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#23126 - 05/19/06 05:46 AM Was your abuse "voluntary"?
melliferal Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
One of the things that bothered me so much about my abuse (there were lots of such things - in fact, I use the aforewritten set of words so often in this forum that I'm considering just making it an acronym - "OOTTTBMSMAMA") was that at the time, and for a long time afterwards, I considered all that I had done vis-a-vis the sexual activity to have been completely voluntary on my part. My abuse was not characterized by a violent, coercive, explicitly abusive nature - that indeed is one of the reasons it took so long for me to understand that it was, in fact, abuse.

Now, I already know, as do the rest of you, that when we get down to the brass tacks, non-violent child abusers use all kinds of tactics in order to trick, lull, or otherwise convince kids to not only "consent" (such as it was) to the abuse, but to even consider themselves to be the instigators of the activity. Like I posted so long ago, kids are essentially stupid - and there's always somebody willing to take advantage of stupidity. For this reason, the "voluntary" problem does not bother me any more, and we can stay away from that whole set of argument.

Now, I've been arguing lately on another message board (I'd rather not post a link - but it's not a pro-pedophile board; I won't even bother trying to argue with THOSE freaks) with somebody who thinks that it's possible that, if such activity can be shown to not be harmful, then it should be legal for adults to have sex with kids when that sex is not physically injurous AND the child "consents". I've tried explaining to him that children aren't capable of consenting, and that there have been studies which explain why that is so in physical and psychological terms. He won't believe me until I can give him the exact name of such a study - which I don't have. Nevermind.

I personally know for a fact that his postulation is wrong, because my abuse was not physically injurous AND it could have been considered voluntary at the time. And here I am; I've definitely been harmed by it. I haven't been treated by any mental health professionals (not much for therapy, me), but I have certainly detailed many times in this forum the problems I have regarding social contact, and sex in particular, that I have suffered since and because of the abuse.

But these facts don't help me, because I don't plan on revealing them directly to him. Firstly, because I consider it bad form in an argument to say "I know better because I was abused" - that's a cheap shot, and too much like cheating. Secondly, I'm not quite sure if I want this guy to know I am an abuse victim - even if it means having to put up with him ignorantly characterizing me as somebody who doesn't know anything about the topic. For example, he recently posted that

Quote:
To be frank, I think you get such a self-righteous kick from crusading about this issue that you just aren't interested in finding out for sure if "voluntary" sex is safe at twelve, or thirteen, or fourteen, or fifteen, or sixteen, or seventeen, or eighteen. You just want to play Saviour of the Children, for values of children defined by whatever your local taboos are, even if that actually harms some children.
It's infuriating, but I'll live. Bear in mind that I don't believe this guy is a pedophile, or would consider engaging in such activities. He's just somebody that's so caught up on things only mattering when they've been "officially" or "professionally" collated in some kind of study, that even in such an obvious topic as this, he can't see the forest for the trees. Meanwhile, another one of the ways he attacks my position is that (aside from myself, which I won't tell him about) I can't really give any "numbers" as to how many harm-suffering abuse victims' experiences involved non-physically-injurous, "voluntary" (at the time) sexual activities. I'm not entirely sure it's worth the time and effort to gather evidence just to convince him that I am right; however, I am for my OWN benefit interested in the prevalence of this set of circumstances.

So, were any of you abused in this way? Where the experience was at the time, or at least initially, "voluntary" (again, not considering the pedophiles' responsibility for creating that "voluntary" attitude) and not physically injurous? Or is my own experience really that unique?

_________________________
Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

Oprah's resources for male survivors

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#23127 - 05/19/06 06:05 AM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
ShyBear Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/05
Posts: 149
Loc: The American South
My abuse was "voluntary", and I used to mercilessly beat myself up for it until I came to understand manipulation and the Adult-Child power differential. And it was also not physically injurious, nor was it violent. My abuser had so well manipulated me that I was the one who "initiated" the sex !

Then, when the first pangs of shame and confusion set in, I truly voluntarily sought out a fundamentalist Christian to talk to (because all Christians are kind, wise and understanding, right ?), which resulted in my non-physical, yet extremely violent, spiritual rape.


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#23128 - 05/19/06 09:48 AM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Melliferal,

To be honest, I think saying that abuse of a child can be "voluntary" begs the question of what "voluntary" would mean in such a situation.

When the man who abused me stood before me for the first time, he told me to take off my trousers and I did it - because he was an adult and I knew him. I felt awkward and uncomfortable, but I did it. Was that voluntary?

Well, first thing is that I was alone with him in his house. He was standing in front of me in his underwear with an erection. I was trapped in his son's room, with him between me and the door. I genuinely had no idea that what was happening was sexual, even when he kissed me and put his hand down my underpants.

