘finish’, would often urinate into my rectum, and I would have to ‘hold it’ to keep it from leaking out – a rather fruitless task sometimes – and I wonder why my mom never suspected anything was going on when I would come home with dried urine down my legs. To this day I find anything sticky – even, say, sea water – on the insides of my thighs to be highly . . . bothersome in that it always reminds me of what he would do. Why did he do that? I don’t know, unless it was for some kind of weird or perverted thrill. I suppose the shrinks would say it was a “power display”, and Lord knows I’ve studied enough psychology to concur. Ditto with me begging for his ‘affections’ – it gave him a sense of power, I suppose, and no doubt was a powerful turn-on for him. As for me, I hate – and refuse to use – any type of ‘power’ over a sexual partner (or anyone I love.) And why didn’t us kids tell? For one thing — we knew what we were doing was ‘wrong’. How did we know that? I don’t know. And perhaps the incident mentioned in “BB Gun Wars” regarding the teenager demonstrating his power had something to do with it. I don’t know. Which just — well, it ties my head up in knots, my heart in . . . something more than sadness. I don’t even know how to describe how it feels.

The weird thing – and this is something for you parents to remember – is that this stuff spread among us kids. I’ve called it a disease – the shrinks called it a ‘disease’ – and I guess it was. An STD – sexually transmitted disease – but of the mind and soul. Why is that? What possessed us kids to pass it on from one to another? To this day I don’t know. Why did I, at ten years old, try to seduce the younger kid across the street? (He was about six.) Was it that I just didn’t know any better? I hadn’t ever heard of the words “sexual abuse” until I was in my teens; I never even knew I was abused until I was in my early twenties. And yet . . . I know the suspicions were forming in my mind by the time I was sixteen or so – or at least about the sexual abuse – if for no other reason than my peers seemed so damned ignorant (and fascinated) about sex – whereas for me it was ‘old hat’. Not to say I wasn’t your ‘normal’ (or at least somewhat abnormal) hormone driven teen. But I wasn’t into playing the ‘games’ that they played. They all seemed so childish to me. Why was that? I often feel like huge parts of my childhood – and normal ‘teenhood’ – went missing. For some reason it’s like . . . I don’t know. I skipped (sexually) from being a child at six to thirteen, then from thirteen to twenty-something. Things got turned around; it’s all topsy-turvy. Screwed up and backwards in some obscure way that still evades definition. And it has had such a drastic effect on my life and relationships – in so many ways, and so many of them painful, regarding loss and lack and . . . well, like I say, it defies words. It cuts at the base of emotions. It’s almost impossible to describe – or at least impossible enough that I can’t find the words to define it in a clearcut way (hence this rambling dialogue).

It is odd. I sit here, preparing to post this – and I find my lack of references bothersome as well. Is this 18+ material here? Or not? How can I possibly know? The sexual acts described in this dissertation are nothing I did not know by the time I was six. So . . . would this material be appropriate for, say, a thirteen year old? A twelve year old? A kid who has already been abused? One who hasn’t? It’s very confusing to me, as you can probably tell. I really need someone else to rate this; I can’t do it myself, but I’m going to set it to 18+ to be on the safe side – but at the same time – am I doing some poor kid a disservice by NOT letting them read this, if what happened to me is happening to them, or happening in “their ‘hood”? If YOU have any insights on this, feel free to let me know. Because – really – I can’t judge it. And that’s a bad, screwed up feeling, if you haven’t gotten that impression from me by now.

I don’t know. Questions, questions, questions. And damn few answers.

I’ll tell you. This ‘survivor’ stuff – and I ‘think’ the “S-word” when I type ‘stuff’ – is a really mixed bag of tricks. And I hope that for those who don’t understand what it’s like, this has given you a glimpse – trust me, a mere skimming – of the types of internal questioning us survivors face. And it only gets harder the more you look, because every question asked raises so many others.

Thats enough for now, LOL. Whut can I say. The impulse to just start pulling your hair out – or doing worse; the confusion – emotional crap – can get overwhelming, and leave your head spinning for hours. Or days.

Or even, perhaps, a lifetime.