Short story (500 words)

From Dec 2004. I now have mixed feelings about this story. Maybe I should redo it? The comments ginless left got me thinking of it this way after a while.

It’s about child sexual abuse. Graphic. May trigger.

EDIT MAY 2008: I would no longer write the story as I wrote it here. I’ve thought this for a couple years now, but have decided to leave it as it is.

He sat in the booth at a fast food joint, determined not to leave. He knew what awaited him if he left, waiting like a patient companion, waiting like a ravenous wolf. The man could be so kind and compassionate one minute, and a sadistic monster the next. He wondered what side he would see today.
When the man was kind, the boy wanted to be with him. Yes, he had sexualized the relationship, but the boy wanted, needed, even loved him. Secretly,confusingly sometimes—just sometimes, he told himself—he liked it. At times, he wanted the man to go on, to not stop touching him like that. In a way he enjoyed the sex, when the man decided to concern himself with the boy’s pleasure. It was this secret shame that kept him from telling.
Other times, he hated it, hated the man with a rage and sorrow that went so deep, it threatened to destroy him. This emotion came over him at times when the man was cruel, when he hit him, threatened him, was inside of him.
Before the boy could stop them, memories of the last time flooded his mind.

When they were in his car, the man placed his hand on the boy’s upper thigh. The boy knew they were not going to the movies in that moment. Part of him was hurt; part of him wasn’t surprised.
“Why don’t we pull over?” the man said. It wasn’t a request.
“Why don’t I just put my hand here…” He undid the boy’s zipper. “See, I knew you’d like it.”
Why did the boy’s body insist on betraying him?
“Just look, he wants it, doesn’t he?”
The boy looked away, staring out the windshield.
“I’m talking to you,” the man said angrily. “Tell me you want it.”
The boy knew that beneath the anger lay a threat. “Yes,” he whispered.
“Yes what?” The man grabbed the boy’s face so they were eye to eye.
“I want it.”
` The man placed the boy’s penis in his mouth. Sensation flooded him. “Yes,” he moaned. Then began to cry. The man was right. He was bad; he deserved this. He wanted this; he was bad.

The boy snapped back to the present. He wiped his eyes, feeling the hot tears; surprised that they were streaked down his cheeks.
“Are you alright?”
He looked up. A young woman, about 25, was standing before him. “Do you need help, or anything?”
Part of him wanted to just spill his guts out before her, to tell her the truth. She looked like she’d understand, maybe she’d even help him; why, he didn’t know.
“No, I’m fine,” he said. He had said it so many times before, the words just slid off his tongue.
“You sure?”
“Okay. Take care.”
Before anyone else noticed, he decided to leave. Not knowing where else to go, he decided to go to the man.

Steeling himself, the boy entered the room.
“Finally, you’re here. I’ve been waiting,” his father said.

Me and ginless discuss it:

2004-12-03 04:46 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
what are you trying to say with this? it’s unclear; it feels like it is designed to be arousing. it’s disturbing, and perhaps that was your intent, but i didn’t find it to be consciosness raising, i felt it to be glamourizing incest. i don’t like it.

(Reply to this)(Thread)

2004-12-06 12:01 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
i didn’t write it with the intent of glamourizing incest. i wrote it to try and show how incest victims feel confused, culpable, why they bond to their victimizers, etc. generally, i wrote it to show why abuse victims stay with the perpetrator ie, he manipulates them, they (come to) believe what he says about them and the relationship.
i think your uncomfortable with the fact that he was confused, that he believed what the man said of him. but that’s what happens. that is how abusers continue to abuse. the perpetrators reality/excuse/justification becomes the victim’s truth (ie learned helplessness, Stockholm syndrome).

(Reply to this)(Parent)(Thread)

2004-12-07 01:08 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
you’re right. and reading it as a survivor this comes across fairly clearly, albeit disturbingly. not something i would recommend reading to most other survivors i know. it’s also not something i would want a non-survivor to read, because if someone has not experienced this, it’s extremely difficult to relate to, and could contribute to victim-blaming.

i think it’s almost an impossibly fine line to walk, writing about incest/abuse and the conflicted emotions involved without portraying it as if the victim not only does want it, but does deserve it. i’m not saying it was bad writing, or that it won’t speak to some people in some sort of positive, or good way…i.e.validating their reality. i also would like to stress that i don’t dislike you or your other writing. i just don’t like this piece.

