Leaving Neverland

I think I have a Trucker, too - the one who likes to swat my wife's behind! She doesn't care for it, mostly just slightly annoyed, but "he" still does it occasionally... just to get a ride out of her!
 

DavoSwim

Registrant
I finally got up the courage to watch Leaving Neverland. A few months ago, I started watching it, but had to turn it off, because it was just too hard to watch. Yesterday, I made myself watch it, and I'm glad I did. It still wasn't easy to view, but definitely worth it. I really admire Wade Robson and James Safechuck for coming forward and telling their story. That took guts, not only because they had to relieve their experiences, but because they opened themselves up to considerable criticism. I have no doubt Robson and Safechuck are telling the truth. You can see it in their eyes. It's very true that the eyes are the windows to the soul. There's something very telling in their eyes. There's an intensity in their gaze that's unsettling. But there's also an emptiness there, which reflects the loss of innocence, the hurt, the deception, and the violation they experienced. I could definitely empathize with what they were feeling. There's no way you can fake that emptiness.

I don't understand the reaction of their detractors. Actually, that's not true - I do understand it; I just hate it. Barbra Streisand, for example; Her comments were absolutely reprehensible- saying that Robson and Safechuck ended up marrying, having kids, and living, so what's the big deal. Her ignorance is showing through. People who say Robson and Safechuck were either lying before when they denied any abuse, or lying now don't get it. It takes a lot of strength and courage to admit what happened. I remember when it hit the my hometown newspaper that my priest abuser was under investigation for abusing boys, my parents asked me if he had ever done anything to me. I denied it flat out. I was lying, and I knew I was lying, but I couldn't tell the truth. It took me another 26 years before I could admit it. Just because a perp doesn't abuse one kid, doesn't mean he hasn't abused another kid, so character witnesses aren't an effective defense tactic. I believe people attack survivors like Safechuck and Robson as a survival mechanism. People don't want to believe that an idol of their could ever do something like that. Until that mindset changes, we won't make progress. I'm very appreciative that people like Robson and Safechuck have the strength to come forward and tell their stories. They are making things better for other CSA survivors.

It was tough watching this, and it's had an effect on me. It brought up memories that I thought I'd dealt with. It's going to take some work to get settled down and back on track. I'm glad I have MS to turn to if things get rough.
 
I agree, Davo -

I believe people attack survivors like Safechuck and Robson as a survival mechanism.

I think this is a fundamental truth. People see what they want to see. I sometimes wonder if some who refuse to see it were, themselves, survivors of something similar. I say that because I went through a rather protracted period of my life in which I simply could not "take in" any truths that threatened the lies I told myself - the lies that allowed me to pretend a different past. I think a good example is Mike McQueary - and how people were so outraged that he did not intercede in a rape in progress that he witnessed in the locker room of Penn State. Most people thought that was reprehensible - but I remember thinking that he might have acted that way because facing the truth of what he witnessed meant facing the truths of his own experience - something he simply was not ready to face. And in fact that turned out to be the case. Like with Michael Jackson's fans - it's not always about seeing what we want to see. It is also seeing what we can bear to see.

Some of us live comfortably in a world in which we believe the good guys and bad guys are binary. But I have learned that nothing is as simple as our impulse for judgement would have us believe.
 

DavoSwim

Registrant
I watched Leaving Neverland Part 2 the other night. I was very much affected by it, even more so than by Part 1. There were two scenes that really hit me hard. One was when Wade Robson was discussing an assault by Michael Jackson. There is no doubt that Robson was telling the truth. The expression on his face could not possibly be faked. It brought tears to my eyes thinking about what Robson experienced. The other instance was when James Safechuck was talking about whether he forgives his mom, and he said that it's a work in progress. It was obvious that it's something Safechuck struggles with and the magnitude of the struggle is real.

One thing I got out of this was how complex the after effects of CSA are. Both men obviously felt affection for Michael Jackson. Both had doors opened for them as a result of their friendship with Jackson. They would not be where they are today professionally without him. Yet, look at the price they had to pay for that. I'm learning through my own experience that the hurt never leaves. You can deal with it, and you can learn strategies make it through but it never goes away. That was obvious with Robson and Safechuck. They still are paying the price.

