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TO: An Understanding Of Male Sexual Violence
Presented to The Action Committee Against Violence City of Calgary
For Easier printing: Document in Two Parts!

The Sexual Abuse Of Boys

There are many people in our society who believe that gay men sexually abuse boys. In a recent Calgary Herald article, a psychiatrist mentioned that parents commonly manifest two myths when they discover their teenage son is gay. They fear that he will become a "drag queen," which is rooted in the myth that gays must be "like women," or they fear that he will "go around molesting small children" (32: 149) As a rule, when people believe a lie about any hated group, it's because they were somehow taught the belief, but how have so many people been taught the belief that gay males sexually abuse boys? Martin (1988) noted the similarity of this belief to the one used by the Nazis to instill even more hatred for Jewish people. Hate is fear's dividend and people were made to fear Jews by teaching the myth that Jews were a threat to innocent German children and that they are "corrupters of children." They "even went so far as to accuse them of ritual murder of Christian babies." The Nazis also "parroted the metaphor of the Jew as a virus or germ...," (55: 61-62) and we have had a similar perception of gay males in our culture. Teaching the lie that gay males sexually abuse children, however, involves much more than stating that the lie is true.

In our society, children are grossly deprived of sexual knowledge but they are often told about some dangerous men who sexually abuse children. These warnings are also given within the context of a socially constructed situation where children see an endless number of heterosexual couples who are in visible loving relationships. Therefore, when girls are told that male sex abusers exist, they simply conclude that some heterosexual men abuse little girls but that most do not do this. When boys are told that some men will sexually abuse them, however, a different conclusion results.

We live in a society where gay males in loving relationships have been forced into the closet. We never see them in visible loving relationships and, as a rule, such relationships will not be depicted in movies or on television programs. Not long ago, it was only acceptable to depict gay people as stereotypes, or as psychopaths or murderers, and most depictions of gay people in major 1991 movies were in this category. Historically, they were depicted as bad people who either killed themselves or were killed, and they were not to be depicted in loving relationships (78).

[At this point the reader can make the following inquiry. In the past 10 years, how often have you seen two men in a movie or on a television program who were being affectionate as heterosexuals are often depicted? How about two gay males kissing each other outside the context of the "AIDS" equals "Gays" equals "Death" issue, or outside the context of a "coming out" story? These situations are exceptionally rare and children see fewer cases than we do.]
In our society, children and adolescents are purposefully deprived of seeing gay love relationships and it has been within this context that boys are told that some men sexually abuse boys. As a rule, this is all they are told about male-male (homosexual) situations and one conclusion then becomes possible from the information given. All men who are having sex with males must be having sex with boys; they must therefore be feared because they are all child sex abusers. Given this socially constructed situation, it's very difficult to then blame sexually abused boys who grow up believing that it was a gay male who abused them, or that gay males sexually abuse all boys. Nor can we blame them for being angry with gay males because this is the product of an important part society's anti-homosexuality education.

This highly effective "educational" set up has been quite deadly for gay males because the resulting myth motivates some victims of sexual abuse to hunt, physically assault, or even murder gay males. In the May 5, 1992, issue of The Advocate, it was reported that a 27-year-old Minnesota man was convicted of killing a 22-year-old gay male, but be wasn't experiencing any guilt or remorse. Instead, he stated: "my whole life is dedicated to killing faggots and child molesters."  Such socially created "monsters" are very common in gay history but, if such men had the same feelings with respect to heterosexual males, they would certainly be classified as psychopaths. Once our society has created these males, however, it takes special work to undo the damage.

I once decided to challenge a male who hated gay males because he firmly believed that all gays sexually abuse boys. I presented evidence to the contrary but his belief was entrenched as his response indicates. "But even if they don't do this, it's what they would want to do. I'm sure there's some gays who sexually abuse boys." I then tackled the problem in another way because I suspected there was more involved in his hatred than what was apparent. By subjecting him to a new experience he finally accessed a forgotten memory. At the age of 5, a 17-year-old male baby-sitter had taken out his penis and put the boy's favorite candy next to it. He wanted the boy to perform oral sex but he refused, ran away, never told anyone about this, and repressed the memory of the event. His great surprise, however, was related to how vivid this memory had returned to mind, stating: "It's almost as if it had happened yesterday." I then asked him about the male who had done this, and about the other male - his friend - who was also there. Both were now married, were more masculine that average males, and both were hockey players. As I was being told this, he was realizing that I had told the truth and I could feel that his hatred of gay males was maybe coming to an end.

According to Groth and Gary (1982), there are two categories of men who have sex with young boys. They are pedophiles with a history of only having sex with pre-puberty children, or they have a history of predominantly having sex with sexually mature females. In one major 1978 study of such sex offenders, not one of these men had a history of having had sex only/predominantly with sexually mature males. Not one could be classified as being gay (32: 146-147). Unfortunately, Groth and Gary did not explain this result.

