Brandon’s review published on Letterboxd :
"I was younger than I thought of myself to be."
TW: Sexual abuse
I'm having trouble breathing as I type this, and my hands are still shaking a little bit. I feel sick watching it and my eyes water every few moments no matter how many times I wipe the tears away. It's too close to what happened and it hurts deeply to think about, even more than when watching Mysterious Skin.
In my review for Mysterious Skin back in November, I talked about being molested when I was around five years old (I can't remember exactly what age I was but it was give or take a year, five) and how I didn't know that this happened to me until I was 15. But there were other things that happened that I didn't realize were wrong until the past year or so.
When I was 12 I engaged in certain sexual activities (I'm not going to get too specific but, I am still a virgin) with a man in his late 20s/early 30s. He knew my age and didn't care. And at the time I didn't think that it should make any difference to him, I mean this is what I wanted right? I knew what I was doing? I was in control. I was 12. I was twelve years old. I was a sixth grader. I don't think of me being that young when I remember it happening. I felt so adult and in control. But, how could a 12 year old be in control of a situation with a grown man. And that wasn't the last time. There was an incident when I was 13 with a man in an alley next to my house. I was in control right? I, a thirteen year old, was in control while in a back alley at 10 pm with a grown adult? Of course I wasn't. And I can remember feeling like this was a great thing happening to me. I knew this wasn't happening to the other kids, I felt like I'd won the race to adulthood. I didn't think that being in these situations as a 12 year old would eventually send me on a path that got me into dangerous and violent sexual relationships as a teen. A moment where I thought I was in control lead to me losing control of so much of my life.
Like Jennifer I romanticized it. She remembers the fire being on, she remembers him loving her. She pictures herself so much more mature than she was, not realizing that she was prey and he was a predator, quite literally. I was weak and feigned strength because I wanted to be an adult and thought I understood the world of adults. I'm not at fault for being molested and I know that, but I do blame myself for the other instances. But this movie gives me some hope. I might never fully be unaffected by what I used to do, but I think I can find a way to live with it. Remember that it's something that did happen, not something that is happening.