Victory Over Violence – Pt II “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”

As a boy growing into a man, I was offered cigars and alcohol as a rite of passage in the scouts; but what it really was I couldn’t possibly understand at that age. My abuser used chemicals to lower my resistance, used erotic stories and porn to stimulate my body, and then took advantage of a natural response to suggestive material. No, I did not want these acts to happen, and my body’s response did not mean that I wasn’t forced. Many boys fail to report being abused because of this, the acts can produce a bodily reaction that suggests desire, but no minor can consent to any sexual act.

No, I am not gay, nor homosexual, due to the length of time and acts that took place, but I struggled my whole life wondering what it meant that I had been abused, pleasure had been achieved, and my abuser seemed to be able to bend me to his will, time and time again. In an effort to aid other victims, to explain what was done to each of us in varying degrees, educate parents that never knew what their sons endured; I ask your patience and understanding as I share.

Imagine yourself a child from an abusive home, not knowing what love should be, and then being used for another’s pleasure. Jack Walls offered what my father would not, emotionally, and all that was required of me was that I drink, get turned on looking at or reading porn, and touch myself in a way that felt good. It was the first step in what would be a long and emotionally torturous process and it was, by design, meant to break down all the things I had been taught and heard until that point.

Boys might stand in a line to see who could pee the furthest, but what was it about this man who wanted to watch us do it? The way he complimented someone on how far he could pee, how large his privates were, and a constant assurance to us all that it was natural for boys to compete and compare. We were hardwired to test our limits, discover our strengths, and he wanted us to know all about girls; what they looked like naked, what made them feel good, how and where to touch them, and how we could fix our “problems” with them.

I found myself wishing that my own dad would talk to me about all these things that I didn’t know, but dad was so angry all the time and demanding of me what I couldn’t seem to ever do. So, it was far easier than you might imagine falling under the spell Jack cast, and he did it with quality time, affection, and praise; the things we all crave at any age, basic human needs that assure us of who we are and what we offer the world, and Jack could see in each boy his best and potential for the future. He got us to drink so that we would share our hurts, fears, hopes, dreams, and once he had us opening up with him and others, we bonded.

Emotionally Jack created a bond with each of us; an understanding that he saw in each of us, what no one else could or had, and it represented a kind of love I had craved from my dad and anyone else for the rest of my life. We all had questions, things that were important to us, and Jack made the time to find out those things and offer answers.

Be leery of any adult that seeks to spend more time with your children than you can, offering them emotionally what you don’t have time to, because they will create bonds that allow them to exploit your children if allowed to do so.

As a boy, I was entrusted to Jack and, under his leadership, he became the mentor in my life that he promoted to parents. It is the natural process that an individual uses to naturally connect and form relationships with others, but the difference we are seeking to show here is the unnatural intent.

Jack took in boys, many with special emotional or mental needs, gathered information to see what was missing at home, and then formed powerful emotional connections with us that created loyalty and proved to parents he was a man of talent. As boys with their emotional needs met, we were happier, growing, and progressing so that parents entrusted him with their concerns.

Be leery of anyone that takes a personal interest in what is going on in your home, offers to help you fix it, or whom gains a position of influence that allows them to exert control. Again, Jack used information given by parents to share in private with boys, the negative things that had caused the trouble between us, and then drove the wedge, using it to serve his purposes. He built an emotional bond, provided needs unmet at home, and then explained why they weren’t met in ways we understood.

Our parents didn’t love us as he did; finding flaws where he saw potential, and he calmed the fears he flamed to ensure our isolation. Once dependent upon him, seeing for the first time how our parents saw us in their own words to him, he used the alcohol to encourage further exploitation of our natural curiosity.

When the material stimulated us, he had pages marked with certain acts being described, and he acted as if it was only natural for boys and men to masturbate together. Many times he would use an older boy, someone that he had already victimized, to show that it was both acceptable and pleasurable and, most importantly, normal. Our talks of girls we longed to touch at school, girls we wanted to date, became fantasies where Jack could tell us to lay back and think of them. Imagine her there with us, touching, and how incredible it is for someone else to touch instead of our having to do it.

