‹‹ Hey there! Before we get started with this episode we want to make sure you are aware of the topics we will be covering. We will be talking about my personal sexual assult and sexual abuse story, interactions between me and the abuser, me and my family, and the envirment where the situations took place. If you don’t feel comfortable, please feel free to skip this one.
‹‹ We will be describing some specific situations. No names of institutions or people involved will be mentioned. The main purpose is to have the focus be on the story, and what happened. Not on the abuser, or anyone associated with the story.
You might be asking: why would I share all this information with you? Well, I truly believe that if we are going to be talking about sexual abuse and mental health, we need to be upfront and transparent about the real things that happen. I don’t want to explain anything vaguely. I’m fully aware my case caused me a lot of trauma that took years to work through with counseling, and took a lot of my emotional energy. It’s part of my life, and there is no way to erase it.
Society is willing to let decades and lifetimes go by, making you feel like your story is not important because there are “worse cases out there”, but the reality is we all live with our own story, and we gotta take care of ourselves.
Lastly, sharing my story is a way of healing for me. I kept this secret from my own family for over 5 years. It took me a couple more years after that to start talking about it with friends, and each time I share it, I feel more free.
One more thing. This is part one of the whole story. I decided to break the story into two parts. This one will talk about the abuse itself, while the second part will be focused on the healing process, starting with the moment I processed what happened in my childhood.
When I was 6 years old, my family and I moved to another country. Life was suddenly very different. New city, new people, new food, new culture, and even in a way, new ways of interacting and speaking with others.
My family had always been very involved in the church, so that was something that at least stayed the same through the move. Every weekend we would spend half a day at church. In this type of environment, trust is built quite fast and sometimes to a dangerous level. I don’t remember how much time passed after the move when I started taking some music classes. My parents bought a piano with a big chunk of their savings. A beautiful Yamaha Clavinova piano. Due to those relationships formed at church, they found out the church pianist taught piano classes, and I started taking them once a week at my own home. My piano skills didn’t improve much at first, but with time, I started getting better. I remember that when I was older it was so thrilling to see how much I would improve from week to week.
I was probably around 8 years old when things started to change. Very, very slowly things developed from just taking classes, to a friendship, and from there to some conversations that weren’t very normal for an 8 year-old to have with a 40+ year-old man.
From time to time we would talk about my classmates, and who I liked. At the time even though I didn’t know any better, I thought it was cool that someone was interested in talking to me about those topics. Now that I look back on it, he was starting to create a connection with me based on trust. It wasn’t something I had experienced before and I felt very safe. After this feeling of safety and trust were created, things started to escalate slowly, but consistently over time. I can see it clearly now, but back then I had no clue what was happening. As far as I knew, this was all super normal, and I was able to talk with him about stuff I didn’t feel comfortable talking about with my parents, or even my brother.
One thing led to another, and from those topics, we started having more conversations. We spoke about phones for a while, then about playing video-games on phones, and suddenly it turned to talking about a sexual video game. One of those that you had to install, because they are not open to the public in the app store. It was something I had never seen before. That was my introduction to sexuality, but after all… this was the only person I felt comfortable talking to, due to the fact that sexuality in church and at home was taboo.
Eventually I was “old enough” for him to ask my parents if he could take me to the mall. Saying it outloud now sounds weird, because it is, but you have to remember that we would see this man on a weekly basis. At the point that he asked to take me to the mall, we had been seeing him at church every weekend for the past 6 years, and at our own home. We all trusted him. He was the piano teacher of many other kids around our neighborhood and church. He was very well known and all of this just made us trust him more.
To this day, I still haven’t been able to recover many memories from back then, even through therapy- my memories are not all there, so I don’t remember exactly how old I was or how much time went between one thing and the next. After years of preparation and conversations, he started talking with me about sexuallity in a bolder way. This started making the piano classes more about conversations about sex and less about class. I was a good student so I was able to keep learning outside of the class, but “piano class” meant something very different at this point.
Porn was introduced to me while he asked my mom to go make a copy of a “new music score I had to learn”. Once she was gone, we walked to the computer and he started showing me how it worked the website, the categories, how to make sure the browser was in incognito mode or how to delete the history on it. Excuses like the one of asking my mom for a copy were introduced way more often now, because this gave him the chance of being alone with me, to talk freely, to show me porn, to use our home’s computer, to start touching me, and to make us imitate sexual positions with clothing, but on the floor. This all happened in my own home..
Saying these things is still shocking to me. It feels like such a weird reality I was in back then when I felt nothing was wrong. I felt safe with him because his sexuality wasn’t seen as “wrong”. At some point he convinced me to let him see my genitals, which later on turned to him being able to touch me, and eventually to him masturbating me.
Even though I share these situations in short lines, they were repetitive. Masturbations were now part of the classes at home. Perhaps not weekly, because it depended a lot on the amount of people in the house, or the possibility of him bringing up excuses to make sure the house was empty. This happened so many times, I lost count.
