The Seeking of Atonement:

Hi! So you’ve just found out I’ve recently died and you’re here to finally read my blog. Huzzah: readers at last! The curse has now been lifted and suddenly I’m popular again. Please enjoy the journey. I didn’t.

CONTENT / TRIGGER WARNING: today’s blog is about the various sexual assaults I committed pre-puberty, and my lasting regrets there-of and thereabouts. But don’t panic yet – nothing truly terrible happened. No actual rape. Some might say it was ‘normal kid-stuff’. But the memories haunt me nevertheless. And I’m trying to NOT mimimise my actions.

The birds and the bees: Sex education in the early 20th century - The  National Archives blog
“Uh yeah, Dad. We already know about that.”

So: Puberty. I began hitting the landscape somewhere around 12. Big Brother, 2+ years older and ‘maturing’ earlier, was well into the good stuff by then and filling my head with smut, dirty jokes, disturbing details and utter bullshit.

I recall my astonishment when he told me that the .. uh: the ‘primary boy-tube’, shall we call it?That by some remarkable coincidence it could be fitted inside the ‘primary girl-tube’. It seemed that Big Brother had discovered this himself that very day, or that a friend of his had made the discovery earlier that week. Breaking News! Astounding! How on earth could such a bizarre thing even be possible? Like: how did someone even discover it? And even more puzzling: what purpose could this … this enfitment … possibly serve? Something compelled me to find out more.

It was 1965; two years before Useless Dad handed us The Official Pamphlet from the Department of Health that outlined this ‘news’ using gross diagrams of our internal plumbing (no normal-world views) and frightfully mechanical descriptions of sex – something that apparently had not been discovered last week after all but developed by medical science some 30 or 40 years earlier, judging by the drawings.

All without a single hint that it was going to be tremendous fun once I actually inserted “Tab P” into “Slot V”, and also what an absolute minefield it was destined to become vis-a-vis Love, Relationships (a word that didn’t enter my vocabulary for another decade), pregnancy and all the convoluted upfuckery of mind and emotions that was still to be unleashed (when I was 20).

No mention of rape. No mention of consent. (‘Consent’, like the words ‘options’, ‘commitment’, ‘ethics’ and ‘voting’, never featured in my home. Some of them took two more decades to arrive.)

Anyway, B.B (Big Brother) and I had plently of convenient girls to observe at close range. After Dad re-married we had two half-sisters of pre-scool age, a step-sister of 7 and our original sister: 10. In summer the youngest of these could often be observed in our backyard, butt-naked and frolicking in paddling pool with hose. no real information yet on ‘Slot V’. We would lurk in the sleep-out, entranced.

B.B was prone to sudden and bizarre comments: “Y’know they’d be easy to make: first drill the hole at the top, then cut straight down with a hacksaw ..” (he was a fitter & Turner apprentice by then). Whereas I would merely watch with the eye of an artist.

As for Original Sister ‘M’ (two years my junior): well B.B would often lure her into some sort of sex-play, with or without me. He was somewhat predatory, it needs to be said. (‘Pro-active’ if you like more positive expressions.) I was less involved, but in one elaborate session, B.B directed an imaginary porno photoshoot using mum’s box-brownie (no film!). This got underway as soon as Mum left for work.

I’m deeply embarrased by this memory. We were exploited her; no two ways about it. And if rape-culture is some sort of continum (it is) then we were definitely on it. Ugh.

Anyway things got worse. Emboldened by his tutorlage, I set about a few ventures of my own. The worst of them I forgot about for some 3 decades, but it came back to haunt me with a bang during the media coverage of the behaviour of that dirtbag Brett Kavenaugh. Suddenly I recalled that I had (exactly once) done the exact same thing. Oh God!

The memories poured back, and yes: I haunted myself with my own shame and guilt and disgust. Seeking guidance and some sort of atonement I discussed it with various men within my Men’s-Goup scene. But no atonement was to be had, nothing that helped me, so I eventually decided to engage a Private-Eye company in New Zealand to track down my victim so I might directly apologise for my actions.

