This was the title of my first work of fiction. I kid you not. I drew a comic entitled "The Torture Chamber for Babies" somewhere between the ages of 3 and 6. The storyline is simple, but telling: a baby who's crying and annoying her parents gets sent to an institution entitled The Torture Chamber for Babies, where she is subjected to severe spankings, constant shots, and the like, all in the hope that this will "reform" her and make her "behave". All it does, of course, is make the baby cry even harder, and annoy the parents even more upon her return. That's the moral of the story.
Now it looks like a representation of memories and possibly a cry for help. My mother took this comic to her office and showed it to her psychologist friends once when I went along with her to work. I knew even back then that there was something particularly unsavory about a child drawing something like this and with both shame and anticipation waited to see what their reactions would be. I don't remember that there were any.
Was she really just showing them this because I'd drawn "so well"? Really? I didn't believe it then. I believed she was disturbed by the contents and wanted opinions on why I'd draw such things. I wanted opinions on that too, because, as I said, I didn't really remember any form of physical abuse, I just had very vague and general apprehensions.
I remember being angry while I was drawing this, but my anger was directed at "those other bad parents who spank their kids". Not my own perfect parents.
I remember thinking the comic proved nothing, but kind of hoping someone, some colleague of my mother's, would ask me something, or act concerned. No one did.
There were many other comics with very similar subject matter that followed in the years to come.
If my child were now to become obsessed with depicting scenes of horrid abuse, instead of the houses and little girls and flowers and butterflies that she's drawing every day, you bet I'd get concerned! And try my best to get to the bottom of that!
I feel I'm slowly getting into dangerous, disturbing, horrifying territory here. A mixture of nausea, anger, and terror is welling up in my stomach. This is a good thing. In the words of James Joyce, "I'm almosting it."