Tuesday, May 26

Struggling with reality

"An emotionally abusive institution. Girls were humiliated and belittled on a regular basis"

Sounds like the brochure for a reformatory roleplay my friends are planning.

"CP was often administered in front of other girls and staff members. The use of denigrating and humiliating language was commonplace"

Sounds like the type of scene I've been fantasising about all my life.

"Physical punishment was severe, excessive and pervasive"

Sounds like a description of my latest play weekend.

But these aren't fantasies. They're the disturbing reality of a childhood experienced by thousands of Irish people.

The Ryan report into child abuse in Irish State Institutions, chiefly run by religious orders, has just been published. It details the endemic abuse that was widespread from the 1930's to the early 70's.

Over 200 institutions, including industrial schools, institutions for children with disabilities and ordinary day schools, have been found to have allowed the systemic physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children to take place. Incidences of neglect and abuse were the norm, not the exception. The perpetrators were chiefly Catholic priests, brothers and nuns.

Like many Irish people I have been shocked by the horrific details. The fact that it's so recent in our history somehow makes it worse. This happened to my generation's parents and grandparents. So many were affected that it's certain I know someone who experienced it.

Our newspapers and current affairs programmes are filled with outrage and disgust. Normal everyday people are struggling with their religious faith. Feeling sick that the Catholic Church knew about the abuse and covered it up, That the state were too afraid to challenge the Church. That the ISPCC took children from their families and placed them in the care of these institutions.

And I'm struggling with my kink. How can I fantasise about something that was a horrible reality for so many innocent children? How can I get off on being humiliated and physically hurt? How can I act out my fantasies of being punished and abused by priests and teachers?

I know I'm a consenting adult, playing out a scene that I have asked for. I know I have a safeword to stop at any time. I know that when I'm brought to that level of desolation and helplessness and completely broken my play partner will hold me and comfort me and restore me.

I know I'm not being abused but why do I crave these feelings? Has my life just been too easy? Have I taken my relatively happy childhood for granted? Perhaps if I had more turmoil and pain growing up I wouldn't need to act out these scenes?

Deep down I know that I'm not doing anything wrong, but right now I can understand why vanillas struggle with what we do; I'm struggling with it myself.

10 comments:

seano1999 said...

Hi Emma
Im a player too. I dont think you should feel guilty about your kink. I'd imagine you're into self discovery through the theatricisation of those elements of your personality which are deepest and most visceral, therefore the most powerful. Oftentimes in kink, I think we name our greatest fears, our greatest hangups and our greatest taboos, take them out and play with them to take their power away and understand their ability to motivate us. The difference is in context. A priest or a nun beating and humiliating a child is a world away from a man or a woman lovingly or respectfully consensually dominating someone to help them fly, lose their personality and see the human at the heart of themselves!!
Seano

Master Retep said...

Seriously, thank you for opening this can of worms. Seano gives us a very good rationalisation but, like you, I can't help but shiver a little bit right now. For me, there is an unwanted and unsexy frisson in this being the weekend that I summoned the courage to go to Nimhneach for the first time. I am still elated from the experience (see http://masterfulstrokes.blogspot.com/ ) and my head is buzzing, but a dark serious part of me could have fully understood if there had been a lynch mob waiting for us at 2am and I could almost have sympathised with them. Like you and Seano I am trying really hard to rationalise the correctness of my choice and I really want to make friends amongst a group of people who, viewed cautiously from the edge, seem sincere, genuine, caring and immensely supportive, loving and accepting of each other and their diversity. But what a week I chose to take this step.

ruaidh said...

You're right Retep. It is a can of worms and a tightrope we walk when trying to explain our choices to those we value. It is important, however that we continue to do so (try explain ourselves). I see my kink as a lovely side of my personality thats developed over the past 17 years. Its enabled me to understand myself, relationships, how I relate to other trainee humans and even how the universe works. Dont be afraid to be who you truly are. We are so a world away from that which is described in the Ryan report. Really it is.

Caroline Grey said...

Thanks for this post, Emma. It's incredibly sensitively written and raises difficult and important points.

I don't have answers to any of these questions. I think Seano is onto something, though. And in the end, you don't get to choose what turns you on. You can choose to supress it, turn away from it, deny it, but it won't ever completely go away. I am in no way saying that kink (or anything) can redeem the horror of real-life abuse. Absolutely not. But expressing it the way you do, with the people you do it with, with the love and relationships and friendships that it brings seems to add to the world instead of taking away from it.

Kami Robertson said...

"How can I fantasise about something that was a horrible reality for so many innocent children? How can I get off on being humiliated and physically hurt?"

Because it's what *you* want and no one abuses you without your consent!!!! Your world, your toys sweetie!
Hugs :*

EmmaJane said...

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments. I realy just wanted to get it out of my head and it's great to get each of your perspectives on it.

I'm not going to change who I am or what I'm doing and I know we in this commuity, playing safely and consensually, are doing no harm.

Just sometimes it's hard not to think about the other side of it.

MecIrlandais said...

