My name is Sean, I’m 19 years old and I am a male survivor of sexual child abuse….
I was born in Switzerland to a wealthy family. My father comes from a family of actionists and stock holders. And my mother from a family of franchise bank developers. I don’t remember much from my early years, up to about 4 or 5 years old. My earliest memory is of flying from my home country to the U.S. My mother was sick and she was to get better here. But to make a long story short, she only got worse. And soon she passed away...I find it impossible to remember her face or recognize her pictures. I mostly only remember the hospital, doctors, and lawyers. Never-the-less, she passed and it was just me and my father. After that, I recall every day of my childhood as if it just happened yesterday. Clear as day.
We stayed in the states...in my early years we traveled very often between Canada and Africa as he continued the business of auctioning and stocks. I was usually left in the hotel during these trips, under the supervision of a hotel staff member or manager. They were always top-of-the-line hotels, so there wasn't much fun to be had. Most of his auctions included mainly instruments or guns, whether they'd be antic or modern. Trips to South Africa were usually boring and uneventful; again I would never see much out of the hotel walls, other than a good view from the balcony. Trips were a few days at most, and we would return to the states, which I guess was our new home. My father was young, he was 23 at this time, and quite frankly he was doing a lot for his age. He was successful and wealthy, from the outside he must have appeared just a handsome young man with ambition. He was good at deceiving or “false perception” as he called it, it was key in his line of work and he was a natural at it. It was a trait he always preached to me. He would say, “Learn other people. Know what they want to see in you so that when you speak, no matter what you say it will be what they want to hear, that’s how you make the deal of a lifetime.” Or something along those lines, he would usually talk in Italian so the translation may be a bit off... I guess that helped me later in life to put the mask on, and repress things. Ironically, my father was very protective of me and didn’t trust anyone around me unless he knew them deeply. He was particular about little things like haircuts; he’d criticize the barber with every cut. It was clear he had OCD; I’m sure because I have it too.
Anyway, my father was not all he appeared obviously. Underneath his ‘gleaming charm’ was an addiction to prescription pain pills and alcoholism. The drugs were often given to him because he had back and knee problems from a car accident when he was younger, or at least that’s what I was told. Most likely he was just getting them illegally. The medicine didn’t make him violent, just very lucid and spaced out. It was common for him to be passed out on the couch and no matter how much I shake him he wouldn’t wake up. And overtime it became the norm and I just put myself to bed. I will grant him the fact that did just lose the love of his life, but he wasn’t the only one that lost someone. I needed him then and he was often not there. He was everything to me, so I strived to be a good son, to earn his love. I don’t think I ever did honestly.
And now I tell my story,
I cannot explain to you why, because I don’t know myself. Why he started to abuse me is so beyond me.
Age 6 is my first memory of abuse by his hand. He simply came into my room one night and began to touch me. At first it was relaxing and loving, the affection was desired. It was good to finally have him around. He would sleep with me at nights when I was lonely, or afraid. But then he started touching me in places that were wrong. I would wake up to him fondling me. I didn't know what to do or even how to feel. Every night he became more aggressive. And I did nothing, I might ask him what he was doing, but he would just tell me it was okay. He was my father and I trusted him. I didn't think he would do anything to hurt me.
Things escalated dramatically late in my seventh year. He would lay in bed naked with me and put himself on me. I was afraid and really just went along with it. Confused, and vulnerable. I've always only wanted to be a good son.
Life continued, we travelled and he was my father. We did normal father and son things, we played and I still looked up to him. I had no friends and no other family. School was done by a tutor 4 times a week, all year around; sometimes less in the summers. I had a guitar instructor that taught me once a week if we were idle enough. Doctor appointments were done at home. It was again just me and my father, who I loved and trusted, for there was no one else to express these things to.
