I assured him that this guy had nothing against him or me and could even end up being our friend. On my urging, he gathered enough courage to walk up to the soldier. The officer was taken by surprise. His face split into a wide grin.
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- Papa talk: Don’t scare your child with the bogeyman!
He still has a phobia for anybody in security but is slowly outgrowing it. So, the question is: should parents use a bogeyman to scare their children into compliance? Trying to scare a child into doing whatever it is, even when it is for their own good, may have deep-seated psychological consequences that may handicap them in later life and should be totally avoided. What have you learnt or discovered about your youngsters and parenting? He spun the nunchuks inches from my face and hurled the throwing stars into the wall next to me. I didn't know what was going on, but I knew it was bad, so I started crying, and he told me to shut up and then started chasing me around the room, waving the sword.
He put the blade to my throat and backed me into a corner, where I dropped into a crouch and cowered. Then he told me to take off my pants. The term "child molestation" doesn't begin to describe what happened next. When I think "child molestation," I think inappropriate touching. I think fondling. What happened next wasn't fondling.
It wasn't Michael Jackson gently introducing my hand to his magical giraffe, and it wasn't anything like a Catholic priest masturbating an altar boy. I was seven, and it was violent, sick, pedophiliac rape. He started off by unzipping the fly of his jeans and telling me he'd cut my face with the sword if I didn't do what he wanted, but not to worry, he wouldn't pee in my mouth.
He finished with me face down on the bare black-plastic mattress of his waterbed, covering my head with a pillow to muffle my squealing. I had no words for what was happening, no concept of "rape" or "sex. When he was done with me, when I was pulling up my pants, he said that if I told my parents or his parents or anyone else, that my mom and dad would be very angry with me because I'd done a bad thing. He said they would spank me. He said if I told on him he'd come to my house in the middle of the night and gut me like a salmon.
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Then he opened his door. He told me not to go back upstairs right away, and sat me down in front of a TV in the downstairs family room and had me play Atari until my tears dried and I was more presentable. He only got me that once -- or, at least, only once when I was conscious. There was one night, two or three months later, when my parents were hosting a holiday party, and they took me to his house so he could babysit me and his little sister while his parents were at the party.
He put on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and we "played disco," which consisted of all of us getting drunk on straight, warm hard booze while he watched his little sister and me gyrate to "Stayin' Alive," thereby securing my lifelong hatred of the Bee Gees. I don't remember the rest of that night, just waking up the next morning with my first hangover.
Six months later, I nearly died after guzzling most of a bottle of peach brandy that I found in my dad's bar. I made sure he never got me alone again for more than a few minutes, which wasn't easy, because our parents socialized almost every weekend at either their house or ours, and he didn't move out or go to college after high school. He turned into one of those guys who still dates high school chicks and lives with his parents well into his twenties. My memories of him in those years are scattershot. One Fourth of July he told me how much fun he'd just had sticking an M up a cat's ass and lighting the fuse, how the cat had hopped around frantically trying to squeeze out the quarter-stick of dynamite before it blew in half.
I remember that he was handy with tools, and when I was in Cub Scouts, my parents paid him a few bucks to help me build one of those miniature pinewood-derby cars. I made sure the door between his house and the garage workshop stayed open. He didn't help me build the car so much as just build it while I watched. He put a ball of lead in the front and painted it red and wrote "David's Delight" on the side in a handsome script. I won the whole derby, and I remember calling him right afterward, stupidly thinking for a couple of minutes that he and I were some sort of team, that we had something other than a predator-prey relationship.
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And I remember that for years after the rape, whenever he and I were in the same room and no one was looking, he would cup both his hands in a circle around his crotch and give me a Bogeyman smile, a smile that said, "I got some more of this for your punk little eight-, nine-, ten-year-old ass. He stopped leering at me around the time I turned eleven, probably because I was getting to be a pretty big kid. Out of fear and shame and not wanting to make a fuss, I kept our little secret, but one night when I was almost twelve, I got my first sweet taste of payback.
It was New Year's Eve He was drinking heavily that night. His dad made a potent punch, and he guzzled one ornate crystal mug of it after another while his mom begged him to stop. The stroke of midnight found him passed out in a sleeping bag on the floor of the bathroom next to the bedroom where he'd raped me four years before. I snuck downstairs to where he lay and said his name a few times, louder and louder, to see if he'd wake up.
When he didn't, I ran up and soccer-kicked him in the head, then turned and sprinted back upstairs, feeling quite satisfied with myself. Until a few days ago, the last time I was face to face with him was twelve years ago, when I was I was back home from college between my sophomore and junior years, and I needed a cheap suit for a job interview, so I went to Harry's of Hong Kong.
And there he was, a year-old cheap-suit salesman and rapist of children.
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I hadn't seen him in six or seven years, and I immediately realized two things. The first was that he was no longer bigger than me. I had six inches and at least fifty pounds on him. But in a street fight, what matters more than size is motivation, and the second thing I realized was that I wanted to kill him. I wanted to grab a coatrack and bash in his head, carve out his heart with a shoehorn, snatch that metal ballpoint pen out of his cheap-suit jacket and stab him in the eye, over and over again, and everyone in the store would hear him screaming because he wouldn't have a pillow over his head.
But I did nothing. My mother was with me, and even more than I wanted revenge, I wanted to protect her and my father from the terrible knowing that he had raped me when I was seven years old, while they were upstairs with his parents, drinking wine and playing board games.
I didn't want their memories of my childhood tarnished with his scum. The memory of being raped when I was seven was never repressed. It was not recovered under hypnosis.
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It has always been with me, festering. When I was a teenager, I began researching how being raped as a child might affect the development of my personality, and I recoiled in horror. Every study I read supported the "vicious cycle" theory that victims of pedophilia are more likely to become pedophiles themselves. I felt like a werewolf had bitten me and it was only a matter of time before the full moon rose.
Throughout my early adolescence, I was constantly, torturously checking myself for evil impulses. I made a blood oath with myself that if I started feeling the desire to rape children, I would kill myself and make it look like a mountaineering accident. I was already in the habit of solo climbing in Alaska -- no partners, no ropes -- despite my parents' repeated warnings against such a dangerous activity. Had I thrown myself down a mountain, they would have believed it, and better a son who died climbing than one who lived and raped kids.
Soon after I moved to Denver three years ago, I learned from my parents that the son of their good friends now also lived in the area. I became fixated on the idea that he was raping children nearby and that it was up to me to stop him by any means necessary. According to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation polygraph study of convicted child molesters, the mean number of victims per molester, at least in this state, is , and that's only for the molesters who've been arrested and stopped, at least for a little while.
My guy has never been caught. Eighty percent of convicted child molesters in Colorado keep a clean criminal record right up until they're caught for molesting kids, and his is spotless. The science has gotten a lot better since I read those studies twenty years ago. Now authorities agree that most pedophiles begin molesting children when the perpetrators are in their middle teens, and most of them never stop, not even after they're caught -- if they're caught -- and my Bogeyman has never been caught. All my adult life, I'd been aware that he was, in all likelihood, still raping children, but as long as he was doing it far away, I'd felt no compulsion to do anything about it.
Once I found out he was here, though, I began to agonize over my failure to stop him. I considered going to the police, but I had no evidence except my memories.