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#150306 - 04/11/07 01:16 PM Would we have been believed?
EGL Offline
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Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
I've been having a side conversation with a member here about some things, and part of that conversation was about whether anyone would have believed us when the abuse was going on if we had tried to tell them. And even if we did tell, and they did believe us, what then?

I go to a men's group meeting each Friday morning early at my church. Back when the story was in the news about the two Missouri boys who were kidnapped and molested, one of the guys in the group made a comment that stuck with me. He was talking about the older boy who had been captive for 4 years. His comment was something like "I wonder why he didn't just tell someone. He was seeing people all the time." I didn't say anything then, but I had a lot going through my mind.

When I was 14, there was an older man (30+) in our neighborhood who I feel was grooming me towards eventual abuse (gifts, talking with me about very inappropriate sexual content, sharing his pornography, questioning my sexual experiences, etc.) He was respected in the community, a professional, wife and 2 kids, etc. If I had gone to anyone and revealed what was going on, would I have been believed? And if so, what of it? This guy abruptly moved away with his family, and I even felt abandoned in a way when he did. I missed him a lot. I really don't think I would have been believed. I was a very shy, introverted child, and he could have so very easily deflected all his guilt towards me. And I would have had no verbal resources to refute it. I still don't do well thinking on my feet.

I can't even begin to imagine going to my father back then and telling him something like this was going on. The hell you know is better than the hell you don't. It really, really does not surprise me at all that so many boys didn't tell. With the other abuses prior to this one, I would have been humiliated if I told about some of them. And with the first abuses by my older brother, I would have certainly been on the receiving end of a pummeling from him later -- he told me as much. And my father would have done a number on me as well. Assuming he believed what I was telling him. And even if he didn't, my "lie" would be another reason to beat me. So that was a no-win situation.

_________________________
Eddie

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#150307 - 04/11/07 01:37 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: EGL]
FormerTexan Offline
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Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
Eddie,

Another thought came to mind reading your post. Even if we were believed, what would have happened next? I shared a few pieces of my story with my oldest brother a couple years ago, and he asked a question that almost implied fault on my part: "Why did this keep happening to you?" So I get the feeling that even if we were believed, something negative could have come from it anyway. It depends so much on the circumstances and the people involved.

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#150310 - 04/11/07 02:06 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: FormerTexan]
roadrunner Offline
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Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Eddie,

As you know, that fear of not being believed haunted me when I was being abused. BUT...I also considered the scenario that I WOULD be believed, and that struck me as much worse. If I told and people believed me, they woudl know all those awful things I felt I was to blame for.

We were just boys, Eddie; there was no way we could have negotiated our way through this minefield. As you say, it was a no-win situation, at least so far as we could see.

It's a lot better now, that's for sure. There are so many resources available for guys who are being hurt, at whatever age, and I bet I have said it to myself a thousand times: Thank God.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#150331 - 04/11/07 03:29 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: roadrunner]
lostandfound Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity
Eddie, RR, FT

this is really interesting. I'm writing out my story and I keep coming to places where, in my head, I think, "Why didn't I tell someone?" Then I happen upon this thread. I told no one because I was afraid of being believed. I was sure if my dad found out he would have beaten me to death. Abuse was better than death. Also, the emotional and physical abuse at home. To get way from that hell it chose a different hell. At least someone was interested in me and I escaped my family for awhile. Now, that is really f'd up but that is the way it was with me.

I think there are a lot of similarities when we talk about how we felt and why we kept silent. My abuser guilted me and told me that I wanted and I was to blame. If I told my parents it might be more than they could bare. He knew their marriage was lousy.

As for why Hornebeck didn't leave? Well, that kid is really the only one that can answer that. Maybe life was really bad at home. Maybe he'd have to explain what happened and the shame was too much. Shame kept my mouth shut for 22 years.

lost

_________________________
"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

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#150333 - 04/11/07 03:45 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: lostandfound]
Still Offline
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Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6401
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
Eddie,

This one hits a nerve...a large open-nerve. I would not have been believed. I would have been scorned for saying such a thing about such remarkable older boys...whom I ought to emulate.

Thus, credibility of the child-accuser comes into play in court (even today) and in the initial publicity of the abuse. My case would never even have been recorded on the police log. I would likely have been shipped-off to God-knows-where. They already thought I was psycho...accusations surrounding my rape would only have proven them accurate.

BTW: ...the Josh Hornbeck and Ben Onsby case were one of the BIG forces in my disclosure and decision to deal head-on. Robbie NEEDED a voice ... finally .. a voice!!

I was throwing things at the TV when the press brought up the "lack of his efforts to report...seek help." God...I want to throw this computer!!!!!!!!



