I apologize if I repeat anything or if I ramble or my thought process trails off and doesn't make sense, a lot of this was written at different times and different levels of anxiety. I also apologize for the length of this post, I just felt like I needed to mention a lot of things to really tell my story and the effects the abuse has had on me.
I'll refer to my abuser as J.
From what I can recall, it started out as a show-and-tell type encounter. We had gone back to his parents' house to change out of our swim shorts after an afternoon of swimming, and because of the small layout of their house and the fact that he said the bathroom was messy and not working, we changed in the same room. I figured we would just face opposite directions and it would be over very quickly and would be no different from changing at the YMCA. But he had turned around and started asking questions. He would ask if my penis shrunk in the water like his and wanting to compare what they looked like. Because I'm not circumcised and J was, he was very curious about that, asking me why my penis looked weird and if it hurt to pull back my foreskin. (*That was the start of my insecurity over being uncircumcised and always feeling different*). I don't remember there being any touching during that first encounter, but every other one after J would push my boundaries further than before.
- The next time I went over to play with his Sega Genesis which he had just gotten (it was either a birthday or Christmas), we played for a few hours and his Mom had gone into her room to take a nap or left to do grocery shopping (she was not a great parent and often left her kids unsupervised for long periods of time without telling them where she was). That's when he saw an opportunity to start the sexual exploration again. So J turned off the Genesis and told me he wanted to show me something in his room. Once in his room, he quickly changed subjects back to our penises and wanted to see mine again. I felt very weird and embarrassed by that and he said that he just wanted to look. So I cautiously obliged, and he started touching my penis. I would move my body away and move his hand away, but that didn't deter him. He would stop and threaten to tell his Mom that I kept pulling my pants down in front of him or that I was trying to steal something, some lie like that. His mother was a very intimidating woman who was loud and strong and would often physically punish her children for disobedience, so I was very afraid of her and believed that I would be on the receiving end of her punishment if I didn't do what he said.
- He would combine that threat with hitting me in the arm or leg if I didn't comply as well. He asked if my penis ever grew or got hard. I answered with only sometimes, and then noticed that he had taken his erect penis out of his pants. He told me to stroke my penis to make it grow so we could compare them, and after a few minutes of awkward touching I too had an erection. Once my penis was hard, he would put his hand on it and start stroking and ask if it felt good. I felt so ashamed, dirty and guilty during the whole ordeal; on one hand, the sensation of my penis being stroked felt good, but the situation felt very wrong. But I felt trapped and believed there was no way to stop what was happening or leave. He had so much power over me and knew exactly what to say and do to keep that power over me. I feel so ashamed and stupid to have let all of that happen to me. He would use any opportunity and tactic to do what he wanted with me. He started offering me pornographic magazines as payment for doing what he wanted and would let me see some porn on VHS he had stolen from his grand father's (or so he said). He kept up his threats of telling his Mom or my parents all sorts of lies, but I just felt like I had no ground to defend myself (his word against mine) and it terrified me to think what my parents would say if they found out what was going on (he had made me believe that I would be blamed for everything and I didn't even want to think what the consequences would be). I guess I looked at the porn as something I could enjoy and focus on while he had his enjoyment.
