Friday, October 9, 2009

Stop Making Excuses for the Inexcusable

The content of today's blog is serious and graphic in nature, and should not be read by minors without parental permission.  Any young readers of this blog should stop now and get mom or dad to preview this post before reading further.

When Robert Cleveland died in Wisconsin, his obituary stated that when he lived in Chicago, this well-respected Wisconsin hotel operator was a Big Brother to many Chicago area young men. If I ever visit his Lakeland Cemetery gravesite I’m bringing a can of neon orange spray paint and scrawling the word “pedophile” across his headstone. That’s what he was. And in 1979, at the age of 13, I was his only victim in the city of Chicago to take the witness stand and testify to the heinous acts this man perpetrated against me over the course of one life-altering year.

And I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’m one of the lucky ones because I’m here to write about it. It wasn’t long after John Wayne Gacy was arrested for raping and murdering 33 young men, and burying their bodies in his crawl space, that an agent from the FBI came to our house to ask me a few questions. They thought there might be a connection between Mr. Cleveland and Mr. Gacy. Thanks be to God that there wasn’t.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I cannot recall the seduction of a nine-year-old boy by a fifty-year-old man, or the moment that he irretrievably lost his innocence. The sights and the sounds are vivid. The tastes and the textures are as real today as when I first experienced them. Time does not wash away the taste. I’ve tried to remove it. I can only ignore it.

As a teen I felt different from my peers. I felt dirty. I walked around knowing that I had an enormous, heavy secret that I could not tell anyone. I would have been ridiculed if I did. I would have been rejected. I didn’t really want to tell everyone, but I also knew that I wasn’t being entirely honest with anyone. It was isolating. Imagine taking a day off of school in the eighth grade to go testify in court. One day you’re on the play ground with a bunch of kids whose only concern is scoring a touchdown in a pick-up game of football. The next day you are describing explicit sex acts in clear, clinical terms, in front of a packed court room.  They are acts that no 13-year-old boy should ever know about . The day after that you’re sent back to school as if nothing abnormal had happened. And everyone who knew expected me to be normal.

As an adult, I watch my oldest child grow. As he passes through the ages where I starred in stag films, where I sat on the stand during a competency hearing to determine whether or not I was a credible witness, where I sat in a crowded court room identifying stacks of pornography while feeling the beginnings of an erection and feeling guilty and dirty because of it, I feel a deep sense of the loss of my innocence. It was stolen from me by a grown man when I was nine. My son is a reflection of everything I never had. I love him for it. I love his innocence. I’m grateful that my wife and I have been able to protect him from the sin that was enacted upon me. Thanks be to God for that, too.

In between then and now my life has been littered with some bad choices, although they have become much better since I met my wife. The details do not matter. Everyone has their horror stories. Mine are worse than some and not as bad as many others. I am slowly coming to learn that God understands what was done to me. He knows the poor choices that I made that can be directly linked to that first sin. He’s been patiently waiting for me to realize all that He can do for me in order to thrive during the rest of my life and not merely survive. I’ve been slowly growing closer to Him over the years. I’m ready to take Him up on His offer to help.

I have to.

I’m tired. I’m tired of the memories. I’m tired of repressing the sights and sounds and smells of the past. I am equally tired of having them rekindled when I read the news and find stories such as the recent stories of the rapist/pedophile Roman Polanski being defended by anyone. He drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl. He fled the country before serving his punishment, and people have the gall to make excuses for him. There are no mitigating circumstances for his crime. There is no difference between “rape” and “rape-rape,” Whoopi Goldberg, and anything less than demanding full and immediate justice by locking away the rapist for the rest of his natural life is as heinous as the original crime. Polanksi’s defenders are just as guilty as he is.

I am tired of being told that I must be tolerant. I don’t have to be tolerant and I will not be tolerant. Tolerance keeps the Bob Clevelands of the world on the streets. Tolerance gives us “Safe Schools” Czar Kevin Jennings, the man who supports the “Queering of Elementary Education.” Tolerance forces us to have a man in charge of education safety who admires Harry Hays, an advocate for NAMBLA, the North American Man Boy Love Association. That acronym is a crime against nature. The physical acts are monstrous. Jennings is the man who as a school teacher refused to follow state law and report the possible statutory rape of a 15-year-old boy, choosing instead to look the other way after suggesting condom use. There is nothing here to tolerate. Rape is rape. It should be prosecuted. And people who support NAMBLA should not be in positions of responsibility in our government.