Edited by Robbie Brown (04/11/07 03:50 PM)
_________________________
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#150334 - 04/11/07 03:51 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: lostandfound]
FormerTexan Offline
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Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
lost,

"At least someone was interested in me and I escaped my family for awhile."

That's exactly how I viewed things with the perp kid from when I was in grade school. Hanging around with him was better than the empty hell-hole I called a home at the time.

In most of our cases, for one reason or another, it just wasn't safe to tell parents what was happening. Friggin' sad, considering they are supposed to be the ones guarding us.

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

Top
#150335 - 04/11/07 03:53 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: lostandfound]
MemoryVault Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
I've been thinking about the boy from Missouri, too. I was only in the hands of a dangerous stranger for maybe half an hour, not years, but it's like your brain will do anything to make the situation seem safe, to deny what's really happening.

One problem with telling other people is...how can a child tell someone else what happened if he doesn't have the words to describe it to himself? Did we know the word "abuse"? Did we understand that something was done to us that did more than just feel bad? Were we ready to advocate for ourselves if nobody understood?

I had no words, no thoughts, afterwards. Just a thing that I didn't want to think about, a memory that burned every time it came up. Plus a story I told to protect myself--that this was just some strange guy that I ran into...no harm done.

To tell someone else, you have to understand it yourself. Many of us couldn't & didn't.

MV


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#150338 - 04/11/07 04:06 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: MemoryVault]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
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Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
MV,

Interesting point. Many children don't have the words to describe what happened. A few do, as in this example:


***** TRIGGER *****

There was a recent news article about some first graders who were sexually abused by a sixth-grader. The one example I recall when a boy came out of class to his father and looked rather disturbed. When his father asked what was wrong, the boy answered "someone did something disgusting to me." This of course prompted the investigation, the news coverage, the denial of responsibility from the school district, etc. But this one child managed to find the words to convey the problem.

**** END ****

To me, in a lot of our cases, we had neither the words nor the safety to even begin saying what was done to us.

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#150339 - 04/11/07 04:07 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: MemoryVault]
lostandfound Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity
FT, MV

What's more is physical feeling. I think for me I questioned, did i like it? I must have liked it. Man, that part messed me up. But at the time no words could have described it. Many of us too were scared anyway.

What I hate for those two missiour boys is now the whole country knows. I couldn't survive. I wouldn't be strong enough to survive that. My heart feels so broken for those two kids. And, most people that know do not understand. MV you are right, to tell someone you have understand it yourself. I feel the only way to understand is have been there yourself.

God, I want to cry.

lost

_________________________
"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

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#150340 - 04/11/07 04:09 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: FormerTexan]
lostandfound Offline
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Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity
FT,

i agree. My wife and are teaching our son proper words for body parts, good touches and bad touches. Things like that because he may, god forbid anything happen, but if it does he may not be able to articulate it. I don't want that to keep him silent nor fear of getting in trouble.

lost

_________________________
"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

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#150341 - 04/11/07 04:10 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: EGL]
reality2k4 Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Eddie, when you are ten yo, you think nobody will believe you.
What if they did? Are they gonna lock you up?
That is how kids think, and they are all alone wondering how or
even whether it is possible to tell and feel safe.

Kids think that if they tell, then they will be seen as willing
to have done it, nothing else.
A kid growing up is just about trying to gain credibility in his
worn out life without the hassle of being not believed.

It is the very basis on how our trust issues lie.
We had nobody who we could talk to and have listen to us.
No wonder we have ongoing trust issues,

ste


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#150342 - 04/11/07 04:15 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: reality2k4]
EGL Offline
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Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Lost,

What you said about everyone knowing if you were to tell, that's part of what kept me quiet as well. One of the threats my older brother used was that if I told then everyone would say I was gay. And another was that if I didn't do what he wanted, then he would tell all my friends what I had done with him previously so that they would think I was gay. Can you imagine what kind of mindfuck that does to a 12 year old boy? And I believed it all.

_________________________
Eddie

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#150344 - 04/11/07 04:33 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: EGL]
lostandfound Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity
Eddie,

God, I can't even imgine. This sounds sick, but sometimes I feel lucky that my abuser only used guilt threats. Like your parents don't need to know this, they are so close to divorce anyway. UGh! It made me feel responsible, but somehow he was really kind about it? you know?

I found out what gay was many months later and was convinced that I was gay. All the more reason to keep it quiet. What horrible memories.

lost

_________________________
"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

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#150346 - 04/11/07 04:38 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: lostandfound]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
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Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
lost,

"It made me feel responsible, but somehow he was really kind about it?"

