Your 10-year-old son comes home from school and tells you that a boy held him down and poked him and kissed him as he screamed for him to stop. The more he shouted, the more aggressive the boy became. And to top it all off he was laughing the whole time. So were the parents who were watching. For that matter, your son was laughing, too—just not voluntarily. Rather it was a reflexive reaction. As the boy touched him more aggressively, he ended up crying and gasping for air.
Your son was being taught how to be raped by another man…. his own brother.
Is it OK that your son does this to your other son? Absolutely not!
I finally realized that there is a line here but only about 35-40 years later. There is a difference between a being kissed on a cheek (or lips) goodbye/hello by his sibling as a loving gesture without ever feeling out of control and the kind of abuse I’m talking about. It’s very different when a sibling is holding a child down and deriving almost sadistic pleasure from watching him squirm and struggle while kissing him. At that point, it is simply domination and abuse. And the screams to stop—that I would emit uncontrollably—somehow condones it. It’s a show of love!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you were most likely never on the receiving end of this kind of love and affection. You were never pinned down while your older brother kissed you until you thought you would suffocate. You were never apprehended by your brother while he kissed you, leaving you breathless and, eventually, in tears and when you screamed for help from your parents the only response they could muster was….’relax he loves you and he is just having fun, you should feel lucky!’
Just fun? lucky? I don’t think so.
In my opinion it was a sick form of torture and I had no one to protect me from it. My parents who condoned it could have done something about it, but they didn’t. To call it anything else, other than torture, is ignoring the fact that fun and luck was not part of the equation.
Whenever my brother would force himself on me and start kissing me profusely as if I were some kind of woman in a soap opera, I would scream at the top of my lungs and the only response I would get from my parents were:
“It’s just a little kissing”
It’s easy to cross the line from playful to hurtful. And since every child has a different response to the feeling of being controlled in this way, how about as a parent you just stop it?
Tickled, kissed, raped are very similar in nature to varying degrees, it is the empowerment about not wanting someone to do something to you and you cannot stop it.
I hated it and it carries its scars even to this day 40 years later.