I’ve been reading a lot of things over the last few weeks about the relative innocence of female youth. Parents should really inform their children about a number of things. A female, for instance – somewhere between the ages of twelve and sixteen – should be approaching a mental and emotional maturity that is proportionate with the biological maturity they cannot stop from happening. While this is in no way an absolute maturity, it should at least be something closer to it than young girls tend to experience in this country. When the body is ready to bear children, it’s ready… no matter how parents might want that to not be the case. And really, why not want that to be the case? At the most basic level, you are only perpetuating the species. It is not productive to the species for you to treat your children like they are around solely for your pleasure. Parents should teach their children as much as they can – and with the young females, they should teach them as much as they can, not only about sex, social issues, their male counterparts and their intentions, but also about self-defense, problem-solving skills in difficult situations, weapons, etc…
I’ve been reading a number of different things. I had never even heard about the Roman Polanksi/Samantha Geimer incident until the most recent news, since his whereabouts were finally discovered. I was struck more by the fact that Samantha’s mother handed her daughter over to someone she didn’t know, than really any other detail about the situation. Struck not only by what a parent will do in the quest for a fame and fortune they cannot realize for themselves (due to age, lack of talent, etc…), but know they can possibly realize through their children, at any cost, but I’m also struck by how willing many so-called, and well-known, artists have been about parading their defense of a “fellow artist”, not only on the grounds of his artistry – which sounds like the sort of ridiculous naïvety that sent Samantha Geimer into the care of a predator in the first place (certainly a predator at that moment, because consensual sex, by definition, does not require a mind-altering drug to get things started) – but on the grounds of art as an integrity above all other kinds of integrity. I would be interested to hear an actual, intelligent argument on his behalf. It’s possible there is one – corrupt judges, murdered wife and unborn child, great director and romantic seducer, aside – but no one that I have read has hit the pulse of that compelling argument, and therefore is just reacting to the fact that they love his work. Listen, it doesn’t exactly compare, but I think it is worth noting that you can’t take friend’s and fan’s testimonies too seriously. No one who intinmately knew John Wayne Gacy would have ever guessed he murdered and stored young boys in his crawl space, but guess what… he did.
Then there is the case of Brooke Shields as a ten-year-old being photographed naked, with full make-up. Another case of a parent trading a child’s innocence for something monetary in return. I read the shocking story of eleven-year-old Jaycee Dugard being abducted and held captive for eighteen years. Young women are preyed upon, as are young boys, and I don’t think it betrays good parenting to be the person to impart the experience rather than dumbly feeding an innocence that can and will be shattered by someone without good intentions, who is set on being the one to impart the experience. Better you, the parent, with love, than someone else who only wants to kidnap, hold hostage and impregnate, and in worse cases, murder someone you spent (hopefully) a lot of loving hours, days, weeks and months nurturing in your womb.
My personal experience with predators actually introduced me to my own predatory instincts. I can appreciate these instincts for what they are and not use them against other people. In other words, even at the time, I recognized my survival instincts in the face of an obviously one-sided situation where someone wanted something from me, no matter what unpleasant things happened in the process, in order to get it. I became intimate with a calculating side to my own personality, and while dark paths should not be walked down too often, sometimes they are necessary and worthy of a visit from time-to-time. They are part of us and need to be experienced.
I met a predator when I was fourteen – again, an age that seems ripe for the taking with predatory men. I guess it seems like an age that is mature enough to enjoy, but immature enough to really empower, and therefore, manipulate. Must be, because I didn’t see it coming at all. I was at that age where I knew there were other, baser aspects to life, but I wasn’t at all prepared for anything that ugly. It didn’t fit into the life shown to me. I had seen ugly things, but they seemed silly in comparison.
I should credit my step-sister for showing me what the alternative lifestyle is like. She was a lesbian before I knew what that was, she bought me my first joint at the age of thirteen, showed me the first penis I’d ever seen by sneaking a Playgirl magazine off the shelf of a convenient store our father operated, she convinced me to skip school and run away from home on occasion. She was sinister in ways, vindictive and angry, but she showed me a more loving side of that ill-will than I have found in other people. Ultimately, she introduced me to the subversive life. She may very well be the reason I am fascinated with sociopaths, too.
He was a friend of the boy’s across the street, a group of young harmless ruffians. We lived in a lower-middle class neighborhood, so all boys in those parts were natural “ruffians”, or “thugs”, as we called them. Us girls were naturally that way, too. We came from a class of people where both parents worked, if you had both parents, and if not, the one probably worked two jobs. We were a close-knit bunch. A few were musicians, so when this drifter wandered through, he fit neatly into our group – immediately accepted by the guys and distantly accepted by us girls. It didn’t seem abnormal at all when he invited himself to walk with me to the corner store.
The “corner store” was about seven blocks away. Back then a minor could buy cigarettes for her older parent, brother, sister, etc… My dad had asked me to get him a pack of Marlboro Reds and gave me an extra dollar to get a soda and something to eat. I don’t remember his name, but I will call him “Sam”. Sam said he needed to stop by his place, quickly, to get some money so we could proceed to the store. We detoured merely two blocks to go to his place.
I was going to wait outside for him, as I would anyone going into their house quickly only to return, but he invited me in and I followed. It wasn’t until I was well into his apartment and he shut and locked the door behind me that I realized I had made a terrible mistake. In the dark interior of this shabby, dank place, I uttered the first, “Damn you, Lydia!” utterances in my head.
I would always emphasize to women not to panic in a dangerous situation. It is the worst thing you can do. When you panic and lose control, they know they’ve got you. It seems like no real consolation to point that out, but it is important. You cannot have control if you surrender control. It is simple. Never. Surrender. Control. Take the reigns of your mind and steer – don’t be steered. Do not underestimate the power of the mind. Unfortunately, contrary to what you might think, it requires that you be compassionate. Makes no sense, right? It makes perfect sense! If you can identify with that person, on any level, you can reach them. You can reach their humanity and turn things around. It is sort of a strange and strategic way to assimilate their perspective and then understand why and then gently persuade them in another direction, but it is a reasonable, humane and path-of-least-resistance way to do it.
I let him get as far as taking my top off and kissing me. I needed for him to believe that I liked him. It was the only path I could see in front of me. I needed to persuade him into postponing the “inevitable”. It went something like this, “Look, I like you, and I want to do this, but my Dad is expecting me back very soon. Let’s do this right! I’ll sneak out of my bedroom, come over and we can spend the night together. Wouldn’t that be better than rushing something right now?”
As I talked, I swear I didn’t know where it was coming from. I was channeling someone, somewhere, I’m sure of that. I had a goal, I was determined, but after that it was an almost out-of-body experience, because I was shaking inside. I was terrified! I had no more idea of how I was talking my way out of it as I did of how I got into the situation, I just knew I had to get out with my physical integrity intact. No matter how strange someone may appear, you have to try to reach them, somehow. I was able. I could visually see him come back to himself. His eyes went from vacant, to on me. Me – the person, instead of me – the meat. That was the violating part of the whole scenario. I thought he was considering me as a person, but he was only pretending because, obviously, he really only saw me as a route to something that didn’t involve me as a person. How brave animal tamers must be. So confident that they can extract the love of a wild thing, when at any moment, with the wrong movement… your lunch. At least you expect it with wild animals. We tend to think our human world is so civilized that’s it’s not possible to see the reverse in another person. Yet, it happens all the time. And it usually happens with people we already know.
It does not hurt to take your child’s innocence with love in mind. Treat them like adults and educate them. Makes sense to me.
– Julie Meadows