His suggestions seemed so reasonable, especially to a drunken boy, experiencing these things for the first time. The process was taken slowly, as any natural intimacy is meant to in a normal relationship, yet we were manipulated through our desires toward unnatural ends. We were asked to think of the natural while he did the unnatural, for his pleasure and control and, in time, the examples of acts increased to match his desire. Fondling became oral sex, all under the mask of drunken bliss, and the books always offered a storyline that fueled the fantasy for the reality he sought to create.

By the time anal intercourse was introduced, Jack had already introduced us to acts with each other, and used stories of such acts with women to encourage fantasies our minds had not ever imagined. He offered to allow us to lay on his back, wanting to feel skin on skin, and if you closed your eyes it could have been the woman or girl from the story lying beneath you. Jack said it was the closest feeling you could get to sex with a real girl, and wasn’t that what each of us were so eager to experience for the first time? Even better, guys could get pleasured in many of the same ways that the characters in the books did.

As a boy, I didn’t understand that my desires for a woman, to explore and share intimately with one, is as much a part of me as anything else. No one had ever talked to me about the things that these books discussed, older adults showing kids how to pleasure their bodies, and it did feel good even if some of the acts were ones I had been raised to see as examples of sin. Boys weren’t supposed to touch each other, men weren’t supposed to touch boys, and dad had always said that the queers were boys raised by women to act like them. Gays were weak, feminine, why else would they seek out a man to use them like a woman?

What did it mean that my parents had found so much wrong with me, and gave me to this man so that he could help me be what my parents feared I wasn’t able to be without help? All I knew was the alcohol made me feel fearless, insecurities faded into nothing and, once relaxed, the stories and caresses brought pleasure. How could something that felt good be bad?

Jack suggested that it was natural, for boys to get help learning about their bodies, and didn’t we have to go to different kinds of professionals to treat and help us in other ways? Jack seemed to enjoy the acts just as much, praising me for how I responded and reassured me that what I was feeling all boys felt if they were shown how to experience them. It wasn’t that much to ask, after all, compared to what I got at home for far less. If I wanted to go camping, shoot the guns, get alcohol, get away from home, be around other boys that liked activities that I did outdoors, then it was easy to overlook the questions in the back of my mind; questions as to why the next day I always felt empty inside, used up, and dirty in a way that I didn’t understand. Jack would suggest that I had just drank too much, puffed on a cigar too long showing off for others and, in time my questions were even ignored by me since many others were enduring and sharing the same experiences.

Who was I to ruin it for everyone? Hadn’t I seen older boys do what I had, enjoy the acts by the evidence their bodies reacted, and no one really talked about it other than our being in the group. We were special they said, hand-picked by Jack, his boys and chosen ones. He depended on us, relied on our help, and we were important to him. We were all boys eager to be a part of the great outdoors, and who else had the time that Jack always made to do things with us? Yeah, he often found ways to drink, look at porn, and want to act out the books. Oh how lucky we were, right?

Read Victory Over Violence – Pt I

Advertisements

Victory over Violence – Pt I

This blog series is simply my take on

what I’ve watched on tv, read in the paper,

witnessed, and lived.

I have been following the “Victory over Violence” movement, as many have, on TV, and I am proud of those seeking to make a difference. For those who are not aware of the struggle Arkansas is experiencing with violence, I encourage you to visit their website and see how you can make a difference.

Victory over Violence‘s Mission Statement is as follows:

Cover crime in a responsible manner focusing on impact, response, and solutions.  Victory Over Violence aims to unite community groups and leaders and be a resource for reducing violent crime and changing lives through improvements in education, jobs, mentoring and hunger.

The violence here in Arkansas is something we all want to end, needs to end, yet it is my belief that since violence is an act, the first step is to identify the thoughts that lead these individuals TO act.

“WHAT?!” I can hear screams of those hurting as victims of violent acts and, I couldn’t agree more. We are all motivated by our needs; people in a normal environment, blessed with all they could want or need, develop naturally. The further each person gets away from having their individual needs met, seeking to fill them with whatever is available, the more abnormal their lines of thought that guide their actions become.