My father had frequent girlfriends and mostly just prostitutes from what they would appear. As I passed the age 8 he included me in his affairs with them. I would often be in the bedroom as they had sex; if I tried to leave he would only have me stand closer. He would tell me to watch because I would be doing it one day. I had no idea what exactly he meant at the time, but looking back, I now know what he meant. It became quite clear one night when he visited me in my room and forced me to fellate him. I begged him. But I may as well been muted. He had only ever struck me the first time, and I guess it was to show that I didn’t have a choice. When he hit me it really broke something inside me, and from that point on I didn’t beg him anymore. It was not so much the sexual act that I was performing, but the fact that I often couldn't breathe, and it scared me because I thought he was killing me. It happened many nights out of the month. I just went along with it. He would tell me that if I loved him I would show it. I can’t recall my feelings toward those words, but I do know I cried every night it happened. And we always carried on as father and son as I repressed what was happening. I disassociated. I was two people, the boy who was being abused, and then I was his son. And every night I cried it away. In the morning I buried it... I continued on throughout my childhood, pretending he was a loving father. We traveled less and less until eventually everything was done with phone calls or meetings at the house. The abuse became the norm, and I had no intentions of telling anyone what was going on for fear of what he might do, and that I might lose him.
Life continued on through my 8th year and his 25th: My father often through business parties at the house when anywhere from 50 to 100 people would attend. It was his new and less exhausting way to sell, as he put it. And I had to dress up and smile way more than I usually would; I had to meet every single person and potential client. I’d ask him why I had to attend and that I hated them, he would explain that he himself needed to be seen as a normal guy, a father; not some guy who’s going to swindle them out of their money. He said that he needed me, and it made me feel really good to hear him say that.
The morning of one of these parties my father had me perform an act on him only hours before people started to show up. I had to then go back out to the party and resume meeting people, I would have to smile and laugh right after he made me do something that crushed me. And I felt so ridiculous; I was barely holding it together. Soon after, I was sitting and eating as my father went and mingled, and usually he would never leave me alone...I was approached by a man who asked me why I was crying, I was surprised to hear that because I didn't even notice. I didn't answer, I just put my head down. I did notice that he was one of my father’s friends and not just a client. He said to me "you're a good looking boy, you look better when you smile". Then he said aren't you a little young to be getting drunk" pointing to the glass of wine near me, obviously not mine, though it very well could have been. I laughed at that, which was my first real laugh that day. He said “I thought you were his daughter with that hair of yours.” He made me laugh truly. It even makes me smile thinking about it now. The way he cheered me up. It was the first time anyone has comforted me when I was feeling that way. I sensed a lot of good in this man, and for the first time I had the strongest urge to pour my heart out, and tell him everything. But he got up and walked away before I even picked my head back up. It wasn't like the atmosphere was set up for such a confession or anything. But still, it was like being stranded on an island and watching a ship cruise right by you. To this day I don’t know if I actually would have said anything. I think, maybe, it wasn't meant to be. To be honest I didn't have very many opportunities to even tell someone if I wanted to. At the parties was mostly the only time I met other people. My teachers were the only adults that were left alone with me that might give a damn; but they certainly never presented and opportunity for they were too busy either yelling at me or criticising my work.
I told myself things weren’t so bad, and I went back to repressing it all. Unfortunately things were bad, and my father constantly showed me that things could get worse. This memory is vivid and very clear… We were playing a usual game of wrestling and as I recall it was a good time. He started getting rough. He twisted my arm behind my back and I screamed and told him he had won, but he didn't let up. He stripped my pants and sodomized me. It was a complete and utter surprise that he was doing this. We had been laughing together only moments before... As I screamed he muffled my voice. I had quickly passed out from the pain. There aren't words to describe the feeling that haunts me to this day, to be a victim of such an act left me very traumatized.... anyway, I was in a lot of pain when I awoke and there was a lot of blood. But eventually I couldn't cry anymore, and it all just settled in. He took me to the shower. And he tried to explain what had happened. I don’t recall all of what he said. I do know he was sorry and that he said he would never do it again. I stayed in bed for days after that because walking was not in my best interest. I got a fever days later. The aches from the fever made moving any muscle at all, painful. Turning my head was even a challenge. The doctor came to the house and I was really scared of what might happen. My father told me to stay in the bed and don’t say anything. So that’s what I did. I was never asked anything by the doctor. He diagnosed that it was a simple fever. He oddly gave me penicillin, a shot that would usually go on the rear. But my father insisted that I was tired and that I should be given pills. The doctor clearly had concerns by this point. But he bit his tongue...Doctors like that who come to families like mine, they don’t ask questions. They just do what is asked of them. If I were moved he would surely see the blood. And somehow at the time, I was relieved that he left, but to this day I wish he would have did something.
