1. I was assaulted by a grown man in a public pool shower when I was 12. He compelled his son, who was younger than me, to watch.
I mention these details because every single aspect of healthy male sexuality is scrambled for me, even now at 30. Things are better now, but if I’m too passive, or too horny, or too surprised by any sexual situation, my mind will flash back to that afternoon and I’ll either relive it through my own eyes or be terrified of resembling the predator dad.
While I have benefited from sympathetic therapists, I can count the number of people I’ve told on one hand (and told nobody, to my unfortunate shame, until I was almost 20). The stigma of being a child rape victim as a man is a scourge– being seen as a potential sexual predator simply because I was targeted by one myself.
2. I was kidnapped by my father, and tortured, molested and sodomized for over a week while it took getting state police across multiple states to get me back. There isn’t a news report of this, I’ve already checked. The worst part, my mother never believed me, and I while I wasn’t ever too afraid to talk to people about it, I never can tell anyone how deep the pain runs.
Even when you think you are a success, no matter how many mountains you climb, or what you accomplish, it is still overshadowed by your past. When you talk to other people they have no idea how deeply the pain runs through you. What it does, the power that it carries. Even as someone who is viewed externally as being successful, I still feel like a failure at anything. I don’t want to give too much away, because i don’t want this traced back to me.
A simple, senseless act from another person, turns you into a zombie. You fake emotion to others, you fake your attitude, but what really rattles around inside of your head is something that can’t be described. Such overwhelming, crushing force that is involved with everything.
Sexuality wise, I’ve still a virgin, and I’m in my late 20s. I don’t even know who to look at, what I’m attracted to, what gender, what sexual roles, etc. I don’t have a mental construct or feeling of what love is, that side of me is very dead. I fake it that I suck at relationships when talking to others, but the truth is, I feel pain for not being a success at them, but I’m largely emotionless at the actual connection of love. I haven’t ever had anyone in my life that really had that bond with me. I’ve had mentors, sure, close friends as well. But a romantic relationship, I have no idea of what that is like.
3. The absolutely secrecy behind it all and how much it can change your personality. In general and by my family in particular.
When I was 10 or 11, my mom, her best friend, my brother and sister and I were at the beach not too far from where we lived. We were the little shopping area by this particular beach, it was about 2 blocks square of the typical kitschy beach side shops with apartments on the second story you’d find in the early 80’s. While looking at shoes through a window, this Hispanic guy walks up to me.
“Hey, you look like a strong guy, I need help moving something out of the door by my apartment around the corner, can you give me a hand real quick?”
Being the helpful kid I was, I told him yes. We go around the corner and he goes through this door and its the place where they keep the dumpsters. He points to the door that leads into the building.
“You first, you can squeeze by the rug and push it out.”
As I move by him, I feel him touch my head and everything goes dark as he slammed my head up against the dumpster. I come too at some point, and realize I am bent over something and there is a sharp pain in my ass. I manage to turn my head to look back as I see a fist coming and everything goes dark again.
I wake up and look around. My shorts are around my ankles, its dark and stink in the room, the taste of blood in my mouth and he’s no where to be seen. I pull up my pants and walk outside to see my mom and siblings just down the street. They’d been looking for me for about 10 min. I tell mom what happened while her friend kept my bro and sis away, she grabs a towel, wipes away the blood and tears on my face, and she puts us all in the car to drive home.
I am immediately put into the shower and told to scrub everything. My mom sits on the toilet and tells me never to tell anyone what happened ever. She tells me what happened was bad and to forget it ever happened. If anyone asked about the bruises on my face and neck, I slipped going into the pool It was the summer and I was usually covered in bruises from doing typical 11yo boy stuff anyway. After probably 20 min in the shower, scrubbing myself multiple times I get handed a towel and clean clothes.
That was the last time my mother spoke or acknowledged what happened. My mom or her friend didn’t go to the police, hospital or anything. There was no consulting or support. Hell, I don’t think my father got told what happened. He probably saw the bruises and figured I did something stupid, which I was known for in the best of circumstances.
After that, my personality changed. Neighbors commented how much I’d withdrawn and wasn’t my usual helpful self. I overheard my mom and our elderly neighbor talking about my personality change not too long after the incident. She told my mom it was normal for boys to do that as they approach puberty and that I’d be fine. So as far as anyone knew my personality change was just puberty.
