Warning:

This blog could potentially contain triggers. Please make sure you are emotionally safe before continuing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

On Being Living Porn

While I am trying to keep this as non-graphic as possible, it requires some detail in order to tell the story.  If you are sensitive to sexual assault in any way please make sure you are safe before continuing.

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I was first exposed to pornography when I was six or seven.  While my memories of my childhood are scarce, I know it was this early for one simple reason.  In our religion we baptize at or after the age of eight.  We believe that eight is the age of accountability, the age where a child can discern between right and wrong.  I remember thinking as I approached baptism, shortly after my eighth birthday, that I needed to find a way to stop what was happening because now I would be accountable.

This was in the late seventies.  There was no internet.  There weren't even any home computers.  Access to pornography was not what it is now.  And in my small Utah town, I imagine it was more scarce than most places.  Also, I grew up in an extremely sexually repressed home.  No one talked about sex or nudity.  I don't remember seeing my parents show affection of any kind until I was a teen, and even then it was minimal and infrequent.

But not everyone in the neighborhood had this experience.  There were a couple of boys in the neighborhood who had a clubhouse.  This is where the porn was.  I imagine they stole the magazines from their father, but I really have no way of knowing.

Like I said, my memories are scarce.  So I don't remember exactly how it all started.

Somehow I ended up being invited to this clubhouse with some of the neighborhood boys, mostly older than me but not all.  They showed me the magazines, the images.  I do not remember my response.  I had no experience with what they showed me so I imagine it would be shock and curiosity.  Apparently, they were curious, too.  But in a different way.  Because it was around this time that I became their walking porn.  Their live porn.

There was one boy in particular who seemed to be the ring leader.  He was close to our family and two or three years older than me.  He was the one in charge of acquiring me when they wanted me.

Now let me make some connections here.  I felt completely rejected by all the men close to me, except my grandpa who died around this time.  A little girl wants to be loved by the people in her life, especially her daddy.  That's why there is the term daddy's little girl.  It's normal.  It's expected.  The bond between father and daughter.  I did not have this.

So when boys wanted to play with me it was nice.  It was nice to be wanted.  It was uncomfortable and they told me I would get in trouble if I told, but I needed some acceptance.  And once I started feeling bad enough about it that I wanted it to end they started threatening me.  They would tell what I had done and I would be in trouble.

I was so desperate for my parents' approval.  The thought that they would have another reason to reject me was devestating.  The thought of being punished was scary.  I felt guilty, I must be guilty.

For years psychological theory has said that when in a threatening situation people react through fight or flight.  However, recently they have added another perceived reaction.  Freeze.  This is what I did.

I had learned at home to obey without question.  I had learned that to do otherwise would incur punishment and rejection.

And through an earlier experience that I do not plan to write about, I had learned to dissociate.

Dissociation is tough to describe to someone who has not experienced it.  It's a withdrawl from your own body.  Kind of like, okay you can have my body while my mind goes over here where it's safe.  I will come back when you are done.

So when this happened, and I was too afraid to not participate, I left.  My body stayed there, but I left.  According to my therapist that's probably part of the reason that I have so few memories.  I wasn't there in a very real sense.

I wish I could say it was a one time experience or that it was innocent child exploration or that there was only one boy.  I can't.  There were many boys over the course of many years.  Off and on until I was fourteen.  It took me that long to realize that if they told on me they would get in trouble, too.  Isn't it amazing how hard that was to see?

I am fortunate that there was never any intercourse.  There was object rape numerous times.  Visual and manual exploration.  Lots of porn.

Sometimes it was done in a light manner as if it was just an everyday thing, sometimes it was kind of violent.  While I begged to be allowed to not participate, I do not remember ever flat out saying no.  The word no had been trained out of me long before.

I can't write much more right now.  My anxiety is climbing.  But keep in mind as you ponder this, I was six or seven when this started.  The boys weren't much older than me.  Maybe you will ask yourself the same questions I have asked myself a million times.  What happened to these boys that made them people who would do this?  Especially with force and violence?  How did little boys come to this place?

I struggled with accountability for many, many years.  They were so young.  How could they be accountable?  Something must have happened to them to turn them this way.  Does that change their accountability?  And if so, what about mine?  Is it possible for them to be accountable and me to not be accountable?  Is it my fault because I did not say no? 

I have processed these things through lots of therapy.  I am not looking for answers to those questions.  I am just sharing with you what my mind went through while trying to figure it out.

6 comments:

Survivor said...

I am both sickened and saddened that this was your experience.

NatNat&Jack said...

Oh Aunt Robin, I hurt for you I really do..I am glad your working on all these things so that you can have a better life. Love you!

From Tracie said...

Robin, I just want to send so much love to you right now. I am so sorry that this happened to you.

I have gone through those questions in my own mind in reference to some cousins who were part of my abuse at one time. They were only a few years older than I was, and that affected how I felt about their involvement for a long time.

Just Be Real said...

Sorry your were exposed to porn and abused Robin. I so appreciate your transparency. Thank you for sharing.

castorgirl said...

Thank you for sharing part of your history. I identify with your questions. I often wonder how the boys knew those things, how they knew I wouldn't say anything, did they realise I knew more than them? They're questions that can never be answered with certainty. All we have is psychological theories.

Wishing you well,
CG

Pastor Sharon said...

Robin,
That you had to live through this experience saddens me.

You were such a small child. Even when you were older, you still were a child!

Thank you for sharing this part of your life. Thank you that you have the courage to bring light to a path that has been left in the dark for many years.