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The Perpetuation of Perpetration
CAUTION: The following contains explicit descriptions of sexual abuse and pedophilia.
People who are not abuse survivors have been triggered by reading this article.
If you are a survivor of similar abuse, the following may cause abreaction and flashbacks.
I first posted a version of this in early 1993 in response to flame wars centering on ex-abusers posting to recovery-based newsgroups.
I had been in voice (phone) contact with my mother since 1986. I and my sister had been taken from her in 1959. My mother and I had several phone discussions about the abuse - her verbal and abuse of me, and abuse she herself endured.
We discussed how she went from being a victim to being an abuser; how she broke the cycle of verbal and physical abuse - or, actually, had it broken; How she felt, what she was doing as a result.
It was not easy then for either of us, and it still isn't easy. I did learn as a result some of those things within me that are red flags to a abuser; learning from ex-abusers how they "select" their victims has enabled me to keep my son - and other children - safe.
What follows is based on my own experiences, my sister's experiences, the experiences of other ex-abusers (or, abusers in recovery if you so wish); and the experiences of other abuse survivors with whom I've met and talked at length.
Some of what is detailed below was done by my father and step-mother; some was inflicted on us by our babysitter and her boy friend.
Two scenarios are presented below, and are written in what has been called the "subliminal hypnotic" style by some: It places the reader in the "shoes", so to speak, of the child.
It's what happened to and in one family; my family - and happens in many others.
Scenario 1: Seven-year-old male child
abused by his mother
Put yourself in the position of a 7-year old boy who knows nothing about sex.
Now - a very trusted person in your life, one whom you trust completely and implicitely, one you look to for guidance, love, affection, and training - the one in whom you have complete faith calls you into the bedroom.
You enter. She is nude on the bed, and tells you she is going to train you and show you what sex is. Your mind and emotions feel that this is wrong, but because she is mother or aunt or sister or grandmother or babysitter, you obey.
She tells you to strip and climb on the bed, and forces you to examine every part of her body.
The adult body has pubic hair and secretions, and you, the young 7 year old boy, are being forced to touch the breasts, the vulva, to insert your fingers inside the vagina.
She then has you lay on your back, and she performs oral sex on you, bringing you to a ejaculation-less climax - she introduces you to the intense physical pleasure of climax at an age where you are not capable of understanding what is happening.
You resist. She tells you that resistance is stupid and wrong, since resistance equals withholding of love and is selfishness. She makes you feel guilty for sensing what is happening is wrong. So, you internalize the feeling - and obey, because she is the adult.
But the painful horrifying knowledge that this is wrong and horrible is internalized.
She then stimulates you again to an erection, and forces you to have vaginal intercourse with her. This goes on for several days.
Then she initiates the next stage.
She informs you that she has been showing you "love" by giving you pleasure, and it is only right and natural that you return the love. She reinforces this by bringing you to climax again, orally.
And then manipulates you into oral sex on her; either by making you feel guilty if you don't, or using the "return the love" argument, or both.
You are a 7 year old boy, and you are using your own mouth and tongue to stimulate an adult woman's clitoris and vagina, and you are smelling and tasting an adult woman's secretions for the first time. And you are forced to bring her to climax. And, you are forced to do this when she is also on her menstrual cycle - and you know the taste of blood.
And, she lets you know "how good" you are for doing this, how good it felt to her.
This was done to me; this and more - much more - for three long years.
Scenario 2: Three-year-old female
abused by male adult
You are a three-year-old female and your body has a long ways to go before starting its transformation.
Your father or uncle or grandfather or brother, a man you look up to, a very trusted person in your life, one whom you look to for guidance, love, affection, and training - the one in whom you have complete faith calls you into the bedroom.
He is sitting on the bed, nude, and he tells you he is going to give you a very special kind of love, that he is going to make you feel real good by playing a very special and private kind of game with you.
Your mind and emotions feel that this is wrong, but because he is the adult, the older one, you obey. He tells you to strip and climb on the bed, and then starts touching you, stimulating your clitoris by hand and by mouth and tongue, using his tongue to explore the opening to your vagina.