Time went on and I’d like to say it didn’t affect me at all. I don’t have nightmares about it or anything. I can’t stand the smell of dumpsters or landfills without getting panicky. I don’t go out of my way to help people any more, especially people I don’t know. In a way its made it hard for me to make friends, especially guy friends. The number of people who I’ve told I think I can count on 1 hand, maybe 1 finger on the second. I carry my wounds deep and try not to make it a big issue. I don’t act the victim. Not because mom told me too, but because I am stronger than that and living in fear only let’s that guy win.
My mother went to her death bed never talking to me about that day that happened 30 years earlier, same with my mom’s friend. As far as they were concerned, it never happened. I’ve have thought it was my imagination because of how people handled it. But that little divot under my eye from where he punched me and chipped part of the bone is a daily reminder when I look in the mirror.
male sexual assult is a thing. But its treated as something lesser because it is a guy. Rape is rape regardless of the gender of the rapist and victim.
4. My brother’s older friend molested me twice when I was around 11 or 12? He was 15….The actual fact that it happened is what people don’t know about. I am 26 and my current partner is the third person in the world to know about it. For me, I knew I was gay from a young age and was worried if I told people they would think that the situation “made” me gay. Ironically after it happened I remember running up to my room and crying from relief because I did not like it and thought that meant I was straight….Turns out I just didn’t like rape.
5. No one takes me seriously about it. I was made to feel like garbage, so I just don’t talk about it anymore.
Once a year I obsessively try to keep tabs on him. For 24 hours it just sits in my brain until I do it. This last time I found out he moved back into the area. He’s a convicted rapist too, but I didn’t know that originally. Also a sociopath, theres a literal transcript of him trying to get taken off the sex offender registry where both the court expert and his own expert said he’s either socially naive or without remorse. He isn’t naive, he knows what he does.
He’s getting fat and old and bloated, so hopefully no one will let him get near them anymore.
6. That it’ll fuck you up for years to come. I was a little kid when my older cousins boyfriend started coming around the house, and they dated for three years. I actually have to make a solid effort to not be homophobic now that I’m an adult. My knee jerk reaction when I see two men is to throttle them. I fucking hate myself.
7. When i was 2 my mom left my dad and started dating (unbeknownst to her) a sadistic pedophile. This man beat me raped me and starved me for 2 years. I still remember it all very vividly and he also did these things to my mom and is also the father of my (recently deceased) sister. The ptsd I endured (And still struggle with) were hell and I’m lucky to be a functioning adult. However i still hear jokes every single day about how horrible men are and how men can’t be raped and these comments kill me every single time. People suck regardless of gender and anyone can be raped.
8. I was raped when I was 5 years old. I was in the hospital having my tonsils out. The night before the surgery a man came into my room and raped me orally and anally. He told me “if I talked to anyone he would have to come back in the middle of the night while I was sleeping and kill my parents”. My 5 year old mind read this as don’t talk to anyone anymore or my parents will be killed. I had the surgery the next morning and of course I couldn’t talk. So I just stopped talking to people and would only speak to my parents by whispering in their ear. I’m guessing my parents thought this change in behavior was because of the surgery. Throughout my life I never told anyone what happened. One day I was driving along in the car and it suddenly dawned on me that I was 50 years old and I had never told anyone about that night. I turned to my wife and started telling her what happened, with tears streaming down my cheeks.
I realized I been following my rapist’s instructions for 45 fucking years!!! Well, now I do talk about it but only on rare and in appropriate situations. It’s a weird thing. I really don’t have any emotions about it, I don’t have any hatred, I don’t feel afraid but when I tell the story tears always come to my eyes because it makes me sad to think of it happening to me as a child. Sort of like seeing a family pet hit by a car, it’s just something you carry with you for ever.
The experience of rape imprints a pain/sadness we wear for life. In my case I can’t say how it changed me because I’ve never known anything else. I only wish I was my attackers sole victim but I realize that’s not likely.
Life is a strange uncertain journey but we walk the path that lies before us.
8. Just how fully it fucks you up. I was raped multiple times as a child and I’ve never had a real friend in my life. I’m constantly aware of it in a college environment and usually go to bed highly suicidal.
I’m at an age where no one wants to deal with helping someone learn basic social skills, so I feel screwed despite innumerable efforts. I’ve been kicked/iced out of multiple university clubs. There was only one survivor group thing in my hometown and I wasn’t allowed in there either. Something about male presences triggering other victims, which really didn’t do me any good.
