What Happened When I Told: A Boy’s Sexual Assault Story

sexual violence against boys, male survivors

The neighbor boy came into my room and asked if I knew anything about sex.

Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse.

This is my assault story.

I don’t actually remember how old I was but, based on where I was living at the time, I know I was younger than ten years old when this incident happened.  We lived in a condo complex that was a collection of young families, and for the most part I have great memories of living there.

We had a fairly open and happy relationship with our direct neighbors, and I considered myself friends with the two children that lived there. One of the children was the same age as me, and we got along famously; her brother was in his early teens (13-15), and though we had little interaction, I thought well enough of him.  Our families used to get together fairly often, and my memories of those early times are pretty happy. Until the son was asked to babysit.

I don’t remember where my parents were going, or the time of year, or anything else about that day other than what transpired with the boy.

I remember being in my room, playing I assume, when he came in and asked if I knew anything about sex. I knew that my dad had a collection of porn magazines and I knew that these were somehow involved with the act of sex, so I showed him the stash. I remember him leafing through the pages, making comments on what he saw and how it was arousing him. I remember looking at the pictures and not really understanding what he was talking about, as I they were just pictures of women without clothes. He asked me if I wanted to know about sex and if I wanted to know how it felt. I actually do not remember what I said, but he took me back to my room and proceeded to pull down our pants.

I actually remember being fascinated at seeing that he had an erection, and that he had pubic hair. I didn’t have either, so I wasn’t feeling uncomfortable yet. He said that sex involved touching and penises and that we needed to touch ours together. He laid me down on the floor and proceeded lay on top of me and grind his erection into me. I remember not being happy and saying that I didn’t like what he was doing and asked him to stop. I remember him laughing and holding me down and just grinding harder.  Being pinned down and having a bigger boy grind on me was bad enough, but he sat up, and ejaculated on me.

I can actually still remember, over 30 years later, his laughter and his breath.  I remember being scared and confused, and I remember crying. He said that I couldn’t tell anyone as he would beat me up if I did, and no one would believe me anyway.

I don’t remember much about the rest of that day, other than he went downstairs and I stayed in my room.

My parents came home and I remember thinking that I wanted to tell them. I was scared though, as the boy was much bigger than me and I thought he would beat me up if I told. I ended up not telling them. Until the boy tried to do the same thing again.

This time it happened to be outside in a small woodlot that was adjacent to our condo complex.   I had seen the boy around the complex a few times since the incident but we never directly interacted as I was consciously avoiding him. He cornered me in the wooded area one day and asked if I wanted to have sex again. I remember saying no, but he rushed me and tried to hold me on the ground. I remember yelling out and him hitting me, but I kept yelling and he eventually let me go and ran off. I remember running home crying to tell my parents, but I really hesitated when they asked me why I was crying. I don’t remember how long it took me to tell them, but it all eventually came out in a rush about what had just happened and what had happened the first time.

My father has a temper and it used to explode quite violently, and though I was spanked, he never actually hit me in anger. I remember his face; it is still crystal clear in my mind, and I remember being so afraid that he was angry with me. I remember him asking me to repeat the story and I remember his face was so red and he was shaking. He told me to stay in the kitchen and he went and got my mom. I remember them standing in the kitchen and yelling at each other. I was sitting at the table, and I can still remember how small I felt. I was so scared that they were angry with me and that I was going to get in major trouble. I remember feeling regret over saying anything, as my parents were upset and I just knew I was going to get beat up now. My dad stormed out of the house, and I remember my mom coming over and hugging me and telling me that they loved me very much and that they were proud of me for saying something.  I remember feeling confused but also relieved that she wasn’t angry with me, and I just sat there and nuzzled into my mom’s arms and cried.

I don’t know how long we sat there for, but my dad came back with the boy and his father. He asked me to repeat what I had told them, and to not be afraid. I remember I couldn’t look at anyone; I just stared at the table and told the story again.  I don’t remember what the boy said in his defense but I remember him shouting and pointing at me. I can only assume he was saying that I was lying but I didn’t say anything. I just sat there feeling small again, as all these adults were shouting at each other over the top of me and I remember the boy and his dad left. I have very few memories of what happened the rest of that night other than my dad coming back and apologizing to me, hugging me and telling me how proud he was of me. I remember feeling so relieved that he wasn’t angry with me and I felt safe in his arms.

