I revealed part of the abuse to my parents. They questioned me after seeing some changes in my behavior. I kept the "worst" parts a secret for well over a decade. James was sentenced to juvenile detention and was forced to write an apology letter. My parents read it to me aloud, and I remember being tremendously confused. I asked many times if he and I could still be friends. And I asked if I had done something wrong. He was my "friend" and as Gary said, he played baseball with me, we played ship wreck in the backyard, and he we hung out regularly. But before all that, he bullied me constantly. So by the time he wanted to be my "friend" I was all too willing. Right up until the whole thing ended I thought he was my friend, and I thought that the abuse was what friends did. When my parents read the letter I had no clue that what took place was wrong. He was 9 years older than I was.

The day I realized that I was taken advantage, that he wasn't my friend, that I was groomed into submission, that he made me feel complicit. I felt so incredibly used. I cried myself to sleep. That level of confusion is the absolute core of our pain. Led to believe we are being loved and cared for, when really we are being used like an object.

Heal well brothers.


I am the warrior.