Life for me began with a happy childhood until my parents divorced when I was 8. Mom met my stepfather and remarried when I was 9. We moved from the suburbs to the country a big house. Mom had a Cadillac now and stepdad drove a limo only for his own personal use. My recurring dream after the divorce was about being stuck outside by myself in a storm where a big black tornado would almost suck me up but I always woke up in the nick of time.
My step uncle had a tobacco farm about 5 miles down the road and I started working there for 20 bucks a week in 1969. Yep got a job when I was 9 making big money. Walked there everyday during the summer to work tobacco they were all nice people including my gay cousin who was about 30. Everything was fine I saved my money up for two years.
In the fall of 1970 I went there to spend the night for the first time so that I could go deer hunting for the first time. My stepbrother warned me not to go he said something would happen because Gordon my gay cousin was there. I told him no his boyfriend is there with him and I have a gay uncle, my fathers brother who could be trusted so I trust gay people. My stepbrother said well I told you so and I never want to hear about this again ever.
Well I went and I was raped by Gordon after his boyfriend went to bed. I tried to fight but at 10 I was no match for a man about 30. This was my first out of body experience after I froze it seemed like I was watching while I floated near the ceiling there in the living room. Gordon finished with me about 5 am and said to never tell anyone about our secret. I was very confused, afraid, and angry. I walked home with the gun and did not ever go hunting at all nor did I go back to that farm to work or visit until about 1985 when Gordon died in a row home fire in Baltimore. I went there and told his mother who had polio and was wheelchairbound what Gordon did to me. She looked at me real sternly and said ” That never happened”. I said well he did it to two other boys that I named and she just looked away.
During my wallowing years I was very confused, afraid, and angry. Gordon was a mailman I ran him off the road trying to kill him not caring whether I lived or died. Yep I ran the mail truck off the road so many times I lost count. When I was 18 Gordon despite my attempts to kill him called me I would not speak to him. My Mom could not understand why since Gordon wanted me to go to a rock concert with him. So I told my Mom what he did she freaked out, got her gun, and I blocked her from leaving and told her he just tried to that it did not happen. I did not want to lose my Mom too!
I did not go to his funeral or his mothers or his fathers. I was kinda happy when they all died especially when Gordon died. I was a little disappointed when the fire marshal said he died in his sleep from smoke inhalation. But I continued to wallow. I was confused, afraid, and angry. I was afraid of myself, of being raped again, afraid of men. Moving on to 1997 I tried to commit suicide for the umpteenth time and woke up in a hospital. So I went to therapy for a year three times a week until the government pulled the plug. Yes I called a suicide hotline that resulted in therapy for a year.
Fast forward to 2010 Oprah did a show with 3 pedophiles who claimed it was love not rape. My wife Jill thought I was going to kill the TV. I was screaming during that show. After the show I fired off an email to Oprah and said this was the most important show she had ever done. I also told her basically what I just told you all. One of Oprah’s producers wrote me back invited me do be in the audience with 200 other men who had been raped by a pedophile. Well ha ha here I am little ol me scared of men and myself still even though I started therapy again in 2009 after self committing instead of suicide. She promised me I would be safe and protected from those men. While I sat next to them I came upon the realization that these men did not want to rape me at all. Another of Gordon’s survivors sat behind me one row back.
I was no longer alone but I still felt dirty and took showers for an hour or until the hot ran out. To this day I would still rather sit with my back against the wall. I still battle PTSD but I got a handle on that crap. Immediately after a trigger there is a fraction of a second before a reaction and right then I can take control to react in a safe healthy way. I went to therapy until 2004 and now am off all meds dealing with life as a survivor. One of the most important actions I ever took was to forgive. Forgive Gordon no way I forgave myself for the rape and the aftermath. Could not have happened before I stopped blaming myself. I’m disabled now I have a bad knee, bad back, and a bad brain with the PTSD. I fired more bosses than I can count. Lost count of how many Driving while intoxicated arrest. I don’t drive anymore and rarely drink.
I think my greatest accomplishment is that I am no longer abusive to myself and others. Yep while I wallowed I was verbally abusive to others and physically abusive to me. I became an advocate not only for survivors but also for the offenders. Yes you heard that right I believe we will not end childhood rape by treating only the survivors we need to treat the offenders too. Since jail only delays another opportunity for the offender to reoffend and a pedophile has on average 100 victims we need to go to the source. My therapist agreed and when I told him he said ” you have come a long way to be able to wrap your head around that”.
So lets all band together and battle against abuse in any way we can because the abuse needs to be fought against from all angles. Educating, parents, children, Doctors, teachers and everybody else including the majority of people who think CSA (child sexual abuse) is a problem that will just go away if we don’t talk about it.
Thanks for letting me share and reading
Love Edward Schline