This diary is essentially a short autobiography. I'm writing this for several reasons. First, I need to get this off my chest, and this semi-anonymous forum seems to be the best way. Second, I'm hoping that after you read this, you will learn something; not about me necessarily, but about human nature.
For those who have childhood trauma in their past, this diary contains
multiple instances of graphic sexual violence against children,
so please keep that in mind if you decide to read beyond the orange croissant. Also, I've changed all names, mostly to protect my baby sister.
First off, I'd like to put it out there that I'm a man. Since I can't/won't provide proof, you'll just have to take that at face value. You'll understand shortly why I'm telling you this.
I grew up in Appalachia, in a coal mining company town. I was nearly the youngest, 6th of 7, in a large
borg Catholic family. All nine of us lived in a two bedroom house with indoor plumbing(!), one of the only houses in town that did. My mother was a good Catholic in nearly every sense of the word. She believed that the parish priest had a direct line to God, running though the pope, naturally, and she believed that the pope was infallible. She also believed in many christian teachings, such as turning the other cheek, and she taught her older sons that they were not allowed to fight back if they were accosted.
And they were accosted. Frequently. Life in that town was tough. My three older brothers did not escape unscathed, but exactly what scars it left I was never sure. My oldest brother is twelve years older than me, so much of what happened to him was before I was very aware of my surroundings. I'm telling you this because my brothers play a big part in this story.
All three brothers dealt with their childhood issues in different ways. My oldest brother (let's call him Chris) is a classic narcissist. He's twelve years older than me, and I had very little interaction with him. Brother number two (let's call him Charlie) is more of an antisocial personality disorder type. He is nine years older. I had a lot of interactions with him. And brother number three (let's call him Collin) is a racist right-wing nut job. [You just knew there had to be one in this story, right?] While he is really unpleasant to be around, he's not in the same league as the other two. He is seven years older.
Charlie had his own little posse of three. Mom hated them, and told Charlie that they were not allowed in our house. One of the three, Devin, was the worst of the lot.
Mom and dad rarely went out on the town. Dad made enough money to qualify a family of four as well below poverty line. But on one fine Spring Friday night, a month before my seventh birthday, they did. They went out to dinner, dancing and a hotel room afterwards. They made Charlie babysitter of the three youngest: Candace (one year older), myself, and Chloe (one year younger). We three, and Charlie, were the only ones home.
At about 2 am that night, I was awakened by someone using their fingers to clamp my jaw shut. They put their thumbs in my eyes at the same time. Devin was standing at the head of the bed, you see. He dragged me downstairs headfirst by my throat, and dumped me in the middle of the dining room. My brother Charlie and his posse ripped my pajamas off, put me on my hands and knees and gang raped both ends. Repeatedly. When they were done, Charlie told Devin to take me into the bathroom and get me cleaned up. I was a bloody mess. He did, after a fashion. He dragged me into the bathroom, threw me back against the sink, orally raped me again, then threw me into the bathtub. He performed some toiletries on me (I'll let you figure that one out for yourself), and ran the shower cold to clean me off. Devin told me that I deserved what I got, that I was born bad. When he turned off the shower, he then tried to strangle me. My brother, wanting to know what was taking so long, came in, saw what he was doing, and stopped him, just before he finished the job. I didn't think I was going to survive. [Not too many years later, Devin was convicted of participating in the gang rape and murder of a little girl.]
I reacted to this event in a funny way: I split. Three personality parts were created that night. I watched the proceedings from across the room. Two other parts, a middle-aged man and woman) had to stay in the body to deal with the abuse itself. I did not tell my parents what happened. It didn't even occur to me to do so. [Turns out, I was right to not do so. Years later I told me parents, and they didn't believe me. My mom doesn't even remember why I don't want to be around Charlie at family gatherings.]
About a month later, I was once again sleeping (though badly), and Charlie was babysitting. His friends showed up again. This time they came for my five year old sister. I heard them coming. I thought they were coming for me. When I saw them take my baby sister, I froze. I was terrified. I knew what they were going to do to her. I was her older brother, and I took that seriously. I thought I was supposed to protect her, but I couldn't make myself do it. I couldn't make my legs move. I laid in that bed and listened to Chloe's terrified screaming. [To this day, I can't listen to a child cry without feeling terrified. When I am inclined to believe I'm evil (yes it still happens), I believe this is the primary reason. I chose to save my neck rather than save hers.]
As I said, I was Catholic, and at the time, quite a religious zealot. I prayed a lot, and during those prayer sessions, I asked God why this was happening. He told me it was because I was born bad, and being punished accordingly. I internalized that message, and believed it. Sometimes I still do.
