tl;dr: When I was on holiday as a 15-year-old, a grown woman tried (and failed) to have sex with me
Let’s rewind back to 1995 - I was an awkward 15 year-old boy on holiday with his parents and brother in an idyllic all-inclusive resort in Grenada.
The resort itself was lovely - it was small and cozy, in the way that everyone knew each other and days were filled with dips in the pool, cocktails and laid-back activities like beach volleyball and yoga. For the most part, I and my brother were left to our own devices during the day; I spent it wandering around, covertly drinking alcohol and talking to the beach-sellers about how they grew weed in the mountains.
One of the guests at the resort was a woman called Tracy. She was, I guess, in her early thirties, and was striking first because of her job - she worked for a travel agent that represented the resort, and her work was to visit all the resorts in her employer’s portfolio as a kind of Quality Assurance exercise. (I mean, fucking hell, it doesn’t get much better than that, work-wise. Anyway), Tracy was secondly striking by how hypnotically gregarious and self-confident she was - she had poise that could freeze Titans and a laugh that could level mountains. The third thing about Tracy was that, despite her charisma, she somehow managed to be profoundly unpleasant. From the very first, I was fascinated by , terrified of, and very wary about Tracy. She seemed cruel and uncaring, and despite everyone appearing to enjoy her company on a surface level, I sensed - on her part - a weird level of contempt and condescension for everyone (many years later, I have diagnosed her as a psychopath - but please read on…)
One day, and I’m not sure how this came to pass, I found myself sitting at a table in the bar area alone with Tracy. She didn’t mess around: she challenged me to drink as much champagne as I could in as little time as possible. I gave it my best shot, although I dimly recall my performance being sub-par (this was probably one of the first times I had ever had a fizzy alcoholic drink, to be fair…). Then, out of the blue, she told me that we were going to the (public) ladies’ toilets to do cocaine. Now this was new! I had never done coke before, so my inauguration was snorting it off the hotel-room key of a female paedophile in the Caribbean. How many people can say that.
Post-champagne and cocaine, Tracy announced that we were going back to her bedroom. At this point I had little agency left, and blindly followed her there. We went in, with her going deep into the room (it was a beach-front thing, so she was close to the balcony, with me by the door). Tracy took off all her clothes, then gestured at me to do the same. I should add that this was not a romantic, intimate nor seductive procedure - it was robotic and slightly aggressive.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Tracy was an attractive woman. While to my teenaged eyes, I suppose she looked slightly ‘weathered’ (like anyone in their thirties would, to an adolescent), but she was pretty and athletic nonetheless. Bear in mind that this was 1995, and I was a (virgin) 15-year-old, I had seen very few breasts at all - and actual ones in 3D even fewer. Also throw into this that I was drunk and high on class A drugs. On top of all that, I was a teenage boy with all the horny indignities that floods of testosterone bring. What was the result of this bizarre circumstantial cocktail?
I ran for the fucking hills.
I blurted out something about needing to be somewhere urgently (complete bullshit, given the context), and literally ran out of and away from her villa until I found a secluded sun-lounger I could lie down on and recuperate until my heart started beating regularly again. (unrelateldly, many years later I learnt that I have a heart condition which makes use of any stimulants very dangerous because they lead to cardiac arrhythmia - anyway…)
I never spoke of my encounter with Tracy with anyone (I presume that she didn’t either), and the rest of the holiday went on in a business-as-usual sort of way. And, in fact, for the next 20 years, I never told anyone about what happened with her. My silence wasn’t due to any kind of profound trauma or PTSD (it would be disingenuous of me - and highly disrespectful to actual victims of child abuse - to pretend that this was anything more than a slightly weird and unsettling encounter) - it was I suppose more a result of quiet and emasculating embarrassment. This was a story that started well and ended badly (a hot woman got me drunk, gave me drugs, took me to her place, took her clothes off, then I ran away because I was scared - that’s not a story you tell to impress people). Ever since my encounter with Tracy, I had it filed away in the “stupid shit that I have done I wish I hadn’t” folder. Which, by the way, is massive and keeps on growing.
