Friday, July 13, 2018

Was everyone molested as a kid?

Henry Scott Tuke

How common is it?

Yesterday I was talking to one of my relatives and found out he and a couple of his sibling had been sexually abused by neighbors.  Different perpetrators at different times.  The same happened in my family, different perpetrators at different ages.

A couple of my siblings repressed memories of what happened to them.  Two knew something happened but had no recollection of who or what.  I knew for sure my younger brother had been molested by a neighbor, because my mother told me and because there was a court case.  It's a complicated story but the court case was dropped because my parents blamed my brother for 'cooperating' with the perpetrator, and they in turn felt sorry for the perpetrator.  My dad beat my brother as a punishment.  Evidently my brother suppressed the memory and it only came out many years later when he was undergoing therapy.  He wrote to ask me if I knew anything about what happened to him.

Long story short, I told him what I knew, shared my abuse stories with him, and told him all that our mother told me.  I also shared a story of a guy who wanted my brother and I to come to his house.  I knew what the man wanted and I wanted to protect my brother.  So I scurried him away and we escaped the man.  I explained to my brother that I did everything I could to always protect him from anything like that.  I told him how I had taken him to church when he was a toddler and consecrated him to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  He never knew that.

Denial is a powerful thing.  

My sister still has never recalled what happened to her.  I knew about it because my dad told me what he had done.  I also heard her screams in the room next to mine.  We all came through these things and to my knowledge, not one of us engaged in or repeated that behavior.  None of us have any sexual attraction to kids or teenagers.  Quite the opposite.  Thus molested kids don't always turn into molesters.  Maybe some do, but in my experience, victims would go out of their way to protect others from that kind of soul-destroying abuse.

Kids often believe they invited the abuse because they experience sexual pleasure or excitement for the very first time.  Little boys experience erections.  It is a great crime, a tremendous evil to awaken or arouse sexual excitement in a child.

How and why has this happened to so many kids?

My dad told me his dad did things to him that he could never talk about.  Is it generational?  My grandfather came over on the boat from Sweden.  Was he molested on the boat?  Did he see things in steerage kids shouldn't see?  Or was this part of his heritage as a farm boy in Sweden?

My cousin didn't mention any details about what happened to him, he just said it probably has happened to more people than we know.  Probably.

I was of course molested by neighbors, beginning at a very early age.  I kept it secret, except to confess it in confession.  Once or twice I got yelled at about it by the confessor, but I did my penance, and of course I accepted responsibility for it.  Intellectually I know kids aren't responsible, but emotionally and spiritually I experience the guilt differently.  The sense of mortal sin - the fear of it - influenced me since my first confession, hence my concern to protect my siblings from any such harm.  Once in Junior High my sister came home, followed by a man - I saw her running towards the house and when the guy saw me, he turned and walked away.  I followed him as my mother called the police.  Followed him downtown, and he was arrested after going into a women's restroom.  I'm not sure what I could have or would have done if I cornered him, but I was determined to somehow protect my sister.

You are not what happened to you.

Some kids who were molested turn out to be gay, but not all of them.  My mother told me when my dad was beating my brother he kept shouting, 'you're not going to turn out like Terry!'  (And they wonder why I left home and never went back.)

Joe Sciambra writes about how many men he knows who were sexually abused as kids, a fact which coincides with my experience.  Most every gay person I have ever known had an experience of  sexual abused - but mostly as teen boys.  Authorities and activists now regard that as paedophilia, but it's not.  It is technically called ephebophilia.  When it is male on male, it is gay.  Frequently boys who were victims were made more vulnerable because they needed a 'father' figure, or sought the affection/approval of an older, more virile male.  If they remain homosexual, the attraction to older men usually remains constant.  That would eliminate any attraction for younger boys or men as an adult.

So what is wrong that these things happen, over and over?

What happened to you?  That's a question that we might ask ourselves.

No one knows. 

Song for this post here.


  1. As difficult as it is to read these sorts of posts I am grateful that you write them. There is so much confusion around this issue.

    We recently had a Canadian provincial premier who was pushing for sex education (including all manner of same sex stuff) to children as young as 5. Children need to learn about "good touch and bad touch" and the proper names for body parts but they do NOT need to know more than that! The premier was a lesbian who had come out later in life.

    I especially pray for my grandchildren during the Second Sorrowful Mystery as the fruit of the mystery is purity. I think I will be praying for politicians during this decade of the rosary as well.

