I recently returned to the infamous San Francisco Folsom Street Fair after being away from the event for over 15 years; but, this time I was there, not as a reveler, but as a witness to the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ. Yet, curiously, amid the countless bodies of naked men, leather-clad “daddies,” and furiously masturbating twinks, I felt a strange sensation of Love for these people. Because, I once stood among them. In fact, at one of my last Folsom Street Fairs, I took part in an impromptu porn shoot inside one of the portable toilet stalls. Now, the landscape was just an overcrowded and stinking mass of lost humanity. For, back in my day, the porn stars were the main attractions; primarily, we were the only ones willing to take off all our cloths and have sex on the public street while hordes of onlookers took photos and stood gapping in disbelief. Now, everyone is a porn star: as few of the partakers and spectators arrived fully clothed, and most were willing to participate in the fetish demonstrations and street-side sex acts. And, it’s no longer shocking – BDSM is everywhere: from Rihanna’s single “S&M” and Britney Spears’ bondage inspired Las Vegas show to the global success that is “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It got me thinking: why has so much changed in the 20 – 25 years?

Currently, in the United States, 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18; some estimates have put this combined figure at 1 in 10 children. Why is this significant? As a former participant in the BDSM world, and as someone who experienced sexual abuse as a boy, I can testify that an inordinate number of bondage devotees are also child sex abuse survivors. This is a sad truth with abuse victims, who have not healed through the saving power of Jesus Christ, like those untreated for mental illness, oftentimes try to desperately repair themselves. In their quest for peace, they frequently seek out persons and situations which mirror the abuse they are trying to escape. This occurs because – by making the painful memory something freely chosen, and by associating with others who do the same thing, the abuse feels less burdensome and shameful; it can even deceptively become a source of pleasure. But, this is all trickery from the devil and his minions; and the germ is laid almost at the moment of the initial trauma; as it enters the unconscious mind during that horrific experience of violation and alienation; it’s a small, but reassuring voice that tells you it’s all okay. Then, as the unhealed person grows up, they do not want to feel alone; like they were the only one. Consequently, another phase of BDSM kicks in and those that have been abused become the abuser; then, you get to turn the whole thing around and experience power by inflicting someone else with the same pain you experienced. But, the elixir is fleeting and the crash unbelievable. In the end, you want to die. As for myself, the last foray into bondage took me to the very gates of hell; and only then did I realize that I had been deceived.