Since then, I have developed into a career which has mostly revolved around education and childcare. I have been working with children and young people for over 20 years, and have attended literally hundreds - if not thousands - of hours of Child Protection Training. This, for the uninitiated, is a kind of wiki-how-to for how child abusers (aka active paedophiles) operate - the best way for us to prevent child abuse is to know how it happens, so I happen to know a lot about this stuff. So it is that I am able to interpret Tracy’s actions within a a prism of professional competence. Here goes…
She started well (if your metric, here, is how well an adult performs in order to coerce sexual behaviour from a child). Plying your mark with booze and drugs is tried and tested - and she really knocked that one out of the park (champagne and cocaine is a classy combo).
However, she made two rookie mistakes:
2.a. She moved too quickly; this entire encounter lasted about 45 minutes - seasoned paedophiles will tell you it takes days, if not weeks or months to successfully seduce a child
2.b. Throughout, she was unpleasant. Even while she was challenging me to drink champagne, it was in the spirit of ‘if you can’t do it, you’re not a real man!’ (which I couldn’t, and was not). She never showed me any empathy or affection, so I was consequently awed by but also terrified of her.
(2.c. I should also add that anyone with a passing familiarity with class A drugs and the male sexual anatomy will know that if you want to do sex stuff with a guy, giving him coke is not necessarily a good idea…)
Y’see, contrary to popular belief and stereotype, the vast majority of child abusers aren’t random weirdos who kidnap kids from the street (with their victims kicking and struggling the whole way) - they are adults who the children know and trust. The dark and horrible truth of it is that it is much easier to have sex with a child who you have convinced wants to have sex with you back - it isn’t often a violent and coercive affair (and only tends to be, a a la Jeffrey Epstein and Jimmy Saville, when the power and status of the abuser allows it).
Tracy messed up there. She was cruel and unpleasant with me throughout. If she had played it differently (say, done the whole booze and drugs thing, then been affectionate and kind and patient) then things might have worked out. She was, I suppose, a fairly inept child abuser.
(20 years later, I told this story to my brother (who was 10 at the time, and in his 30s now). He laughed and recounted how Tracy, whom he remembered vividly, had invited him into her room to take pictures of her naked. He had refused.)
Maybe, Tracy’s technical ineptitude was a result of her sex, and the sex of her targets. Let’s face it, for a middle-aged man to successfully seduce a teenage-girl, he is going to have to put the work in (as indeed they do). However, the other way around it is far easier for an adult woman to seduce an adolescent boy - and such instances are far less likely to be reported, recorded, and taken seriously.
Why? Let’s take this idea for a walk. First, ages:
- An adult woman engaging in sexual acts with a 6-year-old boy
- An adult woman engaging in sexual acts with a 6-year-old girl
- An adult man engaging in sexual acts with a 6-year-old boy
- An adult man engaging in sexual acts with a 6-year-old girl
I think most would agree that all are equally abhorrent - the sexes of the participants doesn’t matter
Let’s carry on…
- An adult man engaging in sexual acts with an adolescent boy
- An adult man engaging in sexual acts with an adolescent girl
- An adult woman engaging in sexual acts with an adolescent boy
- An adult women engaging in sexual acts with an adolescent girl
Now this is where it starts to get complicated. While #5 and #6 are gross, on a par with the previous section, #7 and #8 are more unsettling - because, somehow they don’t seem as bad (you will ask me for a cite - the best I can offer is my personal experience and subjective experience of public opinion).
Somehow, in some way, when an adult woman attempts to do sex stuff with adolescent children, it is more okay than when an adult man attempts it. Now why would that be?
I suspect that part of this comes down to stereotypes vis-a-vis the sex act and how it happens. In the traditional scenario, men need to be erect in order to penetrate (whereas women don’t need to be in any state to receive penetration, if we’re being darkly technical about it), so any penetrative sex act implies the active consent of the penis-giver, but not necessarily the penis-receiver. Therefore, if a 14-year-old has sex with a 40-year-old woman, its okay because ‘he wanted it’.
This assumption ignores a couple of facts:
- Men (and boys) can have an erect penis and not feel sexually driven, and vice-versa. This happens a lot, and more than most of the female of the species realise
- There is a ton of sex stuff that can be done with boys that does not involve erect penises - most of which can be performed by adult women, and that we have no real vocabulary for
Okay, on this note I should probably call it all a day Thanks for reading