Don't speak!

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By: Yvan Brys

Translator's note: this is not fiction. It originally appeared as a column in a Belgian gay magazine, Roze Aktie Front, and has been reprinted by MARTIJN with permission.

"When I was thirteen, a boy of seventeen sexually used me for a period of time with slight coercion, but I never really felt bad about that. He jacked me off and forced me to jack him off, and at first I felt uncomfortable about that, but after a few times I began to enjoy it myself and the aspect of coercion trailed off. Off course, being a thirteen-year-old boy, I found it curious that I was doing such things with another boy, but I realize now that this first sexual experience has helped me approach girls - to whom I was far more attracted - confidently and without qualms later on. That first sexual experience with a boy was, to me, the perfect introduction to sexuality." That's what journalist Dirk Tieleman says in a candid interview with Humo [a leading Belgian magazine - cc].

He also explains why he is revealing this: "I've never told that story before because I thought it was too private, but recently so much nonsense is being spread about pedophilia and sex with children that I feel I must react. In the past years, since the Dutroux scandal, I've been hearing people say all the time that any form of sex with children would automatically lead to great disturbances and 'damage the innocent child's soul beyond repair', but I feel confident in stating with absolute certainty that I haven't suffered the least bit of damage from my first sexual experiences with that older boy - not as a child, and not now. On the contrary: I have always had a very normal and healthy sex life, perhaps even because of that first experience."

Tieleman's statement elicited a remarkably fierce response of Humo journalist Patrick de Witte, who bluntly stated that his colleague should have kept his mouth shut about the matter. The fact that this was about forced sex (at least, initially) was a reason for De Witte to attack the anecdote and to insist that Dirk Tieleman keep quiet about this to the media for the rest of his life. De Witte does bring up a point here: it's never justifiable to force someone to have sex. Yet, there seems to be something peculiar going on.

Such moral indignation was not heard when Marijn Devalck made an almost perfectly similar disclosure about his first sexual experience with a woman: "I was thirteen. I was seduced by a high-spirited eighteen-year-old. But I had no fricking idea how to deal with it. I didn't know what was happening. I thought I had peed in my pants. These are moments in life you never forget." When it involves a girl, a boy's first time is viewed as an adventure - when it involves another boy, it's seen as a problem. It's all right if it fits the hetero tough guy image. Then it's not called abuse of power, but high-spiritedness... Remarkable, no? And let's make things a little more complicated still: what if thirteen-year-old Marijn had not been seducted by a girl of eighteen, but if instead, eighteen-year-old Marijn had made advances to a pristine girl of thirteen?

source: 'Don't Speak!' by Yvan Brys; Roze AktieFront; OK magazine, no. 74; August 2000; Original title: "Tieleman op eenzame hoogte"; Translated from Dutch by C.C.; Roze AktieFront: February 2000