I remember he would hug me and promise that he would never do it again. And I believed him and hugged him back. He was my father, and he made me feel like I was good for nothing but sex. I had a hard time trusting people; I shut down emotionally so that I wouldn’t feel anything. I became a very emotionless, very quiet boy. Everything I did, I was always thinking about what he had done to me over the years and what he would do next, would I be able to sleep tonight, or will he come in my room. My tutors and instructors would always discipline me for not paying attention to them, but I could never get in trouble for anything by my father. I guess maybe it was the one perk of it all. If I did anything disobedient (which was a rare occurrence) he would usually put on a show for the tutor or instructor, and as soon as they left he would make a joke and we would laugh about it. He even fired one instructor when he saw him hit me on the head with a ruler, which was common and not very severe or painful. At the end of the day, I got good grades and did well on tests; I wanted to make him proud of me regardless. So my father was a monster, and I just accepted that, and played my role. I was very spoiled throughout my childhood; but I could never be satisfied by anything he tried to do for me because I was just too traumatized by the things he had done thus far. Surely he couldn’t have thought that buying me things could make up for anything. I think the only thing that I was ecstatic about was when he bought me a dog, a Husky that I named "King". And I think that was my best friend. We had a small dog before that but I don’t even remember what happened to that. I will never forget King because he made me smile so much, but I don’t feel like writing about him. Life continued...
Around that time, my father had met a woman who eventually became my stepmother. She had a son and for once I felt normal as I gained a friend. But I was very different from other children. We moved to California with them, and I gained a brother who was about 3 years older than me. Making him 11 at the time. Everything in my life changed drastically. I was living in a neighborhood with other kids and I started going to open schools, though they were still private. Fitting in was impossible. I went out with my brother through the neighborhood, and was introduced to all the characters that over time helped me so much. In the beginning I was often teased for either my accent or for being small. I usually wished that I was alone again. But thanks to my brother I became comfortable. For a while, everything was normal. We stayed at their beach house in the spring and summer where there weren’t many other kids. This is where I met my most close friends who treated me like family. I learned how to surf which to this day is my most favorite thing to do. My father had not touched me for several months. He was actually very loving, and I enjoyed playing with him and just doing father son things, despite the past. I wanted so badly for him to treat me like the way he was. I was more than happy to repress everything and except him again. He was captivated by my step mother. I myself was discovering the child in me thanks to my brother. If it were not for him I would probably not be here today. He gave me life. We had settled down, and stayed in California permanently. We stopped traveling...they settled down and married.
Unfortunately the love my father had for my stepmother was short lived, very short. My stepmother was always gone on business. We barely ever saw her. So it became just me my step brother and my father. Not very long after the wedding, my father once again continued to abuse me. As things worsened I went to my stepbrother for help as I could not take the abuse anymore. So, he started circling my step brother...eventually he abused both of us.
We suffered together for quite some time; we found ways to mitigate my father’s assaults together. We spent time out of the house a lot, and we found that if we stayed together he would usually not bother us. And we also had some really good times with just me my brother and my father. However, on one occasion he put my brother in the hospital for 3 months for trying to stick up for me. And he got away with it because I was too afraid to do anything. My brother suffered head injuries from the assault and had claimed he lost his memory. This is another story in itself. Luckily, he never touched my brother again. By that time he was about 13 and I was 10. I started going to a public school on my first middle school year at age 10. At first it was so impossible to fit in. I had friends from the neighborhood and that was about it. Eventually I started to fit in with a select few, who were usually girls. Still, I got picked on a lot because I looked different with longer hair and the way I dressed, because I wore collared shirts. It was how I was raised to dress; up until then I went to schools where there were uniforms anyway. I started to discover what being with a girl was like, as strangely as that sounds. As I got that first kiss, things started getting harder to deal with when it came to my father. I had known what it was like to have a relationship with a girl now and I saw all the wrong in what had been happening throughout the years. Obviously up until then I knew it was wrong, but it was made undeniable clear then.
