I had a good, normal life, including a good, normal childhood. Even though I'd been abused. My mind did me such a wonderful, loving favor by muting and sterilizing the memories of the abuse. A series of terrible personal crises and breakdowns in 2012 overwhelmed the mental locks and blocks and brought it all back to life in full horror, given to me in total for the very first time. And life was neither good nor normal anymore. In some important ways it still isn't. And I hope so very much that someday it will be.
But let's go in order.
It is 1986. I am 8 years old. While at school on some terribly rainy day I got either caught in the rain or fell in a puddle or something and I was utterly drenched - like, dropped in a pool soaked, my hair plastered to my head, clothes sopping and clinging to my body and horribly freezing cold. I remember being horribly embarrassed and not wanting anyone to see me. One of the playground monitors / all-purpose substitute teachers accompanied me to the bathroom. I dont know if I sought him for help or if he offered it on seeing me. In any case I had every reason to trust him, he'd been so kind to us all for years - playground monitor, hall monitor, lunchroom monitor, and all-purpose substitute teacher: he didn't know the subjects and wasn't expected to, rather if a teacher was absent he'd watch the room and show a video or pass out worksheets. He did magic tricks. I remember laughing at them. So whether he approached me or I approached him, I knew I could trust him. I knew I could trust him.
There was some talk from someone, some notion, that I couldn't let anyone see me like that. I was so embarrassed and didn't want anyone to see. I was already very much in "never tell" mode - it was an overpowering urge, almost programmed, to never ever tell anybody. Maybe I said it first. Maybe he suggested it to me. Maybe we both said it. In any case, it was there and imperative and very very obvious - "I WILL NEVER SPEAK OF THIS DAY!!!" Right from the start.
And I trusted him.
I was 8 years old. He was 66.
He guided me to the boys bathroom. I went into a stall and stripped off my shirt and pants and socks, standing just in my underpants and sneakers. I kind of helplessly tried to hang my drenched dripping clothing somewhere and had no idea what to do. Freezing cold, but as my body dried off I got more "stuck" undressed - you can't put soggy saturated cold clothing back on, I was stuck until they dried or new clothing magically appeared. I was humiliated at the thought of other kids knowing what had happened and just knew they could never find out.
He entered the bathroom stall and made some comment about comfort - something like "you're getting comfortable aren't you?" I didn't answer. Then a similar follow up, something like "Let's get you more comfortable." He reached both hands and grabbed my underwear. I said "no" but he ignored me and pulled them to the floor. I was scared senseless and knew something VERY BAD was happening - I'd been warned, I remembered the warnings! He had ignored what I said so I didn't say anything else.
I stood frozen as he groped me all over my body. All over. Everywhere. He had his turn with a naked boy and he wanted EVERYTHING. Spent plenty of time on my privates but seriously touched absolutely everything - my belly button, the backs of my knees, inside my ears, my eyelids, that thing between your nostrils. I was his, I was his toy, he would play with me however he liked. And that also meant up between my legs. Rubbing and pressing everywhere, rubbing and pressing a fingertip at my anus.
This went on for several minutes I guess. Utter graveyard silence the entire time. Then his penis was out, though at the time I wasn't even sure that was what it was - I had never seen an adult penis before and was puzzled by its size and shape and was that hair? Maybe it was something he was carrying. Quickly closer and pushed it and rubbed it onto my lips. He ordered me to do things to him, hissing whispers. I did everything he told me, not knowing what it was but that it was strange and bad. I still didn't 100% "get" that it was his penis but I hoped that if it was he wouldn't pee inside me. I followed his orders for maybe a minute.
