Trinity La Fey reflects on the ubiquity of child abuse, the links between childhood trauma and addictive behaviors, the brain chemistry of pornography addiction, and the ways in which patriarchy is reproduced and transmitted from generation to generation through children.
by Trinity La Fey
“The first step in resisting exploitation is seeing it and knowing it and not lying about where it is sitting on you. The second step is caring enough about other women that if today you are fine and yesterday you were fine, but your sister, hanging from the tree is not fine, that you will go the distance to cut her down.”
– Andrea Dworkin, Woman Hating Right and Left
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During his 1981 interview regarding Boys for Sale, the documentary exposé on child sexual abuse in Huston, Texas, University History Professor Tom Philpott marveled that around the world, sexual predation of children is observed, but it is not accompanied by the “mayhemic violence” that is seen in America.
Dr. Robert Sapolski, in his Behavioral Biology Class at Stanford University, explains tournament species: who are competitive, non-monogamous maters; and pair bonding species: who mate for life. He describes our hyper-plastic human sexuality as being socially and biologically expressed somewhere between these two.
In When God was A Woman, Merlin Stone documents globally reoccurring Neolithic Goddess worship that included practices of priestesses taking youthful lover/son partners that were later ritually sacrificed. Especially in the chapter, “If The King Did Not Weep”, it becomes clear that widespread sexual predation of the opposite sex, in their youth, is an (or perhaps the most) effective way to ensure sex-based social dominion in a culture. As men attained more cultural power, gaining ritual access, especially in Anatolia, they did so by castrating themselves and wearing the long robes of women.
Jeffrey M. Masson related his discoveries of Sigmund Freud’s letters, in the possession of his daughter, Anna Freud, in Freud and the Seduction Theory, A challenge to the foundations of psychoanalysis, and how she had perpetuated her father’s abuse of women, through psychoanalysis, to discredit them further to themselves and society regarding the large-scale father/daughter incest that was occurring and debilitating his patients well past the years of the physical abuse.
Interviewed for the documentary series The Keepers, former student of Seton Keough High School, Jean Hargadon Wehner, wondered how her abusers knew she wouldn’t expose them; why they trusted her silence as completely as they did.
Dr. Gabor Maté said, in the interview with California Healthline: Addiction Rooted In Childhood Trauma, Says Prominent Specialist, “All addictions — alcohol or drugs, sex addiction or internet addiction, gambling or shopping — are attempts to regulate our internal emotional states because we’re not comfortable, and the discomfort originates in childhood. For me, there’s no distinction except in degree between one addiction and another: same brain circuits, same emotional dynamics, same pain and same behaviors of furtiveness, denial and lying.”
Detailing a near compulsory removal of foreskin during infancy, without anesthetic, the documentary American Circumcision explicitly reveals how the first sexual experience of most American males is a mutilating, traumatic abuse, the memories to which, they have no access.
Porn, Pseudoscience and DeltaFosB, published by yourbrainonporn.com, run by Gary Wilson, “lists 41 neuroscience-based studies (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, hormonal). They provide strong support for the addiction model as their findings mirror the neurological findings reported in substance addiction studies.” A follow up article: Unwiring & Rewiring Your Brain: Sensitization and Hypofrontality, Intro to neuroplasticity, explains the physical results of porn addiction. “Hypofrontailty means the frontal lobes are under performing. Structurally, this manifests as:
- Decline in gray matter (the cortex)
- Abnormal white matter (the communication pathways)
- Decreased metabolism or lowered glucose utilization”
Mohammedraza Esmail, in his article, What Porn Does to Your Brain and How to Quit, displays a common exculpation tactic in his misinterpretation of modern patriarchy as how humanity is (men are) hardwired, even as diagrams from his own article show the pornography addicted brain all but dissolved of frontal cortex: “While a husband and wife commit to being loyal to each other until the end of their days, evolution is laughing in the background. Because evolution doesn’t care about your life-long commitments. Evolution only cares about passing your genetic code to as many females as possible. Therefore, the brain is designed to want no female to be left unfertilized.” he posits, conflating limbic attention to novelty with the mass willingness to be complicit in sex crimes displayed by men.
But, as Sapolski and Maté both point out, only the traumatized, isolated or otherwise epigenetically triggered are disposed to addiction. “Nobody’s saying that every traumatized person becomes addicted. I’m saying that every addicted person was traumatized.” Maté clarifies.
When asked if the sale of children in his city was related to the legacy of trauma in the land on which it stood, Tom Philpot said it best:
“This subject has baffled me, from the time I first became aware of it, until this day. I can’t understand it and I’m trying very hard. As a historian, I know that this society, probably above all in the world and in the history of the world romanticizes childhood, but the historical record, child labor for one thing, indicates this society has not been good to children, has not protected children, and in fact is contemptuous of children, heartless to children, and they’re such helpless victims. Who can they go to? What constituency do they have? Nobody. The heartlessness that goes into it is certainly somehow connected with the heartlessness which ground up the Indians, black people, immigrant laborers, poor people in general, motivating the cuts in social programs today, blindness to the living reality of people’s situation. Yes, it’s connected. It’s about the most hair-raising thing I think I’ve encountered in studying the history of my country: the slaughter of the innocents and it goes on and on and when the public gets a hint of it, nothing happens. There doesn’t seem to be any willingness to make the connections and face them. It’s time we did.”
Trinity La Fey is a smith of many crafts, has been a small business creatrix since 2020; published author; appeared in protests since 2003, poetry performances since 2001; officiated public ceremony since 1999; and participated in theatrical performances since she could get people to sit still in front of her.
Tom Philpott, Boys For Sale Interview, 1981. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6mrC2NabIg.
Rober Sapolski, Behavioral Biology, Human Sexual Behavior I, Stanford University 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOY3QH_jOtE&t=2s.
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman, 1976, p. 149.
Jeffrey M. Masson, Freud and the Seduction Theory, A challenge to the foundations of psychoanalysis The Atlantic, February 1984. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1984/02/freud-and-the-seduction-theory/376313/.
Ryan White, The Keepers, s1:e4, Netflix, 2017.
Dr. Gabor Maté, Addiction Rooted In Childhood Trauma, Says Prominent Specialist, California Healthline, January, 2019. https://californiahealthline.org/news/addiction-rooted-in-childhood-trauma-says-prominent-specialist/.
American Circumcision, Brendon Marotta, 2018.
Gary Wilson, Unwiring & Rewiring Your Brain: Sensitization and Hypofrontality, Your Brain On Porn,
https://www.yourbrainonporn.com/tools-for-change-recovery-from-porn-addiction/rebooting-basics-start-here/unwiring-rewiring-your-brain-sensitization-and-hypofrontality/#hypofrontality, c. 1/5/2020.
Mohammedraza Esmail, What Porn Does to Your Brain and How to Quit, August, 2020,
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