    1. I can't edit my comment so I will add that older children (minimum age 9 and up) should learn about how the body functions, particularly in regards to changes in puberty, but there is still no need to spell out in graphic details about matters proper to adults.

    2. Well Angela, there is a petition going around to restore that sex Ed Curriculum, and it seems that teachers, even Catholic ones, are signing up for it to be restored. I think that cyber bullying/“sexting” and other modern issues SHOULD be introduced in schoool as even pre-teen boys are asking teen girls for Nude photos, which under our laws constitutes child pornograhy. But as a whole no, it should be revamped but not to the point of what that child porn peddled Levin and Premier Wynne wanted.

    3. I agree that cyber bullying/sexting should be introduced. My kids are way in their 30s so that's not even on my radar - thanks for bringing that to my attention. Wynne disgusts me - there is nothing lower than harming children.

  2. We sometimes think our generation invented this whole phenomena. Not so. This generation may have a better chance of exposing and protecting the young then we did. Here we see biology, theology, political issues and social mores all mixed up in one great stew. The fact remains it is the duty of the family to educate and to protect their children. If not the family because that is where the abuse emigrates from then child protection. Thinking back to my youth there was lots of talk about perverts. Who was one and who was not. The most credible offenses were more often then not older teenage boys against younger ones. I have no first hand experience with this so it was all talk in my world. I was valued and protected and am thankful for that.

    1. My child was molested but he was/is valued (and protected - or so I thought) but that worm found his way into my trust and now I have to live with the guilt the rest of my life.

    2. No. You aren't guilty. Worms operate in trusted space and take years to gain adults trust, then work years to groom children.

      Mom told a story about a colleague whose school had perverts and older brothers and sisters would tell the younger kids to stay on the opposite side of the teacher's desk. Her daughter had a slumber party and the new girl at the school told her friends that the teacher had done something; no idea what, but inappropriate, the daughter told her mom, the school was informed and the teacher was prosecuted.

    3. Angela, yes you point out an important point. I never meant to imply that most victims are not valued or protected as much as possible by the adults in their life. I was responding to Terry's point of parent's blaming the victim. That seems to happen way too often. I am certain that you did all you could. You defended your child. I apologize to you. The pain of abuse for parents and siblings is I am sure immense. Please accept my sincere apology and know I was not referring to situations like yours. I look back now and think "there but the grace of God go I." Anyone can be the victim.

    4. Thanks, Wallace.

  3. Camille Paglia says that you have to look at every gay persons relationship with their parents because it's screwed up. Case in point? Gay man whose brother was married, had 3 kids and suddenly moved in with a man. Dad was the proverbial traveling salesman with two households, which was eventually discovered.

    What happened to me? At 14, good little girl that I was, I was at the mall Christmas shopping and some pervert asked me to go outside and take a walk with him. In December. I didn't yell or scream, just let him know he was mistaken and I didn't know him.

    what happened to a restaurant hostess, high school age? She seemed agitated and I asked what was wrong, she said a 60 yr old man wanted to take her picture and he was sitting in the bar. When I asked she hadn't told the manager and I told her she needed to because she had the right to feel safe at work. On the way out, I asked if she'd told the manager, she had and the manager kicked the guy out of the restaurant. It was better that the hostess approached the manager but I'd have done it on the way out if she hadn't. It's hard because you don't know what to do when these things happen.

  4. I have never thought this generation had any more issues and scandals and problems with sexuality (or anything else) than any another generation. The huge differences are openness and communication.

    People are way more willing to speak about their experiences or even about topics that once upon a timer were forbidden to be spoken about at least in public Or in “mixed company”.

    And as far as communication goes… My gosh! Talk about a polar change! These days no matter where in the world we live, we know the slightest little thing that happens in oh let’s say Lame Deer Montana ( or take your choice of any other off the grid type place) and we know it almost immediately! In the past people would’ve never heard about it and probably never really cared to hear about something not happening in their own family or their own area.

    And I think that the combination of this openness and communication is that we begin to think suddenly all these things have just started happening on planet earth. But honestly we’ve been the same ever since Eve came home one day and said to Adam, “ Hey honey, I found this delicious piece of fruit I think you ought to try some.“

    1. I agree. Never before has there been instant communication with the world and the willingness to talk about everything.

  5. "Once or twice I got yelled at about it by the confessor"

    For some reason this was the most heart breaking part of your most for me.

    I don't know how I would have coped if I experienced something like that in Confession.

    1. They usually just laugh at me.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.