I was molested around the age of five by a close family member. Not an immediate family member, but close. I’ll refer to him as Chester. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I wasn’t his only victim.
When my parents found out what was going on, Chester placed the blame on me and the other child he had preyed upon. According to him, we started it all, even though that would have been impossible given our age and ignorance about all things sexual. Even so, in my earliest memory of sexual contact with him, I was the one who initiated it.
I used to beat myself up and wonder if I really did start it, but the most logical explanation is that my first memory wasn’t actually the first encounter. How would I have even known how to initiate sexual activity at the tender age of five?
Despite the fact that there were two victims with the same story and a confession from the perpetrator, no one contacted the authorities, no charges were filed, and Chester never paid for his crimes.
Although any unsupervised contact with Chester was stopped after his misconduct came to light, I was still occasionally in his presence. Even today, because of our familial connection, I still have to be around him at times. Our small talk is always forced and awkward, and I keep a close eye on him when he is around children.
I recently attended the funeral of a distant relative. After walking past the casket and waiting in the adjoining room for the rest of the family to enter, I felt something tickling my ear. I whipped around to see Chester grinning while holding a twisted up chewing gum wrapper. Although the gesture was harmless enough, I felt like it was highly inappropriate given past circumstances.
I used to blame Chester for making me gay. I figured those early encounters must have formed my sexual preferences. I honestly still don’t know if homosexuality is completely biological, but I don’t see the point in trying to find a definitive reason or explanation for my sexuality. I simply am what I am. Whether I was born this way or became this way because of what happened to me as a child, I had absolutely no choice in the matter.
Chester had a choice though. He chose to steal the innocence of my childhood, and the consequences of his actions still reverberate through my life today.