I would tell him that I didn't feel comfortable touching each other, and he would start with the threats and tell me that it didn't matter anymore anyways because we were gay, "why else would you let me touch your penis and touch mine?" he would say. "Just deal with it." He would tell me to start masturbating to the porn, sitting next to me doing the same thing. Then he started giving me oral sex and telling me to touch him at the same time, hitting me if I didn't comply right away or objected at all. When he got tired of that he'd tell me to get on my knees and put his penis in my mouth. I was an emotional blank slate by then, like I would be for ever subsequent abuse. I would disassociate myself from the present and have my mind be somewhere else completely. When he was done with me, I'd quickly walk or bike back to my house, always looking at the ground and feeling so much guilt and shame. I held back my tears long enough to run up to my room and then spent much of the remainder of the day in my room crying or hiding under my blankets. I was so confused and scared. I felt like I couldn't tell my parents and was afraid that having been sexual with J meant that I was gay and really messed with my sexual identity for the next few years. I knew at my core that I was heterosexual and was only attracted by girls, but couldn't separate what I done with him to convince myself otherwise. I avoided any contact outside of classroom friendliness with the opposite sex for fear that they would find out and think that I was gay. (*This essentially continued even until post-secondary, though at that point there were also more things keeping me from pursuing relationships*)
- There was one day when I about 10 or 11 when his Dad was keeping a friends camper at their house for a few weeks, and J had invited me over to take a look at it and to go swimming. I remember hoping so bad that he was done exploring my body and just wanted to go swimming and be kids. I guess I also figured that since all of his family were home that I'd be safe and he wouldn't try anything. After showing me some of the basic aspects of the camper, he went up into the bunk bed above the cab of the truck and asked me to join him. I initially said no and told him I'd wait outside. He kept insisting and asking me why I didn't want to. I kept saying I just didn't want to and that I felt uncomfortable, but he ended up coming down and goading me into going up with him, even getting in the way of me and the door and hitting me on the arm. He also offered to let me have any candy or pop that I wanted and promised that he just wanted to show me how high up it was. Even though there was a loud voice in my head telling me to just get out of there, I felt a big zeroing of emotion and just went along with it as I had all those times before just to get it over with. I really felt like I had no other choice. So J and I are lying in the bunk area on our stomachs, and he starts moving his hand up and down the back of my leg. My anxiety is peaking at this point and I tell him to stop, but he continues and starts moving his hand into my shorts. Repeated attempts to stop him result in him holding my hands away (when I would move them to block or push his hand away), asking what I was doing since I didn't have a problem with any of the other times. He even threatened to yell out to his family that I was hitting him and that it was me who was forcing myself on him and threatening to tell my family too. So I shut down like I did the other times and just zoned out mentally and emotionally. I remember his hands stroking my penis and him putting his mouth on my penis.
I can also remember him grabbing my hand and putting it around his penis and him lifting his hips up to put his penis in my face and turning my head with his hands to put his penis in my mouth. We were only in there for about 10 minutes when someone in his family came outside calling for him. I quickly pulled up my pants and ran out of the camper and just walked home as quickly as I could.
- J would push my confidence further down when the boys of seasonal home owners moved back in for the summer. These boys were very hard-edged, mean, physically opposing bullies who seemed to want nothing more than to make other kids feel worthless and show off their power. J would participate in throwing stones and pine cones at me, name calling, popping my bicycle tires, stealing my clothes/towels from the beach while I swam, popping inflatable rafts/toys while at the beach, and so forth. It got so bad that I wouldn't leave my house while they were in the neighbourhood. Once they were gone, J flipped a switch and came to me saying that they had bullied him into joining them and harassing me. He even claimed that he tried to get them to consider hanging out with me and telling them how much of a good guy I was. He gave me treats that were meant for him (his mother would buy the kids things like Joe Louis bars once a month or something like that) to earn my trust back.
He also showed me this new stash of porn magazines that he claimed he found and said that I could take because he felt bad for me. After a few weeks I had let my guard down enough to start hanging out with him again. And that's when he would start abusing me again. He would ask me to bring over the porn
magazines so we could both look at them, and then make me perform oral sex on him while he looked at them and then go down on me while I looked at them. When I would try to leave or stop earlier than he wanted, he would threaten with telling my family what we were doing and saying things like "you wouldn't want your parents to know that you're really gay, cause I'll tell them if you go home now and blame you for everything. Tell them you stole those magazines from the corner store. They won't believe anything you tell them. And then once they're done with you my mom will give you the beating of your life". I thought I had no way out of it and just zoned out until he was bored. I remember the first time I ejaculated was from him performing oral sex on me and it made me feel sick to my stomach and light-headed.