I am disappointed and disgusted by a society that either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the Polanski’s of the world are running free. I’m appalled that our country either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that the Jennings of the world are making critical decisions about our children’s futures in the nation’s schools, and that our country is being run by people who are not only not bothered by Mr. Jennings’ involvement in government, but who actually support it. The use of “Czars” by any president of any political party is an end-run around the constitutionally mandated Senate confirmation process, a process designed to weed out perverts like Kevin Jennings, and no one in power in the United States Senate seems to care. Good, honest, well meaning people, people who would be abhorred if what happened to me happened to their children, vote a party and a president into power who support the Jennings and Hays of the world, and then go to the movies and buy tickets to see a Roman Polanski film. They watch the movie and rave about his artistic genius and cry over his ill treatment at the hands of people who just do not understand. I understand all too well.

Every fucking day of my life.

It is far past the time in this country for all decent people to say, “Enough is enough.” It is time to reject the false arguments of tolerance and diversity and acceptance of the abnormal and immoral. There are far more people like me who live a life damaged by sin and keep it hidden from the world. There are more of us than there are of the Jennings and Hays of the world. It’s time for us to win. If it takes a village to do anything, it takes a village to stand up to the buffoons running our country and say that morals and values and God given standards of right and wrong have a purpose. If we do not stand up for them we will all perish without them.


Brownie said...

I'm having trouble forming my thoughts into words. It makes me want to hug my children closer and just protect them against the world.

There is the act of losing innocence at the hands of a pervert - and then having to reinact and relive that through "the system."

A heart-rending post...

Kathleen said...

I don't know what else to say except...I'm Sorry. I'm so sorry you have had to endure what you have endured, Arby! But I am also Happy...happy that you have been blessed with a wonderful wife and three amazing, INNOCENT children. And Thankful that you are strong and willing to take a stand. I'm standing there with you!

Michelle said...

Sex crimes against children should not be tolerated and the genitals removed from all offenders.

I am so sorry for what you went through. Not only, for having this horrific experience, but having to be put on trial for it yourself. I don't believe that children should have to relive the event in a court of law, in front of hundreds of people. That is a crime itself!

I am happy that you have the Boss and your three wonderful children.

I will keep praying for you my friend.

Teacher Mommy said...

I'm not ready to respond as I really need to, which will probably be in email form instead, but hoepfully it's enough to say that I empathize and feel deeply for you and wish I could give you a great big hug. And I admire you so, so much for being so incredibly brave at the age of thirteen, not to mention now. It's when the stories go untold that these crimes are allowed to continue.

Have you checked out It's a website dedicated to bringing these kinds of stories to light, refusing to allow them to be hidden away like shameful secrets.

Mrs. A said...

As everyone else mentioned, I think you have excellent, note worthy points. The direction these criminals (and others, because if you look, you'll find them) are trying to lead society in definitely needs to be questioned.

You and your family are among my counted blessings today. Thanks for sharing, Arby.

CrossView said...

You are so right, Arby. So very right... So many of us have horror stories that we've lived through. And it's so hard to speak of the unspeakable. The blame is always put on the child; whether on a witness stand or in a discussion. "Did the "child" ask for it?" is what it always boils down to. How could a child EVER ask for any heinous act? How could an adult, ANY adult, cause such harm? How could any adult excuse or justify such behavior? But you know what Arby? The survivors of such things are the very ones who will do whatever it takes to protect their own children NO MATTER THE COST! And your children are blessed to have you because of that. There's a lot more ugly out there in the world than most want to know about. And there has been, for a very long time.
And when bad things happen to kids, I want to scream at the parents: HOW DID YOU LET THIS HAPPEN? I know, I know. Most parents didnt know. But how could they not know? How could they not see the signs, the changes, in their children? And that's in general - I know nothing of your own parents. But I'd bet that you have taken an oath to keep your children safe from predators so they will never have to go through anything like that. And you know what's really sad? Most parents don't even know what to look for. They want to appear "nice" and non-judgemental when dealing with people. So they may let a child be alone with Mr. or Mrs./Ms. X, or give an adult some power of authority over their own child, or let their child roam a little too freely in a neighborhod where they don't know the neighbors. And I mean really know them. Or even in school. When my now 20-yr old was in public school, I told her straight up that she needed to be respectful. BUT, if she was told to do anything that she felt was wrong, to do what it took to get by till she could let me know and I'd handle it. Whatever IT is. I trust no one with my kids, except me and Guy. Sad? Maybe. Safer? Definitely. And I say in all sincerity that I would kill to protect them. I hear you, Arby. I hear you loud and clear.