As this happens, you see his penis enlarging, you see the hair, the glistening at the head of the penis. You resist, and he tells you that it is wrong to resist, that he knows what is best and is right, that he is doing this, giving you pleasure because he "loves" you.
This goes on for a while, for several days, maybe even several weeks. And, he ensures he brings you to climax - and you don't have the maturity to understand why your body reacts the way it does, why you react the way you do...
He now encourages you to touch him, and informs you that he has been showing you "love" by giving you pleasure, and it is only right and natural that you return the love. He reinforces this by bringing you to climax again and again.
He brings himself to climax by rubbing his penis against your genitalia, being careful not to penetrate you. You see and feel the strange sticky semen, you smell its metallic odor.
Then he initiates the next stage. You have seen the strange change of his penis, and have seen, felt, and smelled the secretions. He then has you perform oral sex on him, and forces you to comply - after all, he "gave you" pleasure because he "loves" you, so if you love him, you`ll give him pleasure.
The adult male body has pubic hair and secretions, and you, the young girl, have been forced to touch this body, smell and feel the semen - and perhaps even to swallow the semen.
Then the final stage.
He preps you by inserting small objects at first into your vagina, patiently but certainly stretching your hymen. He then inserts a finger, and it hurts, and you submit, because he is the adult, the older one who "knows best" . Then comes the mind and soul devastating day when he inserts his penis into your vagina.
Afterwards, he tells you how "good and loving" you are to give to him like that - and you are hurting inside, the sticky semen trickling out of you, down your thighs.
You have resisted, but he tells you that resistance is stupid and and and wrong, since resistance equals withholding of love and is selfishness. He makes you feel guilty for sensing what is happening is wrong. So, you internalize the feeling - and obey, because he is the authority.
But the painful horrifying knowledge that this is wrong and horrible is internalized.
You are an young girl, and have experienced something beyond your capability to understand. You are in pain, you know the smell and taste and feel of semen. You know that the adult penis is large and painful and ejects a horrible fluid.
This happened to my sister - to my genetic mother, her half-sister, and their mother.
My sister and I endured - lived through - roughly 3 years of this at the hands of various adults.
My mother endured this at the hands of her step-father.
And, my maternal grandmother said that she and her daughters endured this at the hands of her own father.
How did it affect each of us? What were each of us taught?
- Each of us learned that the adult body has horrifying, distasteful, and unpleasant secretions. We all learned that the adult body is not clean and smooth, that the pubic hair smells and feels strange, and scratches, and hurts.
- We all learned to associate mental and physical pain with sexual activity and intercourse with adults.
- We all learned that the adult body is monstrous, powerful, and a source of extreme pain and pleasure.
- We each internalized the knowledge that what happened is wrong and evil.
- We learned that adults have ultimate control and make us do things we do not want to do - that resistance means only more pain, more suffering, more horror.
- We all learned, were taught by word and deed that sex = love.
- We learned that adult sex results in pregnancy...
This is only a short list of many things we learned consciously and unconsciously.
Each of us were deprived of healthy "normal" (whatever that is) love and affection - and that dramatically increased our need for love and affection.
How did it affect each one of us?
- How it affected me
- I eventually became asexual. It took me a long time to recognize this, particularly with the cultural pressures present in our society; because of the pain and more I learned to associate with sex, it took me a long time to unprogram the lie that sex equals love.
I did explore sexuality with one of my high-school girlfriends, who was later to become my first wife; but I did not see what The Big Deal was. I explored sexuality with two high-school/college friends quite a lot, and discovered the power and control aspect of sexuality, which was interesting at first but destructive in the long term.
I explored sexuality with my second wife, and with two other ladies during a nine-month separation from my second wife back in 1974. Both wives were far more interested in sex than I, but I didn't know how to say no then, I didn't know that was an option.
After reconciliation with my second wife, I again explored sexuallity, because she was very very different than my first wife... and again, I ended up asking what the Big Deal was... the problem now though was the "husbandly duty" I kept getting rammed down my throat by her and the churches we attended, because I lost interest and was not fulfilling my "marital duties."
