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#160514 - 06/08/07 01:21 AM Beating Kids (*****triggers*****)
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I have been involved in a discussion elsewhere that drifted, not really by intent, into the area of physical violence in the home, and in particular the pain and trauma suffered by guys who were badly beaten as boys. The discussion has been frank and terribly painful, but important all the same. I thought it might be useful to raise the subject here. It has come up from time to time on the discussion board, but I don't recall it receiving any attention as a topic in its own right.

My experience over the past week is that this one can be very triggering if it's something you have experienced yourself, and perhaps even if it isn't. Please don't read on if you have any doubts.

The starting point for that other discussion was a poem that a teenager (now 17, and not a member or user here) showed me from his blog. Just after Thanksgiving last year, when he was 16, his friend, also 16, had been with some pals at the mall. On a dare he grossed out the Santa - I will spare you the details - and the whole group of course got thrown out by security staff. His father, an alcoholic who weights about 400 pounds, heard of the incident from drinking buddies who teased him about it at a local bar, so he came home drunk and angry and thrashed his son in his room with a leather belt. The boy was so badly injured that he had to be taken to the hospital. The emergency room doctors are of course mandatory reporters, so they reported his injuries and the father was arrested. He was eventually charged, tried, and jailed, and so far as I know he's still incarcerated. The beaten boy was too ashamed to go to school and too badly injured to sing in the school chorus at Christmas, and is now too afraid to even enter the family home. He lives nearby with his grandmother.

His friend was almost hysterical about all this and I suggested he write a poem about how he felt. It seemed to me that this kind of outlet would allow him to really express his feelings about what had happened. The result is this poem, which I asked him if I could share here.

This is how the issue looks to him, and yes, there is a history of cruelty and violence in his own home as well. I myself have no personal experience with this sort of thing, so reading this was an important moment for me. It gave me an insight into a terrible world from which I was fortunately spared.

For a Beaten Boy

I don't get it why grownups go for the belt.
They're going to win anyway, they always do.
So why the belt? - because it's the worst.
Because a kid would rather be kicked in the head
Than get the belt and everything the belt means.

Piss me off? Okay, look what I can do to you.
See how easy it slides off as you watch it.
Feel how much rage and agony one grown man
Can put behind a slender strip of tanned leather.
No hope, no rescuer, as I show you your worth.

Listen to it sing to you as you wait for it, helpless
And terrified as the warm wetness spreads.
I'm curled up in a ball, I can't do more,
Except wonder will I get beaten unconscious
This time, or feel every burning blow.

I wonder how many people know a belt can
Tear the shirt off a kid and scar his back for life.
Did they ever see a boy strapped cross the face and
Figure out how much it hurts to talk, to eat?
Please don't even look at me, I am so ashamed.

Defend yourself and put up a hand? Sure, try it.
You won't be able to hold anything for a week.
Ask how he sleeps with open red welts all
Over him, or how he washes or gets dressed.
Ask was he scared of losing the eye this time.

Last night my friend was waiting and told me
He had been beaten again in his own home.
And we sat gazing into each other's eyes,
Not hesitating to show the tears and the fear
We both know, and the pain that never ends.

But I am not as powerless now as the times when
I was hit, even if I cannot make his father stop.
We have each other and I hold him as he trembles.
This is not your fault and it never could be;
You are as beautiful as before, and as innocent.

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#160517 - 06/08/07 01:42 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: roadrunner]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Thanks for posting this here, Larry. It is so chillingly familiar each time I've read it. And each time I read it, it just leaves me with that same empty, useless feeling from back then. It was like nothing in my life would ever be different, that was just the way it was and I just had to suck it up and live with it. Because the old man was what he was, and nothing was going to change. This poem really captures that.


#160518 - 06/08/07 01:44 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: roadrunner]
mogigo Offline

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
This is a scary post for me, had a couple of flash backs. I can remember the pain of the belt, I can also remember foolishly trying to put my hands in the way and realizing it would hurt less elsewhere.

The pain of belt though hurt far less than the look in my Mother's eyes and what the intention of the beatings seemed to mean to me then. It was the ultimate betrayal, the ultimate confusion from someone I thought was person who would stop that kind of pain from ever being brought upon me. If she was the one to bring the pain how could I ever expect not to be beaten by everyone, if the person who was suppose to love and protect me the most was the one bringing it why would strangers ever do less to me. The trust evaporated that first time and was reinforced more times than I can count. I couldn't trust my Mother that means I cannot trust anyone. I learned my lessons well. I remember the day she hit me and it didn't hurt anymore, I laughed at her and she tried even harder. It just didn't matter anymore she had already beaten my soul out of me so there was nothing left to learn, nothing left to feel. She failed me as a Mother and now my life is a battle to retrieve my soul. The belt is an ugly word with ugly thought's. It will destroy souls.

