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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

a hard look at the devastation of child abuse

9/10
Author: Jay Harris (sirbossman6969@yahoo.com) from United States
6 December 2000

This film was made in 1982, I finally saw it. I must tell you it is a most devastating docu-drama on child abuse. We have a film student who is making a documentary about child abuse & he meets a lad of 14 who has been badly & viciously abused by his parents.Both the film student & lad are both gay . We learn about the lads abuse & other abusers (parents who abuse the small children in public playgrounds) as the story develops we all realize the lad & film maker are falling in love. This film is harrowing & sometimes hard to watch. BUT see it. You will be enthralled as I was. Jay Harris

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Seared into my memory

8/10
Author: Grand from United States
27 February 2005

I first saw this film at a special screening in 1982 or 1983, and it is so burned into my memory that NOTHING that Raphael Sbarge has done since can supplant some of the scenes from "Abuse," which is not to disparage his 21 years of subsequent work, but to praise this film. I have made it a point to try to see EVERYTHING else Sbarge has appeared in because I was so awed by "Abuse."

SPOILER: I am using "hot" terms to describe this movie because of one scene in particular, in which Thomas is pinned to the floor by his parents and burned with a lit cigarette. The scene is unbelievably shocking and demonstrates the horrible abuse which is too often visited upon Gay kids.

One of the saddest things about "Abuse" is the number of people who will find the relationship between Thomas and Larry (the Gay man who tries to rescue him) to be somehow "more abusive" than the torture of Thomas by his parents!

This is not a film for the squeamish, but I highly recommend it.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

An effective way to prove a point (possible minor spoilers)

Author: chris (christophaskell@hotmail.com) from Premiere Video (Dallas, Tx)
16 September 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

On the surface level, this film is quite disturbing, because while preaching out against child abuse it is simultaneously showcasing a form of child molestation. Larry (Richard Ryder) is a filmmaker working on a documentary showing the horror of child abuse, and is portrayed, quite effectively by Ryder, as a man who is compassionate towards his cause. Enter Thomas (Raphael Sbarge in his screen debut), a 14 year old victim of child abuse who is looking for help. Instead of calling the authorities for Thomas, Larry decides to use him as a subject in his documentary, entitled 'A Child in Jeopardy'. As the film progresses, the director/subject relationship develops further than intended, all the way into a love 'affair' between the man and young boy. While it is entirely consensual, the viewer can't help but feel uneasy as this young boy reaching out for love and attention is, more or less, taken advantage of by Larry. In the documentary there are comments regarding the emotional state of an abused child, and how they tend to love the abuser and come to depend on them. Despite the love that he proclaims on having for his parents, Thomas finds emotional security in Larry, and mistakes it for passion. I think Bressan did an excellent job at showing how irresponsibly Larry was acting, through an unbiased lens, and how Thomas was moving from one emotionally traumatizing situation to the next, in complete naivety. By not stating, in the film, an opposition to Larry's behavior, the audience is left to judge how they feel. At the same time, the way in which Bressan constructs the story, he does not leave any room for the viewer to condone what Larry is doing. Overall, this was a well crafted story, speaking on two different levels about the danger of abuse, and despite the bad acting (in most parts beside the principal characters), and horrible opening sequence, this film had quite a bit to offer. Rating: 26/40

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The First Honest Look at Abuse I Saw

10/10
Author: johndt41 from United States
19 January 2014

Arthur J Bressan Jr started out making gay porn but before his death from AIDS he made two commercial films. The second one is Buddies which is about the buddy system developed to help infected people in the early days of the epidemic. His first commercial film is Abuse and he based it on an episode in his own life. As in the film Bressan met a teenage boy who was being abused. They became lovers. The boy was abused for years by his parents. The abuse became so severe Bressan feared the boy would be killed so he moved the two of them to a different city keeping their identities hidden.

I was abused by parents and others from birth so I have seen it all. As an abuse survivor I longed for years for a movie about my experiences with my family and others. I didn't have the family the priests and nuns said I had in Catholic School. In fact, the nuns and priests were not the nice people they claimed to be either. There are little touches in this film that are clues that it is based on fact. When the boy talks about the sessions in which his father burns him and he can tell when it is about to happen because that is when his mother strengthens her grip on him as an abuse survivor I recognized this detail as being the kind of detail a non survivor would not think of.

Bressan spares no one including himself: He has one of the characters say about him something he knows to be true: That by having a sexual relationship with the boy he went from being the boy's savior to being his molester. Child abuse is not just a series of trauma events; child abuse is an entire environment in which the child is betrayed by those who are supposed to care for him. All the child's needs are ignored, the child is not kept safe and the abusers maintain an appearance that prevents the child from getting help. Abused children do not fall through the cracks; we are stomped through and Bressan shows how it is done. It is for this reason I give his film a 10.

After the move I read that Bressan helped the boy stabilize his life and eventually the boy met someone age appropriate. I salute Bressan his courage and humility.

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1 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Pedophiles will love this movie; others won't!!

Author: djah67 from Canada
28 August 2001

Be warned I might be spoiling the plot a little.

I watched this movie last night. I must admit it disturbed me. The film states that it is about a film student who is doing a film about child abuse and meets a 14 year old boy who is being physically abused by his parents. He wants the boy to star in his film. Both the film student and the young boy are gay. They eventually fall in love and have a physical relationship.

While watching this movie I couldn't help but wonder. Is this about child abuse or pedophilia? The scenes of abused children are shocking, and not for the faint of heart. However; I get the impression the child abuse plot line is secondary to the love affair plot line. The film student (who's in his late 20's) wants to save the boy from his abusive parents. Parents you barley ever see on screen. However; he ends up sexually molesting the boy instead. This is how you save a child in jeopardy?

The moral of this movie teaches that falling in love with a child and having a sexual relationship with that child is all right. I myself am not gay; however; I don't think the gay community would agree to this.

If you are a pedophile you'll love this movie. The rest of us should keep as far away as possible.

It's sad when we can call the sexual abuse of a child art.

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