I am not really sure what triggered it – living with it all the years that I have… I had mostly tucked it away in a dark corner of my mind. But it came out.. in some dark moments, and I told my friends on Facebook how I had been sexually abused by a man when I was a child.
Even though people say “you do not need to feel shame,” there is. And you tuck that feeling of shame away… as much as you can. There is a shame in that maybe you even enjoyed what happened.. but it is not what you wanted to happen, nor is it something you wish was in your life history. There is a shame knowing you probably could have stopped it… but stopping it would mean questions… and at the time, a sense of ideas of others wondering why you did not say anything sooner.
So you let it happen.
The child abuser likely knows this psychology. That’s what they work off of.
They work off the fact that most of us are kind… as children… and they use that. They might take years to “conquer” and will act in a way such that their actions are seen as “kind acts” while attempting to go to the edge as far as they can.
They will also be a “family friend” – which makes it even harder and difficult for the intended victim to communicate or share concerns. How does a 14 year old.. or even an 18 year old, communicate concerns when the rest of the family likes the person so much? The person has been so “kind” to them all.
In my case, it was many years of grooming by the abuser. When I was in the hospital, he would come and visit me… and then later, he would give me gifts… and work on my interests. He came across as being very kind and caring. I actually have some great memories of doing things that were payed for by Bud Brown.
He took me up in a Cessna airplane…. and I got to hold the controls of the plane. It was pretty amazing. And who on earth would actually suspect a man paying to take a kid up for an airplane ride was an abuser? I cannot blame my parents for not knowing what was going on; any parent would be so very happy that someone was helping their child experience wonderful things!
To this day, I am still thankful for being able to go up in a Cessna and fly it, with the pilot. But that is part of the shame. There were so many activities that were awesome…. and I’m thankful for.
Bud took me to see theater… some Gilbert and Sullivan. Pirates of Penzance. And he laughed with me when I laughed. And put his arm around me. I was not comfortable with the arm, but I was comfortable with the laughs. So I gave in to the arm.
I don’t really want to talk and share details of when exactly…. and what exactly happened.. but it was after many years of this “grooming” by him. The grooming made me feel … as if I owed him something. Even if I did not want it to happen, but he had been so kind to me. He even told me that he was going to leave all his cameras and photographic equipment to me in his Will.
But I was not the only boy Bud was working on. There were others. Some were younger than me, some were older. I did not know the extent of it until I was an older teenager, and my young 20’s, but Bud was arrested. He asked me to help him out… and although I did not want to, I also felt a kindness to him for things he had done in the past.. the airplane rides, the theatre, the visits when I was in hospital.. etc. And combined with that was the shame.. that if I refused to help him, would others suspect that I too, was a “victim” of Bud Brown?
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but I had a key to his apartment on Weston Road. He was in jail and asked me to remove stuff from his apartment, mostly books, and dispose of them. I agreed to do it… and nearly vomited when going through all his books, there were so many about “men loving boys.”
I don’t remember all the details… but Bud tried to stay in touch with me… and we had this “secret,” you know? I would often put on “airs” of things being okay…
Then, my eldest son was born… and Bud wanted to come and visit. He wanted to come and take photos of Alex with his mom and me.
That is when I ended all contact with Bud Brown. There was absolutely no way… no way in hell… was I going to let this man have anything to do with my son. I think my wife at the time suspected something.. but we never talked about it.
But there was just no way… none at all as far as I was concerned, that Bud Brown would ever meet or know or have any relationship with my child.
I kept the entire thing to myself… for ages. Some years ago, I was dating a lady who loved Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil. One day, there was a television with Dr Phil.. and he had men on the show that had been victimized by other men when they were boys. And I remember thinking, “Okay.. this is perhaps a good time to share my ‘secret’ about what happened to me…. ”
Bad idea. I was looked at as if I were lying. Admitting what happened to me with this person that I thought loved me made it even worse… I wasn’t on the Dr Phil show…. my experience wasn’t … “a good enough story,” I guess.
it’s only good enough if you are famous, or on Dr. Phil.
And the fact of the matter is.. I’ve done okay. My life has experienced so many things… you just keep moving on… and you share what you can… and you learn to not share. You learn to let others share.. and you have empathy for others.
And when you have children… you fight hard… sometimes with a fight that you can not admit to what is motivating it… and you don’t even want your children to know… why.
And you fight to be “normal.”
But you know that are not. And you fight your demons, daily… and you also wonder… “How many other people out there, are fighting demons, and you don’t know the fight they have had?”
Protect your children. And know that not everyone who is kind, is suspect…. But..
We need to communicate more… and without judgment.
I know I am not alone.. I have heard many life stories of others…. that are even worse than mine. But I have never told my story before.
Protect your children.