I was thirteen years old and a freshman in a seminary. For those who don’t know, a seminary is a school where they educate you to become a priest. It’s an all-boys boarding school to give you some visuals. I thought it was a calling and growing up in a predominantly Catholic country, it felt like it was a huge thing. Now as an adult and an atheist, I found it quite absurd that I used to believe in such fairytales. Then again I was indoctrinated or brainwashed into that religion or faith. Jesus was shoved into my mouth and it took years to get rid of that after taste or reprogrammed myself back to reality. I always think that forcing your beliefs or religions to your own children is a form of child abuse. Anyway, I digress.
The first few months in the seminary were quite mundane until one night I was roused from my sleep by these four boys. All were my upperclassmen. Slightly dazed and confused with a mixture of fear rising from the pit of my stomach, I silently stood up and walked as they escorted me towards the nearest common bath. One of boys, the tallest of the bunch grabbed my hand as one by one dropped their shorts. Under threat they forced me to masturbate them and let me tell you, when fear grips in you cannot really think straight. Being powerless was a bitch. Once they were all done, they left me alone but not without another threat to keep me silent.
I hardly slept a wink until I heard the morning alarm. Exhausted and my arms sore, I dragged myself out of bed and prepared myself for the early mass. During breakfast in the refectory, I saw these boys again and the way they looked at me I understood that it was just the beginning. My fear turned to indignation and I decided to tell someone come what may.
I approached our rector, who was a priest and told him everything. As I feared and expected, he never really took me seriously. Even though I foresaw this, it was still disappointing nonetheless that a man of his stature insinuated that it was my fault. In fact, he noted that I probably seduced them because I was being flamboyant and he even had the gall to ask me if they reached orgasm. I was thirteen years old and I had no idea what orgasm meant!!!
I knew that it will come to this especially living in a religious country. It is similar to rape cases there. They blamed the victim especially if it was a girl wearing some revealing outfit because it meant that she was asking for it. No one asked to be raped.
My mother got the wind of it and immediately went to the school. Just like the rector, she blamed me and I was an embarrassment to her. She even added that now I’ve tasted cock, I would be looking for it. That is not what a mother should say. I was deeply hurt because she was supposedly my safe harbour and that left me a feeling of isolation.
During the school investigation, the boys admitted and were suspended for a couple of weeks. Despite the triumph, the whole ordeal left me scarred. Scars that would never disappear and now in the form of resentments to my old country, religions in general and to my own mother. I think those feelings are warranted.
Sexual harassment or rape is not mutually exclusive to women. It can happen to anyone.