One thing I keep coming back to was the role of their mothers. Both women recognized that they are at fault, and because of them, their sons were tremendously hurt. Both of them regret their actions. I wonder how many other people would have done the same thing if they had been in that situation? Looking at it objectively, there is no justification for letting their sons sleep in the same bed with Michael Jackson. Yet, I can understand how tempting fame and fortune are. They probably thought that this was a one in a million chance for their kids and it was too good to pass up. They didn't have any idea that Jackson was an abuser. If the parents had said no, it probably would have caused a huge conflict. Had the moms never let their kids go on tour, it would have saved their kids, but they would probably never realize what they avoided and would only see it as a lost opportunity. I understand the guilt and shame the mothers are experiencing and how easy it is to blame themselves, and for others to blame them. I also know how difficult it would have been to pass up that opportunity, because they didn't have any idea what was going to happen. It's easy to blame them, but it's also easy to conclude many people would have done the same thing. I know these comments may be controversial. I'm not trying to excuse the mothers, but just trying to see things from their point of view. It's all just an ugly experience. I hope Safechuck and Robson can heal and I wish them the best.


Dave
 
I agree with what you have said, Dave. One of the masterful things about the film is that it is not a simple situation. The victims are not saints, the abuser is not completely evil, and the moms are fallible. We like our stories tidy and unambiguous, but every person has good and bad in them. One of the big problems for victims speaking out is that their lives are held under a magnifying glass and the imperfections that are inevitably revealed are used to discredit them as legitimate victims. It is also true for the mothers. We impugn them for their ambitions - the dreams they have for themselves and for their sons. We act as if they were not victims themselves, even though Jackson was able to play upon their character flaws to his advantage.

One of the interesting things in my own journey was finding forgiveness for my mom who - like Wade and Jimmy's moms - failed to protect me from my abuser. Like their moms, mine was schmoozed by my abuser into handing over the keys to me. Looking back, all of our moms - Wade's, Jimmy's, and even mine - were groomed as much as we were. Understanding that my mom was in her own way a victim of the same manipulation - albeit nonsexual - that ensnared me sexually with this man was a huge piece that allowed me to forgive her.

My mom has been gone over two years. But regaining my relationship with her as a loving son has been my greatest victory in my healing journey. My abuser crafted her into an enabler to his aims and in so doing wedged us apart. Forgiving my mom was empowering. I repaired the damage he caused by doing so, rather than just living with it, cursing it to my grave. Reclaiming my mom undid the rift he built between us - and in so doing erased a big part of his lasting legacy in my life.
 

Healing light

Registrant
I agree with what you have said, Dave. One of the masterful things about the film is that it is not a simple situation. The victims are not saints, the abuser is not completely evil, and the moms are fallible. We like our stories tidy and unambiguous, but every person has good and bad in them. One of the big problems for victims speaking out is that their lives are held under a magnifying glass and the imperfections that are inevitably revealed are used to discredit them as legitimate victims. It is also true for the mothers. We impugn them for their ambitions - the dreams they have for themselves and for their sons. We act as if they were not victims themselves, even though Jackson was able to play upon their character flaws to his advantage.

One of the interesting things in my own journey was finding forgiveness for my mom who - like Wade and Jimmy's moms - failed to protect me from my abuser. Like their moms, mine was schmoozed by my abuser into handing over the keys to me. Looking back, all of our moms - Wade's, Jimmy's, and even mine - were groomed as much as we were. Understanding that my mom was in her own way a victim of the same manipulation - albeit nonsexual - that ensnared me sexually with this man was a huge piece that allowed me to forgive her.

My mom has been gone over two years. But regaining my relationship with her as a loving son has been my greatest victory in my healing journey. My abuser crafted her into an enabler to his aims and in so doing wedged us apart. Forgiving my mom was empowering. I repaired the damage he caused by doing so, rather than just living with it, cursing it to my grave. Reclaiming my mom undid the rift he built between us - and in so doing erased a big part of his lasting legacy in my life.
How did you rebuild with your mam ? I can see mine was manipulated by my abusers were just struggling to come through it together
Peace
HL
 

DavoSwim

Registrant
Thanks for your response Eirik. You've helped me understand things better. I'm very happy that you were able to rebuild your relationship with your mom, and how that was essential towards your healing. The significance of that is enormous.

Dave
 
Thanks, Dave.

@HL - if you click my signature, it'll take you to my story and that should explain it pretty thoroughly. The section where I repair my relationship with her is called "Resolve and Repair," but the story leading up to it is probably important context. My journey is my journey - and I appreciate that others may follow a different path. So I share and - if it makes sense to you - maybe it'll help. And maybe it won't. For me, it had a lot to do with not wanting to live with regrets I never asked for in the first place. The death of my father opened my eyes to a lot. I didn't want to make the same mistake with my mom.
 
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