(Reply to this)(Parent)(Thread)

2004-12-08 12:27 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
why would you not only not recommend it to non-survivors (which i can understand) but to most survivors?
although i haven’t suffered incestuous abuse, i have experienced extrafamilial child abuse. i haven’t even gone through the self-blame (i was also going to say self-hatred as well, but thinking, i realized i have gone through it) he goes through, or all the confusion over his physical reaction (ie, erection).
i don’t believe it’s a very fine line to walk, because one’s previous mindset will affect how one reacts to the story. for example, some “pedophile” (the euphemisms are grand; i hate the word because it literally means “lover of children”) could probably find some cockamamie way to justify his abusing/exploiting kids in this story, ie, the boy experiencing an erection. but someone who knew that erection, for example is a physiological response that can be independent of sexual desire, or even caused by fear, will know that the man justifying raping the boy because of his erection is b.s. (also, on who thinks “pedophilia” is wrong on principle, ie kids can’t give INFORMED consent, will recognize that the conflicts the boy is feeling do not justify what is being done to him.

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2004-12-08 01:52 pm (local) (link) DeleteFreezeScreenTrack This Select
again, i honestly think you’re a great writer, and an awesome feminist. i don’t want you to think otherwise.

i wouldn’t recommend this to survivors because although they would understand the feelings that kid is having, it’s relating to those feelings that makes them hate themselves. maybe if their abuse was 20 years ago, and they really get that it’s not not not their fault, they’d be able to read that without puking and wanting to gouge their eyes out with purple forks.

Other past comments:

Kali Ma: Wow… that’s really intense. Good writing!

Queerbychoice: You always write so powerfully. I really, really like the way you show how conflicted the boy is in this story.

Incidentally, I’m trying to put together a community called [info]egalitarian_sex right now and I was wondering whether you would mind posting links there to your stories here and here, because those two stories are absolutely perfect examples of what I am hoping the community will promote more of.
freddybenn: wow de, that was super writing, how could you get it that intense in only 505 word?? to me that shows what a good writer you are. keep up the good work young lady 🙂

nouveau prole: v powerful and v well-written. More and more I come to admire your ‘no-nonsense’ writing style. As for the topic, your words mirrored most of the documentaries that I’ve seen on the subject of child abuse – and, thankfully, that is the closest I have ever been to it. Much power to your pen Ms Demonista, and much respect to your person.

Published in: on November 28, 2008 at 8:12 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i agree with ginles_tonic that you’re a great writer and an awesome feminist. and i totally got that you were trying to show “how incest victims feel confused, culpable, why they bond to their victimizers,”.

    but there are two problems that i saw:

    1.”In a way he enjoyed the sex, when the man decided to concern himself with the boy’s pleasure.”

    this seems to imply that a child will enjoy sexual abuse if their perpetrator focuses on the child’s pleasure.

    2. “Other times, he hated it, hated the man with a rage and sorrow that went so deep, it threatened to destroy him. This emotion came over him at times when the man was cruel, when he hit him, threatened him, was inside of him.”

    this seems to imply that he didn’t really mind the sexual abuse, but just the threats and physical abuse.

    anyways, i did read your disclaimer at the begining saying you’d write it differently if you were to re-write it today, so pointing this out might be redundant for you at this point.

    (i do know that children’s bodies do respond with physical pleasure sometimes during sexual abuse, and there’s no shame in that. it’s like, your body does what it was programmed to do. if you eat poison, your stomach will digest it.)

    i think one of the most powerful lines in the story is: “Why did the boy’s body insist on betraying him?”

    i think this makes your point really well, about the confusion, self-blame, ambivalence, etc.

    i look forward to reading more of your fiction in the future! keep it coming! 🙂

  2. yeah, i would write it quite differently now. i wrote it when i was 17.

    re: 1. it’s sad that the abuser encourages the child to confuse physical reaction–which can actually not even be bodily sexual arousal, but fight or flight response–with actual wanted pleasure. but that is what the victim can come to believe.