Arby said...

Crossview, the biggest step in healing came when I finally asked my mother, "How could you let this happen to me?" My parents failed me at a critical moment in my life, and they had the opportunity to end it before it happened. It's an entire blog in itself. Unfortunately, it took me 35 years to figure out that I needed to scream the question.

Brownie said...

Crossview said it so well. Parents are responsible for protecting their children! Too many parents are too busy to notice changes in their kids - everyone is too busy going and doing. Who sits down to look in their kid's eyes and touch their soul?

I had good parents. I use to say that I came from a normal family. I now say I came from a healthy family.

Arby, I wish you could have had my dad. He would have taken that guy out the moment there was a thought toward you.

The other day a friend of mine mentioned that her son (a senior) could give Blondie a ride home from school if I ever was in a time crunch. I thought "are you kidding?!" Now, he's a nice young man - but I'm not putting my 12 yr old girl in the car with a teenage boy no matter how much I like the family!

Autumn Beck said...

So many comments to add but I'll stick with the Holy Word:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

I believe without a doubt that God is sovereign so I must own that ALL things are in His plan...even when it doesn't make any sense to my finite mind.

The_Kid said...

I'm sorry to hear you've had to live with this Arby. Piss on his grave as well if you're ever there.

Unbelievable the kind of people who are ending up in high places. I don't see a revolution as much as I see a civil war. There are simply too many people who will get no reaction from these events, or worse who support the activity.

I can't see evil like this flourishing and going unchallenged. I just can't, but I don't know what the trigger will be.

Arby said...

I hate to tell you this, Kid, but I know from first hand experience that he'd enjoy it. I know, I know...TMI!

CrossView said...

I'm afraid to ask but it's been bugging me since I first read this: What happened with the court stuff? The fact that he moved and died isn't sounding like a "justice was served" kind of thing.

And I know you know this but God didn't condone this nor did He plan it nor did He want it to happen.

And I'm sorry to take over your blog. ;o)

Arby said...

You haven't taken over my blog. Say or ask what you need to say or ask. I willingly opened the door. I will blog about the court stuff. That alone is an amazing story, some of the details of which I only recently learned. I am aware that God didn't plan or condone what happened. I am just becoming aware of the fact that if I trust Him, this entire incident can be used for a good purpose, one that can glorify Him. That's one of the reasons that I took one giant step into the sunshine.

CrossView said...

Enjoy the sunshine. You've earned it!

Eat, Fart and Bark said...

Enjoy the SON's shine, Arby. You brought back old memories, unpleasant ones, that's okay though. It took many years and prayers to finally realize it wasn't my fault for what someone else did. HMMM. I now wonder if that chip of 'self-esteem' you asked about last week is gone because of something that happened when I was five. I will have to pray on that one.
Hugs to you and the family, Arby.

Nikowa@KHA said...

You are SO courageous for posting this very sensitive subject.

I too was molested and have had counseling. Although my molester never was charged or even arrested. It still causes me "adult marital" issues today.

Thank you SO Much for your candor & I'm really sorry this happened to you (& continues to happen). Like someone else said, this just makes me want to keep my kids innocent that much longer.

Linda said...

There is nothing more that I can add, but I want you to know I'm here. I'm reading, and I am strengthened by your faith.

jen said...

Amen. Thank you so much for your openness and sharing.