My father continued to abuse me through these years. And going to school was really my only escape. It became the norm that he would have me do things to him, or otherwise have sex with me. I had friends at school that I could stay over their house if dealing with my father was too much for me that day. My brother practically stayed over his girlfriends (eventually wife’s) house. I would spend a lot of nights away, until eventually I would come home; and then I knew that things would get violent if I didn’t cooperate. I wouldn’t expect very many people to understand why I didn’t say anything, and why I just took the abuse and the pain….I was subject to his abuse as far back as I can remember. It became what I thought my purpose was, and after so many times, I just became mentally exhausted. And as bad as this may sound, I loved him still. While every session of abuse was traumatizing, eventually the mind just starts to block things out and adapt I guess. I couldn’t tell anyone, I felt so much guilt for letting it go on for so many years…I felt it was as much my fault as his. And like I said, I still loved him. Middle school was by far the worst years of my life. When I turned 11 or 12 was the first time I took the possibility of killing myself seriously. After every session with him I considered ending it all, but I never did. It just kept happening again, and again…and again. Around this time my brother had a son with his girlfriend, who had become his wife. He was pretty much out, and I don’t blame him.
During my freshman year in high school, my father killed himself. I was 14. And really, it wasn’t until he killed himself that I started hating him deeply. Seeing that was worse than anything he had ever done to me. I felt my heart go cold. I could feel it all coming back at once. All the feeling I had repressed. There was a literal weight I felt as I walked. I had nothing left; I became careless because I wanted to die anyway. That same year I just went kind of wild and lived on the edge. Alcohol and sex always. I went to parties where there were both over and under aged girls. I had sex on camera, and pretty much did anything I could to not stop and to keep going. And this is 14/15 years old. I made so many mistakes during these years. I got involved with people who should have never been around kids my age. My brother had joined the Marine Corps, he was in Japan. My stepmother was just being her, meaning she was never seen. So I did whatever made me feel better which was usually sex, and being accepted. I pretty much got kicked out of high school sophomore year at 15. I was forced to go back to a private school, which was pretty much like deter for me. And I finished my diploma when I turned 17. And became much, much more stable. I straighten up on my own accord with no one to tell me too. I had resumed contact with my brother, and his wife, and my nephew. At that time I received all the money my father had left me, and became holder of all his accounts. Luckily for me he had taught me A LOT about finances and I had no intention of spoiling myself. I continued to make the money multiply in stocks and just became very modest with it, giving many of the dividends to a charity. And really that was just because there was nowhere else for it to go.
My stepmother re-married by this time. And I decided I would join the Marine Corps like my brother which is still where I am now. At the beginning of this year I had actually ended up in the same unit as my brother. I started staying with him and his wife/ his son. He had confessed to me that he remembered all that had happened when we were kids. And we were going through a process of helping each other recover. He deployed in February 2011, if I can recall correctly. Things got very delicate as he left her pregnant during this deployment.
A few months ago unfortunately things completely shattered, and he was killed while fighting. He died bravely. And his death still weighs very heavy on me. So I won’t go into too many details on that. I am especially sad for his unborn child, his son, and his wife who is one of my oldest and closest friends. Currently I'm here for them, the baby is due in the fall, and my nephew is getting taller. I'm trying to manage being a Marine and dealing with the current situation. Hopefully I can get put on reserve soon so I can help my family.
In the end, I see that there are always new beginnings. I can’t ever give up because I have people that need me now, and it is something I have never felt before. My brothers memory lies with them so I must do all I can for myself to help them. It’s hard to keep my head up because of how things have turned out. I still think of how it would be to give up and leave everything behind. When I feel that way, I usually talk to her or joke around with my nephew because it reminds me of what I’m here for.
I’m 19 years old and will be 20 in August. I have a long life to get together. I still have nightmares and flashbacks often...very often…I have people who help me and people who love me. I found family back in Switzerland who I’m hoping to see some day.
But for now it’s not about me anymore…and I can’t express how relieved I am. Now I can hold on. I have reason to, for once…
To my father: I forgive you, only because you could never forgive yourself. And though you don’t deserve it, know that I love and miss you very much.