Then he grabbed my head hard and savagely raped my mouth, raped my face, raped me down my throat. Just a few days before I wrote this I learned that this act has been reclassified literally as legal rape in the United States, I'm still honestly a bit in shock over "rape" applying to me but this IS where it applies so I am applying it here. With horrible stabbing punching pain he raped my throat, squeezing and wrenching my head, I couldn't breathe..... Terrified. Point of death terror. No idea what's happening to me. No idea someone could hate someone else so much. No idea someone else could hurt someone else so much. Couldn't breathe, choking, gagging, pain. He was trying to kill me. He was going to kill me. I lost everything, lost my mind, all my thoughts, a blind mindless mouth being raped and only feeling pain and terror, everything I'd been up to that point just baseball-batted out of me. He raped me into nothing.
It started moving differently inside me. He told me to SWALLOW! SWALLOW! SWALLOW! and again I obeyed. Still holding my head, stroked my hair, called me a good boy. I was dizzy and saw black spots. He left the stall. I lurched against the wall, naked, cold, crying, retching.
Then everything goes black and I don't have any confirmed, placeable memories for what feels like 6 months or more. I don't know how I know it's "6 months or more," it's just a huge gap. No idea how I got out of that bathroom, no memory of him doing anything else or saying anything to me, nothing of threats or secrets. I would have been noticed walking around in soaked clothes, would have been noticed coming home in different clothes than I'd gone in. I seriously think he took my clothes to the laundromat down the street to dry. It would have taken less than 40 minutes and with me being buck naked I would have waited in the stall until he came back. I consider it the only reasonable explanation.
26 years later, I told my parents. My father later said that he remembered one day while I was in that school when I had come home acting strangely. He said I asked to go to sleep immediately upon getting home, and that he'd been concerned because it was broad daylight and I never did that, I always watched cartoons or played Nintendo or had a play-date with a friend. He asked me what was wrong and I'd said I'd had a fight with one of my friends that really upset me and just wanted to go right to sleep right now. He said he didn't really believe me but I kept saying that, and so I was allowed to go into my room and go to sleep at like 3:45pm. He didn't remember which year it was or how old I was. I don't remember it at all. It might have been that day. It might not.
Talking with my T, tracing when my memories are clearest and how I remember acting.... we've tentatively been able to place the incident around the midpoint of 3rd grade. Because my memories of 4th grade are extremely clear at start, middle, end - I loved my 4th grade teacher and have many very clear memories of her throughout that year. I've got the beginning of 3rd grade but really not the end.... it's not as clear.
I had no recall or awareness of the incident whatsoever at first. None. Nothing in realtime. At some point not long after, the pictures came into my head. Pictures of a boy I was watching, who looked like me and I knew was me but didn't feel like me - for maybe 3-5 seconds, I'd see the boy being touched, see the man's penis (if that was what the weird thing was), a belly getting closer and farther and closer and farther. There were no feelings at all attached, no pain, no fear, no real idea what had happened, and as an 8 or 9 year old just looking at that it meant absolutely nothing to me.
And because the pictures were brief and emotionless and were only kind of visually me... I still lived my life as me. I was happy. I had a good, happy, normal life at 8, at 9, and then on. They didn't feel like any other memory I had and they were kind of strange, but there was no emotion and they didn't bother me, and when I wanted to think of something else I could.
By the time I was 12 I learned what penises could grow up into, what they could do, that they were supposed to move back and forth, that they could go into mouths and there was a word for that. Cryptic "sideways" questions to my 6th-grade health teacher filled in the final gap by verifying that pubic hair could be grey when you got older. That was when I knew that the pictures were real, because I'd been remembering things for 4 years that I hadn't known existed but that turned out to be accurate. I remember feeling.... disappointed. I knew that that man had sexually abused me, that those were what the words meant. But there were still no emotions involved, so I just had disappointment. I was just like "....oh." But I felt no damage from it, I was in middle school now and not around that guy anymore, I had enough problems just dealing with being 12, I didn't want to be seen as damaged or different, so I never said anything about it.
