Sexual assault. Did this really happen to me? I’m okay. I’ll be all right. In the 1990’s I wanted to figure out. I have had asked me that question for way too long. It would take me more than 25 years to come to terms with it.
Here is what happened. I started doing odd jobs when I was 14 to earn a little more pocket money. One day, one of my male bosses asked me if I wanted to stay behind and learn how to make significantly more money.
But his idea of how this would work was different from what I anticipated. He wanted sex for it. At his first opportunity, he slid his hand into my jeans and began to wank me. Then tried to suck me off.
I was only 14. I was in shock. I did not know what was happening. Why it was happening. Yes, it did also feel good for a moment. I had not felt such sexual sensation before. But I was also disgusted, wanted to run away. Punch him in the face. Get him off of me.
There was no escape. I was clearly physically inferior. And also confused. I remember that sudden flush of emptiness in my brain. What was I supposed to do?
The worst part was coming home to my parents’ house. I did not trust them enough to share with them what happened. Maybe I did something to make this happen? Is there is something wrong with me now? What will they think? I was certainly not going to tell my friends. When will I ever?
I did come home with 50 Deutsche Mark in my pocket. I hid it. What was I going to tell my parents how I made that money? I felt so tense. I think the worst part was not trusting any more and not have anyone to talk to.
But since my accident when I was 3 years old, I have learned to just deal with things as a matter of fact. I put all those feelings aside, bottled it up, and moved on. But, for some reason, I remained a target. Men would push me into the toilet on a local train. They would grab my balls at parties. I was constantly on the run.
Why I was a pervert magnet I do not know to this day. But these experiences have shaped my relationships ever since. I connect better with feminine energy. Most of my friends are women. I only get along with a few men. I am not into sports, golf, cars, cigars. While I am driven and work hard to matter, I am not competitive.
I also pushed a lot of men away who were decent, well-meaning and supportive. I lost business opportunities as a result. Left jobs. Fighting everything and everyone that could have had power over me. Even Bill Gates asked me once if I wanted to work for Microsoft, and my immediate thought was: ‘I am not going to be at the peril of a billionaire.’
And that’s, in essence, why I am not independently wealthy, yet. I pushed away men that wanted to support, coach and mentor me – and often hard. It’s also one of the reasons why my first real girlfriend and my first wife never got through to me.
I am an achiever. I work hard and typically do better in whatever I do than most of my peers. Almost all my failures, broken relationships, and lost opportunities can be traced back to the one event when my first boss sexually assaulted me. Really? In hindsight, how stupid is that? Why would I honor a scumbag like that by giving away my life?
After all, Oprah Winfrey – who was raped at the age of 9 – has told us for decades that rapists, perverts and pimps have a process. They pick their victims wisely – most likely one who is insecure but ambitious, inexperienced, and will not or cannot tell others. It’s not our fault. We are victims.
The latest HBO documentary ‘Leaving Neverland’ on Michael Jackson, and Oprah’s interview with two of the accusers are only the latest opportunities to begin talking about our own stories.
Oprah states in this interview: ‘This is a moment in time that allows us to see this societal corruption. It’s like a scourge on humanity and it’s happening right now.’
That’s why I am so passionate about the work of my dear friend Angelina Lombardo. My story is benign compared to hers. For her, it’s years – not ‘just’ a few incidents of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. A pimp conned her into sex work – from which there is rarely escape. She endured custody battles over her daughter, feelings of shame – and the stigma – that followed her along. People would find out sooner or later no matter where she went.
But she did rise above. Living fulfilled and happy in a blended family, she now helps men and women overcome trauma, so that they won’t honor their perpetrators with throwing away their lives and be whole, happy and fulfilled again.
Don’t be like me and self-sabotage yourself for too long. You can stop this now. It has to stop now. Because you are worth it. You are beautiful, marvelous, incredible, a miracle, a dream come true.