Yet another point. My third perp was kind about things too, though manipulative. That what gets me about these creeps. They range from kind to oppressive and the results are still the same: the victim is hurt, used up, etc. #@$%#%@#$ @#$%@#$#@%!

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

Top
#150348 - 04/11/07 04:47 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: FormerTexan]
lostandfound Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 148
Loc: Singularity
FT,

It's all violent!

_________________________
"I'm not suppose to be like this, but it's okay!" -REM

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#150350 - 04/11/07 04:49 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: lostandfound]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
Let me PM you on that please.

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

Top
#150365 - 04/11/07 06:17 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: MemoryVault]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
MV,

Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
One problem with telling other people is...how can a child tell someone else what happened if he doesn't have the words to describe it to himself? Did we know the word "abuse"? Did we understand that something was done to us that did more than just feel bad? Were we ready to advocate for ourselves if nobody understood?


Your comment reminded me of something I said in a long survivor story I wrote in conjunction with my therapy over a period of about a year. Here I'm talking about how things had developed over the first two years of abuse; I was 12 and then this happened:

Originally Posted By: roadrunner
Once I tried to tell my sister, and she was just looking at me waiting to hear what I had to say and I realized how totally messed up I was. I wanted to scream "Cathie I’m so scared. I can’t make him stop", but the words wouldn’t come out.


Your comment tells me why. I didn't have the words. I was 12. What prepared me for talking about this to my sister, who was a year younger than me?

So even when I knew things were getting bad and I was scared enough to tell someone, it still was just not going to happen.

It was shortly after this that he decided he wanted more and raped me for the first time. The first of many times.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
#150366 - 04/11/07 06:18 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: EGL]
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Eddie

Quote:
I've been having a side conversation with a member here about some things, and part of that conversation was about whether anyone would have believed us when the abuse was going on if we had tried to tell them. And even if we did tell, and they did believe us, what then?


My abuse started when I was 11yo just as I started at boarding school. At first it was little more than some touching and masturbation but the two older boys wanted more, and they made sure they got it by arranging a 'gang session' with three other boys they had in their control. Basically I was beaten and raped for an afternoon.

An 11yo who's gone through that finds it hard to cover up, I was bruised and dirty and very upset, so I soon came to the attention of the headmaster who demanded to know what was going on.
I tried to lie and cover up, but I was no match for him and eventually told him what happened, and named names.

After his "investigation" it was determined that I was lying and given six strokes of the cane, and another six for the cigarettes that I had on me, hush payment.
The abusers lies were believed.

I hate that man more than all my abusers. He's long dead now, rotting in his own private hell.
That man did me more harm than anyone else.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#150372 - 04/11/07 06:45 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: Lloydy]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Dave,

Your answer to Eddie's "what then" question reminds me of what I wrote in the survivor story I did for my T. Abuse ended for me one evening when my Scoutmaster walked in just after the abuser had raped me yet again. I was a mess and it was pretty obvious what was going on. I remember little of this: I was hysterical and all I recall are just the shouting, then the Scoutmaster's arms around me as I cried and cried.

He got me cleaned up and told me he would take me home and tell my parents, but I freaked out and swore I would kill myself if he did that. So instead he took me home and said I had had an attack of asthma. For a long time I wondered if that had been the right decision, but in my survivor story I say this:

Originally Posted By: roadrunner
The Scoutmaster did the right thing. If he had taken me home and told my parents there would have been a shitstorm. My Dad was a Navy sapper in the Pacific war and was a hothead anyway where his family was concerned. If he had known, he would have gone looking for the abuser to kill him. Even if he had gotten out of jail after 20 years, still my sisters and I would have grown up without a father. And if what happened had been exposed, it would have been my word against the abuser's. I could have been dismissed as the bad boy with all the dirty stories - how would that have affected me? The basic reality is that this was 1963.

Another problem that I didn't know about then (my Dad brought this up when I told him everything in November 2005) was that the Scoutmaster was a foreman at the steel mill and the abuser was an executive in the same company. So again, whom would people have believed back then?


Did he do the right thing? Looking back now I still have trouble getting past the fact that the chances were pretty slim that a respected businessman would have been sent to jail on the word of a 14-year-old boy and a shop foreman. Even if he had been sent to jail, what would have happened to me? There was no therapy for CSA back then. I guess I would have been expected to "get over it". So I could have ended becoming even more fucked up.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#150384 - 04/11/07 07:29 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: Lloydy]
sabata Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1948
as i stated inmy other post...my father caught my broyher screwing me.....so they knew...it wasnt discussed...was my fault...i was the bad one....it continued...then other boys as well......my child world wast the same as these adults world....i wasnt let in thier world...i was just a kid...what do i know.......today kids are bombarded with knowledge of being safe...abuse...ect...in my day....we didnt know we had rights...didnt know anything about bad touching...whats that???????????your brother was expermitting.....they looked the other way....they were not concerned...they couldnt make the connection.....my failing grades in school..i was just stupid and lazey to them....so why even bother trying to tell...i allready knew the outcome....steve


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#150447 - 04/12/07 12:16 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: sabata]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
Man, reading all these responses and the theme running through them was this - it pretty much was impossible to tell someone because of all the dynamics that were going on. I think Larry put it really well when he said

Quote:

"there was no way we could have negotiated our way through this minefield".