As a rule, gay males have gone through "hell" to accept their homosexual orientation and to then live a life somewhat in harmony with their sexual desires not related to having sex with children. It would therefore be quite absurd, given this often censored knowledge, to think that gay people would go through this "hell," and also accept the related risks and penalties, because their attraction to sexually mature males is not their sexual orientation. Males who define themselves to be "gay" know who they are, at least to a decent degree, but the same status may not apply for men believed to be heterosexual because they are married, have girlfriends, and are having sex with women.

Many gay males were once in the heterosexual category, and many still are. The macho males in prisons who are having sex with men also firmly believe they are 'heterosexual', and so do a certain number of men who are having sex with boys as the following example illustrates:

"All of my victims [boys] have been no older than 12. I'm attracted to their young youthful appearance, smooth bodies, no hair, things like that. I've also had sex with women, but guys turn me off - it's not natural." (32: 147)
This man could be a repressed pedophile but another interpretation is possible given his acquired world view. He could be a repressed homosexual: a man who would prefer to have sex with a sexually mature male, but can't do this. For these males, having sex with a man would destroy their self-esteem because it would yield the dreaded "I am homosexual, unnatural, and abnormal" self-labels. When I am observing such an aversion, I am thinking: "This is a big issue in his mind. It's therefore possible that his aversion is related to what he wants the most."

The previously described male from my community who, as an adolescent, enjoyed having pre-puberty boys perform oral sex on him, would be a repressed homosexual because he was much like the "dominant" males in prisons. He enjoyed having sex with adult gay males, but only with sexually passive males so that he could then perceive his homosexual activities to be natural. In our culture, this belief has been common. Most psychiatrists and psychologists once believed this (62). So did the police and professionals dealing with males in gangs who sold their "dominant" sexual services to gay males (72). Prison officials have generally believed that "dominant" inmates are heterosexual (75), and the same applied to military authorities when homosexual activity came to their attention. It was usually only the passive male considered to be unfit and discharged (06). Not everyone, however, has believed that only the sexually passive male is homosexual.

The above quoted male, who had sex with boys younger than 12 years old, had somehow acquired the notion that all men who have sex with men are homosexual and unnatural, and many males in our society have acquired the same belief. For example, when Roger Caron (1978) went to prison, he considered the "wolves" - the sexually dominant males in homosexual relationships - to also be "queer" (18: 140-141). So what could we expect from repressed homosexuals with this belief if they were having strong desires to have sex with a male? Would they not choose male-male sexual situations which permit them to deny they are homosexual, just like macho males in prisons also do in a different way because their beliefs are different? To my knowledge, research work has not been done to explore this idea; the work would also involve examining the possibility that our society was somehow teaching some males the idea that having sex with pre-puberty boys was more natural - more acceptable - than men having sex with men. There would, however, be great resistance to blaming society for this but, as we have been learning about our society, the fact that a behavior is illegal does not necessarily mean it's unacceptable.

Men had made the battery of wives illegal but there was a whole system in place which was telling men that assaulting their wives was acceptable. In fact, many men joked about this and were not concerned about penalties because even the police and religious leaders blamed battered wives for being assaulted. Men had also given themselves the licence to rape women which was a criminal act. Again, the male ruled social system had been structured so that only about 10 percent of female rape victims reported the crime, and the ones who reported such crimes were treated in 'special' ways. Men had created police departments and court systems which did everything possible to blame a woman for being raped. Given that rape conviction rates were low and that rapists had about a 98 percent chance of avoiding penalties for their crime, it therefore could be said that men had the equivalent of a licence to rape women. What kind of messages, however, were men giving to men who had sex with boys, which was also illegal?

In the past 5 years, we have been learning the truth about situations like Mount Cashel, and it became evident that "the system" - the police, social workers, religious leaders, and other social authorities - worked collectively to protect men who were sexually abusing boys. It can also be assumed that these men knew they had been given a licence to sexually abuse boys, just like fathers and stepfathers who were sexually abusing their children also knew that the risks were minimal. The social message with respect to men having sex with men, however, was totally different given that a part of gay history is related to the war police departments have waged against homosexual males.

The police, usually motivated by politicians who wanted to score points with the homohating righteous people in society, attacked gays in many ways. For example, they would use their best looking officers to pose - out of uniform - in inviting ways where they knew males were meeting with homo-sex intentions. When approached by a gay male, an arrest was made and the courts were also very effective at getting convictions. In many cases, however, such police activity was "entrapment."

The police also knew that some homosexual and bisexual males met in public washrooms and another technique was used to apprehend and convict these men. They would set up hidden cameras to record what every citizen did in a washroom. Arrests were then made and the results sometimes caused closeted - often married homosexual or bisexual males - to commit suicide. These arrests were also well publicized to let people know that an effective war was being waged against men who have sex with men.

The gay baths were also targeted by the police for special raids because laws existed to be used for this purpose. Baths are places where gay males meet with a sexual objective in mind. What happens there, however, is behind locked doors between consenting adults. Raids on the baths stopped in the early 1980s, but not because the laws making these raids possible were changed. AIDS had hit the gay community, was associated with the baths, and it would have been difficult to get police officers entering the baths again to do the preliminary undercover work. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, gay baths were being raided in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and even in Edmonton [where I lived at the time]. These raids were well publicized, as were the numbers of gay males arrested and charged.