For those of us without an understanding of the developmental process, we act out our thoughts; from birth to an age of personal accountability, an individual absorbs what they take in from their environment. A child learns how to think, feel, and act from the example of those around him. By means of survival, if a child is required to decide how to fill basic needs without experience or wise counsel, then their actions reflect accurately their level of emotional ability and maturity. These things produce a lens through which each person sees, processes, and acts as they best believe meets their needs.

If an individual’s actions, at any given time, represent their best thinking at that moment, no matter how abnormal, distorted or immoral they may be, they have based their actions on what they believe is true. The first lesson I wish to share with you is the moment we all stop expecting people to act as we think they should, based on our understanding of what should be, the more clearly we can see what motivated them to do what they did. The longer we seek to weigh and judge others, based on our perceptions, which is based on our experiences, the less we will be able to combat the problems that affect our lives on a daily basis.

The first lesson I wish to share with you is the moment we all stop expecting people to act as we think they should, based on our understanding of what should be, the more clearly we can see what motivated them to do what they did. The longer we seek to weigh and judge others, based on our perceptions, which is based on our experiences, the less we will be able to combat the problems that affect our lives on a daily basis.

In an effort to break that down further, consider this – you wouldn’t put on someone else’s glasses or wear their contacts to see, would you? Why? Lenses are crafted to enable you to see clearly, and right the abnormal way in which your eyes take in the world. Some people see well close up, some better away, and many can’t see anything at all. This is a physical example of a mental and emotional problem, and the more a person has lacked, been hurt, deprived of basic needs, the less clearly they see, feel, or act.

In first Corinthians 13, we are given a lesson on love from Paul, what it means to love or not love, and how important it is to love as God intended us to.

In the end, there is faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.”

Have you ever asked yourself why?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not seek its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, it’s always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Paul goes on to point out that our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and what we see is only part of the whole picture.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But, I grew up, put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but we will see everything in perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever – Faith, Hope, and Love – and the greatest of these is Love.”

Why are we called to love? Jesus said that there were two commandments greater than all the others, not because they dismissed the rest, but because they included all the others. Jesus said that we are to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls – first. Then, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Why? We are called to love God with all that we have, become new creations in Christ, and that means being filled with spiritual wisdom that enables us to think, feel, and act as God created each of us to for His purposes.

God is seeking, through His Son, to give us each what no one else can; unconditional love that fills all of our needs and, through grace, we are seen through the lens of Jesus’ sacrifice. In Christ, we are seen and accepted for all that He makes us, not for all that we aren’t without Him. Only by loving God first, with all that we have, are we able to, in turn, love others as ourselves. We have to believe that we are worth loving, as we are with all our flaws, to be able to love others the same way. We need God to empower us, enabling clear vision, so that we may be able to see people in their humanity. God is asking us to see others as He sees us, sees through us, as broken people seeking that which only He can give; glasses to see and live by. We see in part because we only see our individual part – not others’.

As you can see, I want to encourage everyone to pause, let go of all bias and prejudice, and listen to what will enable solutions. Jesus said when relating parables that those with eyes and ears to hear would do so, and He was calling on them to seek spiritual wisdom to understand the actions of others.

We MUST seek spiritual wisdom.

We must first strive to understand what motivates us to think, feel, and act as we do so that we can clearly see others in the same way. If there is no love, there is no compassion and, without compassion, there is no understanding. Jesus said that when we see others, our sight needs to be clear to perceived and comprehend what we are seeing, and not be blinded by ignorance of what we ourselves struggle with.

Would you want a blind man operating on you? Would you prefer someone that you know or a stranger to share your problems with? Why? We want someone that is able and wise to identify and help us to right what is wrong. We want someone that cares and loves us to talk to, because if they don’t love us then they won’t be compassionate toward us. I use these examples to show that faith is important to how we treat, love, communicate and interact with others. My beliefs offer me another form of understanding, filling my spiritual needs, and they encourage what science seeks to do through therapy and counseling.

All the knowledge in the world does any good unless others know that you care and, if we are to fix what is wrong, we have to know what hurting individuals need, and re enough to offer it. Sadly, those that end up suffering the most in society are those that have what those that act out do not and, as a result, everyone ends up hurt, angry, and looking for a why without understanding the how or what.

