Harrison, Arkansas was a town with only a few of the things that I was used to before. There was a town pool, a record store and an arcade. I made a few friends quickly, but some of the teachers didn’t like the way I dressed because they said it was a distraction for the other kids, I think it was more of a distraction for them. Behind our house was an apartment complex with a playground. I would go there and swing on the swings and sing. The “ghetto blaster” would be playing next to the swing I was swinging on, and I am sure the people who lived there would have liked me to play somewhere else. Still my parents made good money, so I would spend all my weekends at the roller skating rink, and my friends and I would try to be cool so the girls would recognize us. I was 9 going on 10 at the time, and interested in girls. You would probably think that’s nuts, but that’s how things were then. The rink had a huge video screen, playing all the latest videos, and I always learned the songs quickly. Every 15 minutes or so, they would announce a “couple skate” or a “slow skate”. This was so anyone who had the nerve could ask a girl to skate with you hand in hand. Maybe it was the dimples, or the eyes, but I never had to ask many girls to skate with me, because they would always ask me.
It was around this time when a couple of people came into my life that would change it forever. We had a housekeeper named Maxine, and she was really cool. She would make sure the house was clean and that the meals were cooked and she watched my sister, Amanda, and me. Maxine had a relative named Pat, who my mom hired to be Amanda’s nanny. Pat had a boyfriend, Johnny who was always a fixture at our home. Pat and Johnny seemed to be very cool. Pat would take me just about anywhere I wanted to go, and she took good care of Amanda. Johnny seemed all right too, he was always doing something funny and keeping everyone laughing. Little did I know that that same laughter would drive me to many tears and fears in the not so distant future. The school I attended had a nature trail behind it, so the neighborhood kids would spend hours and hours behind the school hanging out in that wooded area. I also had gotten to know a girl named Crystal, who lived behind my house in an apartment. I would often put my walk-man on and go to the apartment complex and swing. Crystal would come out and swing with me, and she and I would sing songs and eventually we became great friends. We would walk to school every day together, and we were hardly ever not hanging out. One day, I had a dentist appointment so I had to leave school early, and Crystal had to walk home by herself. It was a horrible day because on her way home, she was drug under the road to the spillway and raped. When I heard about it, I ran to her apartment to see if she was okay, but her dad answered the door and yelled at me and blamed me for what happened. I was only 9, and I hardly could have had any control over that situation. I wasn’t even there. When the cops who were investigating the situation asked me if I had any idea who did it, or where it could have happened, I pointed out the spillway because it was an area that people hung out and painted graffiti. Turns out, I had the right place, but I had no idea, and to this day I don’t have a clue who could have done it. Not long after that incident happened, Crystal and her family moved from the area. I saw them once at a grocery store in the checkout line, but Crystal wasn’t allowed to talk to me. I guess her parents were still mad that I hadn’t walked her home that day. You never know how to re act to a situation unless you’re in it, but I’m sure her parents just needed someone to blame and I was the easiest target because we always walked to and from school, except for that day.
For fun, a family would go to Dogpatch USA. Dogpatch was an amusement park themed after the old Lil Abner cartoon. The whole hillbilly park was a fun idea and the rides and shows were pretty cool for a kid. You could see a wrestling show on a Saturday and then a big named country music singer on Sunday. Dogpatch had a really cool glass making presentation and gift shop. I had a neighbor that I had a crush on so I bought a glass carousel for her. Her family was very religious, and very stuck up, so they didn’t want her to have it. To them it implied something other than a friendship, which is all that we had. One time, to try and prove to them that I knew a thing or two about religion, I copied down the lyrics to the Prince song, “the Ladder”. Her parents flipped their lids, because the song wasn’t taken out of the Bible, and they told my parents that I needed Jesus, and I should quit listening to Prince. They even went so far as to give me a cassette tape of someone playing the popular songs backwards and giving you the satanic lyrics that they “hid” in the music. Being a kid, all that did was make me want to get those albums and spin them backwards for myself. A few of them had stupid things put in them, like “it’s fun to smoke marijuana” or “women need sex”, but there weren’t many clear phrases. The narrator implied most of them, so you only heard them because he told you what to listen for. That was a good thing for me, because it got me interested in other music forms than just the rap and Prince I listened to. I have to say that their argument against Prince was lost, when I proved to them, that if u spun the ending of Darling Nikki backwards, he said, “ Hello, how are you? I’m fine, cause I know that the Lord is coming soon, coming soon”. And another argument against their opinions of Prince was that of all the artists on that tape, Prince wasn’t mentioned even 1 time. I went back to Harrison, Arkansas about 9 years ago, and Dogpatch had been closed. It was a place I really wanted my wife to see, but it was half underwater. It’s a shame, really, that a place with so much fun and things to learn had to go out of business.