When I was eight, my parents took the three youngest with them to the grocery store in the big city (what you would classify as a small town). While in the store, I became separated from them. While walking down an aisle, two men came up behind me, grabbed my arms, and directed me to a van in the parking lot. They drove me to a house nearby. There were lots of men in the living room. They took my clothes off, strapped me to a funny device face down, and proceeded to repeat what had happened when I was six, except with more men this time, but less physical violence (if you don't count thinking you are going to suffocate because your air passage is blocked for extended periods of time.) When they were done, they put my clothes back on and dropped me off in the grocery store parking lot.
When my parents found me, they were really angry. They'd been looking all over for me. They never asked why my clothes were torn, or why I was bruised. [I have pictures from this time. I look like a holocaust survivor.] I didn't offer an explanation. But this reinforced in me that I was bad and God was punishing me. Somewhere around this time, that belief morphed into a belief that I was evil. I don't know how people of other faiths (or no faith) would react to believing they were evil, but as a Catholic, that meant I would go to hell when I died. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I knew I had a bleak choice; kill myself, end the pain, and definitely go to hell, or live in this hell of a life, possibly find redemption, but probably go to hell anyway. I didn't seriously consider the first option until I was 13.
When I was nine, I was made an altar boy. [All the boys in my family were. It was required.] When I was ten, we got a young, charismatic priest: Father Cyrus. I thought I could tell Father Cyrus anything. I decided to tell him what had happened. I told him that I thought it was because I was evil. Father Cyrus said that I was evil, but if I did what he asked of me, he might be able to eradicate it.
That started a three year relationship with him and his friends. If I was scheduled to be an altar boy, I was required to give him a blow job in the Sacristy or in the basement of the church before Mass. Occasionally he would throw a party with some of his priest friends in the rectory, and I'd be invited. My mom would take me there and drop me off. She was so proud. She thought it was a great honor. I think she also thought I was on my way to becoming a priest too, which would ensure her place in heaven. Once there, I was required to take my clothes off in the bathroom, and to service them in Father Cyrus' bedroom, one at a time, while the others watched. I almost cried with gratitude when they used lube. No one had been that kind before. They took lots of pictures of me, for adding to their kiddie porn collection, and for trading with their friends. I still freeze when I see someone taking my picture and I have no prior warning. I fear that those Polaroids are still out there somewhere.
At about that time, I came to believe that not only was I evil, but my purpose in life was to service the sexual needs of men. Any men. Any time they wanted it. Any where they wanted it. In essence, I thought of myself as a prostitute, and I acted as such, even though at the time I'd never even heard the term before, much less knew what one was, or what it meant. They could do whatever they wanted, I even acted like I liked it (one of my parts was the one who did that), except I wouldn't let them kiss me. Some did anyway, of course. I had no choice. I've been married 30 years now, and if my wife forgets and tries to spontaneously kiss me, I automatically turn my head to avoid it.
After that, if anyone wanted sex, I provided it. One of the guys in school (Ed) was friends with Charlie's friend Devin. Devin told him about me, that I was available for services. Ed took advantage: on the school bus (when it was empty); in the bottom of stair wells at school; anywhere he could get me alone. I spent a great deal of time on my knees in the shower at home whenever my brothers came home from college. The worst times were on my birthday (they had an unrelated reason for showing up, but didn't THAT make my birthday special), and from Thanksgiving to Christmas (several of my brother's birthdays, and semester break).
All this went on until I turned 18 and went to college. Where I promptly tried to kill myself. At some point, I don't know exactly when, I forgot it all. Everything. I could only remember a handful of things from my first 18 years. I thought it was normal to do that. And if anyone asked, I'd say I had a happy childhood, and mean it!
When I was 35, I started to remember. Life became bad, unbearable, the worst kind of living hell. I started in therapy, and learned that I had parts, 11 of them, created at various times over the years. I suffered from PTSD, and DID (dissociative identity disorder) I was fragmented into 11 pieces, and I was told that it was very unlikely I would ever be whole. I tried to kill myself again, and I spent some time in a psych ward.
My sister seems to have fared better. She knows that things happened, but she doesn't remember what, kind of like knowing that you had dinner last night, but not remembering any detail about it. I never told her about what happened to her that night when I was six. I don't think she remembers, and I'm not going to be the one to open that Pandora's Box. If/When she does remember, I'll be there to support her.
I mentioned two reasons for writing. The first reason should be obvious by now. The second reason is to point out that girls are not the only ones this happens to, and the results of the abuse are pretty much the same. The only real differences are that boys/men don't report it as often, and they can't get pregnant. I never reported any of this to the authorities, except eventually to the Church. I have been in therapy over 20 years, and I know a LOT of abuse survivors. Few of them reported it.