There was no physical violence yet - that came later. And I wasn't threatened either; that too was a later item on the menu. But I don't think there was anything voluntary about what was happening. If he had ASKED me at my home, in front of my parents, would I like to go home with him alone, get undressed, and have him fondle and kiss me for half an hour, I think I would have run to get behind my Dad as fast as possible.

I know what you're asking, but even if we choose different words I think we are back to your great sign-off line: "Children cannot consent; they can only comply."

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#23130 - 05/19/06 12:11 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
JapanZen,

This is a valuable example. Can we pursue it for a moment? I'd like to ask you if, as a preteen, your "volunteering" was a freely made and informed decision (the choice was masturbating him or getting raped). Or was it the compliance of a frightened boy who felt he was worthless and beyond hope? Is a preteen capable of discerning the fact that offering sex in return for cigs, alcohol and money isn't exactly unproblematic?

I hope I don't sound like I'm trying to corner you. I just wanted to explore this whole idea of the thread: what it means for a kid to "volunteer" sex to the abuser. By the time I was doing that I can now see that I was an utterly devastated kid. I did it because I thought nothing would make any difference, and anyway, I wasn't worth any better than that.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#23132 - 05/19/06 12:43 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
JapanZen,

You know where I am coming from? Oh good!!! Can you tell me please? ;\)

But moving on...I think you make another key point here:

Quote:
I was brought up to provide sex, back as far as I can remember. I didnt know any difference...
That was me to a T as well. I think that's what made the period after the abuse ended especially horrific. It was only then that I really started to ask the questions that made me see how badly I had been used and betrayed. At age 11 I didn't even know what he was doing was sexual. Okay, it was 1960 and things were different then, but still I suppose I was very naive.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#23133 - 05/19/06 01:27 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
george of kent Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/05
Posts: 305
Loc: delaware
Melliferal,
No, as we can gather from the responses above, you are not at all "unique" in your experience.
For 50 years I believed that I was the "agressor" in an abusive relationship with the man who eventually became my stepfather. I "initiated" things, I was the one "in control." (I was 14, he was 24+ when the sexual activity began)
The absurdity of such thinking never even occurred to me until last year.
All of our stories are unique; but so many of them have so many common threads. You (We) are not alone.
Much love, etc.,

_________________________
"We are only two and yet our howling can encircle the world's end.
Frightened, you are my only friend.
And frightened we are, every one.
Someone must take a stand -- Coward, take my coward's hand"
Arthur Laurents

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#23134 - 05/19/06 01:54 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
Elad 12 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 1176
Loc: on the coast
I really have to agree with Larry's points. I just posted elsewhere that I asked my perp if wanted to pee in my mouth when I was 8 years old so that he wouldn't do the anal thing. Was that "voluntary" or was I the perpetrator? I don't think so.

Dale


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#23135 - 05/19/06 02:42 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1796
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Quote:
Bear in mind that I don't believe this guy is a pedophile, or would consider engaging in such activities. He's just somebody that's so caught up on things only mattering when they've been "officially" or "professionally" collated in some kind of study, that even in such an obvious topic as this, he can't see the forest for the trees.
Just food for thought… maybe he is a survivor as well and a ‘voluntary’ participant. And as long as he is able to believe this is not abuse then he is safe from the idea he himself was abused.

This would allow him to blame all his problems on something other then what he is most afraid of and never have to approach the subject with a therapist or partner. In his own head he would be rationalizing that it’s not even worth mentioning because it wasn’t abuse and could not possibly be the root of any issues.


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#23136 - 05/19/06 07:28 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
ShyBear Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/08/05
Posts: 149
Loc: The American South
Quote:
Originally posted by JapanZen:
Yeah, I volunteered half the time. To be frank I knew if I offered to wank him off I wouldnt get raped.
One of the incredibly liberating things I learned at the Atlanta / Simpsonwood retreat was summed up in one sentence :

"Yes" is meaningless if "No" is not an option.

Another way of saying that is, we are NOT giving true, free-will consent (to an act of abuse) when that "consent" is given to AVOID abuse even more horrible, more terrifying, more painful.

In your case, JapanZen, saying "Yes" to masturbating your perp - even "volunteering" to do it - was to avoid being raped. You never had the option to say "No", to say "No, I don't want ANY OF THIS".


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#23137 - 05/19/06 07:35 PM Re: Was your abuse "voluntary"?
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
Melliferal and everyone else - if those people on the message board are arguing that there is nothing wrong with having sex with a child... then that only leads me to think one thing of them! They are potential paedophiles if they are not already!

Ask them if they have kids of their own, and how they would feel if some 'mature' adult had sex with them.

Best wishes ...Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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