I watched “Leaving Neverland” the documentary with my 80 year mother. It was emotionally exhausting! We endured both Parts 1 & 2 in the same stretch of time. I couldn’t wait for Part 1 to end because it was painful to see the long term effects on the now men who were allegedly abused by Jackson. It was horrific to see and hear...Even for someone who specialized in work w/ survivors of sexual assault...where I have heard about the unthinkable sexual violence towards children...What I saw last night was absolutely crushing to witness but NOT unfortunately a surprise…I believed the boys when they first disclosed the abuse over two decades ago!
The years, the layers and layers of effort, manipulation and lies used by Jackson’s were absolutely sickening because HE USED HIS MEGA-STARDOM status to TO GROOM his obsessed child fans and their parents. His level of advantage was endless and he used this and struck parents to create constant access to boys. Some parents early on allowed their children alone with Jackson for an overnight in his bedroom!
Grooming is process used to gain trust of everyone to give the molester access to the child. It is the same grooming template priests used to lure a child and his family into his trap. What came to mind when they talked about this is the movie, I remembered a scene in the movie Spotlight, where the reporters from the Boston Globe uncovered the sexual abuse in the Boston Diocese. One victim described a priest coming to his house was like God coming to visit. AND the priest knows that.
My opinion about Michael Jackson during the initial allegations years ago was not popular even among some of the clinicians I worked with. I believed he did it. I felt because of Jackson’s complex history of severe child abuse and the pressures of child stardom, along with the pressures of the entertainment industry can produce a seriously dysfunctional, substance abuser. However, it does not necessarily mean they are a pedophile. Jackson also seemed to demonstrate a serious case of self hatred by continuously changing his face, hair and skin. We are talking major transitions. It was sad...However, his behavior could also be seen as someone who really just hates themselves and is giving kids something he did not have...And Jackson, he repeatedly used his lack of childhood to lure and manipulate both children and adults. Jackson assumed a child like persona to lure the children to the point their parents would defend him that he was just weird because he was famous as a kid....
Then there was his Neverland ranch-which was just over the top in an obnoxious kind of way, taking his lack of childhood to a new level. Yet, this still did not make Jackson a pedophile. However, they were serious red flags when the allegations started. It just didn’t seem right. He took advantage of a child’s dream to be his friend! He added to that dream when he invited them to the ranch for a sleepover. The sleepovers in his bedroom to me was really inappropriate.. When I think of sleepover, it is in the family room, den or basement. Everyone sleeps in one room. You do not go to the adult’s room and sleep in his bed. AND those invited to Jackson’s sleepovers were always pre-pubescent boys. Years ago, I clearly remember that Jackson was shown with boys, skipping through Neverland holding their hands. He was never in public socializing with women or girls.
Jackson took his attraction to prepubescent boy to a new level. For example, Jackson had a ongoing “relationships” that lasted years with at least two boys, now as adults admit they were abused by Jackson. Jackson communicated to his victims as though they were his peer: the way he expressed his feelings to the boys, stayed in touch, gave them work on his tour, wanted to sleep over their homes...It was a part of grooming both the children and their parents. Jackson became obsessed with boys. He would send faxes to one of the boys, he molested for seven years so many one day that they covered the floor with repeated messages like I LOVE YOU and the use of a pet name Jackson gave him, “Little One.”
Then, Jackson invited a boy with cancer to Neverland via Make a Wish Foundation. I remember the sick, bald boy in a yellow shirt and when I saw him on the movie, it turned my stomach. He was one of the boys who sued Jackson claiming he too, had been molested at the Neverland Ranch. It doesn’t get much worse then grooming the Make a Wish Foundation, a child with cancer and his mother...This is beyond horrific! Then, when Jackson was investigated for the allegations, the police found the secret doors in his home, a book of naked boys and testimony from his maid she found Jackson showering with the boys. I remember the cover of the book had a naked boy from the back standing on his tippy toes. This was still not enough for the public to begin to digest that the mega star did it!
Jackson’s desperation to hide the molester in him reached new heights with marriage to Lisa Marie Presley. I said it was an act to get the public to believe he was a straight male…The two victims in the film testified that Jackson told them he was going to have to marry a woman to keep from anyone finding out...ughhhh...