    re: 2. I think kids can want a lot of physical affection, and don’t want it to be sexual in the ways older children and adults, esp male ones, often understand it. Needing physical touch is a very real need in everyone, to differing degrees. I think boys are especially vulnerable to mistaking sexual abuse for affection, love, and friendship, because men who sexually abuse boys seem to rely even more on “seduction” (going after vulnerable kids who have a crush on the abuser, and so won’t know to say no because they think he can do no wrong) than the abusers of girls. Girls also get more touch from mom, dad, siblings, friends, aunts, etc. that are affectionate and gentle. Boys are touched gently less often and touched roughly/harshly more often, leading to more “skin hunger” for touch, especially if perceived as softer touch, in boys. In comparison to physical abuse, “milder” forms of sexual abuse can be really confusing, even “desired” by the child because they can’t get it elsewhere. And sexual touching, especially if physically pleasurable and not overtly forced, can seem a lot better than no touching. The relationship the abuser forms with the kids also plays a huge role–it’s how they gain trust, get the childs’ interest, maybe take advantage of a hero-worship crush and/or feelings of being “different.” Men who identify as gay as adults are nearly twice as likely to be sexually abused than straight men(1 in 4 vs 1 in 7). And it can be harder for boys to deal during and after the abuse, because men and boys are taught that they are to be the aggressors, initiators, users, pleasure-seekers, etc. to be used like that by another boy or man really does one’s head in–they are no longer “normal” or “i must have wanted it” esp if the boy developed feelings for the abuser, which is common. They are in a male-supremacist, adult-supremacist, gay-hating, woman-hating society, and get the message that to be a victim is to be a woman/girl, and vice versa. So either, they are not girls, and not victims, or they are feminine/victims. Which road they are able to “choose” really shapes who they become. They become users like the manly men, scared that others will find out their true self, or continue to be abused by men. And it’s hard for men, esp gay men, to identify sexual harm to them as harm, because of myths around gay men’s promiscuity, lack of caring about sex, the myth that men can’t be victimised, the myth that ‘all sex is good sex” which doesn’t allow for a lot of sexual abuse they’ve undergone as children and/or adults to be labelled as abuse. It becomes “man-boy love,” “intergenerational sex,” rape is named “fun that got out of hand,” subordination and pain is labelled kinky, good times.

    thanks! it’s sad that he came to see his body as betraying him. a common thing for sexual abuse survivors is to mistake sexiness, arousal, attraction, etc and fear, estrangement, danger, etc. The fight or flight response can be, over time and with the abusers’ “help,” interpreted as the earlier. And hence, the attraction to “bad guys,” being dominated or hurt, seeking out men that look like the abuser, etc.

    i hope to write lots more when i’ve time! 🙂

  3. these are all great points! and i agree. i’m sure you had them in mind when you wrote this, but would have preferred if this was made more clear in the story itself (to avoid possibly harmful misinterpretations). too bad getting these points across clearly, yet subtly enough so the reader doesn’t feel hit over the head, is so difficult!

  4. it’s sad about boys getting disproportionate amounts of affection. 😦
    there’s an essay (can’t remember title/author) that bell hooks quotes from in one of her two books on masculinity, that theorizes that this is a major reason men are more obsessed with sex than women… because they are deprived of other ways of giving/recieving affectionate physical contact.

    where’d you hear that term “skin hunger”? i like it.

  5. yeah, if i reworked it, i would make that clearer. maybe by also going into the abuser’s mind, and showing what a vile excuse for a sentient being he was.

    it’s true. boys both get less “good touching” and more violent “touching” than girls 😦 hmmm…i have one of those books of hooks’ 😀

    i think i came up with it myself; not sure tho. 🙂

  6. lol, “books of hooks”, hehehe

    sometimes i think i’m 5 years old cuz rhyming still amuses me 😀

    grrr… some pro-bdsm assholes have been writing in my anti-bdsm group again, talking their usual shit. so far that space has been dominated by pro-bdsm-ers. oh, winnie, sometimes i just can’t stand this culture we live in!

  7. teehee! i did a funny 😀

    fer fuck’s sake, harmony. they have to inject themselves EVERYWHERE don’t they. we don’t get any fuckin’ safe space, do we?!?

    if you want me after any of em, lemme know 😉

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