Denver

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BM-19 - This case is taken from Ralph H. Tindall: The Male Adolescent Involved With A Pederast Becomes An Adult. Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 3(4), 373-382, Summer 1978. 

Story

"Denver was referred at age thirteen for taking part in vandalism directed toward a junior high school followed by running away from home. He was of high average ability and reading at grade level. He was quite interested in machinery and mechanics. 

Denver reached pubescence by age fourteen. He was introduced to mutual masturbation at age thirteen by peers, some of whom were more developed sexually. 

During his 14th year he began spending his spare time around a service station, where he became acquainted with a master mechanic who was then in his early forties, married and childless. The mechanic and Denver began to engage in recreational pursuits together. On a fishing trip, during a break on an island, they began talking about sex, which led to Denver's being fellated by the mechanic and to masturbation of the mechanic by Denver. 

For the next five years mutual fellatio occurred two or three times per week. Sexual activity with the mechanic ceased at about age nineteen, but a close relationship continued to exist until the mechanic's death. 

Denver is now 44 years of age. He was married and fathered two sons. He and his first wife were divorced and he raised his boys. One boy went to college and the other boy to a technical school. Denver remarried and has been a valued mechanic with the same company for twenty years. He has a supervisory position and believes that his relationship with his mechanic friend helped him reach his goals. He says he would have approved a similar relationship for either of his sons, had he become aware of such a situation. He reports no desire to have sex with males since approximately age twenty." 

Comment

In a paper presented at a symposium sponsored by the Paulus Kerk on December 18th 1998, Rind, Bauserman and Tromovitch cited this case of Tindall, commenting: 

"This anecdote stands in sharp contrast to that of Finkelhor's. It shows a willing, long-lasting sexual relationship that was part of a friendship. Rather than fearing the man, as in Finkelhor's anecdote, the boy in this case study thrived on the relationship. He modeled after the man, and successfully moved into his profession. The anecdote also shows that the boy was a delinquent before meeting the man. This fits with our previous remarks that family environment, which contributes to delinquency, predisposes young persons to a host of counter-normative activities, such as sex with adults. 

Both of these anecdotes represent real experiences. Some boys react with fear, as in the first case. Others react with pleasure, as in the second. Many other examples of the second type could be presented coming from the other convenience samples included in our review. 

What is problematic is that child abuse researchers, the media, and the lay public seem to be willing to acknowledge the validity only of the former type - the negative case study. They may think this way because they feel that positive examples are so rare that either they are not genuine or, if there is some truth to them, then they can be summarily dismissed as irrelevant. But our data from a large number of samples demonstrate that positive occurrences are just as frequent as negative ones, and so both types should be acknowledged. To do otherwise is a distortion of reality. Having acknowledged that both positive and negative relations occur, the question shifts to what makes one relationship positive and the other negative. " 

Finkelhor's anecdote 

"In this one, the interviewer asked a male student to compare his boy-adult encounter with other life experiences. The student remarked: 

"Much more traumatic at the time. Very anxiety-producing. Probably there wasn't anything in my life as anxiety-producing." 

The interviewer then asked if this was the biggest trauma of his life. The student answered: 

"Oh, without a doubt. Mostly because I went through like two months of avoidance. I was very conscious of where I was, who I was with, and was the group large enough so he couldn't single me out, and, you know, it was pretty terrifying. 'Can I go outside? Is it safe to go outside?' Nothing really as traumatic as that."

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