I think the strength shown by the two men who were abused as children by Jackson were absolutely incredible! They went really deep into details that must have been so hard to share with the world. And there is a price for EVERY sexual assault survivor who is willing to go public. Even today, these men are subjected to evil judgements and death threats.
The graphic description of what occured sexually was horrific! They both repeated things that were so hard to say. Things like, “Michael taught me how to masterbate,” or “He tongue kissed me in the shower.” Or “He tried to have anal sex with me.” Or “He had me spread my butt cheeks open so he could masterbate.” Some of the details they shared were verbatim. One of them also recalled each room at Neverland Ranch he had been sexually abused in.
The parents were groomed, they were seriously manipulated by Jackson’s calls made directly to them, making them believe he trusted them, was so lonely and NEEDED their friendships. He spent hours on the phone w/ the parents to gain the access he needed to molest their boys. He initated sleepovers their homes and they allowed it. It was all part of his ploy to gain long term access to these boys...The manipulation and planning Jackson did was monumentally dysfunctional and sickening…
I will share that as an adult I was groomed by a man who was a molester. I met him through his wife who I was friends with for a brief time. It would have never crossed my mind that he was sexually abusing his grandchildren. He was funny, charismatic and took my side especially when his wife was really mean to me. When I was told he sexually abused his grandchildren, I was devastated. I ran the times, I spent with all of them, over and over in my mind. I wanted to see if now I would have caught something suspicious. One thing is for sure-I BELIEVED THE KIDS!
This molester was left alone repeatedly with his grandchildren. I drove away from his house with his wife in the car and the two grandchildren he was accused of molesting were left with him for days, alone! When that memory clicked, I went into a tailspin..I was horrified and permanently traumatized! It took me three years to admit it to myself that he really was what he was and he groomed me...and that’s when I finally had an emotional breakdown...I felt so guilty for leaving the children alone in the house with him...This is a testimony of how the reality of sexual abuse can take years to process for an adult WHO WAS GROOMED not abused and had a professional background to understand what the hell happened...But this was not about my job, it was about my heart! It devastated me...it still does...
He pled guilty to sexual contact with a minor and his wife is still with him...
Seeing the movie, stirred up this terrible experience of mine! I felt sick and slept a lot the next day. I can’t seem to shake it. I am sure it has stirred up a lot of trauma for thousands of others that saw the movie. Even for someone that still believes Jackson is innocent, can be triggered by the in depth graphic descriptions by the victims.
As shown in the movie, it is clear how sexual abuse of children forever changes a child! It ruins their lives. It has broken their spirits! They can end up so confused about their own sexuality and how to have functional relationships. Most keep it a secret because it is too much for a little spirit to process what is happening or happened.
For these young men, it had to be so hard to share this with the world such graphic details about the years of sexual abuse at the hands of Michael Jackson! I am so moved by their stories! I hope now they can now move forward, do their best to heal and be the men they so deserve to be! Thank you! Wade & James-for your courageous strength to share your truth with the world! ~
It is NEVER too late to tell someone-you were molested, sexually assaulted or raped!
Write it down, shred it & burn it in a dish! Scream it, underwater or while in the car! Tell your bestie! Tell another survivor! Get it out!
Call the national hotline at 800-656-4673 or contact someone at their site: www.rainn.org to chat & get info!
Tara Pretends Eagle Weber is a citizen of the Standing Rock Tribe & a social worker who has specialized in advocacy, direct service with sexual assault victims & their families for almost three decades. She was the Administrator for the The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Ohio Rape Prevention Program and a certified law enforcement trainer in sexual assault investigation by The National Center for Women and Policing. Weber was hired by the Tucson Rape Crisis Center to train the Tohono O'odham Police Dept. at age 25 which at the time, she was one of the few Native American women in the country doing this specialized work.
Weber is also a social justice publicist for Native issues, women’s issues and for missing and murdered Indigenous women on an international level. She also writes a blog: www.lakotawomansvoice.com . She is an alumni of Bowling Green State University where as a student she started a support group for victims of sexual assault for students in 1990 which lead to working with campus police on this issue!