The subject of this profile will be kept anonymous and referred to as “M”.
“I was sitting with my sister and cousin, and I said he was acting like a dick head. She said he always has been. I asked her what she meant by that.”
“Don’t you remember what he did to you?” She replied.
“It’s not something I’m ashamed of,” he begins, bringing his cigarette to his mouth again. “When I was 15 I found out I had been molested by my cousin when I was younger.” It shocked him, but he says a part of him always knew. “Your brain makes an effort to gloss over it”, but the memories left their mark and links them to his negative behaviours today. “I didn’t do so well in school and I didn’t do so well with people.” He wasn’t comfortable with people touching him, especially if he couldn’t see them coming up behind him. “I’ll freeze up or get quite aggressive,” he says.
It was clear that the memories were still raw. His hands shook.
“All forms of sexual violence should be seen with the same level of severity…”
He says he understands how a woman may be nervous to walk down a dark street by themselves, whereas his males friends may not think in the same way. “M” acknowledges that male victims of sexual violence aren’t looked at the same way as female victims, “I feel that it is under-reported but all forms of sexual violence should be seen with the same level of severity.” He hopes that by speaking out, the topic won’t remain taboo.
Tom McGill, a fellow classmate of ‘M’ had this to say about him:
I think the fact that [‘M’] is willing to accept it as a defining part in his life, process those memories and convert it into a relatively positive outlook on life is incredible. You see so many of these cases around, and unfortunately, the number of them isn’t getting smaller, but rather than being just a statistic, he is showing that instead of being a victim he is somewhat of a spiritual survivor.
Coming from a devoted religious family made coping with the situation more difficult. “An old Christian family that don’t like to believe these things happen,” he described them as. The toughest part for him is knowing that his cousin got away with it, “because nothing happened to him” and having to see him at major family gatherings never gets easier. “I have to see him about five times a year. Which is always hard and it’s difficult not to be a c*nt to him.”
Before finding out, he had an interest in the tales of sexual abuse as he “wondered about the head space of those people” and to find out he was one of them was “strange”. He is aware sexual violence is a topic often left alone because “it becomes a shame thing.” When it comes to male sexual violence he knows there is a stigma attached to it and may “not be viewed in the same light as a female victim.” He hopes that by talking about it, the topic becomes less taboo and victims won’t feel so isolated.
“I can’t say I wouldn’t take it back if I could”, ‘M’ says as the sky opens up. “It’s a part of me.”
– Tracy Bustamante
Thank you “M” for sharing your story with me.