Yet later, I explored sexuallity again with my lifemate and partner - who herself also wondered what the Big Deal is supposed to be. We both still wonder, but we've both stopped pushing the issue.
To this day I do not comprehend the masses fascination with sex. It works to continue the species; my son (with my second wife) is proof enough of that. It feels good at the moment of climax; but that's a fleeting sensation and nothing more... there are plenty of things that give a great deal more pleasure, and not just physical pleasure.
It wasn't until my partner and I explored sexuality thoroughly that I finally had the space, freedom, and communication to realize that I am asexual; that I have no interest in sex 99% of the time.
I've been told by some that I'm dysfunctional and need therapy to overcome this - dysfunction... Why? I am content as I am...
- The affect on my Sister
- She tried to kill herself when she was 20 years old, in 1973.
As she had shared with me, she never forgot what had been done; and like me, she had explored sexuality as a teenager and young adult - but found it distasteful. And, because of the cultural and social pressures, and pressures from her friends, she kept trying.
With the result that her self-esteem plummetted to fatal levels; she viewed herself as a slut (her words), no better than those who had abused us.
She overdosed on uppers, downers, and booze in an attempt to kill herself.
The attempt didn't work... my maternal grandmother and stepgrandfather got her to the hospital in time to save her life -
But not her mind...
She's been blind, quadreplegic, and brain-fried since 1973, and has spent her life - if it can be called that - in various rest homes since 1973.
- The affect on my mother
- From 1986 to now I've had several discussions with her dealing with the abuse she endured - and that she dished out; I've shared with her what other ex-abusers have shared with me.
She too learned all that I listed earlier in this post.
Here's what she shared with me.
Victims of sexual abuse themselves, turn around and victimize other children in their desparate search for love and acceptance.
What is their reasoning? Here's what I was told:
- Prepubescent children are clean; there are no secretions, no semen, no menstrual blood.
- Prepubescent children are not demanding, manipulative, or dictatorial.
- Prepubescent children are affectionate, trusting, giving, and loving - and easy to control mentally, emotionally, and physically.
- Prepubescent children seek affection, attention, and pleasure - and by giving the child those things, one is assured of a continual supply of affection and need from that child.
- Prepubescent children cannot make one pregnant and cannot get pregnant.
- The bodies and minds of prepubescent children (male and female) are the complete antithesis to the bodies and minds of the adults who abused the abusers when they were children.
- The adults represent horror, pain, guilt, rejection, fear, ghastly bodily fluids.
- The children represent innocence, happiness, acceptance, trust, and cleanliness.
The abuse is acted out, passed on - generation to generation.
The perpetuation of perpetration.
What I've shared here is but one real-life scenario... undoubtedly there are just as many ways and reasons for the perpetuation of abuse as there are abusers.
It is also only the tip of the iceberg within my own family, within both sides of my family.
Learning this, knowing this kept me safe as an adult - to a degree - and enabled me to protect my son - and prepare him to protect himself and others - as he grew up.
The repercusions of pedophilia reach far beyond its self-replicative nature:
- How does the mind of one abused in this manner react to their own body when it becomes the body of an adult?
How does one react to their own awakening sexuality as their body - and mind - mature?
Obviously, self-hatred is a major repercussion - that has several futher repercussions in and of itself: Poor self image, self hatred, desires for self-destruction, shame of one's body, extreme and obsessive modesty - The list goes on and on.
To this day, I have no real regard for my body; oh, I keep it clean faithfully and keep the weight somewhat where it belongs, but I also don't go out of my way to protect it. More often than not I'll plunge right into some task (clearing brambles in a yard, for example) without wearing protective clothes.
And, when I'm done, I'm covered in scratches, nicks, cuts. Those who know me face to face have seen the multitudes of scars - most of them admittedly from the abuse - but not all of them.
The perpetuation of perpetration indeed - some of us get lucky and don't get caught in the cycle; others are less lucky - like my sister - and some are not lucky at all.