I would go home and for the next couple of weeks (or the time between the abuse) I would furiously masturbate to any image of women or thought of the female body just to distance the pleasure of having an orgasm from his body. From about age 10 to 22, I masturbated at least 3 times a day and I had to have pornography present, preferring pictures/video of solo women with heavy focus on their vagina's. I still have a hard time not looking at pornography, and its very hard to get off without it.
- the last time I saw him and interacted with him was when I was around 12 or 13. I hadn't seen him for a few months at that point and thought that I was done with that period of my life. He saw me playing basketball at my house and came over claiming to want to borrow a tool from the garage. When we got into the garage he told me that he wasn't there to borrow a tool, but instead just wanted me in privacy. He put his hands on my penis and said that he missed doing things with me and wanted to give me a blowjob. The anger and fear inside me was so strong at that point, and I think because we had so much distance between us at that point and because I had a recent growth spurt that I had enough courage to say no to him. I forced his hand off my pants and told him to leave. I said that I wasn't going to put up with that stuff anymore and that I wanted him to go home. He tried to threaten me by asking "what are you gonna do, go tell your parents? Like that'd go over well." After asking him to leave again and telling him that I was not interested, he started to beg me and even offered me $5 to perform oral sex on me. I felt so disgusted and low when he offered that, and I just told him once again to leave and went inside my house. I headed straight upstairs to my room and just cried for a good while. I don't remember much else about that time except just staying in my room a lot, keeping to myself and just avoiding being outside.
I'm still proud that I had found my courage that day, even though I really don't know where it came from. It's still hard to look back and wonder why I hadn't said that earlier or what if I had stood up to him like that at an earlier point in time, or the first time he tried anything. He just seemed so weak at that point, pathetic and pitiful at that point that I had a hard time believing that he had that much power over me all that time before. But it made it that much harder to forgive myself and the shame, guilt and self-hate just kept building and I kept burying those emotions deeper within.
- when the first few encounters happened, I didn't know what to make of them. It was confusing and seemed weird what was going on, but it didn't feel inherently wrong. And that's where a lot of my confusion, shame and guilt come into play: I just didn't understand all of the emotions I was going through and didn't understand what was happening.
-fear of being different
-fear of being "Found out"
-fear of being ostracized
-fear of being labeled something I'm not
-fear of being blamed or being the cause of the abuse
-fear of not being believed
-fear of facing my emotions
-my parents instilled in me a sense of a rose-coloured world, a belief that I would hold until my early 20's. they never talked much about anything negative, I never heard stories of either of them acting out or doing anything wrong. It wasn't until I was about 24 or so that I started to hear about my grandfather's history of alcohol abuse and my dad's heavy drinking when he was younger. Or about my parents use of marijuana when they were in university. To me, it just seemed like they had lived a perfect, "Leave It to Beaver"-esque life and that all of the bad stuff that happens (things I would see on the news) happened elsewhere, happened outside of this perfect world I thought my surroundings were. I had this sense of needing to live up to this supposed sense of goodness that I thought my parents would be disappointed if I turned out otherwise. I was also afraid of alcohol and other drugs because I thought that I would lose control of myself, lose that sense of safety and that people would find out what happened and that I'd lose my identity and have to conform to what everyone perceived of me.
- I didn't recognize any of what had happened as abuse until I was about 22 or so, that's when I started having nightmares and flashbacks of the events. I started asking myself questions and analyzing events I could remember, trying not to constantly feel ashamed. I still wasn't willing to deal with the emotions I had kept buried, but I was at least starting to doubt that I was totally at fault or that what happened was just a period of exploration with another boy. The words of my abuser started to sound different and I think for the first time I was starting to see the truth. But it wouldn't be for another 3 years that I'd really return to those thoughts.