I can’t actually remember what happened with the boy. I have not one single memory of what happened in the days after the big fight, but I do know that we never went as a family to our neighbors again.  We moved away from the complex a couple years later, and it was an event that I put behind me. I actually didn’t really think about it until my early twenties when I saw the boy, now a man, again.

He was back in town after doing some service in the army, and I don’t know what compelled him, but he looked me up. Somehow he found out which restaurant I was working at and came to talk with me. The place I worked at had an open style kitchen. I saw him sitting at the bar looking at me. I recognized him right away and I stopped dead in my tracks and had a feeling of panic and being trapped. I actually remember that I had unconsciously grabbed my chef knife and was holding it at the ready. I don’t know what I was going to do with it but I had grabbed it. I didn’t move, but he came up to the kitchen bar and said he wanted to talk. I remember saying that I had nothing to say to him, but he stayed at the bar until my shift was over. I don’t know why, but I didn’t call the police, or mention the guy to anyone but holy crap was I scared.

At the end of the shift, I had decided to tell to him to “Fuck off” and leave without giving him the time of day, but he stopped me just before I was going to say my piece, and apologized.

He actually said “Man, I am sorry. What I did was wrong and I am sorry. That’s all I want to say.” He got up after saying that and left.

I don’t remember what I thought at the time, but I remember standing there and crying. One of my co-workers came up to me and asked what was going on, but I didn’t say anything other than I was fine and that I was going home. I did not feel safe, so I grabbed my chef knife and walked home with it in my hand.

I never saw him again, and I hope I never will.

 

Read more On Rape and Sexual Violence.

Image credit: Moyan_Brenn/Flickr

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About Arthur MacMaster

I live in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada with my wife Cynthia, daughter Sara; and a menagerie of 2 dogs, 2 cats 3 fish and a lobster. Quite chaotic at times!
I spend my paid time organizing the Search and Rescue teams in the Territory, and as much of my free time in the great outdoors that surrounds me.

Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you for sharing your story so courageously now and so bravely when you were just a boy. I hope your story helps others seek help and healing.

  2. Roger Torbert says:

    Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story. I often wonder how my life would have been different, had I told someone that I was being sexually abused throughout my childhood. While each survivor has a unique story, each time a story is shared it chisels away at the power held over us by our abuser and the shame that has held us captive throughout our lives.

  3. Tough stuff, Arthur, thanks for sharing. Gives me perspective if it ever happened to my kids, god forbid, how they’d perceive my rage.

  4. Tough experience you had but tougher you are for standing what you believed is right and I wish you well wherever you may be. I am touched by your story

  5. Arthur– thank you for sharing your story…it was so vivid and brutal…I was shocked your assailant apologized in the end….I have a dismal feeling that my abuser would never say those words (except maybe in a fake apology)….

    Much of childhood is bewildering and shocking…hard to make sense of it all until much later…so much goes unspoken and never discussed….my ex-abuser told me a story about when he was a young boy (age 4 — 5 years old) at a Catholic summer camp….the cook got him alone and pulled his shorts down and he started crying and got away….he told his counselor that the guy did “something bad” to him…and the cook was fired…

    And yet, I wonder if that was all that had happened….my ex-abuser told so many lies….maybe the story was truly worse than what he had said….maybe it was something else entirely…I don’t know….maybe it was the truth as he remembered it….I think he did experience some kind of sexual violence as a child as it seemed he was re-enacting some of that in his relationship with me….as if all those forbidden, hidden feelings and violations need to go somewhere and need to be re-created, but this time with him as the abuser and some other child as the victim…

    • Thank you for your comment Leia, and for sharing a portion of your experience.

      I was spurred into writing my story after reading another great GMP article that listed the stat of 1 in 6 men are the victims of sexual assault. This got me to thinking that I have read many, many articles and stories about women being the victims of sexual assault, and though I know they exist, I have read very few (none) on men who have been victimized and how it affected them.

      This surprises me, as 1/6 of the population of men is a sizable number. In Canada alone, the number comes to a whopping total of 2,942,530 men who have potentially been the victims of sexual abuse. In my opinion, the silence around this issue is one more indication of the social pressure men feel to keep quiet about certain aspects of their lives. I believe that we men need to start talking more about the more painful aspects of our lives, or this silence will just be perpetuated.

  6. Robert Carey says:

    Arthur,
    Congratulations on an excellent article and thank you for sharing your story. I too am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I firmly believe that every time one of us tells our story, we eliminate a little bit more of the stigma that has kept so many others silent.
    Thank You,
    Robert Carey

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