I just wanted to thank all of you for sharing your stories in this forum. About a year and a half ago, I was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a trusted male friend. The assaults continued for four months because I was too embarrassed to tell anybody what was happening. I work in a field where reputation is very important, and I felt like no one would understand how a heterosexual grown man could end up in such a situation. My assailant knew that and kept threatening to tell an exaggerated version of the actual events in order to ruin my life. In hindsight, I should have figured out that he was bluffing because he was a closeted gay man with an extensive history who had more to lose by being exposed than I did.

It took the support of a few close friends for me to finally gain the strength to get out of the situation. After I confided in them, they rallied around me and let me know that they did not think of me any differently. They supported me as I finally ended the dysfunctional friendship. A few days later, I told my family. They were most upset that I was afraid to tell them what had been happening. However, they were also talking about how much they wanted to inflict bodily harm against my assailant. I talked them out of it because I did not want anyone willingly ruining their futures for me.

I wish I could say that things have been better since then, but they haven't. I was in therapy for several months, but it began to place too much strain on my budget so I stopped going. My family and friends have since become very protective over me. While I appreciate their concern, I miss the days when people actually trusted my judgment. I miss the days when I could actually trust my own judgment. I used to be confident and self-assured. Now, I second guess myself on just about everything. I still have nightmares about him coming back into my life in some way. (We have one mutual acquaintance who somehow managed to take his side after hearing about the assaults and we still live in the same metropolitan area so it is a possibility.)

I am also afraid of getting into relationships because in my racial community, people are pretty ignorant about matters like these. I have this recurring thought that I will meet the perfect woman who will end up dropping me once she finds out what happened. My therapist and one of my ex-girlfriends both told me that this recurring thought wasn't realistic. If "the perfect woman" really loves me, then she will be able to handle everything that comes with me. (I even told one of my friends the same thing when he was concerned about his ability to find a woman who could handle his past.) However, as my name suggests, I'm not there yet. I definitely have a long way to go, but reading all of your stories and seeing the way that you all have been healing suggests that I will get there someday.