I was 14 years old, I was a cheeky and mischievous young teenager, I never thought in a million years that it would happen to me, I always saw it in the news and I would just avoid listening to it or reading it because it was too horrible, but you never know that it could happen to you until it does and then your entire world is just turned upside down.
I was walking through my local high street, I had been shopping and was heading home, at this age I was very confused on what my sexuality was, I always knew that I fancied boys, but I couldn’t say anything because I had never even kissed one. I was walking and came across a pub that was the local gay bar, I stood outside for a while because I just wanted to be near a place that was associated with the LGBT community.
After a little while, a man came out of the pub, he lit a cigarette and looked over at me, he came walking over and smiled at me, he asked how I was and what I was doing in town on my own, I was always told to never talk to strangers but I could never help it, I never did mind talking to strangers because I’m a chatterbox. I talked back to him, told him about my day, he offered me a cigarette and we talked a bit more, he seemed friendly, I asked him what his sexuality was, as he had been drinking in there, he told me that he was gay and that he spent years in an unhappy marriage to a woman before finally telling the truth and that he wished he had come out sooner and been with someone when he was young. He told me that I was very attractive and that if I were gay I would make someone happy, he said that I was so cute he wished that he could kiss me.
I told him that I didn’t know that I was gay for sure as I’d never kissed a boy, he asked me if we could go for a walk together, to carry on talking and said that if I was good I’d get a little kiss, I thought that he was just being friendly.
We went for a walk together, we carried on talking, we eventually came to a public toilet and I went in to use the toilet, he waited outside, but as I came out the cubicle I saw that he had shut the main door and he came walking towards me, telling me again how attractive I am and how much he wanted to kiss me. He put his hands on my shoulders and he slowly pushed me back into the cubicle, he gave me a kiss on the lips and on my neck, he then put his hands on me, I told him “No, that’s enough, I think I should go now”, but he shut the cubicle door and told me not to speak and be a good boy.
After it was over, he took his hand off my mouth, made me wipe my tears with a tissue as he did up his trousers, I was just laying on the floor, unable to make a sound, the pain was unbearable, but not as bad as the pain in my heart. I couldn’t have screamed even if I tried. I couldn’t even think. He lit another cigarette, then he told me that he was just doing me a favour, that I had turned him on, it was too much for him to handle and that it was my fault that it ended up happening because he couldn’t help himself. Then he told me that if I went to the police or if I told anyone about what happened, then he would find a way of getting away with it and making them believe him over me, and then he would track me down and make me pay for trying to get him into trouble. He left me in that toilet without even asking if I was okay, which I obviously wasn’t. It took me so long time to get up off the floor and get myself together. It felt like forever. I just wanted to be dead.
I don’t think I have ever truly recovered from that, I just feel like I get through each day and that I do everything possible to distract me during the day so that it doesn’t come into my dreams at night.
I’m 23 now, it will be 10 years soon, they say that time is a healer, but I don’t believe that. I think that time has just given me things to distract myself with. I believe that even though that was my first sexual encounter, that man did not take my virginity, he robbed it, and it doesn’t count as losing my virginity because I did not give it or share it. I spent a long time thinking that was how I lost my virginity because of how damaged I felt. But I do not let it define me. It may never go away, but I can now tell myself that it wasn’t my fault and know that is the truth. It takes every bit of my strength within me, to get up every morning, look in my mirror and tell myself that I am beautiful, that I am not damaged goods, that what happened is in the past and will never happen to me again. By telling yourself that what happened to you really did happen, and as awful and traumatic it is, it wasn’t your fault, you are therefore taking control of it and taking the power away from your attacker, they will no longer have a hold on you. Say that they raped you and that they hurt you, it broke you, maybe you’ll never be fixed but you will eventually be unbroken, but more importantly it was not your fault that it happened. After that, you feel free, they won’t have that hold over you anymore. I don’t just tell myself these things to get through the minutes of the day, I also do it to make sure that I know I am safe, that I know I can take care of myself and that it won’t happen to me again because I’m stronger than I believe.
I cannot stress how important it is to talk about your traumatic experiences, if you let it carry on being silent for many years like I did, it doesn’t help or protect anybody, the poison just sits in you and builds up until breaking point. Talk to somebody, it could save your life.
I’m so proud of myself these days, after a long struggle I have recently been refusing to let my mental health or traumatic experiences hold me back. I decided a while ago to give back, to help others, I started working in Healthcare, I’m now in the process of Nurse training and I aim to work in the field of Mental Health once I’m fully qualified, so that I can help make change to not just the treatment of mental health, but also the outlook of mental health itself.
Please remember, that Boys struggle too. Boys cry too. Boys are abused too. Boys are hurt too. Boys crumble too. Boys feel too. Boys have low self-esteem. Boys have body-image issues. Boys have eating disorders. Boys can have depression. Boys experience trauma.
Boys can be raped too. Please notice the signs. Encourage them to speak up.
If you ever need to talk to someone, please follow my twitter – @Frankiewbstrx