Two years ago, I interviewed with Paul Gilmartin for the The Mental Illness Happy Hour and first spoke of a particularly horrendous ordeal I lived through as a child.

From a family photo, 1971

From a family photo, 1971

Two years ago, I interviewed with Paul Gilmartin for the The Mental Illness Happy Hour and first spoke of a particularly horrendous ordeal I lived through as a child. This particular method of torture is one I've not since heard of, perhaps because it wouldn't kill a person, and requires means and connections as far as collecting the instruments. What is most staggering is the time and effort this perpetrator, whom I considered "the boss" of the network - a high ranking Belgian politician - went through to win this "game" which he had started to play with me a few weeks earlier, in a small room where we were alone in the night, when he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye, like we were going to play a game, and then brutally hit me in the face with closed fist. He proceeded to beat me up, and the game, it appeared, was that I should withstand the blows without screaming.

This I did, and even enjoyed, because I had plenty of willpower, and endorphins flooded my body and I didn't feel any pain - I just felt the pleasure of winning. Even when he lifted me up and threw me against the wall, the left side of my body hitting the surface, before I fell hard on the floor, I held out, with little concern for my injuries, completely focused only on not giving in, not reacting, not screaming as he wanted. It even seemed easy. Though he of course had initiated the game, he did not like what happened. After we made eye contact when I was down on the floor, and saw me undefeated, he said, as though in disgust: "Just put your clothes back on. There's nothing to be done with you. You're too dead." When he said that, I felt bad, afraid I was dead. I certainly did not expect that the game was not yet finished for him. A few weeks later, my mother kept me home from school, which was never a good sign. She drove me that morning to a villa, where I was met by the boss and one of his gophers. They led me to the basement. The gopher carried a large carton box.

They put me in a coal cellar, and the gopher opened the box and threw the contents at me - thousands of biting insects, which I later identified as clawed female stag beetles. I screamed, and the boss and his gopher laughed. I was instantly overtaken by a benign, loving presence which guided me to calmness. I could see that these were creatures taken out of their natural environment, and as this awareness entered, I also didn't feel the pinches so much anymore, and the beetles began to dissipate. My calm state was not interesting to the adults, who left me alone in the cellar to deal with the beetles. I knew the boss had gotten me there that day so he could win the game. He went through a whole lot of trouble winning that little game of his with a child sex slave, and yet when he was around me he always acted like I took up too much space for the world, as if I wasn't worth the time and attention. That was his projection, from his fear that he was more worthless than everyone else, even the worthless little slave girl.

That was why he had climbed through the ranks from his humble beginnings to a place of high power, and why he needed at all cost to win the game, again and again, no matter what the cost. Losing the game for him meant feeling his fear, which he could only perceive as weakness, and it had to be avoided at all cost. He was the one who felt dead inside, and lived like a cardboard stick figure, protected by layers and layers of arrogance and aggression. This was a well respected, popular politician, and I'm sure it's very hard to understand that someone you may have voted for would buy large biting insects to make a little girl scream, but that is what he did, perhaps using tax dollars.

That is the dark side of power I want to warn everyone about. Anyone at the top of ladder should be scrutinized. We should wonder about every politician, every 1 percenter, every celebrity, how they would fare if they lost their status or their billions. Would they still be the humble and gracious person we may believe they are if they weren't adored by the masses? Would they have that natural authority if we didn't give them our power? Would they really be as jovial and caring about human rights issues if they weren't protected by their walled-in homes and private transportation? Because the fact that someone wears the mantle of power alone should make us wonder to which degree that person is lacking in self esteem, and to which degree they have sold their soul for that position. We constantly contribute to the status quo by blindly believing authority figures. We are in an important time in history right now, where power is questioned as never before. Let's be with the times and contribute to the quiet revolution, by keeping our eyes open.

M Becker