A week or so after my 10th birthday I was interrupted in school, by my mom picking me up early. When I got into the car, she said we were leaving because she and my dad were splitting up because she was ready to leave Arkansas and he wouldn’t leave. She said Amanda was staying with him, but we were not. Confused, I just listened to her ramblings and eventually we ended up in Springfield, Missouri at a hotel. I remember being unsure of what was really going on. All I gathered from her was that she was accused of something she didn’t do, and she had to get away. We stayed in the hotel overnight, and left the next morning. We stopped at a Wal-Mart in Springfield and one of the last things my mom got for me was a stopwatch and an action figure. We then headed back towards Arkansas for what I thought was back to our perfect world, boy was I mistaken. We got back home and I knew something was really wrong. My dad’s normally happy demeanor was sad, and about an hour or less after we got home, the state police pulled up, and put my mom in the back of their car. That would be the first time I ever saw my dad cry. I was sitting on my four-wheeler in the driveway, and he pretty much collapsed onto my shoulder and we bawled for a good while before going in the house. Dad immediately tended to my sister, and I went to my room, contemplating the end of all I had ever known to be true.
A day or 2 after that whole ordeal, a detective in mom’s case, Tommy Duckworth called the house. Tommy told my dad that he wanted him to come in to the station so he could ask him a few questions. Dad told him that he wasn’t going to go there and be arrested. Dad explained to him, that he didn’t know what mom had done, and that he had 2 kids to worry about. Tommy assured dad that he wasn’t going to get arrested, so dad went up there. Before he went, he stopped by our Pastor’s house to see if Amanda and I could stay there until he came back.
When my dad got to the station, Tommy Duckworth arrested him. Now we were stuck at the Pastor’s house until something happened. We didn’t know what was going on. All I knew was Amanda was still a baby, and her mom and dad were both gone, and someone had to take care of her. One night, sometime after we went to sleep, the Pastor came into our room. He woke me and asked me if I was a virgin. I told him yes, and I tried to go back to sleep. The Pastor wasn’t through, though. He told me that this could be easy or it could be hard. Pastor told me that if I wanted to keep my sister safe that I would do any and every thing he told me to do. I had never been that scared in my life, but I couldn’t allow him to do anything to my sister. For several weeks and almost every night, Pastor repeatedly molested me. To my knowledge, Amanda was never touched. That was my only bright light in that situation.