I would also like to point out that neither I, nor my baby sister, nor any of my friends, have ever harmed another person. Quite the contrary, I've spent much of the last few years helping others, trying to prove to myself and others that I'm worthy of redemption, even if I sometimes don't believe it. While some abuse survivors certainly do go on to abuse others, many do not. Father Cyrus was one who did. [He told me about his past.] My older brothers were not abused in the usual sense of the word, but they sure as hell did go on to hurt others. The moral is, you can't make assumptions about someone if they say they were abused (unless you want to make an ass of you and me, of course). Making rash generalizations with no proof demonstrates the presence of prejudices. If you feel that way, you may want to look into that.
Repressed memories are real, and they are fairly accurate. Some of the details can be wrong, but the gist of it is right. I have several examples of memories of mine that were corroborated by outside evidence, except of course that I got some of the details wrong. This includes a (probably rare) instance when the Diocese I grew up in admitted, in writing, that Father Cyrus did what I claimed he did. [Yes I tried to confront him by confronting the Church when I was too unstable to be able to handle it, but I couldn't let him go on to hurt other kids.] I have friends have gotten outside corroboration too.
I can't actually know someone's sexual orientation, unless they tell me, and then I'd be a little skeptical. Orientation can be a fluid thing, and I'm not sure how many people actually put a lot of thought into theirs. Anyway, I don't know the orientation of the men who abused me, but I do know that most of them (and all of my brothers included, but none of the grocery store guys, as I never saw them after that time) married women and had children. Even Father Cyrus had a girlfriend. So it appears that they are probably straight, or maybe bisexual. The point is, orientation is NOT an issue in this. It should not be a topic of discussion in this forum, because it is wrong to paint an entire group with the same broad brush just because some members of the group may be a pedophile. Again, making rash generalizations with no proof demonstrates the presence of prejudices. If you feel that way, you may want to look into that.
I've seen the pie wars here and elsewhere about whether pedophilia is a sex thing (the guy just want sex and his "thing" is children) or power thing. I think it is more accurate to say it is complicated, but it is a combination of psychological factors (for example, a pedophile may prefer children because he feels he will be less likely to be turned down, or more likely to overpower the child than an adult), and chemical ones. Dopamine and endorphins are both released in quantity when we have sex, win a game, get the best of an enemy, etc. It is at least possible that what a rapist or pedophile wants is the chemical hit (however that manifests) and their chosen source is a child. I don't know, but it seems to me that this particular pie fight is pointless, EXCEPT that there are those who wish to justify their tendencies towards rape and pedophilia by putting (or IMPLYING that they are putting) it on the same footing as consensual sex. Doing that is despicable.
Women can be pedophiles and rapists too. I have two close friends whose mothers (and in one case his grandmother as well) sexually abused them. The results devastated both of them, and the effects were long lasting. They got little support from anyone. A common reaction was "aren't you lucky!". This isn't helpful, and it dismisses that persons pain.
I would like EVERYONE involved in this discussion to take a small chill pill. If I or someone else is using "he" and not "he/she" or "she", that is probably because that is their experience. And it sucks trying to type politically correctly all the time. It is perfectly OK to ask if someone is showing their own prejudices by always using "he" or "she". But is is NOT OK to assume that they are being prejudiced without asking. That is prejudiced too. And in an effort at full disclosure, I spent most of my life being ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that a man would rape me if given half a chance. Any man. All men. But I've evolved. I don't feel that way any more. If a survivor here does, please try not to take it personally. After all, in nearly all cases, they don't know you. They are writing from their feelings, not their heads.
Here are some helpful links if you are a survivor (or a partner of one).
- SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)
- Male Survivor a great resource to find a support group or a therapist in your area (including overseas)
And if you are a survivor (or think you may be), please consider joining the House of LIGHTS group, or find a therapist that specializes in sexual abuse. Some (several of mine over the years) specialize in sexual abuse of boys. The House of LIGHTS has been nothing but supportive to me. I wouldn't have posted this diary without their help and support.
I hope you learned a little about the effects of child abuse. The floor is open.
House of LIGHTS (Loving Inspiration, Giving Hope To Survivors). A place for survivors of physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse, assaults, and bullying. A place for the people who support them. A quiet place for all voices to be heard. A safe place where we can learn to educate, support, and protect our children and each other.
In House of LIGHTS diaries we tell our stories, heal, support each other, and learn how to protect and empower our children.
LIGHTS: Loving inspiration, giving hope to survivors: LIGHTS.
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Everyone is welcome. That said, we do have a few house rules:
This is a community diary for survivors of emotional, psychological, physical, sexual abuse and assaults. Emotions run high in these diaries and comment threads. The experiences are personal, life altering, and traumatic. We ask that you be respectful and allow everyone the space to speak their own truth as they know it.
If you are supportive, even if you have not been a victim, welcome! However, if you cannot be respectful of the stories and comments, please leave now. And most importantly, please comment and interact only as YOU feel comfortable.