Other side effects:
- I started puberty close to when the abuse started, I think it was between 8 and 9 years old. I remember the first thing I noticed was the body hair, followed shortly after by seemingly unstoppable erections. I was the only boy with body hair in my class at school for a good 3 years. I remember thinking that maybe I'd be lucky and that the girls would think I was attractive because I'm becoming a man before everyone else, but it only added to my loneliness. I was in fifth grade and we were going on a field trip to the YMCA and were going to swim there. (Side note: I didn't have to worry about other kids' reaction to my body hair during the summer or anything because I lived in a small rural community with a private beach where my family were usually the only people there) First I got teased by the other boys in the change room, accusing me of gluing hair to my armpits and above my penis. And then once in the pool, the girls took their turn and laughed at me when I raised my arms. The teasing kept up for the next 2 weeks and it was incredibly hard to make friends that year.
- relationships seemed impossible for me. That shame and teasing I got made me very nervous about being around girls, and talking to them about anything related to relationships seemed out of the question. I felt like if they asked enough questions or talked to me for long enough, they'd be able to use some instinct to just know exactly what happened and judge me. Or I felt like I'd accidentally let some detail slip out and they'd find out that way. As much as I wanted a girlfriend and wanted to explore the female body, the shame of what I went through and the idea of thinking that they'd be able to just "know" what had happened and take J's side and judge me and humiliate me stopped me from even trying to get that close to a girl. I also still had a very low body image and thought that girls would think that my penis would look gross or weird or that they would make fun of me for being uncircumcised.
- I started using food as an emotion inhibitor all through my teens, and it's still a part of my life. Food was my escape, it helped calm me down and was comfort when I was feeling down.
- I also binged on pornography, something I'm also trying working on today too.
- the friends I made in high school were the wrong group of people for me. They teased me a lot and would often use me as the butt of many jokes. They knew I wouldn't I fight back or talk back, so I was an easy target for their amusement. (It didn't help that other kids at school picked on me and bullied me too). They also knew that I was really generous and giving, and would use me as a ride to lunch since I was one of 2 people in our group of friends who had a car. I rarely got invited out to hang out with them, and if I did it was usually so I could be someone's ride or allow the group to go somewhere besides someone's house. I never got invited to parties in high school either, and I think that fact, along with my rose-coloured world view made alcohol and drug use seem to me like that only happens in the movies or that it only happened far away from where I lived. So when I heard of a friend or a friend of a friend getting wasted at a party or any talk of drugs it seemed so foreign to me and scared me. I couldn't imagine myself letting go of my inhibitions and losing control like that, even if it meant that it would take away some of the pain and offer a unique experience.
-I've never used drugs and didn't try alcohol until I was over the age limit, and even then I've only ever been drunk on maybe 5 occasions. Drinking has just never appealed to me (same with drugs). I guess I'm lucky I never developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol, but junk food and porn have become my drugs.
- The few relationships I have had were all with women who had controlling and/or manipulative behaviours. It's been over a year now since I got out of a 3-year-long abusive relationship. When we first started dating, she was everything to me (I'll refer to her as N). We seemed very similar and completely compatible. I had only had sex with one other woman before N, so I was excited but nervous to progress the relationship to a sexual level. Before N, I had only one other girl try to perform oral sex on me. When N and I got to that point in the relationship, I was scared to death. My anxiety shot through the roof and not only was I not able to get an erection, but my penis shrunk in embarrassment. At first she thought it was something she was doing wrong, or that I didn't find her attractive. I was sure she was going to break up with me at that point, but she was determined to help me get an erection. I couldn't get the guilt and shame out of my head for a good month or so, and the fear of her leaving me and humiliating me because I couldn't get hard made it even worse. We were able to make things work by trying the 69 position and just focusing on her genitals and just thinking about her pleasure and just putting her vagina at the front of my mind. It took a few weeks of trying to get to a point where I felt comfortable enough with her. On our next try within a few minutes my mind was off my penis and what it was/wasn't doing and I was able to get an erection. It didn't take me too long to get used to her mouth on my penis, and I knew that I was safe and could let my guard down a little.
