It’s an issue which has perplexed me for years; confounded me some, gotten me in trouble when people – including survivors who have had different experiences have misunderstood – and how many! times have I thought about it: the difference between being ‘forced’ – that is physically held down, overpowered and/or struggling – or as a smart child once said, “doing nothing because to try and fight them would have caused further trouble – and wouldn’t have saved (spared) me in the end” – and “me”: a ‘dirty’ child; one who was into having sex – plenty and often, especially with my abuser, but often with my own peers – going along with them all the time, over and over again . . .
Of course I know NOW that what I was doing was rather simple: trading my body (sex) for the feeling of being loved, accepted by some others – what I used to call “the feeling of skin” (because as children we were often bare; only shorts, some cutoffs – and we came to associate the feeling of ‘skin on skin’ as something pleasurable and good – and the feeling you would get before, after, and during this act that we did NOT call ‘making love’ – but it sure felt like it sometimes . . .
That’s one of the big things I’ve noticed about the difference between “making love” and “having sex” with someone. In the first case it is about giving pleasure to somebody – and in the second, it’s about your own. To ‘me’, I was trained early on, as a young child (about 6 or 7 or so) that ‘giving pleasure’ was the thing; that ‘giving someone THIS kind of pleasure’ was the greatest thing – and I got pleasure from doing that thing: giving someone else pleasure – just so long as they would go on ‘loving me’ – whether that be through physical acceptance, not driving me away – not “USING” me in any way (not that I could tell, anyway) – but there’s a BIG huge difference in doing that – being coaxed and cajoled – and then trained – and being held down and raped – or even being forced to have sex without being asked.
I know from times with my wife (because after 25 years you’ve had these kinds of times) – there are times when you reach out and hug her (or him, if that be the case) – and they just lay there frozen. Or just don’t do anything: the cold, no-response kind of thing. Oh, they’ll let you “do it” if you want to or if you insist (or persist) – but that doesn’t mean they’re into doing it. They’re just doing it to satisfy you and get it over with as soon as they can . . .
Sometimes being raped as a child can be like that kinda thing . . . I know there’s been times – not in my young life; those were to come later – the result of me doing some wrong thinking; some bad decisions – and the inability to say ‘no’ to sexual advances sometimes . . . I wanted to roll out, say NO – but instead I went along with it, doing my thing . . .
However, when it comes to differences between a child like the one I was – kinda trained and learned not only to ‘go along with it’ but to actively seek and crave it – vs. one who is held down and raped – or forced into prostitution, or in any WAY against “their will” (perceived) and instead being led and tricked into wanting it . . . it makes a strange sort of difference: this knowledge we ‘chose’ it sometimes.
After all, we could’ve always said “no” to him – and we didn’t. Part of that stems from our desire to try new things; discover the world, and all that lay in it (a Commandment given to us at birth almost) – and our inability to say “no” to this kind of person (an authority figure who’d been given power over us) . . . that was a big one right there . . .
Being attacked and raped is a whole different thing. And years later when it comes to dealing with the ‘abuse’ – it gets rather confusing. The “shame/blame game” comes into play. I know this is a real problem with some abuser’s victims: the “I am ashamed of what I did, what I volunteered for; what I got down on my knees and cried and begged for sometimes . . .” (that last one was me, by the way . . . one time. But I learned.)
I do know in the latter case (of the victim who is coaxed and groomed into loving his molester ‘that way’) the molester can break the victim’s little heart when the molester decides it’s time or he wants to move on. Especially if he does it cruelly. Little children don’t understand those kinds of things . . . and it still hurts: outgrowing your abusers; seeing him going after younger children . . . leaving you behind –
and then, of course, you feel ashamed of that kind of thing now; how are people / what are people gonna think of you?
Really, I don’t care – we’ve gotten ‘over’ a lot of the shame/blame kind of thing – no longer ashamed of us or what we were led into; what we did, how we were doing it. In some ways (meaning the splitting of our personalities) – it did no harm. “WE” did not split because of THAT sort of thing. It was the physical / mental / emotional e.g. social abuse and all the moving around … having to rely on our own resources all of the time. There was no help for us kids back then; or at least none of which I was aware or am aware of at this time – though I suppose there was . . . but nobody told us and we never thought to ask – another kind of child abuse ‘thing’ . . .
But I can’t help but wonder: would I feel more rage and anger as some of these survivors do? Would I feel more – or less ‘ashamed’? (A lot of shame, you must remember, is based upon your personal perceptions about how OTHERS see you – another issue in which we don’t care anymore.) Would I feel more or less guilty about some things? How has it changed my life, my perceptions, my own reality? How is it different from “yours”? Only by comparing the differences do I know how close I am to ‘baseline’ (or ‘normal’, in other words). Just some of the questions I wonder about and ask.
Ah well – the differences even among us survivors (and you thrivers out there!) as as unique and different as each one – and yet there are, I am sure, some commonality among differences – e.g. the twists and turns between being abused, raped, molested, “going along with it” or forced and held down . . . makes all our paths a bit different . . .
and yet – intertwined.