Thanks for taking the time to write out what I was thinking. I was foster parent to children who were survivors of sexual abuse, and have had my own rows to hoe as well.Hello Forum,
I originally didn't want to comment in this thread- I was just reading your opinions and found some of them very interesting and sensible. I agree with most people who argue that the aspect of their age isn't the damning part in itself but rather how unnessesairy if feels. I have no problem with the simple truth of life that kids entering puperty start to experiment and as I live in europe I feel like people are way more relaxed about it here anyways (child nudity is normal here on beachers, television etc- age of consent is 14- sex ed is widely available). But I do have to say out of fairness that I am quite socially conservative (in contrast to other posters anyway) just due to the fact that I work with with abused children that the goverment had to take out of their enviroment at home for 5 years now. And I feel that there are quite some misconceptions and dangerous opinions out there.. althought I respect that everyone can have their opinion. When I read the contribution/rant about sexual "repressive" society and victim shaming/ mental bagacke for something "normal" like a Bev having sex with six boys from deathclide i felt lime I had to comment.
Aside from the 'very' subtle implication that age doesn't matter when it comes to having group sex in this specific post ("If we are okay with reading this scene as an adult, then why should we feel ashamed if we were to see this happen in real life?") and some other gripes i have with this post that could be summed up with the words 'ideologic differences', I felt like there is a very important element to alot of arguments made in this and similair posts in defense of the scene:
When working with sexually abused children we often have to look out for certain behavioral problems. Self mutulation (cutting/burning skin) and other destructive behvaiors are often the easiest to spot anf combat. They are quite 'surface level' due to the fact that the children know it's a bad or anormal thing they do. But one of the more deep running problems of which I had no clue of when I started working with kids and families, was the degree of sexual activity in contrast to non-abused children. When children enter puperty they begin to experiment with things and might "put it in" out of curiosity but real sexual contact almost always develops in the later stages of puperty. Sure a 14 year old girl might have sex already but a 11-12 year old girl is most usually not on that level. At that age mutual touching is considered quite mature yet clumsy but still in the field of "normal" compaired to the average. They are NOT "sexually mature teens" as deathclide put it. The complete lack of understanding or nuance that different ages during puperty have in that posts is what made me write this. Kids entering puperty are not already in ful swing hormonal sex drive mode yet. They are on their way but not "gang-bang" level as someone else phrased it.
But children who were subject of sexual abuse by someone else in their life are often already way ahead of the curve. I don't want to get into details but I've seen young kids succeeding in encouranging other more innocent children to do things that I personally didnt know of untill my college years. Children are incredibly good at adapting to circumstances and a child that way abused might end up seeing these things as 'normal'. Infact once in a while we only suspect that there were elements of sexual abuse (additionally to for example physical abuse/beating from drunk parents) after we hear from other children about/or walk in on these troubled kids trying to do fishy things with other kids in the childrens shelter. Often after carefull probing we do find out that these kids "learned it from unclen jim" or wanted to try it out on others because it was done to them and most of the time the parents end up confirming our fears. Just because a 10 year old girl thinks this is how you make someone you like happy doesn't mean it's right- and even if they already begun to enjoy some of these things. They are children and not "small adults". There is a very important difference between the natural clumsy experimenting (which also goes on Im very aware of) and full mature sexual "skills"
Lots of words. But here is my point: I read the book before I started working with children and after (last year) and the first thing I had to think of last time was these most abused kids I work with. To me, especially after realizng that Bev's father probably directly or indirectly sexually abused her, it looks like Bev is acting out things she had been introduced to way earlier than she should have. Im not implying she was raped before but certainly her father was being fishy or maybe touchy about it. When I look at that scene I see all the elements as they happen in real life. Bev the only ne who was worried about rape/ sex that much the whole time coaxing the boys into something they didn't conciously want. She had to talk them into it as King puts it.Infact King even states so himself:Most of them were not even that developed (compairison of size) or didnt even ejaculate. None of the boys even thought of this as an option (group sex) nor did most know were to put it and most were unconfortable with this.
'She senses his eagerness, but it is tempered and held back by his anxiety for her, perhaps because only Bill and she herself realize what an enormous act this is, and how it must never be spoken of, not to anyone else, not even to each other.'
Maybe i'm biased because I walked in on a similair scene before during my work back in 2013 but it looks to as if Bev was somewhere subconciously affected by previous experiences in her life that made her initiate a situation that any normal child of her age wouldn't have thought of. For me this was very obvious anf I thought King a genius for carefully planting all the elements of this very subtle and quite dark turn in her character development during the entire book. I actualy thought King had quite some knowledge of troubled children and was trying to sneak in some more social commentairy (especially since I think this isnt the only time he touches on the topic of how children cope with sexual abuse). To me this scene was totally shocking ag first and I realy don't like it but I didn't think it was that 'unnatural' in terms of how real abuse victims behave. She is even mortified when the supresed memories of that incident pop up later during the 80s part. This element of supressed memories of traumatic things is another thing troubled people with a traumatic childhoods have to deal with.This of course stands in stark contrast to the above mentioned post which looks at 12 year olds engaging in group sex and sexual cohersion in a more relaxed light (again, i dont want to get into viewpoint/ideological arguments about whether or not children are being sexualy 'repressed' or indoctrinated into being less sexually aware etc-). To me all signs point to the fact that this was quite sly and educated attempt to add another layer of symbolism to this book; not mythical but alegorical.
Only after reading other comments on this scene I realized that I might be in the minority with this view. I understand the other interpretations on this too but in that case i'm puzzled as to why King had to describe the scene the way he didin the first place. Certainly King was aware of how shocking and disturbing this scene was when he even the adult versions of the kids invovled were shocked when remembering it. I kinda hope I wasn't totally deluding myself with seeing patterns in the sand that aren't there because of my job. Maybe i'm the one coping here and fiction isn't as dark as reality even when it involves child-murdering giant spiders.or why he used and described group-sex between kids (half of which cant or wont even ejaculate yet according to the text)
Pls tell me if you think my totally wrong and full of garbage - I can take it
Children who are used by adults for sexual gratification discover early how powerful sex is.
I can't say that I like this scene; I accept it. The way it pulls the reader back from the story is an echo of what Beverly senses as the connection frays between her and her comrades in arms. Could she have done something as effective? Maybe. But she is Bev, and her personal story is fraught with power and sex and so she used the most powerful thing she knew. The scene is uncomfortable for me to read, it's jarring, but it feels like exactly what Bev would do, because she believed it was the most powerful act, just like Bill believed in his rhyme and Stan believed in his birds. Bev used what she had in that moment, and this was what she had.
my lil two cents