- My first sexual encounter with a woman didn't happen until I was 22. I was in the healthiest shape I had been in since I was 11 or 12. And that gave me enough confidence to try online dating. It took me almost a year to meet S, and our first date went well enough. We went on a second date before she invited me to a party (this would be the first party I had ever been to) and to sleep over after the party. I was really nervous about going but it seemed like it would be fun and it was another date with her, so that was incentive enough to go. It never occurred to me that she wanted to sleep with me or do anything sexual with me (and looking back on it now, it seems silly that I never took notice of it, but I was just concerned with not screwing things up and continuing to make a good impression). So we went to the party, it was very awkward and neither of us ended up drinking. I met a few of her friends and we just stayed long enough to talk to her friends for a while. She made the decision to leave the party, and we headed back to her apartment after grabbing a slice of pizza. We got changed into sleep clothes in separate rooms and then I assumed that we'd sleep in different rooms (I had never been in a relationship like this before and assumed that we'd only sleep in the same bed once we got to a comfortable point in the relationship). She laughed and seemed confused by why I thought that, but I hopped in bed with her and again thought that we'd just head to sleep. She rolled over and asked why I hadn't made a move on her earlier and why I wasn't making a move on her then. I clumsily explained it as nervousness and being polite. She could easily tell that this was my first time (to which I stupidly kept denying) and it was an awkward night of touching and kissing. She was on her period at the time and initially she was just going to perform oral sex on me. That didn't go well as I couldn't get an erection once her hands touched my penis. It seemed as though it kept shrinking once she went down between my legs, and soon enough she gave up and we went back to kissing. It seemed like she either felt bad for me for not being able to get it up or she was just really horny and wanted to have some form of sex, so she went and had a shower and decided that sex was on the menu that night after all. I clumsily put on my first condom and gave up on sex about a minute in. I felt so damn awkward and I was barely holding on to my erection and I just feigned ejaculating to get myself out of that situation. It was a really bizarre and awkward moment for me, but there was still that drive that made me want to seek out sex with a woman and get it right, and since we were in the dark the whole time I wanted to be with a naked girl and actually see what I was doing and see her body.
-So back to my relationship with N: She told me that she was a virgin, which helped ease some of the nervousness about starting a sexual relationship with her. But I was so mortified of repeating what had happened with S that I thought I would screw things up for sure. About a month into dating her, I got up the courage to start caressing her breasts while we made out. On subsequent dates/make-out sessions I found myself moving my hand around her crotch and having my hand guided into her pants. But on the second time I had my hand down her pants I felt a deep chill within me that shook me to the core. I was almost drowning in guilt and shame because I felt like I was too much in control and doing things that she didn't feel comfortable with, like I was emulating actions of my abuser. I felt sick to my stomach and almost got to a point where I ended the relationship at that point. I felt like I was becoming my abuser and it scared me to the edge of a panic attack. I couldn't get past the idea that I had allowed myself to go straight to touching without asking her first and I started questioning weather what I read in her body language was accurate or not. She reassured me that what I was doing was fine and that she was consenting and wanted me to touch her. But it still shook me and it took me a long time to accept that what had taken place was consensual. When we started having sex, I would always ask and make sure she wanted to have sex too, and if not I would get this chilling sense of guilt and shame running through my veins if we started things and she didn't look like she was enjoying herself or asked to stop part way through. And she always got upset or mad at me for my reaction, and it was impossible to explain it to her where she could understand, even after I told her about my abuse. I buried my feeling of guilt from touching her like the other feelings from my abuse, and when we got to the point where she wanted to touch me and try oral sex, my body froze and refused to get excited. I thought that was the end of that relationship like the last (relationship with S), but luckily she was understanding and had the patience and wanted to help me overcome my anxiety and fears. As mentioned 2 paragraphs ago, it took a while to overcome it and just focus on the moment and let the good things take over rather than focusing on my fears and anxiety.