One Toronto raid of four gay baths was carried out on April 23, 1981, and it resulted in 289 gay and bisexual males being charged. (45: 206-207) These simultaneous raids had been carried out by a small army of 150 officers because the police wanted the public to know that a major war was being waged against men who had sex with men. At the same time, all men who were having sex with boys, instead of the men they may have preferred, could certainly conclude that their sexual activities were more acceptable and infinitely safer than having sex with men. Therefore this was the socially constructed loud message being given to all men sexually abusing boys, including the ones at Mount Cashel.

Given this fact, we could say that our homophobic society which has traditionally believed that gay males sexually abuse boys, and hated them for this reason and many others, was essentially structured so that the maximum number of men would continue sexually abusing boys. Doing this, however, was necessary because it would not have been possible to teach the lie that gay males sexually abuse boys if the evidence that boys were being sexually abused was not being produced. One factor which must have elated all men having sex with boys was the fact that society and its police forces generally blamed gay males for this. Therefore, because only gay males were being eyed suspiciously, the real sex abusers of boys were left quite free to continue their activities.

Another factor probably significant in the social production of men who sexually abuse boys was the fact that some members of a hated group will behave in accordance to the learned stereotypes. For example, Boyer (1989) detected that some gay youth became prostitutes because they were acting out the social stereotype that gay males are only sexual beings. Ross (1989) reported that some gay males were acting like women because they were living up to another socially taught stereotype: gay males must be women because they desire to relate sexually with males. It is therefore expected that some gay males also lived up to the stereotype that "all gay males sexually abuse boys." Doing this, however, would place them in the category of not acting in accordance to their true sexual orientation, but they could not be called "repressed homosexuals." They would be classified with a term like "counterfeit pedophiles," or even "pseudopedophiles." These gay males would therefore be, like repressed homosexuals, simply predictable products and victims of our traditional homohating society and its myths.

The production of men who sexually abused boys yielded many benefits in a society which especially hated visible gay males. The sexual abuse of boys created a small army of males who had a fierce hatred for gays who would be assaulted or killed by these males. This army, however, was needed to do important social work. Verbal and physical gay bashers have been an important social tool in the war to keep gays in the closet. At all cost, our homohating society has not wanted children to be exposed to gay people who could be positive role models because it would then be impossible to instill a hatred for gay people in their minds.

People who teach children to hate homosexuals fully recognize this fact and, in their righteous fight against equal rights for gays and lesbians, they admit to the important reason why all good gay and lesbian people must remain closeted and invisible. This fact was revealed by Jay Grimstead, a minister who is director of The Coalition on Revival in Sunnyvale, California. In an interview, he explained that "the good works [gays and lesbians] are doing are contributing to an evil by making people think that homosexuality is acceptable" (16).

The human brain has a wonderful potential but our history reveals that its understanding abilities can be seriously impaired by socio-religious indoctrination. As a gay person, it is frightening to know that many people would be happy if I did everything negative they accuse me of doing. It is even more frightening to see the same people manifest incredible rage if I did good works and made this fact public.

Our history reveals that, when we teach children to hate others, they will generally become adults who hate targeted groups, and the negative consequences will abound such as producing high levels of social violence. A Vancouver study, for example, reported that "63 per cent of [the 300 randomly selected] gay men... had been physically assaulted. More than 75 per cent of the physical assaults involved two or more attackers" (30). Without doubt, if members of any hated minority group in Canada were experiencing such a high level of violence, a national crisis would be declared.

The teaching of homohatred has been highly effective and results in very high levels of social violence. Gay bashers are produced in sufficient numbers so that the average gay person will report having been assaulted, or at least verbally abused, but only if they survived what happened to them in adolescence because of society's teaching of homohatred. Many attempt (commit) suicide because they can't make it through the stage a learned social worker/author called "I don't want to be gay" in a 1988 book produced by Central Toronto Youth Services (83: 79).

It would certainly be ridiculous to blame gay youth for committing suicide, given what our society does to them, and the same applies for individuals who assault and murder gay males. Although it is difficult for a gay person to say this, it is not as difficult as it would be for society to accept full responsibility for these assaults (and murders), and also for setting up in gay youth the 'force' causing so many of them to attempt suicide. Society is also responsible for the creation of all repressed homosexuals and, ultimately, for all they do. This includes the sexual abuse of boys and the sexual violence inflicted on males in prisons.

The highly abusive sex, including rape, which "dominant" ultra macho males inflict on other males in prison supposedly occurs because these repressed homosexuals need substitutes for women. Obviously, these men will not be kind to women, if women are ever available to them, mostly because their highly sadistic heterosexual nature must apparently be satisfied. Therefore, repressed homosexuality may be a very significant factor in the high levels of sexual violence inflicted on women in our society.
 

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