An important but too often overlooked intersex issue is what the trauma of early childhood IGM does to the survivors, how it prevents us from actually looking at was done to us, and even worse, how it prevents us from holding perpetrators accountable.
The following is a piece I wrote on this subject, first published in German on Zwischengeschlecht.info 9 years ago:
I can’t forget a story. It’s Don Bajema’s “Dog Party” about a boy who loved dogs.
Dogs had an excessive attraction on him. Nobody knew why. He was a strange boy, with a strange smile, his arms covered with bleeding bites and scratches. He followed all the dogs in the district, lured them, waited for hours, until he caught one. The dogs knew what he wanted to do, were afraid and hid. But at some point they got careless, let themselves be baited with food and finally just hoped that the boy wouldn’t really do it. They were wrong.
The boy caught them, caressed the dogs trembling with fear, talked very softly to them, and carried them to the water barrel. Then he pushed them under water. They wriggled madly and fought desperately for their life, endlessly long. And at the moment, when they already were on the other side, when their bodies stopped fighting and only twitched, the boy saved them. He pulled them out oft he water, hold them upside down, let the water run out of the muzzle and nose. A small light seemed to be ignited behind the dog’s eyes, as they realised where they were. They looked into the boy’s smiling face. The boy placed them on the floor, they were too weak to move. He laid beside them, caressed them, put his arms around them.
The dogs thought that the boy had saved them, although they always would be afraid of the green water hose and the water barrel in the future. They wanted to believe that the boy had saved them. It was easier than to admit to themselves what they boy really had done. They let their memory begin with the smile in the boy’s face. The dogs loved him. Really. They followed him everywhere.
We humans are like those dogs. If something which was done to us is too terrible, we repress it. We hide what we can’t bear. It’s awful to be a victim, unbearable. That’s why each victim looks for something good in their perpetrator, to feel less as a victim. That’s one reason why most perpetrators continue getting away scot-free.
And if nevertheless one day a victim stands up and shouts out the unbearable truth and accuses the perpetrators, then the other victims are the first to silence the one standing up. Because most of them don’t really want to take action against the perpetrators, for then they would have to admit to themselves the terrible truth:
They tried to kill me to save my life.
[In case anybody should be wondering about “Stockholm” in the title: it refers to the “Stockholm Syndrome”.]
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– “Academic Complicity in IGM Practices”
– IGM: An Analogue to Childhood Sexual Abuse
– WTF?! Nothing “Normal” About Intersex Genital Mutilations!
– Intersex Genital Mutilation is a Crime, NOT “Health Care”!!!