Sunday, November 13, 2005

Mysterious Skin

I had a nice dinner of Vietnamese food last night with two old and two new friends before watching a film, Mysterious Skin. I visited with one of my old friends while the other three went out to pick up dinner and the movie. When they returned, we ate and chatted, then settled in for the movie.

Within minutes, I could tell that this was not to be an “average” film. I began to feel a bit uncomfortable, because I recognized the events in the film from my own life. A young male character in the film had been enrolled in Little League Baseball to allow his single mother to have more freedom to pursue her romantic affairs. Soon his coach was showing undue interest in the boy and this, of course, soon became an affair between the pedophile and the victim.

My own situation was one in which my parents were both working in their own businesses, leaving me at the mercy of some people in the community who had nefarious designs. I was lucky that only one of them actually took his desires to action. A high school teacher from the community began to show interest in me, and the fact that he lived with respected dowagers in the community lent him an air of respectability of his own. Soon my parents were agreeing for him to take me fishing along with large groups of other young boys.

My first twinge of acknowledgement in the film came when the child asked his adult male friend where the other children from Little League that were to have joined them that day had gone. The response was something to the effect that “it’s just going to be me and you today, buddy. The others couldn’t make it.” This was the exact means by which my molester operated with me. The large group of boys who had gone fishing with us soon dwindled to four, then two, and finally to just me. I was told I was “his favorite” just like the character in the film.

Needless to say, the film was difficult for me to watch. Not because I had never examined this aspect of my past, but because the methods of deception were so similar between my real life experience and that in the film. When I awoke receiving my first blowjob several months into our affair, on a trip with the downstairs dowagers to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it finally hit me that there was something “wrong” with the relationship between me and the high-school teacher. I don’t know how children know how to avoid being “caught”, but I played it cool until we arrived back home and then I cut off the relationship with this sick man entirely. Interestingly, my parents never once asked me why.

When I was in my thirties, I had been doing therapy for my HIV infection for about five years when this topic came up. I worked through my emotions and realized that I had known that I was a gay child, even then, and the relationship with this man was only an issue for me in that I was an unwitting participant. The biggest issue I had with the man was that I was not the only one of his “friends”. I realized that I had been jealous of the other boys in his life.

Years later, I walked into my parents’ home to see the local newspaper on the couch. On the front page, a photo of my child molester was prominent, with a headline that he had been selected as Man of the Year by a local civic organization. He was also a Boy Scout leader, I learned. When I put this together with my past and my therapy and the sudden realization that I had passed his car on the road home one day, at the river, as four young boys climbed down the steep banks toward the water carrying fishing poles, I realized that he was still using the same technique and I knew I had to act.

I came home and on the following Monday, I took the day off work. I called the local department of Social Services to report the man for his past deeds. I was greeted with absolute doubt by the woman with whom I was speaking. “Why,” she asked, “did you wait nearly twenty years to report this?” “Because I am now in therapy and have just begun to deal with it,” I responded. I could tell that no one believed me as I went through my story with each of the people there. Unless I would give my name and be willing to go through with a lengthy case of testimony and sworn statements, they could do nothing. At that time, I could not go through that and the pressure of living with HIV too. I finally asked her if they could not just set up a private eye to make sure that the kids were being treated properly in his care. After all, I had no proof that he was still molesting, only that he was in proximity of children.

Eventually, I learned that someone I knew had a young child who was spending inordinate amounts of time with the guy. I sent word through a third party that they should examine the relationship carefully and determine if the child was at risk for anything unusual. I don’t know what they found, but I do know that the man soon fled the community where I had lived.

When I came out to my mother after my dad’s death with my HIV status, my entire life came into the discussion. When I told her about what had happened to me, she slapped the tabletop and said “I knew it!”

My question is this: If my parents “knew it”, why did it happen? Partly the answer lies with me. I needed the attention and the affection and I got it from my molester when my parents were unavailable. I did my part to keep silent. Now at forty-six years of age, just like the kids in the film, I know that there are long-lasting after effects of a relationship of this type. I hope that it doesn’t happen to anyone you know.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Nelson Clemente said...

Do you think this experience impacted your sexual development?

-Nel

11/14/2005 02:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ron Hudson said...

Hi Nel,

I think it did, but perhaps not in the way that one would suspect. I knew I was a gay child from early in life. I believe that this event in my life left me ashamed of who I knew myself to be on a level that I didn't grasp. In my quest to be someone else, I went through a period of being a lady's man, trying to prove that I was heterosexual. I didn't speak to anyone about what happened to me...NO ONE...until I lost my virginity to a woman, and I then cried and told the first woman I had been with. I spent a few years notching my way through different women like cowboys through shootings of bad guys, believing myself a true man. When I finally faced my homosexuality, it made me sick to my stomach to think I was gay, but it was inevitable. I came out at 21 and finally accepted myself. My timing was particularly awful in that I became gay just as AIDS reached North Carolina.

Now I know that being a true man has nothing to do with sexual conquest and everything to do with responsibility for my own sexuality.

11/14/2005 07:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have just recently found your blog and have not read enough of the history to know if you are working? I so admire your courage to be so honest in the very open forum that you have created. My origins are probably lesbian through and through, although I would now have to describe myself as bi-sexual to accomodate all the "searching" I have done. And let's face it, in the final analysis, the search is all for love, isn't it? And how many of us never really find that because we were taught early on to hate ourselves, and without that primary first relationship with self-love, there's not much chance of other love being healthy and meaningful.

11/14/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for courage and beauty as a human being . . .

11/17/2005 04:39:00 PM  

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