Tonight I went to a movie. X-men First Class. I expected to escape into a different world for a bit and enjoy someone’s vision of what life is like. What I didn’t expect was to hear the voice of a 5 or 6 year old in the theater. A pg-13 movie has much more violence than I personally would show my kid at 13, let alone 6. But I am not writing to harp on about that. About half way through the film, I heard the boy say he needed to go to the bathroom. The father began to chastise him and make threatening gestures and comments to him in hushed tones. I thought about reporting the man, but instead I prayed for them both, especially for the protection of the young boy. I’ve trained my mind to bypass all of the judgements that I used to throw at the father, who, let’s face it was being abusing and playing the victim to his young son’s bladder. The father relented and in “victim fashion” took the boy out to pee. The man was 6 foot and at least 230 pounds. 6 times the size of this little boy.
After the film, I happened to be behind them during the walk to the parking lot and I heard the man and his eldest son, maybe 12… big kid, interogating the little boy. Asking, “Why can you watch an entire movie and home, but when we go to a theater you have to leave?’ I thought to myself, “Maybe because he’s just a little boy and the massive movie screen with all that violence is overwhelming… or maybe he’s just a little kid who needs to move to get the stimulation out of his body.” What ever the reason, I prayed for that little boy and his older brother who was learning from the father how to bully his sibling.
I thought, this is why there is a small group of us who have started Violence Anonymous. Because 10, 15, 20 years from now, those two boys, or people who grew up in similar abusive situations will need VA, just like we do today.