Sometime later, Pat and Johnny showed up to take Amanda and I to live with them. This was great, I thought, because I would be away from the abuse, and I would be with someone who I knew and was comfortable with. Unfortunately Pastor had talked to them and I think told them what had happened. It didn’t take long before Pat and Johnny to begin the abuse, this time taking it to a whole new level. Pat and Johnny liked to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and marijuana. Parties were nothing unusual at the apartment we lived in. There were several people who were fixtures at these parties. One in particular was a woman named Linda. Linda was the first one to take me into a room, and molest me. Linda said that I should be happy to do it, because Pat and Johnny were clothing and feeding me and taking care of my sister, while my criminal parents were in jail. Linda said that if I didn’t do what she wanted, she would tell Pat and that they would send us back to the Pastor’s home. Needless to say, once again I had to do what I had to do. It wouldn’t be the only time it happened either. Pat would sometimes have errands to run, and would put Linda in charge of us. Linda would bring her boy friends over to the apartment, and they would drink and smoke. Once they had a good drunk going on, they would take turns with me, threatening to tell Johnny if I didn’t go along, and he would hurt my sister. There were times when a video camera was involved and recorded what was done to me. I wasn’t allowed to cry, or be resistant in any way, or I would be at the wrath of Johnny. Johnny even went so far as to get his niece, Mindy to the apartment for the weekend. Before we got to the house for the night, Pat and Johnny drove us around for a couple hours getting us acquainted with one another, making us touch each other in all the obvious places and telling us how much fun we were going to have together. Once we got to the house, Johnny told Pat to get out the large pullout bed in the living room and told us we would be sleeping there, together. Johnny later came out with the camera, put it on a tri-pod and instructed us on what we were to do. The camera was turned on, and we were had to do exactly what we were told. Neither of us felt we had a choice or a voice, so we did what we were told. The video was later shown at one of the house parties they had, and I was forced to watch as they laughed at the video, and then forced to participate when it got them “in the mood”. I would get phone calls from my mom once a week, and I think she could sense a problem in my voice. It was just before Christmas when my uncle and aunt came down from Illinois to take my sister and I home with them. Free at last, Free at last. But freedom only lasted for a little while.
Let’s stop right here, and make a point. Anyone who has been abused did not enjoy it! Male or female it was not an enjoyable experience. Just because it may have felt good or strange or whatever, it was not ok for someone to violate you. A child doesn’t know the difference between what an adult tells them to do, that they have to do, and what they actually can say no to. All you know for sure is that it is wrong and you just want it to stop. When a male is forced to do this, it also makes him question his sexuality. Does it make you gay, “queer” or a “faggot” because a man has assaulted you? Does it mean that from now on, you will like to be with guys? NO! When a girl is assaulted by an adult does that make her a whore or a slut just because the adult knew where to touch that would feel good? NO! No matter who you are, being sexually abused messes you up for life. It’s been over a decade that I had this done to me, and I still have nightmares about it. I still feel it happening to me, and I feel dirty and disgusted with myself for not stopping it. What could I really have done? Not a thing, but nowadays, people who know it happened to you, look at you differently and secretly think and talk about you. People wonder if you liked it, and if you wanted it to happen to you. To those people I would challenge to put themselves into my shoes at the age of 10 and live one day of my life with the Pastor or Pat & Johnny. Then you can come to me and judge me. Until you have felt that type of pain and torment, you have no right to judge me or anyone else who has been there. Being terrified for your life also, is not a fun experience. You may have watched a scary movie or ridden a ride at an amusement park and been scared, but I doubt that you have really been terrified. When you are terrified you are trembling uncontrollably and you can’t cry. You honestly think you are going to die. You honestly wish you could die so you wouldn’t have to live out that fear again. Well, that fear was within me for almost every night for the better part of 4 years. The only break I had in it was the time I was with my Uncle Dave and Aunt Sandy. To them I have to say Thank You, and there will be a special place in Heaven for you. There was a boy named John that lived in a house near the apartments. John was a dirty boy, who rarely bathed and his house, brothers and parents were all dirty too. John liked to mistreat animals. He would put pencils into their rear ends or make them do things with him. Pat and Johnny would give John $5 to let them video him with a dog. It was so gross. I was happy that they had him for that, because I was never asked for that task. Like any other boy in that neighborhood at that age, John would spend his $5 at the arcade in the truck stop until it was gone. John would then anxiously wait for another opportunity to perform. I would guess that John’s home was not a happy home. I don’t see how you could have happy amidst all the filth. I would also guess that since Johnny knew his parents that they knew what was happening, and just didn’t care.