There was another reason I never told too: when I was 9, it became public that my sister's boyfriend was a pederast who had raped many boys in my town, including some of my friends. My sister and parents were in shock, devastated, crying. Mom interrogated me, almost violently, to see if he'd ever touched me (he hadn't - I must have been "off limits") - and when she finally believed I was okay she just fell apart, complete hysteria, and I had to comfort her! In subsequent years there were whispers and rumors about the boys my sister's boyfriend had raped. Pity. Suspicion. One of my friends at 11 told me some of what was done to him. I felt so bad for him. But didn't connect my own dots until 12. And once I had - I didn't want to be seen as anything like any of those boys. I didn't want the stories or the pity, I was okay, it didn't feel like anything! And why get everybody upset again, why make my parents, my sister, cry more than they already would every now and again - over something that really didn't matter to me? So no, there would be no disclosing from me.
And all things considered, 12 was basically normal and happy. I won't say adolescence was a romp on a heavenly cloud, all kids have problems, and looking back some of mine quite likely were subconscious results of the rape: I had night terrors and a hyper-exaggerated startle response, over which my asshole "friends" would tease me constantly, setting me off to see how I'd jump in the air like goddamned Shaggy. I also turned out to be a compulsive academic overachiever, getting just about straight A's throughout all of high school, lots of extracurriculars, undergrad at Harvard with honors, grad school at Columbia. I started clubs, made my mark in many student organizations, devoted my life to changing the world - saving endangered species and natural habitats. Waded through muck, boiled in equatorial sun, nearly killed myself falling down cliffs, got threatened by guys driving their 4x4s in protected areas - I didn't care - there were animals that needed me and I was going to save them. And in a few places, I really, personally did. There was one critically endangered bird population in one part of New York that would have died out entirely if I hadn't with my own hands built protective enclosures in their habitat, gone out on patrol, set traps and killed aggressive non-native species, raised public awareness, counted every egg.... every chick.... several times every day.... for months. Eventually I knew I'd have to get more people as devoted to nature as I was in order to make a real difference, so I became a teacher. Worked with kids for 9 years, poured my all into making a difference there too - wanted to win them over into saving the world, and while I was there, I listened to their problems, I heard their fears, heard their plans to run away, saw their bruises. I reported every last incident to administrators. I saved - for real saved - at least one of them, too.
And still there were those odd pictures. And still they didn't mean a damned thing.
Dated and laid my fair share of women, loving every minute of it. After I'd accepted my desires, accepted myself as bisexual, I never hooked up with a guy but found there were other avenues to indulge those fantasies - without guilt, without shame. Met a particularly wonderful woman, fell in love, an unbelievably joyous relationship, a wedding with all the bells and whistles, a happy life..... a beautiful, laughing, playful, joyful son.
In late 2011, we got pregnant with our second. My wife insisted on a "proven on the Internet" method of making a girl that required completely dry sex - which amounted to me basically having to rape her, with pain and crying and blood. That damaged me a lot and I couldn't get it out of my mind. Then she did get pregnant and was deathly violently ill throughout the entire pregnancy and then some. I was the horniest sex-lovingest creature I'd ever heard of, and now would get no physical intimacy of any kind whatsoever for 14 months, and my final experience of it had been with pain and fear. I had to take over all domestic responsibilities, everything in the household and relationship, every single thing for both my son and my wife. Identity thieves stole my life savings. We bought a house and, less than 2 weeks after the new baby was born, moved into it - I left all my friends far away. The day we moved, my boss got fired and on her way out warned me I'd be fired next. I wasn't fired but instead got a new boss who is a shrieking abusive psycho who would publicly humiliate me.... and sexually harassed me. By September 2012 I was at the end of my rope. Then I spent 3 weeks on travel projects, away from my family, working max-strength from 6am-9pm for 3 weeks. I'd start to have crying fits. Trouble sleeping. Drinking heavily to try to stay calm. At the end of the 3 weeks I took a redeye home, didn't sleep, had been awake for about 30 hours and almost as soon as I got home, I put my son onto the school bus for the first time.