-But then her control and manipulation started showing through (I guess about 6 months into the relationship). She would accuse me of staring at other women and wanting to break up with her to pursue them. She would scold me and start crying if she thought I was looking at another woman and treated me as if I had cheated on her. I started staring at the ground every time we went out together so she couldn't get mad or upset over anything. She ended up staying at my parents place with me before we moved in together and found some old porn videos on my computer (I honestly didn't know they were still there, they even had a last accessed date of well before we started dating). She almost broke up with me over that (but I now know she would never have done that, it was just another way for her to manipulate me) and wouldn't talk to me for a few days. She treated it as if she had caught me having sex with someone else. She held finding those porn videos over my head for the rest of the relationship, bringing it up any time she was mad at me or needed ammunition in an argument or wanted me to do something/change my behaviour in the relationship. I felt shame and guilt over it and let her make me feel as though I owed her for it and that she could use it as a bargaining chip for anything. She was the best thing that had happened to me and I was afraid of losing her and wanted to do anything I could to keep being with her. I should mention that while in a relationship with N, I didn't look at pornography until the last 8 months as our sex life had been reduced to once a week at most, and only if she was in a decent mood (she also made every excuse to not give me oral, still expecting to receive it herself, while still maintaining that she wanted to and enjoyed it).
-There were so many other things that were not going well with our relationship (like a serious lack of a sex life) but something I should mention is that we had a pregnancy/abortion to deal with. So it was the winter of 2011 and she had been going on and on day and night about wanting to have kids. We were still a few years away from finishing school and I kept reminding her of that, but of course she ignored it. Anyways, I guess she had stopped taking her birth control at some point and after a few weeks she wanted to take a pregnancy test, saying she had missed her period. So one day when I was at work, she texted me saying that she was pregnant. I was so afraid and felt sick at that point, but kept that to myself and buried it with the rest of my emotions. I started planning on dropping out of school and getting a job or 2 to prepare for the baby. We told her parents and they were not happy at all. Her Mom immediately told N she had to have an abortion and it seemed like she was already in the process of booking the appointment. Her Mom didn't want us telling my parents, so we didn't. N made me feel as though I had some choice in what was going to happen, and all I could think of was what a big mistake we made and how shitty our lives would be and what little we would be providing for this kid. I told her that we weren't ready to have kids, but that I wanted it to be her decision in the end and that I'd support any decision she made. The next day I found out that her and her Mom had already booked an appointment a week earlier, but she made it out to be as if I had forced her to get an abortion. Her Mom drove her to the appointment (they ended up driving 2 hours to a clinic even though there was one closer) and I got a text when she was out. Now, I feel as though I don't know the truth about what happened (and never will, I broke off contact with her and don't intend on speaking to her again), as I never saw the results of the pregnancy test myself (she took it while I was at work), she refused to go to the doctors to take a test there and get advice on her health/what kind of vitamins to take and what to do about diet (she was pretty overweight at the time). Also even after the abortion (if it actually took place) and our breakup later in the year, her parents never contacted my parents over any of it. I was able to build up enough courage to break up with her about 8 months after this and I'm glad I'm away from all of that.
-So now I'm lonely, fat, tired, out of work and out of school, basically have no friends and really out of shape. I'm still single and haven't been with anyone since N. I'm eager to start dating once I get my health under control, but I'm still afraid that I'll fall into the same traps of control and manipulation like that of my past relationships and abuse.
-I'm trying really hard to limit my use of pornography
-I've been cutting out junk food and pop to help with my health goals, but I still find myself grabbing fast food more often than I should.
-I'm trying so hard to tell myself it wasn't my fault and to remove some of that shame and guilt. It's such a hard process.
-I'm continuing with my counselling, seems to be the one thing that keeps me going and the one thing I look forward to each week.
-I understand that it is possible to move forward and that I can change my life/move forward, I just don't know how to take the next step. I really want to love myself and feel happy being me again. I guess it's just going to take a bit of time.
-I'm also having trouble shaking the feeling of being judged and making this post has taken a lot of time and I've overcome a lot of anxiety and fear to write this.
Hope that's not too much of an info dump and that someone will read this. It just feels like the right time to tell my story and I didn't want to leave out stuff that I feel is important and can remember.