I also feel indescribably lonely. I’ve never so much as held hands with a girl and will probably die a virgin through no fault of my own. I envy that people don’t know about this.
9. The stain never goes away. Never. You can’t drink it away, you can’t scrub it away, you can’t pretend it away, therapy and medication can only do so much. The stain is always there. Even if you somehow manage to drug yourself enough and so many times that the original memories of it are gone, the hole is there, and you know the shape of it and the feel of it as well as you used to know the smell of their breath and the feel of their hands. It’s kind of like having the bed to yourself right after the end of a long-term relationship, in that the person is gone, but their absence might as well be them due to all the emotions it triggers.
I’m not doing a great job of explaining this. You are forever marked. You either have the memories, or the hole where the memories used to be, or you have them repressed (but never well enough to get away from triggers, because they’re everywhere, only this way you don’t understand why you feel panic and shame and hate and all of that when certain things happen, only that you do, so you get another healthy helping of helplessness…). There will always be triggers, and the only thing that will change is the intensity of the response, and this isn’t always predictable. Sometimes a trigger that you think you’ve overcome (or as close as you can get to that) hits you like it’s the first week after. Out of fucking nowhere. And you might never figure out why. The next day, the same trigger might do next to nothing. It’s infuriating.
Then we have sex. Male victim of a male monster, here. Too passive and I feel like a victim again, too aggressive and I feel like a rapist, even if the person states in no uncertain terms they prefer it a certain way and I’m into it at the time. Sometimes it just hits me after, and that’s always fun. Explain why I’m suddenly upset and ruin the mood? Hide it and have to wear a mask in front of one of the few people I’ve allowed to get this close? Neither are appealing choices. Have a person who already understands and loves me and is fine with it? Yeah, okay, assuming I believe them, which is hard enough, I now have someone who is dealing with something they shouldn’t have to because I had to deal with something I shouldn’t have had to, and even if they say they don’t mind and they love me and all the other “right responses”, the guilt is still there. Why choose me, when there are other partners without these hangups? Maybe I avoid these situations entirely? Well, now I’m unfufilled sexually. He’s still in control, because his crime is still influencing what I do, and don’t do, and seek out, and avoid. No appealing choices. Even not playing isn’t the winning move, because every move of every piece is on a board that will FOREVER have his fucking mark on it, because of what happened.
Or maybe you go the casual-sex, fuck-everyone, rape-isn’t-as-big-a-deal-if-sex-isn’t route. You can’t fuck it away. That feeling of empowerment some people get from this? That’s still in relation to the original act that made you, rather us, choose this. No choice in a vacuum, no future decision unmarked by what came before, as far as sex goes.
Then there’s the whole thing where many predators were victims themselves. Yes, most victims don’t go on to become monsters, but knowing this stuff is like knowing you have a genetic predisposition towards alcoholism: yeah, forewarned is forearmed, and it won’t happen to you, but maybe one month you drink a bit too much, or you find yourself looking at stuff that, while totally legal, is still perhaps leaning a bit too uncomfortably in the direction of that potential you. For clarification, no, not child pron or drawn images of children or anything like that, just bdsm and fresh-18 stuff. There are lines I don’t cross. But then I wonder, did he have lines he didn’t cross, and he just kept leaning and and leaning and leaning until he fell face-fucking-first into that abyss? So you stop and go vanilla, or cold turkey. Again, the control is still there. You still feel the hand, the weight, as it influences your decisions. There is no getting away from it.
Oh, and the response to unexpected physical contact. No, I don’t dislike you (probably, I mean, fuck some people), I might even love you, but that brief moment where you startled me and I looked like I wanted to hurt you? I didn’t, I wanted to hurt him, but for that moment you were him, even though you weren’t. Over two decades of therapy and I’ve mostly been able to work through this with relationships, but sleeping over is still something that needs work at first. I’ve gotten pretty good at pretending to be asleep, partly from watching other people sleep (creepy, I know), because if I wake up and I see someone within arm’s reach of me, near me in that vulnerable state, and I don’t immediately know who they are and that they’re “safe” and all that shit? My brain sees Him. So the first handful of nights I spend “sleeping” next to someone, I’m lying. I’m lying to them, right after they let me get that close to them, and I’m spending hours and hours trying to train myself to instantly react “Person X good, person X not going to hurt you” just so I can fall asleep holding them or in their arms.
You know, I thought this would be cathartic. It’s not. Sometimes it is, but not right now. Think I’m done for tonight.