Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby.

“STOP IT! YOU’LL SCAR THE CHILDREN!” is a sentence very rarely heard before the child version of yourself is mentally scarred. When your parents want to tell you about sex for example – no one is ever there to stop them. When someone sits on your guinea pig and it dies slowly in your arms while yellow stuff dribbles from its mouth – no one is there to shield your eyes. In my experience, the only time anyone actually intervenes on your childly behalf is when they want to stop you doing something fun. Like watching R rated films, using a homemade slingshot or eating an entire tin of sweeten condensed milk - all of which I was personally denied as a child. And, of course, the one time I really could have done with an adult running in screeching their head off and covering my ears with their hands, not a soul arrived to stop the mental scarring which is still evident on my psyche today…

This may come as a shock to you, but I was in a “gifted” year six class. We were treated like little savants; given algebraic maths problems and acting out our own mock versions of parliament, debating the pros and cons of genetically modified food. We were such little geniuses in fact; that I think our teacher would often forget that most of us still had majority baby teeth. This was never more apparent than during our daily “Reading Time”.

I’m sure most children’s experience around “Reading Time” is immensely pleasurable. Sitting calmly on the floor, tummies full of lunch, as the teacher enthrals you with tales of Charlie and his Chocolate Factory, Charlotte and her web or perhaps even Harry Potter and his Philosopher’s Stone (or “sorcerer’s” stone if you’re a stupid American). This is pretty much the exact opposite of what reading time was like for my class. Cue the horror.

The first book we were read for the year was called Pink Balloons. It was about a charming little five-year-old girl. She was kind and sweet and beautiful. Oh, and she was dying of AIDS. A true story, the book chronicled her slow death. The sentiment “don’t judge a book by its cover” has never rung more true – book cover: shiny pink balloons. Subject matter: agonising death of a child.

Pink Balloons however, paled in comparison to what has to be the most age inappropriate book I have ever been read - Night John. Night John made Pink Balloons look like a romp in a field with some fucking gerberas. Our teacher obviously felt that 11 was definitely the age that we finally learnt about the Jim Crow south. Night John followed John, a slave in the Deep South during the 1800s, as he attempted to educate himself under the cover of darkness. Throughout the novel I learnt the following things:

  • Racism is a thing
  • Sometimes slave owners raped their female slaves to produce baby slaves. This was done with the aid of a clever raping contraption – a board with shackles nailed to it for holding lady slaves in place 
  • Lynching is the practice by which black people were dragged through the town naked, beaten and then killed – then, quite often, hung from trees. All to the glee of the white town folk
  • Scary shit as per the above makes baby Maz feel not very good inside

So that’s the story of the time I learnt what rape was. Comment below and let me know about your own induction into the world of sexual assault :)

No comments:

Post a Comment