There was no pattern––sometimes it happened every day, sometimes it didn’t. My stepfather had been the only father figure I knew, which meant that I didn’t understand a father’s love. He took full advantage of my innocence while my mother was at work.
He was terribly abusive––not just to me, but my mother too. Eventually, they separated and we went to live with my nani. But I’d already suffered for a year and a half by then.
I was 19 when I comprehended what had happened to me. I was researching for a play, when I came across the topic of sexual abuse. It became a trigger for memories I had buried, and I realised I’d been a victim myself.
Discovering my past shook me to my core––I immediately crawled into a shell. To process what had happened to me, I decided to work with an NGO that catered to children at risk. It was at an event for children of sex workers that I openly talked about my abuse for the first time in my life. It was the perfect way to come face to face with the story of my life––I cried like a baby.
And I’m not ashamed. What happened to me is more common than you think. Just because I’m a boy, and society expects me to ‘man up’, we don’t talk about it. I was 6 years old when I was snatched of my innocence––and people need to know how fucked up that is. This happens to so many young boys who keep it within because it’s not ‘manly’ to say ‘I’ve been molested’.
I haven’t met him since the day my mom left him––and I don’t think I’ll ever see him again. But he’s left me with scars….it takes me time to trust people, to allow them to love me, to get intimate with them. But I’m certain I’ll heal because love will always be stronger than hate––I’ll wear those scars proudly because I prevailed because I’m not bitter and because despite the suffering, I still believe in the power of love and kindness.”