I am posting this contribution from Anonymous.
Trigger Warning – Sexual assault, child molestation, victim blaming.
Sexual assault is a serious problem. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. While Sexual assaults have decreased more than 60% in the recent years there is a real and serious impact for the rest of your life. We can look at statistics all day long however there are real social and emotional impacts of suffering a sexual assault.
As a young kid we had a very close neighborhood that I grew up loving. As time went on I started to become closer and closer with one of the neighborhood kids. We had always randomly enjoyed a game of street hockey or flashlight tag but he as one of the older ones in the group I looked up to. One day I was over at his playing video games and he started to feel around my private parts. I asked him “what the f*%$ are you doing?” to which he quickly replied “don’t worry about it, focus on your game or you’ll regret it.”
From that point on the abuse escalated to where it was a regular part of my everyday life. I would make excuses to not hang out with him or to leave early but in the end he always told me to focus on the games. Like I said previously, he was one of the neighborhood kids and it was a closet knit neighborhood who knows what would happen if I told anyone. I kept silent for years and was always a somewhat troubled and depressed child who struggled with school and home life. However, this was very different.
Once instance that stick out in mind was an innocent basketball game. I played basketball on a team that my father had coached every since I could remember. One day I got off the bench to go into the game and my father gave me a playful pat on the butt. I instantly flipped out, and told him never to touch me like that again.
Looking back I can always wonder why didn’t I do more, or what did this happen to me. I was scared kid who was very confused about what was going on. My first sexual experiences of any kind were with this boy who I looked up to. This boy was a neighbor, a friend, and a mentor. He took advantage of that every way he could getting as much alone time with me as he could.
This abuse went on escalating over the years until one day I broke down. I don’t know how or why but I literally broke down. I spent the next several hours recounting to the police every detail I could remember. I finally felt safe. Little did I know horror to follow.
According to RAINN out of 100 rapes 46 are reported, 12 lead to an arrest, 9 are prosecuted, 5 lead to a felony conviction and only 3 rapists will send even a single day in prison. If those numbers aren’t alarming then I don’t know what is.
As a young teen I had no idea the battle to ensure. To start the boy’s mother was a powerful and respected attorney. Beyond that the whole situation is my word against my attacker. What victim ever wants to face their attacker ever again? To this day, I spent countless hours in counsoling while my attacker roams free.
Remember earlier when I said, “We can look at statistics all day long however there are real social and emotional impacts of suffering a sexual assault?“ One of the toughest part of this assault is in society’s eye I am not the typical victim. I am boy, a guy. According to RAINN 9 in 10 rape victims were female in 2003. However, 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape.
The stigma and culture that comes with being a male rape victim is very taboo. To start off, as a young boy my first sexual experience was with another guy. In societies eyes rape victims are female. What does that leave a young boy like myself to think? Am I gay? I was able to orgasm so I must have liked it? It felt good so I must have asked for it.
After being a male victim of abuse you become very guarded. Males are often thought to be very sexual and joking in nature and while that is still true I have a completely different outlook. For example, walking into the bathroom and using the urinal isn’t something I could do for years. I still dislike public restrooms but I can use them. Changing for gym in the locker room was always a challenge. To this day I dislike being “exposed” unless it’s for a shower. In our society there is this guy stigma that we would love to lounge in our underwear. However, I can’t even do that when I know I am home alone let alone casually lounge.
One of the largest stigmas attached to being a male victim of sexual assault and still remains to this day is that I am less of a man because I was taken advantage of. I personally know this isn’t true however our society doesn’t. In my everyday life I am a very open and interactive member of Pittsburgh’s community however I made a conscious choice to write this post anonymously.
These are just a few of the many stigma’s and troubles attached to being a male victim of sexual assault. We could sit for days and discuss all the little ways this has changed my life. We could also sit and discuss how lucky I am to have a supportive family and was able to move away from my attacker. To this day the only people who know the whole story and the truth are my attacker, my parents, and myself. Over the years I have shared with a handful of close friends and girl friends but I spared them the details.
If you take one thing away from this article know that you likely know several men who were at one time victims of sexual assault. Educate yourself with the follow resources,
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for sharing your story.
Please remember that you can make a donation to PAAR to support their work helping survivors of child sexual abuse as well as their prevention programs.