And what was left of me watched the bus take my beautiful boy away, my innocent happy boy who looked exactly like me, who clung to me at all times, who people called my clone, my shadow. It got farther away and as I later remembered the bus getting farther I actually remembered it as his coffin lowering his dead body into the grave, he was dead and we'd had to pack his little coffin with his favorite toys, his funeral in my mind lasted about 4 straight days, I remember my eulogy for him quite clearly. The pictures started coming back, more intrusively. He was in a school, a real school, in situations where I couldn't protect him. I knew what happened when kids weren't protected. The pictures showed me. And they were showing me a bit more now, more than I'd remembered seeing before. I stopped sleeping altogether - 4 or 5 days. I lost all sense of hunger and taste - eating only based on my watch, when I remembered, and it was just cold paper when I swallowed, so I lost interest and stopped altogether, no sleep, no food. There were very, very, very dark thoughts. I would find myself having to stop myself from.... doing a very bad and final thing. Sometimes it was very hard to stop.
The pictures were unavoidable now. Couldn't stop them. More intense - and for the first time ever, emotions came in. Unspeakable emotions - pain and terror and shock and humiliation beyond anything I could have grasped - attacked from within my own mind, no place to escape. It was like a new personality, a new version of myself - myself as mindless terrified slave - was overwriting me, what I'd always known my whole life to have been the real me. This new... thing... was just as real, and was also me. And I - could - not - take - it.
I don't remember how I wound up in a storage room in my office building, crying hysterically. I don't exactly remember what I said when I called the emergency number on my health insurance card.
I started therapy and medication October 24th, 2012. What the flashbacks hadn't revealed about the incident, the therapy did.
Five days later, Hurricane Sandy drowned my town and mauled my house and left my family homeless refugees, sleeping on a series of floors, for 3 weeks. If I hadn't already been under treatment, I'm sure I would have done the bad and final thing.
After 3 months of treatment..... I'm functional and pretty much back to a normal emotional state. Finally resuming marital sex again helped a very great deal. I've disclosed to my parents and a select group of friends, all of whom have been heartwarmingly supportive. My wife is doing her very best to be supportive but she has her own emotional issues after having been pregnancy-sick for about a year. She has her good days and bad days. So do I.
I tracked down the perp. I called him and spoke to him, under a fake name and story - and a day later paid a heavy price for hearing his voice again. He is now in his 90s, got away scot-free. He was born in Germany in 1920. I am Jewish and there is a quite real chance that the man who raped me may have ben an actual Nazi - he could have had any role or not much of one at all, if he ever gave the Hitler salute that would be enough. There are feelings involved there that I cannot put into words.
Or, he might have been a Jewish Holocaust survivor / refugee - which has its own emotional baggage.
Many guys on this site talk about their inner children, about reuniting with the inner child, re-integrating with it, accepting it, protecting it, giving it love and getting love back in return. I'm not like that. I had a good, happy childhood. The mental defensive sterilization was the best thing that ever happened to me, it allowed me to live as normal. And the breakdown of that block, the worst thing that ever happened, because it gave me a different version of myself, one that doesn't match who I used to be.
I remember my life before 2012, so clearly. I remember my life before the breakdown, before the flashbacks, before the pain and terror, so very very clearly. I remember myself at 33, remember everything I knew about myself that I don't quite know anymore, everything I was sure of that I'm really not sure of anymore. You remember the words to a song - you can sing it. You remember the directions to somewhere - you can find it. I remember my inner 33-year-old.... but I can't be him again, not exactly. At 34 I'm someone different.
I want the rest of my life to be lived by the real me - the me who lived all of my life up to this point except for that one day. The me-of-that-day, I want to go the fuck away and never come back, and to have nothing more to do with me, to never represent me emotionally, ever ever again. He haunts me, that empty abused creature of terror. He isn't me, the real me, at any age, 8 or otherwise, and I never want to see him again.
I work so hard every day to avoid seeing him.
"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny