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#297853 - 08/03/09 11:46 AM First Abuse?
RichardPaulPoill Offline

Registered: 08/03/09
Posts: 3
Loc: Florida moving back to Marylan...
My step father, thinking he would help me learn to swim, took me to a class at the YMCA. This occurred in 1953 when I was seven.

He sent me off to the lockers to get ready for class, but I was mortified and terrified at the site of boys and men moving about naked. I found a place as hidden away as possible and put on my swimming trunks. I walked out to the pool even more mortified than before as most of the boys sitting at poolside were stark naked.

The instructor brought several boys into the pool to teach them something or other but when it came my turn I refused and nothing the instructor said could change my mind. I looked down so as not to see anyone throughout the class and I didn't talk to anyone. When the class ended I walked as quickly as possible back to where I left my clothes and put them on over my swim suit. Some boys said something to me but I didn't respond. I walked out of the locker room and to my step father's car. I refused to speak to him except to tell him that I would never be forced to go to the YMCA again. He didn't understand and I didn't make myself clear to him.

That was the last time throughout my grade school through college years when I would participate in any phys ed course i was enrolled in, or enter a locker room anywhere to change.

That was the last time I would ever allow anyone to see me naked without a great struggle. Doctor's, nurses, paramedics, even my parents had to fight to get anywhere near seeing any part of me below the waist naked.

I wonder if this experience or my extreme response to it set me up for sexual abuse later in life?

"It is not your duty to complete the work, but neither may you desist from it." TALMUD
"The purpose of the physician is to entertain the patient while the disease runs its inevitable course" VOLTAIRE

#297935 - 08/04/09 02:14 AM Re: First Abuse? [Re: RichardPaulPoill]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Boy, did that bring back memories for me. I'm about your age and I recalled as I read this that I was at a YMCA for swim class and we had to swim naked. (They said it had something to do with clothing fibers and the pool filters.) It was embarrassing and I was reluctant to go back again.

I know now, as a parent, grandparent, and therapist, that modesty and the reaction of others can cause great discomfort and even shame. At this moment, I am visiting my 3 1/2 year old grandson who has no qualms about running around naked or in his underwear. That is natural for kids that young. I know that his parents treat his nudity as a natural thing and he has no negativity attached to it. I also know that if our reaction was to create embarrassment in him or to give him a sense of shame, it would be very different.

Kids naturally develop a sense for privacy around six or so. Up to that point, it is the response of others that puts a negative connotation on their bodies. So, if the reaction of others creates anxiety or embarrassment for the child, it can also be complicated by the sexual abuse as well.

It sounds like maybe your earlier experience became connected to the sexual abuse, or perhaps the reaction you had at the time of the YMCA situation was enough in itself to create a life-long negative association with being seen by others.

Might be something to explore with your therapist.

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#297942 - 08/04/09 04:05 AM Re: First Abuse? [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
petercorbett Offline

Registered: 07/27/08
Posts: 2509
Hi my fraternal brothers.

Me too, that must have been the thing to do in those days, boys swimming nude in the YMCA pools. This was in Boston and around the same time frame '53 or '54. Plus us poor kids in Boston were sent to a summer camp and we had to skinny dip in the lake at night. And boys being boys some would be swimming underwater and grab your penis. Damn near thought a fish thought it was a "worm".
And for some reason, I always slept in the nude, plus when nobody was home I was running around naked.

I was being sexually abused during this time, but I thought what was happening to me was normal.

But, when I joined the Air Force I was always bashful about being seen naked. Always tried to take my showers after midnight. But the military is no place to try and be bashful about being seen naked.

And being stationed in Europe, the Far East & South East Asia, you learn fast that they have very different views on mixing it up in nudity. At least in the '50's, 60's & 70's. It is the same way right now at least in Germany.

"I will take that lost boys hand, and I will lead him from the depths of darkness, into the sunlight, forever into eternity".

Heaal well my brothers (fraternal) heal well.

Little Pete & big Pete.

Edited by petercorbett (08/04/09 04:07 AM)
Edit Reason: left a word out
Working Boys' Home 10-14 yrs old, grades 5-8. 1949-1953
A very humble alumni of the WOR Dahlonega, GA.
May 15-17 2009, Alta, Sep. 2009. Sequoia, 2010.
Hope Springs, 2010.


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