Living out of Ireland as I do I have avoided the horrible details & the endless press comments so I count myself lucky that this did not effect my as it has you.

Before the report was released we all knew I think exactly what was going on. It seems to be that so much detail & so many accounts collected together has shocked the population, but I don't think we should be shocked. I have heard similar reports from the older generations.

Of course this must be highlighted as much as possible & I hope it finally turns people away from the Church once & for all.

As the days have passed since the release of the report I hope you have been able to move away for these questions & get back to what you love to do & think & talk about. As has been said, this should have no affect on who you are & what you enjoy with consenting adults.

Ms. Stick said...

Human nature is what it is. We dare, we excite, we seek new experience, to test our own limits.

From the beginning of self, none of us have sought these kinky tendencies: nobody chooses what turns us on, at the very core of ourselves. These experiences, this lifestyle - are what we want and choose now, yes, but also what we need.

How many people, and quite particularly in Catholic Ireland, have had these needs - with no healthy, Safe, Sane, and Consensual outlet? Needs for Dominance, submission, homosexuality, unhindered hetrosexuality, age play, humiliation, discipline, and all the others that were, or still are, taboo. How many of those needy folk were drawn to the Church, to careers in Institutional Education; seeking (even unconsciously) an outlet, a way of meeting those needs?

Events such as Nimhneach, private play parties, sites like fetlife, blogs like this one... all espousing SCC or RACK principles, taking care with hard limits of actual age of players, and informed consent.

While we struggle, are we yet creating a safer world for future generations?

Anonymous said...

I do not think that you should be too hard on the Irish or the Catholics. (I am neither of these) But there were plenty of other institutions at the time that did this sort of thing and at the time I think some of those involved thought they were doing the right thing. (Not to excuse the abuse nor the trauma sufferred)

We had our share of these abusive institutions and the people adversly affected by them down here in Australia.

I think we should be careful blaming the churches. It seems to me that through their - I believe - good motivation, they ran many institutions and therefor even just on a statistical basis are likely to be involved in many of the abuse situations. But it seems to me that all sorts of institutions including secular government ones were just as bad.

And then there is the abuse that occurred in families. In far higher numbers but much less reported presumably because it is easier to sue an institution and far sexier to report the bad side of this or that institution.

I too have a kink and the scenes you describe would fit right into an evening of play and do produce the agony of the heart when considering that some kids in these instiutions did suffer terribly.

But just to balance with some individual and therefore not widly reported experiences that I have heard of and that both turn me on and disgust me.

A woman, a priest actually, describing her childhood in an an interview on the radio. Described her father as demanding submission from her mother and child. (The lady being interviewed) and requiring both of them to be naked in the home. Of course I am sure the father got his ricks off on both the visual and the power side. Apparantly in every other way a normal family. She went to school. played sport. Went out with friends and would come home, strip off. Great idea for a kinky evening but this girl lived with that for years and years and just lived with it.

Another from a closer perspective and may be the reason for my kink. In the 1970's you may recall that boys shorts were pretty short. Well my mother decided that I was to wear short shorts all the time. No long pants for me until part way through my first year f high school after the school wrote to her several times and insisted that the school uniform was long pants. Even after that I did not get my first pair of jeans until I was 15. Was she intentionally abusive - who knows. But it does not get reported.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that you should be too hard on the Irish or the Catholics. (I am neither of these) But there were plenty of other institutions at the time that did this sort of thing and at the time I think some of those involved thought they were doing the right thing. (Not to excuse the abuse nor the trauma sufferred)

We had our share of these abusive institutions and the people adversly affected by them down here in Australia.

I think we should be careful blaming the churches. It seems to me that through their - I believe - good motivation, they ran many institutions and therefor even just on a statistical basis are likely to be involved in many of the abuse situations. But it seems to me that all sorts of institutions including secular government ones were just as bad.

And then there is the abuse that occurred in families. In far higher numbers but much less reported presumably because it is easier to sue an institution and far sexier to report the bad side of this or that institution.

I too have a kink and the scenes you describe would fit right into an evening of play and do produce the agony of the heart when considering that some kids in these instiutions did suffer terribly.

But just to balance with some individual and therefore not widly reported experiences that I have heard of and that both turn me on and disgust me.

A woman, a priest actually, describing her childhood in an an interview on the radio. Described her father as demanding submission from her mother and child. (The lady being interviewed) and requiring both of them to be naked in the home. Of course I am sure the father got his ricks off on both the visual and the power side. Apparantly in every other way a normal family. She went to school. played sport. Went out with friends and would come home, strip off. Great idea for a kinky evening but this girl lived with that for years and years and just lived with it.

Another from a closer perspective and may be the reason for my kink. In the 1970's you may recall that boys shorts were pretty short. Well my mother decided that I was to wear short shorts all the time. No long pants for me until part way through my first year f high school after the school wrote to her several times and insisted that the school uniform was long pants. Even after that I did not get my first pair of jeans until I was 15. Was she intentionally abusive - who knows. But it does not get reported.