Stay strong


#160520 - 06/08/07 01:55 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: mogigo]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Man, thinking about this some more, I was thinking that wasn't it bad enough we were getting fucked/raped/etc., and then we have to have this kind of shit on top of all that? God, how did we stay sane? I just shake my head at times because looking back on it collectively and in all its ugliness, it just amazes me that we all didn't kill ourselves.


#160559 - 06/08/07 03:50 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: EGL]
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3594
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
Wow Larry - that poem hits hard

I hated the stick my mother used - but I've got to agree with Mike - what I remember even more than the pain of the blows she inflicted was the look in my mother's eyes - the look that said: you are unloved / unwanted / worthless / inferior / ect... - just plain "less" than any other living thing - the look that said "I own you"

I find it kind of strange thinking back - the fact that my mom actualy did'nt like using a belt - she liked the stick - she felt she could get in better blows with the stick - but... - thinking about it - I'd rather of had the stick than the belt - the stick would pretty much stay on target (which after a while that area would just go numb) - the belt would hit all over the place

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#160563 - 06/08/07 04:41 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: TJ jeff]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
That poem really hits home, Larry. I remember the red welts in the shape of the belt end. I remember being so ashamed and unable to participate in anything that would force me to expose any flesh that below my waist.

Thankfully my parents realized at some point how wrong that kind of behavior was. Unfortunately before that happened, the shame and need for affirmation and affection sent me into other unsafe areas which ended in the SA.

It hurts a lot and I have been processing these things this last few days about this very thing, brought about by my fathers failing health and my thoughts regarding his nonexistent relationship with me.

I've shed buckets of tears and cried rivers. I've also typed pages and pages of memories, good and bad, including the beatings. I've ranted and raved and begged him to love me.

I've come out the other side of this with a sense of peace that I am OK, will be OK, and always was OK, and that I am not responsible for the hurt and pain in his live or that of my mothers. I have my life as it stands now, and it is mine to make of what I will. I choose to make it the best life I can, and hopefully I will be more kind and loving than the generation before me.

Thanks again for sharing this, Larry.

Hugs to all my brothers here,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#160565 - 06/08/07 05:03 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: WalkingSouth]
mack Offline

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 101
Loc: new mexico
Belt, extension cord, switches, anything within reach. I had put these memories way in the back of my mind. Everyone who respnded to this post has already said the things I want to. Just felt the need to tell you all that I am in that club too.


#160569 - 06/08/07 05:39 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: WalkingSouth]
Derdlecar Offline

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1316
Loc: Ogden Utah, USA

I've felt the sting of the belt, though not to the extent of this young man. I can say however that this poem does better job of painting a picture of the pain and shame of this kind of treatment than anything else I have ever seen. I can remember one time my little brother had to lay across one arm of the love seat (I find the name love seat to be a bit ironic) and I had to lay across the other. Dad took off his belt and started swinging his belt through the air in a big sideways figure 8. I was on one end of the figure 8 and my brother was at the other. That was the trashing that to me was the worst be cause my little brother was getting it too. It was almost too much to handle.

Wow, this is starting to bring back some memories that are, well I think are kinda good. Yes, they involve being beat with a belt but the part I'm seeing is of me and John after the fact when we both got it. The memory is still in a bit of a cloud, but what I'm seeing is a bit of a tender moment between the two of us. Maybe it was on the night I told about above maybe not, just not too sure at this point. The last verse of the poem is what is triggering this memory.

Thanks for sharing.

Love ya

If a man would get his life on track, he must first go back to the place where it was derailed.

#160570 - 06/08/07 05:57 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: Derdlecar]
Chain Breaker Offline

Registered: 04/21/07
Posts: 376
Loc: Michigan
Larry, this is a very powerful poem from a young man who surely has been under the belt. Thank-you for sharing it in all its raw emotional power.

***more triggers***

I never got the belt, and my mother confined her corporal punishment to my arse. But she was imaginative. She used paddles specifically made for beating kids, spatulas both metal and rubber, sticks, her shoes, coat hangers, her bare hand, wooden spoons, etc. The worst part of it was the humiliation as she shouted at us, totally out of control, and told us how awful we were, sometimes making us pull our underpants down so she could have access to our bare bottoms. I also got my mouth washed out with soap for being cheeky. Maybe that's not so unusual, but it's still abusive by today's standards.

While this stuff is disturbing and triggering, it's also good to think about once in a while.


My name is Joe. I am a survivor and a good man. You can count on me.


"[Insert your name here], I am [Chain Breaker]. Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend?"
--Wind In His Hair, Dances With Wolves

#160582 - 06/08/07 09:37 AM Re: Beating Kids (*****triggers*****) [Re: Chain Breaker]
sabata Offline

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1950
my mom had a horse buggy wip...which she used without a thought

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