I just finished reading Diana Gabaldon’s excellent book, Outlander. One part of the book I did not see coming was a graphic man-on-man rape scene near the end. The victim agreed not to fight off a man’s homosexual advances in return for the man letting the victim’s wife go free. The victim shared his story later with his wife, and the details got me thinking about the topic of intermixing “pleasure” and pain in abuse.
Let me explain what I mean by this … In the story, the rapist would fondle his victim and be almost “kind.” Then, when the victim started to relax, the rapist would be extremely cruel. He would beat his victim, soothe the wounds, and then aggravate the wounds. If this did a number on the adult’s head in this book, you can imagine what this dynamic does to a child. Child abuse survivors of this form of abuse have shared their stories with me, and it sounds like one huge mind f@#$.
The intermixing of “pleasure” and pain as part of the child abuse is very emotionally damaging to a child. This is doubly true when the only “kindness” that a child is shown is as part of this sick “game.” For example, it is completely normal and understandable for a child to crave loving touch, such as a back rub or a safe hug. When children are deprived of these basic physical acts communicating that they are loved, then they will understandably have a part of themselves that desire this loving touch. Some abusers know this and bring that into the child abuse, giving the child what he needs, only to follow it up with pain. It is a sick “game” that really messes with the child’s head.
I cannot describe the anguish I have heard in the stories of those who experienced this form of abuse. The gentle touch feels good and can even stimulate a sexual response (which also happened in the story) despite the fact that the victim does not want the contact. The body responds to the gentleness of the touch, despite the child’s spirit screaming inside, and then the body experiences the pain tenfold when the “pleasure” is followed by pain. This is a very cruel and sick form of abuse that many people have suffered.
Like all forms of abuse, you can heal from this. I hope it helps to hear that you are not alone in having suffered from this form of abuse.
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