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Leaving Neverland, Wherever You Are

Lots of TV talking heads screaming about how shocked they are that the adults in HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” documentary all seem to have just gone along with Michael Jackson’s predation; but sexual predators are experts at grooming entire families, and it happens slowly, over time.

This was certainly the case with what happened during my own youth. These people can sense when space exists between a child and their parents, perhaps created from previous abuse, neglect, some other type of trauma, or a need that isn’t being met at home, and they shapeshift to fill that empty space, meeting the need — not just for the victim in their sights, but for all of the grown-ups around that child. It’s easy to judge looking in from the outside, but make no mistake: These parents and families are victims of the monster, too.

When I was 16 I had a much older teacher start showing me special attention and eventually openly seduce me during a summer art program for teens that I was attending at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and literally nobody gave a shit. Grown-ups offered me rides to and from this man’s house, where he regularly fed me and my underage friends drugs and alcohol, and had sex with me. None of this happened in the shadows. I was openly sleeping over at this teacher’s house, in his bed, showering in his master bathroom. Nothing was a secret; not to his friends, roommates, family, and coworkers — and not to mine.

When I started as a freshman at PNCA that following year we were in a “relationship” and all of the adults in my life and at the school (where he still worked) just accepted it. I do not recall anyone ever asking me about my 17 year old well-being or the inappropriate nature of this relationship, even as I ultimately dropped out of school and had to move to a new city because of this guy’s behavior.

I would have told you I was fine at the time if you had asked, and I stood by the narrative that it had all been my choice for years after…but I know better now. I was almost 18 when our relationship ended, and still very much a minor. I was a minor the entire time. That’s not normal, and it’s not legal, but I’m telling you: No one cared. It absolutely seemed normal to all of us at the time, for some inexplicable reason, and it took me years to realize the magnitude of what had occurred.

I know my family would handle the whole thing entirely different now (as would I) and we talk openly about how impossible it is for any of us to even imagine how it could ever have felt normal, but back then I really did think I wanted to be there, and I believe everyone involved just trusted that, and trusted that this man, this teacher at my new school, had my best interest in mind.

He didn’t.

And the man who hurt me and my family who first created that space between us when I was very young didn’t.

And, while I realize it’s a bummer for your nostalgia soundtrack and record collection, Michael Jackson didn’t, either.

This is not some celebrity phenomenon. It’s what all predators do.

WAKE UP.

Category: Addiction and Recovery, Behavioral Health, Celebrities, Health & Wellness, Hollywood, life, Logan Lynn, Los Angeles, Mental Health, News, Official Statements, Oregon, Portland, Uncategorized

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Rich and Beautiful

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