Wednesday, May 28, 2014


40 years ago. 2014 to 1974 doesn't really seem all that long when you have lived through the entirety of it; 1974 to 1934, on the other hand, seems like an eternity, especially when you weren't born until 1966.

40 years ago. We lived in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan then; my father was in the Coast Guard and that was our current three-year tour. I can picture the surroundings all these years later. Two streets came together in sort of a triangular fashion, and our house was at that corner. Two blocks away was a soda bottling plant from which we stole drinks on occasion. Across the street in the backyard was an abandoned high school. We used to throw rocks at the windows and imagine what it would be like to get in there and play.

One morning I woke up to find fire trucks and police cars congregating in the back. The school was on fire. When all was said and done the place was a total loss. Just a pile of rubble. The front steps were largely intact, and there was a crawl space underneath that we could use as a hideout. Us kids, of course, loved it. One more cool place to play.

I was six, possibly seven years old. Not entirely sure. It's been 40 years. Other things I remember all too well. Like the older boys taking their clothes off. Like the older boys making us take ours off. Like... yeah, maybe you should just use your imagination on this one. Mouths, and genitals, and no permission granted. I was six. Maybe seven. I didn't know what oral sex was. I did know that I didn't want to get my ass kicked by a neighbor boy who was bigger than me. So... yeah. Just use your imagination.

It was abuse, all right, but it was 40 years ago. The consciousness of people regarding sexual abuse was not the same as it is today. You didn't talk about it. I sure didn't talk about it. I didn't want to get in trouble. Yeah, I said it. Kid makes me put my mouth on him and I'm the one worried about getting in trouble.

The years went by. We moved, and we moved again, and we moved again. Sault Ste. Marie was a distant memory. I let what happened fade off into the distance. Never brought it up with anyone, until I started becoming friends with women who had been sexually abused. Then I began to wonder. Was I abused too? I quickly stomped such thoughts into the mudholes of my mind. It didn't happen to boys. Boy on boy abuse was just some bully neighbor kid being an asshole. So I let it go.

Life becomes much more complicated when you become an adult. At a certain point I started seeing a therapist. I was suicidal, depressed, and my marriage was collapsing. The therapist and I got along. I had been seeing her for a few years when I brought up Sault Ste. Marie. I wanted to get a professional opinion. Did what happened to me "count"?

She listened, we talked, she spoke. Did you give your permission? Well hell, I was six, I had no concept of permission. Were you coerced? Well... yeah. I didn't want to get my ass kicked. I was timid. I couldn't defend myself. Hell, I was six. Then yes, she said. It "counts".
In 40 years I have only talked about this with two people. It wasn't as severe as some women I am very good friends with. It didn't seem like I should bring it up for fear of being accused of hijacking someone else's story. This doesn't happen to guys. Keep quiet, let women tell their story. Which I do.
But yeah, it does happen to guys. Please remember that.
Because it happened to me.


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