Updated: Dec 26, 2018
One tough lesson I have learnt over the last few years that trying to bury the past can be one of the most destructive things that you could do. This is one of the hardest posts I know I will ever write, and some may question why I would share this at all.
What I will say is this, I can’t advocate for people coming forward and speaking out if I cannot do the same. In good faith that would feel wrong, despite what I am going to be talking about being a difficult subject matter for everyone. I am certainly not looking for sympathy, but to continue this journey I feel I need to be 100% honest, all the time.
I was when I was 16 when my world was first introduced to the internet. I remember my sister coming home from University and telling me about this new an amazing thing that seemed out of this world. I also remember that at the time, someone from the “internet” company used to have to come to your house and do fancy things on your computer to make the magic happen. It used to cost us $200 for 200 hours, which I can guarantee when you are a horny/inquisitive 16yo doesn’t take too much time to use. Plus, it was the time when if you were online it meant no one could use the phone. It’s crazy to think how far things have come since then but for me a whole new world opened up to me and it was amazing.
It was at this time I was really starting to struggle with my sexuality, in fact I was terrified of it. I thought that if I really was gay then the consequences would destroy me. In a way they did for a long time. I started using the internet, this new and incredible tool, to start to try and find someone to chat to that was like me. I met “Mark” straight away, he seemed like the perfect person to talk to. He shared growing up in a smaller country town and how he came to deal with his sexuality. Over some time, I came to rely on our chats to feel less confused as I had been all this time. This new world brought along with it excitement and new opportunities.
He asked me multiple times before I agreed to meet him in person. The idea both excited me and terrified me at the same time. The idea of meeting a stranger and what it might entail scared me. But the idea of talking to someone who could possibly make me feel less confused and alone overtook me.
I met him at a park in my hometown. He had previously told me he was 19, but I could tell straight away he was around 23-34. I immediately felt uncomfortable but put it down to nerves. We made small talk in the car before he suggested we go for a drive. Feeling already that I was in a situation I didn’t want to be in I just agreed in silence. We drove outside of town, to a Lake where I had been a million times as a boy growing up. Looking back, he had clearly scoped out the place before we met, because I noticed he seemed to know exactly how to get there.
We pulled into the carpark away from any lights and close to the lake. I was completely unnerved by his silence and at that point my instincts were screaming at me to get out of there. Once we had stopped he took off his seatbelt and tried to pull me towards him to kiss him. I pulled away, I had never done anything like this before and I was so terrified. After I pulled away he said to me, “I didn’t come all this way for nothing”. So many thoughts were racing through my mind, I thought we were there to talk, there was never any discussion or insinuation that anything else was going to happen. I could tell he wasn’t happy at all, he opened his drivers’ side door and said he needed to pee. Suddenly I heard the doors lock, and the light inside the car dimmed to nothing. Terror shook through me as every instinct told me something bad was going to happen. I pulled on the door to open it and realised he had the child lock on and I couldn’t get out. I also couldn’t see where he was because of the darkness. I froze, all I could think was why did I do this?
Suddenly the passenger side which I was sitting in pulled open and I was dragged from the car and almost in one motion pushed to the ground. I felt my face against the gravel as things got worse and worse. I pleaded with him to stop as tears started streaming down my face. He was far stronger than I was, so once I was pinned to the ground there was little I could do. He forced my shorts and underwear down and pushed my face into the ground. As it happened, I looked across to the lake, the tears had stopped all of a sudden and it felt like ice had gone across my body. I remember vividly staring straight towards the lake and as quiet as I could be until it was over.
I stumbled to my knees and onto my feet and he pushed me back down onto the ground. He told me that if I tried to tell anyone, he would say that I had planned it with him and that he would make sure my family and friends knew that I was a “faggot”. He got in the car and drove off. I was about 5 kilometres from home, in shock and almost in some ways unsure what had just happened.
I went into some kind of trance. I got myself together and started to walk, somehow which I will never know to this day is how I was able to push what had just happened out of my mind and start walking home. I now know it was dissociation, that my mind couldn’t comprehend the trauma of what had just happened and had essentially shut down. I explained away the cuts bruises on my face as falling over down the driveway and no one knew a thing.
I became convinced that I had HIV and was going to die, all the while slowly starting to process what had happened. I was 100% convinced that it was my fault and that if I told anyone my life would be destroyed in a more public way. I didn’t think for a second that I was the victim, I was too young and so scared of what people would think. I decided that I would bury it as deep as I possibly could and made a vow to myself that I would never tell another soul. In my mind I had put myself in a completely dangerous situation and I had gotten what I deserved.
I went through the next 20 years of my life with this secret before opening up to certain people, Mum being the first. I would have nightmares about it constantly throughout that time, and my mental health only got worse and worse and it was time to lessen the load. I had finally said the words to Mum. “I was raped”. She was devastated, but it shed light on why I was struggling so much with my health.
So long had I thought it was my own stupid fault for meeting the person in the first place, that I had always thought that the blame rested on me and that I couldn’t complain about something that I had allowed to happen. That notion somehow became quite factual in my mind over time.
I finally realised that wasn’t the case, and also felt that my family members were provided some much needed some context into why things were so chaotic and going badly. Telling my Mum and my Sister was incredibly hard. I knew Mum would blame herself that I didn’t tell her. At the time, my brain had decided the only way to cope was to shut it down completely and also because for a very long time I blamed myself for what had happened.
I passionately believe that no matter the age, no matter the time that has passed, people need to speak up, to tell their story. We must move past times when people thought they needed to keep these things buried, and step into a new narrative of standing up for what is right, and letting people know they are not alone in their fight. The more we talk about this, the more stories we share could mean the difference to others who find the strength to speak up
Its’ with acceptance that we walk forward, I don’t pretend that what happened to me will ever leave me. That the nightmares won’t go away. But I do know that speaking about it, being able to talk about it has given me enormous comfort.
I have to admit I am glad to get this post out of the way. I knew it had to be part of my story and I have made that decision to share my journey with you.
To my friends who read this, I hope this also gives you some understanding of why things have not gone well lately.
I would be grateful if there is one post of mine that you share it is this one. To be able to help just one person feel less isolated makes sharing this difficult post worth it.
This experience is part of me, although it has been extremely destructive it has also shaped the person I have become. Thank you for reading, I always appreciate the time people take to check out my blog. #Metoo