My part, BTW, was as followers: Planner, Stalker, Instigator, Ringleader, ‘Charmer’ and Skirt-lifter.

Time went by, and finally the investigation failed. My “person of interest” could not be found. I emailed again, trying to offer more clues. The PI wrote back declaring it a good challenge and promising to put her students onto the case … but … nothing. They did not locate my victim (who would have been about 64~65 at that time). Dead end!

I took some months to accept the result, then wrote to ask how much I owed. And at that point the entire venture went silent. No reply came back. Nothing. An utter failure. No closure was to be had for my soul. And until now, that’s how it hangs.

I am left wondering if my victim had in fact been found .. and by requirement of NZ privacy laws she had to be informed of my mission .. and nixed my whole plan. (I had, by then, told the investigator that I wanted to apologise for an assault in 1966. They knew that much.)

Worse was the idea that my actions had caused my victim terrible pyschological damage .. that it had ruined her life … or at the very worst: she had suicided. And the PI had discovered this but for their own reasons had decided not to inform me. Who knows?

My disgraceful assault was 55 years ago, now. My guilty mind may well have over-egged the pudding. But I still feel a dreadful remorse. I still want to present something on public record: The entire story and my entire apology. So; here it is: published. Made public. Just one sentence ahead of you. You’re not obliged to continue. It’s not horrific, and in fact the story had a very positive outcome, and I want Julie Buchannan to know this, too. Here we go:

To Julie Buchanan (using the name as I remember you),

This is a letter of apology for my part in sexually assaulting you in your own home one pleasant day in either 1965 or 1966. I regret it deeply, and carry a burden of remorse.

The place was Number 12 Centennial Cresent, Wakari/Helensburgh; Dunedin. Your family home at the time (unless my memory has that address wrong). I followed you home, I had already noticed your location since I walked home the same way.

I had vaguely planned the attack, and at the last moment managed to recuit two accomplices – total strangers who were remarkably willing to partake in the assault.

Then I cravenly begged of you the chance to come inside “to play”. You agreed, and we all went in. In short order our pre-planned assault began. We took hold of you, forced you onto the floor, and as soon as you were thus secured, I lifted your skirt. We could all see your undies.

This was what I had come to see – having become obsessed with your ‘girl-parts’ since observing you and your friends hanging from the monkey-bars at school.

I did not, in fact, even know the facts of life at that stage. It was mere curiosity – some gendered instinct to become interested in girls at that age. Which does not excuse my actions. Nothing does.

Anyway – at that point my plan had run its course. I hesitated, realising I did not have an ‘exit-strategy’. You sensed the hesitation, our weakening resolve, as too did my leering allies, and you took back the balance of power. You kicked us away – and I’m very glad you did! Kicked mightily! You stood up as we sprang back from your rage, and you told us in great anger (fully justified!) that … well: I wish I could remember you exact words, but I do not. Suffice to say you sent us packing after decisively summarising our value as human beings at that disgraceful hour.

And we fled. Fled from your anger, and the scene of our disgraceful act.

In your anger you threw us out and ordered that we were to never return. And for me – it worked! (I hope those other two strangers learned something valuable that day, as well.) I scurried away in absolute shame, and never went near you again. Avoided you. And rightly so. I deserved to be afraid and ashamed. I’d planned it. I was the ring leader. On that day (to my shame) I traveled a significant distance along a spectrum now called ‘Rape Culture’.

For that I now offer my unreserved apology. I would further like to thank you for kicking us away, for getting angry, and for ordering us from your sight. It was a lesson I needed, and did not forget.

But it should not be the role of girls and women to teach this to boys. This should be the work of fathers, big-brothers and elder cousins, and all other male authority figures. But none of that existed in the mid-1960s. There was nothing. Not for me, and not in my family.

Fortunately, is is beginning to happen now. I’m now in a men’s network in my area, and yes – I can always do more. I’m trying to think of a way of turning my experience into a message for boys of today. (It is still needed!)

I hope this brings you some peace,

Regards, Ged Maybury ( formerly ‘Gavin Grieve’ – that being my name at the time)

You are not obliged to reply.

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