Finding our way through such difficult circumstances would have been difficult at best as adults. But think about it for a minute - WE WERE LITTLE KIDS. I guess the reality of that thought just really hits hard sometimes when we consider that we were little boys trying to make sense of senseless things, and trying our best to make right decisions about what we were faced with. It's a stunning thought sometimes.

_________________________
Eddie

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#150451 - 04/12/07 12:50 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: EGL]
sabata Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1948
i still have peoblems today .about making decisions.......i worry......is it the right one.........i go out of my to please prople......hoping they will like me......it was afully hard to make the proper decision as a child....as i didnt have anything to go on...............steve


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#150452 - 04/12/07 01:04 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: sabata]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
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Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11055
Loc: Denver, CO
Steve,

I hear that one - I used to go out of my way to please people too, and still got rejected at times. It's hard to know the right decisions to make in relating with others when we were never taught the right way in the first place.

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#150456 - 04/12/07 01:40 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: FormerTexan]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
I WOULD have been believed.

But what nine-year old boy wants to tell his dad "Ummm Dad? There is this man that lives up the road that I've been hanging out with and he talked me into sucking his dick and doing other things that I didn't like."

No I didn't tell because of one simple reason, embarrassment. Also, my parents didn't TELL me what to do if something like this actually HAPPENED.

I figured that the damage was already done, why bother bringing it up again?


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#150458 - 04/12/07 03:25 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: sabata]
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I don't know. What little I tried to 'tell', well, I was away at training center and school, and would only get to see my parents each month or two months. When was the first time I went home after I been there for two months and abuse had started, I said I did not want to go back. My parents say 'why', I say that the coach is mean. But I did not say why I not like him, what was happening, and my father get angry and say that no child of his is to be 'quitter', and I am to not give up the chance I been given. I know, though, if I said anything of the abuse, even just of the physical, my parents would listened to me. I know that now anyway.

Andrei


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#150460 - 04/12/07 04:42 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: ak]
pietie Offline
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Registered: 01/23/07
Posts: 326
Loc: South Africa
I grew up in a family where sex was never ever discussed. So the only sex education I got was from my abuser. I assumed it was right. So in that set up, I did not have the guts to tell my parents. I mean, we were not even allowed to say the word sex in our home.

In a ertain sense I do think my family would have believed me. I believe it would have explained the mood swings and the isolation.

_________________________
Not Perfect, just forgiven

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#150473 - 04/12/07 08:31 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: pietie]
MemoryVault Offline
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Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
In my family, the message was really, "Pretend that everything's all right, and don't rock the boat" about a lot of things. That wasn't said, of course-- it was just the assumption we all lived with. We talked only about trivial things -- painful things got buried. I had little brothers and sisters who died right after they were born, and they were never mentioned. (Even now, neither of my parents remembers their names or exactly when it all happened -- I only know because I read birth certificates, etc. in the attic.)

Some families have a rule that nothing is allowed to be wrong. So, I was hurting and embarrassed and didn't have the words to say, and I wasn't in a family that could have helped me find a way to talk about it.

I think very few of us have a clear way to just say, "this happened." I hope the work they're doing in schools now is at least offering kids the words to say and other people to talk to.


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#150475 - 04/12/07 08:50 AM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: MemoryVault]
WalkingSouth Offline
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Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Sex wasn't discussed in our family. Even when my folks discovered things that should have indicated all was not well in my world, I was the one blamed and I was the one disciplined with whippings on my bare bottom. How the f*** was I supposed to have learned that in the first place? Were they so ignorant as to think I came up with it on my own? "Uhhh.... Lets see, we caught Johnny doing what? Lets give him a whipping! That's nasty!"

Yeah, real brilliant! Again, 1963-64. Different world I suppose.

John

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#150562 - 04/12/07 08:35 PM Re: Would we have been believed? [Re: lostandfound]
Muldoon Offline
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Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
One Thing about the 14yo kid his mind was fooze at the age of 11. When you are but through that kind on trama the mind shuts down. So at the age of 14 he was still a 11 year old boy. Tom

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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