Steve from the UK

Stevedreamer

Registrant
Hello all you guys,
I have found reading many of your articles in recent months so encouraging that I was not alone in all I went through. I was abused by a number of men when I was young and then I endured an awful rape by two older men when I was only 11years old. After I had recovered from the shock of the attack I ran home several miles from the scene of this with clothes ripped and covered in blood and filth. I let myself in at home and noone was there. So I ran a bath and sat in the dark trying to scrub myself clean and feel something again. I was so confused but in those moments I decided I would not and could not ever tell anyone of this for fear of what they would think of me and my religious family. My dad was a church minister and I felt ashamed and felt guilty for many years as if it had been my own fault.
Sometime later I stupidly went back to the place this had happened trying to make sense of it and was seen by a young man in his late twenties who looked like an angel and asked me what was wrong. I blurted my secret out and told this man who seemed so understanding and sympathetic. He told me I could meet him any time to talk and gave me his number. Sadly this turned out to be the worst thing ever as I was drawn in by this man and told him everything that had happened and naively gave him details of my address and school and even my church thinking I could trust him. I think I fell in love with him in a strange way because of his supposed kindness and he invited me back to his home some weeks later. I thought it was safe but I was being groomed and eventually he led me into having sex with him. What he was actually doing was teaching me what he wanted me to do and seeing how far I would go and then he sent me home. I felt strange as though something had changed and it had. I was soon to find he was a very aggressive and manipulative pimp and had many young boys working for him and through extreme fear and blackmail I became one of them.
The guilt worsened with every man I went with as he commanded me to go with the oldest, smelliest and vilest men ever. I became used to serving their desires without realising he was benefitting from each sordid encounter. In the next few years I used to count the number of men I was sent to pleasure and I lost count in the hundreds. I was a niaive, sensitive and sad youngster with a heaviness that weighed me down and made me want to kill myself. I tried many times to find an answer and someone to help and stood in telephone boxes ringing anyone I could but noone would speak to me without a parent with me because of my age. Sadly I ended up putting the phone down on each person I called and stood or sat on the floor of the telephone box weeping and weeping.
I was still appearing like a pillar of the community singing in the church and playing piano for them. Doing my best to appear ok to my family, but totally screwed up in my head and my heart and unable to escape what became an increasing catalogue of crimes and sins for which I felt guilty and to blame. Along the way occasionally someone would show kindness, like the older man who wanted me to lie naked in his bed and talk to him. He became a sort of friend and I felt he cared for me. But one day I went to visit him and found he wasn't there, his phone number was no longer working and one day his neighbour asked who i was looking for and he told me that he had hung himself. I felt guilty for that too! I felt guilty for everything.
It took me until I was 18 to free myself of this man and the lifestyle. Only when I went to Art college did I feel that I was strong enough to break free and suffer whatever consequences might come. But so much damage was done that it has taken a lifetime to repair.

I cannot write any more of my story just now and am not sure why I started today. I tried to live the best life I could and covered over a multitude of sadness and guilty thoughts with trying to please people in my life. I became a church pastor myself and tried to give others what I didn't have, someone to turn to in crisis times and someone who would listen and have empathy and understand. Each time I had a person come to me that said they had been abused I took it seriously and was there for them. But sometimes it was just a unwanted touch from an uncle or an adult and I used to think if only you knew what immense abuse I suffered...! But I kept moving on and became a champion for children and young people and speaking out about Safeguarding and abuse. It took a crisis in my life in my mid 40s to finally be able to tell someone about this abuse and to open up about it only to find the most callous and unsympathetic person who made my life so difficult and disclosed my life story to others who used it to hurt me and pull me down.

Only when my son was the age I had been when all this happened did I finally start to let go of the guilt and blame. I looked at him one day and realised that I would do anything in my gift to protect and support my boy and how he could never at that early age be blamed for the wrongs of older men. I cried for days as I let the guilt and darkness out and the light and freedom in. Then I felt at peace for the first time for a long time. I have never had anger towards my abusers just pity and sadness and I took all that guilt and shame on myself. I hope today I am a better man and more caring towards others because of what I went through but I hope I can help stop many other men and boys going through the same painful journey that I went through.

10 years on I am in a better place, have had counselling and I now run several men's projects for men in crisis including one for Men who have suffered domestic or sexual abuse. I sit on several boards to represent the little thought about area of abuse of men and boys and I try to lead the way to better things. I am freer than I ever have been. I will never understand why it happened to me...the most shy, vulnerable, sensitive and emotional boy that ever lived but I am proof that victims can become Survivors and survivors can one day overcome it and start to thrive.

I am still a church pastor and also have established a Community Centre and over 30 projects for a disadvantaged community where I work and we recently won a prestigious UK award for our work in a poor, forgotten and overlooked community called the 'CENTRE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD 2021'. I went to London to collect the award and thought how far I have travelled since those days when I was weak vulnerable boy and at the mercy of so many sexual predators.
 
I am so sorry for all that you went thru as a child. Although I'm certain the path was long & difficult it sounds as though you've really used your own childhood experiences to help others. Congrats to you for finding the strength to not just survive, but to turn it into something to be of service to others in crisis. Truly inspirational! Best of luck to you & take care.
 

MO-Survivor

Greeter
Staff member
What a fabulous testimony of hope and perseverance! I am so glad that little boy you were, even in the depths of despair, did not despair to the point of death. What a loss to this world that would have been. I know it’s easier to say to others than to believe ourselves, but… “Well done (you) good and faithful servant!”
 
What a tragic story. That you found your way out of the horror you experienced is remarkable and quite beautiful. It seems you have a very busy life extending a helping hand to others in need. I hope you will have time to share more of your experience, strength and hope with men on this website. I know there are quite a few men here from your side of the pond. I wonder whether some of the services you provide would be of interest to them.

I speak often about "claiming my aliveness." It is clear you are doing that through your ministry. All the best to you.
 
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