Who am I to tell you anything? I am a man that has endured a life so full of pain and abuse that understanding the who, what, when, where, and how was all that kept me from taking my life. It was the need to understand that lead me to read and seek the answers I needed, because in prison it was up to me to do so. I could have dwelled on the hurt, loss, abuse, emptiness, and isolation until life itself lost all meaning or purpose. I believe that to have victory over violence, then we must all do what Jesus asked of us no matter where we come from or look like.

I am a man that has endured a life so full of pain and abuse that understanding the who, what, when, where, and how was all that kept me from taking my life. It was the need to understand that lead me to read and seek the answers I needed because in prison it was up to me to do so. I could have dwelled on the hurt, loss, abuse, emptiness, and isolation until life itself lost all meaning or purpose. I believe that to have victory over violence, then we must all do what Jesus asked of us no matter where we come from or look like.

I am a man that has endured a life so full of pain and abuse that understanding the who, what, when, where, and how was all that kept me from taking my life. It was the need to understand that lead me to read and seek the answers I needed because in prison it was up to me to do so. I could have dwelled on the hurt, loss, abuse, emptiness, and isolation until life itself lost all meaning or purpose. I believe that in order to have victory over violence, we must all do what Jesus asked of us no matter where we come from or look like.

We were created for unique purposes, divinely made to fulfill them, and as parts of His body we need one another. Our experiences, ideas, understanding, and love are needed so desperately.

What do we do? How can we do it?

All that I can offer you, here and now, is what I have lived and seen from 40 years of life. It took me 20 years of physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse to shape my thoughts, fuel my emotions, and lead to acts that were both wrong and hurtful. I came from an abusive home, a violent father, and entrusted to another when my limitations were beyond his ability to cope with. My parents, desperate to see me develop into a boy of promise and potential, entrusted me into the care of a man who offered them a dream of just that.

In the Scouts, I would be shaped, taught, molded, and encouraged to become all that I was intended to be and find personal success. As a Scout, I would learn how to follow, that I might learn how to lead, commit to goals that I might achieve and, in my triumph and success, find confidence in the admiration of those beneath me.

What parent could resist the opportunity to see their creation guided in such a way? Children are the product of their parents, after all, and every parent wants the world to see in their children all the best of them and for them to overcome the worst. My parents knew that I needed extra help, my ADD required such, and not many men were willing to devote time to ensure the progress of those that struggled to find the norm.

My parents had no idea what they were handing me over to, but they were motivated by a love and desire that I would have what they knew not how to give me. My parents, like many parents, worked hard so that my sister and I might have all that they longed for as a child. They wanted for us what they believed would make us happy, because it represented what they themselves had dreamed of having. Yet, when you focus your life in goals to achieve that which YOU want, based on YOUR needs, can you realistically expect others to appreciate it as you do? No. It is why so many parents endure hardships, working two jobs if not more, because they believe if they have things it equals success and happiness.

A full life does not equal a happy one and, while I did not grow up poor materially, my heart longed desperately for that which no amount of money could buy. I wanted to be enough, as I was with all my flaws and disability, and when my dad was home from work he wouldn’t find cause to beat me. No matter how good I was, no matter if mom got the check book balanced, we would be enough to make him happy.

I wanted my dad to love me the way that I needed him to, not the way he wanted to or could. My dad wanted me to be tough, yet never fight back and believe that fighting was wrong. I was to be smart and make something of myself, even if he called me things that showed how little worth he felt I had; hypocrisy at its finest. As a boy my emotional needs were unmet, and it left a hole in me and my identity that no one else could fill. I ended up dependent on others outside my family and safety, to seek and meet those vital parts each child needs to develop.

Hurt a child often enough in profound ways, both physically and mentally, and they begin to withdraw, disassociate, and repress to survive. Most people said that I was a good boy, respectful of my elders, but at home the taste of blood and the ringing in my head were evidence that no matter what, I was a failure. If you take out your frustrations, mistakes, and hurt on your children, they will grow up doing the very same things reflected from your example.

Victory over violence must first begin with adults being accountable: for the relationship they have with God, the love they teach through their actions, and lastly offering their children basic needs that they might survive.

Read Victory Over Violence – Pt II “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”