Sunday, November 19, 2017

#MeToo 2. When You're Gay, You Blame the Victim

I so want to tell my story, but even today, 34 years later, it haunts me and depresses me. A gay rape follows you ceaselessly.

My perp was a former high school teacher. It staggered me when it happened and stings my self-confidence today.

My friend Art, who committed suicide in 1992, was eccentric and wise at the same time. He knew that being gay in America was difficult, "whether or not you choose to deal it or not." Adding one of the most demeaning violations of body and soul brings about a special inner silencing. It is your soul dying, like a tree, from the inside out.

I find it still nearly impossible to be coherent about what happened.

I had broken up with my first boyfriend. The hurt lasted all summer of 1982, when I choose to go out on a Saturday night to the bar in North Jersey where we had met. I was tired of the trips to NYC and Westchester and Connecticut, even, to socialize.

I got to the bar in Jersey that night and there was my ex's car in the parking lot. I panicked and drove home. Lonely and scared, I called my old teacher with whom I'd remained in contact over the years. I was comfortable enough to come out to him while still in school, but he never returned in kind, and by word and deed I knew he was gay. Yet, he was the only friend I could think to call and he immediately invited me (for the first time) to his apartment in NYC for a drink and some talk. I rushed there at the chance.

It didn't take long--five minutes--before he had stripped, cornered me, and forced himself on me. I was on his bed and stayed there, frozen in fear and disbelief for five or more hours. This was his version of intimacy. At 26, I had an emotional maturity of half that age. Like many gay kids, I missed out on the social rites of dating, sexual experience, and emotional expression.

Really, his was like animal behavior. He thought, after knowing me for a decade, that that was all I wanted or needed. It is the most profound form of pathological narcissism. The victim is an object, not even human, does not exist for the perpetrator.

When you're gay and raped, there really are no places to go. Women can at least, at the very least, have a social understanding of the emotions and the devastation. Gay men do not have such an ephemeral place. We have depression, overeating, drugs, and dangerous, casual sex as options to block the pain.

In 2015, I went back to the Fordham Prep reunion for my class of 1975. Surreally, pictures of my perpetrator flashed on a slideshow that seemed 100 times normal size. There were other teachers, other students, but all I could see was him.

It made a difficult night even worse. I heard about a lawyer who was suing the many perpetrators at this Jesuit school. I contacred him and he took my case. I had a long phone interview and filled out a long document. Hoping for some justice, I found out a year later that the lawyer had been lying. I had no case because I was not a student at the time of the rape, he blandly told me. The school was not responsible because I was an adult that night. It was a doublecross and I suspect this lawyer, representing the law firm that took down the Boston Archdiocese priests (use Google), was either incompetent or guilty of malpractice.

The road to nowhere continues from that night in 1982. Either you switch into extreme denial, flattening out your emotions for a sort of emotional death, or you medicate with food or drugs or sex.

The gay community has sadly neen incapable of providing support, weighed down by their own baggage of stress and denial. I love the community and have met some wonderful people. But emotional trauma, up to now, had reduced its ability to be supportive in significant ways. I believe and hope this is changing.

So, if you survive (and suicide ideation is never far from my mind), you live in a zombie-like state. And if gay people can't understand, trust me that straight people can't ever comprehend.

Blame the victim is all people can do, gay or straight. It's in the books.

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