I don’t know what makes me more lonely, that I’m a man who hates being a man, who hates men and manhood, or that I am one who doesn’t know where he belongs in the world. On one hand I was abused and on the other my experience doesn’t exist in people’s reality as long as society is concerned. I don’t know how I am still alive, or what I am living for but somehow, I am still here. I grew up in a family of six, four sisters and my mom, my dad left us when I was young. At age 12, I got an apprentice job working for a man at a local store close to the neighborhood. The man was so kind to me, always gave me gift-items from the store and money so I trusted him. One day after he drank, (he would allow me to drink beer with him sometimes) he asked me to help him with an issue. He told me his wife couldn’t help and he thought maybe I can. He told me more about it and said I only needed to help him just once. Honestly, I didn’t really understand what he wanted me to do seeing as I was 12 and knowing nothing about sex, it just didn’t seem right. I told him I’ll think about it.
I couldn’t tell my mum or my sisters. As I thought about it, I realized I didn’t want to lose our relationship, he was the only grown man who’d ever paid any kind of attention to me and showed me kindness and so I agreed to do this for him just this once. On that day, I was confused but I got the jist of what I had to do, as I began doing it he brought out his camera and kept taking pictures of me. I asked him what he was going to do with them and he said he wasn’t sure yet. A few days later, he told me his plan was to leave the images around the neighborhood for other people to see. I started begging him and became really afraid of what others would think if they saw it. I begged and begged but he refused, so I told him that I’ll do anything for him if he’ll promise not to display the pictures, he replied and said he’d think about it. He said if I did the same thing for him every day before work starts he’ll keep the pictures a secret and it’ll be our special secret. I was disgusted, but if it meant others not seeing the pictures then I had no choice in the matter.
He was such a dirty man, always drank too much and sometimes laughed as he peed in my mouth. This went on for almost one year. After the abuse ended everything changed for me, I became very afraid of men. I didn’t trust men and I hated that I was one. I tried cutting off my penis twice but because of the pain involved I couldn’t go through with it.
I started wearing my mom and my sisters’ underwear because it wasn’t part of the abuse and so it was safe. I wore it the first time but it quickly became a habit, my escape. After school, I’d run home just to remove my school cloths and shorts to wear theirs. One day, one of my sister’s friend walked in on me while I dressed up in my sister’s underwear, she stared in shock and left in a hurry. Unfortunately for me, she told other kids in school and soon it spread, and everyone knew. I was called all sorts of despicable names. They’d point, laugh and mock me. Two weeks later, two older boys in school grabbed me as one of there girlfriends pulled my trousers down. I was wearing pink nylon granny panties. The whole school was pointing and laughing at me, they held me so that everyone will see what I was wearing. After that the anxiety went from bad to worse.
One day I went into the bathroom and noticed one of my sisters left her hair straightener plugged in. I didn’t even think about it, I thought if I couldn’t remove my penis maybe I could disfigure it with it. As I pressed it on myself, I sensed a relief, it was like I gained control back and as I burned myself, the anxiety seemed to slip away. The burning became a habit, another escape just like the underwear even though I really burned it to somehow make it die so it’ll be easy for me to cut off. Eventually, I started losing the sensation, but I still didn’t stop burning.
Somehow, I still don’t understand how or why but my sisters all supported me with wearing women’s underwear if it made me happy, they would tell me to be who I am and to be proud of myself. They worried about me appearing weak and not being confident enough. Sometimes I would go to a park far away from our town with my sisters and dressed as a woman. It makes me cry now just thinking about it because it helped me a lot. But one day I went to the park for a walk, my sisters weren’t around so I went alone. I felt comfortable. I was 21 and old enough to be by myself. As I entered the park 2 guys and a girl walked up to me and started calling me names in their dialect, I couldn’t understand what they were saying but from their expression I could see that it was bad and disgusting. I tried to ignore them, but they became more aggressive. I appear delicate and for some reason it’s easy for people to want to oppress me.
They grabbed me and said there were people they wanted to take me to, they said if I wanted to leave there alive I’d better do what they tell me to, so I went with them to an abandoned hall, like a school but there weren’t many other buildings. There was about 8 guys and 12 women, it looked like they were having a party. The main guy said that since I want to be a woman so bad, he’ll show me what happens to guys who bring shame to manhood, before I knew it he unzipped his trouser and exposed himself, he spat on me, pushed me down to my knees and hit me hard so I’ll know he wasn’t playing.
I was so afraid, I did what he asked, and the others were screaming and laughing. It felt like I knelt there for years, like it would never end but it finally ended, and I stood up to walk away. He called me a bitch, slapped me around for attempting to leave and asked me to do the same thing to his friends. I vomited immediately. I just went numb and was so afraid, I didn’t want to do it, I swear I didn’t want to, but I did what I had to do to get out of there in one piece. Burning my penis became more intense after that. After so many years, I’m doing better but I still burn myself when I become overwhelmed by my memories. I have always have nightmares, I suffer from anxiety and depression, I have chronic low self-esteem. I am plagued by memories from all the abuse, especially doing that to all those guys and sometimes it’s hard to control the pain I feel.