Mysterious Skin – Full Movie
Any thinking person must realize there is no simple answer to the nature/nurture debate, but rather an inextricable combination of the two. I hold there is also a third piece, how one’s nature responds to the respective environment, which may vary depending on circumstances and available resources for support as well.
I’ve been known to say that violent child abuse is preferable to sexual abuse in some ways, since the latter confuses ideas of love and affection. But I possibly spoke out of line having never been violently assaulted (I don’t pretend to begin to fathom the effects of abuse that was both violent and sexual). What I can say with certainty is that childhood sexual abuse has absolutely given me cause to mistrust my loving and affectionate feelings, never being convinced they wouldn’t result in more strife, grief, estrangement, loss and chaos. And so they have, over and over and over again. It has made me ashamed of my not-inconsiderable desireability, in much the same way Oprah has claimed her eating disorder stemmed from her sexual abuse, in order to make herself undesireable to her victimizer and to protect her. And we aren’t exactly the only ones; the stats on childhood sexual abuse are shocking- about 25%. If anyone who knew me ever reads this, they might recall my mentioning that it seems I’ve known more people who were victims of it, than not.
The following full-length movie starring Joseph Gordon Levitt is horrifying in its realism, and is as incredibly sad as it is touching. I felt it was important to share with those who are ignorant of the long-term effects of sexual abuse and who would misjudge its victims. As ugly and unpalatable as this subject is, I do believe the more it is discussed and exposed, the less it shames and stigmatizes us. Roger Ebert astutely notes in his review for the Chicago-Sun Times of Mysterious Skin: “It is not a message picture, doesn’t push its agenda, is about discovery, not accusation. Above all, it shows how young people interpret experiences in the terms they have available to them.”
“Where normal people have a heart, Neil McCormick has a bottomless black hole.” – Neil’s soul-mate Wendy
“There are some among us who live in rooms of experience we can never enter.” – John Steinbeck
Edit: This movie is no longer available at the youtube link above but is available at Netflix and Hulu. .