The worst moment of my whole story was one of the times he took me on one of these mall trips. I remember so clearly that we stopped on the way to drink bubble-tea, and the mall was close to his place, because he planned it that way… so he took me there. His planning was extremely specific and it’s obvious tome now he had all of this in his head for a long time. Some weeks before this trip he had been talking to me about doing something the next time we were alone. He was telling me he wanted to purchase some condoms, something I had never used because I was still a kid! And explained what he wanted us to do. It was very confusing for me getting into this grown up place, because even though I knew him, trusted him, something still felt wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. All I knew about sexuality was from the years of conversations and interactions I had with this man. The lack of knowledge about the matter I had was so extreme that I was willing to let a guy touch me because it was what I understood as ok.
He had the whole setup ready at his place once we arrived. As soon as we got in the room, the TV was ready to play an adult movie, the bed where he wanted to touch me was set up, the condoms were right there in his hand and he was ready to start. That day he pulled down his pants as well, not only mine. Penetration was never part of the circumstances I had to face that day or ever while I was abused. But I see SO clearly now how close I came to something like that happening. I was not aware of the reality I was living in that moment, in that room, while sitting on his bed. Another thing that strikes me now as an adult is the trust this person had built that I was not going to say anything to anyone else. I saw many signs that I was able to read later on, while healing, that made me believe he had done this to other kids. His system was working to perfection, and that is something that scares me even more. I will never know how many cases happened with this man, but the fact that he knew that I was only gonna talk with him about sexuality is a factor too big to ignore as a society. He was clearly grooming me from the very beginning.
He was able to do all he wanted to do to me that day. I remember the ride to his place, how the weather was that day, the bubble-tea we got, I can even remember every inch of his room so clearly. Each corner, each book out of place, the lighting the place had that day, the clothing he was wearing, the way the tv looked and sounded, the feeling of him putting that condom on me, how he looked. I doubt I will ever be able to eliminate those images from my head. Now I have been able to recover from the trauma I experienced those years, but there are still images, feelings, sounds that will stay with me and inside my head for the rest of my days.
I was 15 when I left that country, and we as a family moved back to Argentina. I still didn’t understand the extent of what happened, but after that trip to his place, I always felt something was very off. Wasn’t sure what it was and had no clue who to talk to about this. With him having all my trust, he was able to reserve those sensitive topics to him, and only him. That gave him all the power, and made me super vulnerable because I couldn’t communicate like that with anyone else and didn’t trust even my own family, friends, or even myself. As soon as moving back to our original country, I moved to a highschool with a dorm very far from my parents.
I had a hard time trusting them, or anyone around me, and had a very hard time communicating with them. I had been living a very different life than the one they knew, and the experiences I had were unheard for them. Even though my abuser kept texting me from time to time, it took me around 3 years of not being around him to be fully aware of what happened. I couldn’t believe it. At this point I was in university and sunk into a deep depression where I couldn’t even get up to eat. I was in bed all day long.
For a long time I felt guilty because at the moment I was ok with what was going on, and felt like perhaps it was my fault because I never said no. Well, I now know for a fact that I wasn’t the only one to feel this way. It took years of work and still there are times I have to take a deep look to see why I’m feeling that way. Back then, I had no resources, no-one to talk about this, and had another huge taboo with anything related with mental health, so it wasn’t something I could bring up with family either. I didn’t even know how to start looking for a counselor, or how counseling worked. I felt so low, and still, had no clue on how to get out.
I don’t know what you went through, or are going through at the moment, but I hope sharing my story helps you feel like you are not alone. The more I talk about it, the more people open up about their own stories, their own scars, and to be honest, it’s so good to know we are not going through life alone. Life sucks sometimes, but we now have tools to deal with it, and I want you to take advantage of all of them. I want this podcast to be helpful for you.
Even though we will be talking in depth about many of the situations that happened through my story, I want to mention today that as a society, we need to understand that us not talking about our stories doesn’t mean they don’t happen. When we look at stats, they are unbelievable. My case is just one of millions. We have to change this. Horrible things happen when we just look the other way. And even though I don’t blame any religious institution, or my parents for any of this, I think it’s important we understand the difference between blame and responsibility. We need to change how we interact with the situations that DO happen all around us. Not only for us, but for the people we care about, and for the future generations.
In the next episode I will be sharing my healing journey and all the complications I had along the way. It wasn’t a simple step by step. To be honest, I had way more inconveniences than I could ever imagine, but all of those situations helped me to get here, and realize the need there is to talk about this.
Once again, thank you for being here and being willing to talk about sexual abuse and mental health. This is probably one of the hardest episodes for me to record and put out there, but I do not feel alone in this process. So many of you reached out to support not only this project, but putting myself out. You have no idea how much your words matter. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
‹‹ This episode was produced by Ashely & Nick Lapido.
‹‹ You can follow us on Instagram @unmutesocietypodcast or on our website www.unmutesociety.net