Bonus Post: Holden, a Letter to Myself

by Kymber
52 comments

Author’s Note: It didn’t seem appropriate to me somehow to have photos in this post. I’m not sure why but I’m thinking it’s because of the weight of the topic. Thank you for understanding.

Trigger Warning: Discussion of sexual assault.

Dear Self,

There are times I can’t help but notice how I seem to move on in life when others might not be able to. The truth is, I’m not the suffering kind. I don’t like to be down. I’ve got too much to do in life than to wallow in sadness. That isn’t to say other people don’t have the right to grieve over things that are devastating. I’m just trying to figure myself out and for now, that’s enough.

When I look back at what happened to me, I’m pretty sure I had the right to wallow. I just couldn’t make myself do it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have things to work out, though. You know, I take that back. It wasn’t that I couldn’t wallow in sadness, it’s that the thought of this happening to me… I couldn’t face it, so I pushed it down. It was too raw and emotional and I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t know how to cope.

See when Ella told me what she had done, I froze. It was as if my body had betrayed me. The thought that my body responded to her in such a way while I wasn’t consciously aware of it… it leaves a sickening feeling in my stomach.

The other thought that terrified me was I had caused this to happen. I trusted her. I shouldn’t have taken the painkillers, I should have told Ella I was fine and that she shouldn’t stay. For her to do this after I was passed out… what kind of person does that?

An evil person does that. A rapist does that. Ella raped me, yet I couldn’t stop thinking about the things I’d done wrong. I was too trusting. Physically, I felt ill. My skin crawled every time I thought about it, which was a lot. I wished I could crawl out of my skin and out of this life.

The conclusions I drew were all pointed at myself. Like, what kind of man does this happen to? Weak ones. Foolish ones. Me. I mean, how could my body have responded to her in order for her to do this? Was I unconsciously wanting this to happen? Did I tell her I wanted to have sex and I just didn’t remember?

After the shock began to wear off, I became angry. What I couldn’t figure out was if I was more angry with her or with myself. I just have to be straightforward and say it again. Ella Dean waited until I was knocked out with painkillers and then she raped me. At least that’s what she inferred. And here I am, not really knowing the truth about it, but hating us both just the same.

The turning point came when Mom visited one afternoon. She could tell something was wrong and I knew she wouldn’t let it go until I told her everything. I hesitated at first because of embarrassment. Guys aren’t “raped,” right? It feels strange to write that word down. And what if she’s playing mind games and it never happened at all?

Telling my mother was the right thing to do. I could see she was shocked but she brushed that away pretty fast in order to comfort me. I felt like a little kid as I cried on her shoulder, holding her tightly. She whispered in my ear the kind of promises mothers make to their children, grown or not. She would be there for me, we would figure this out together, and things like that.

It felt safe, being there with her. She told my father, of course, and his first reaction was to report this to the police. To be honest, I was dead set against that because… well, I was embarrassed and ashamed this happened to me. I still blamed myself. Watching my parents discuss what we should do was kind of strange and it was easy to let my mind wander away from this ghastly business.

What sent my parents through the roof was when they found out I still had to dance with Ella in the company. This was my huge shot – I had the lead – I was a professional – so I had to get through this somehow. I wanted to wretch each time I had to touch or lift her, yet I thought I could pretend she was someone else like Julie. Sometimes that worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

Myung had been watching me trying to work with Ella day in and day out. Finally, she asked me to confide in her. If she hadn’t pushed me, I don’t think I would have told her a thing. Once she was aware of it all, she told me there had been complaints before but nothing had been proven. She promised she would speak to Aiden and they would address this with as little embarrassment to me as possible.

This made me even more of a wreck. It had finally become too much for me to handle on my own. That’s when my parents stepped in again and took me to a counselor. I didn’t fight them. While I understood why it was necessary, I didn’t think I could tell my story even one more time.

Fortunately, Cason, my counselor, didn’t dive right into the details. He said he wanted to get to know me and to tell him a little bit about myself. I told him about dance and my lead in the ballet. Afterward, he asked me what my goals were as far as counseling went. All I could think of was that I didn’t want to feel like this anymore.

A few appointments later, I felt more comfortable and I told him everything. He asked me why I felt so embarrassed. I wanted to brush the question off but finally, I tried to explain to him how pathetic I was for allowing this to happen. I didn’t see how I could ever be a normal person after what she did.

Gradually, things got a little better. Ella was dismissed from the company and I was partnered with Zelda. She was carefree yet as ambitious as me so we hit it off pretty well. Dancing became my first love again – I loved to dance more than I hated Ella.

All of these people in my life… my parents, Myung, Cason, and even Zelda helped save me. If I didn’t have their support, I don’t think I’d be where I am now.  So, whenever you feel down and start blaming yourself again, read this. Read it as many times as it takes.

There are some things I want to list that Cason taught me, so I won’t ever forget:

  1. Men can be raped.
  2. It’s just as devastating for a man as it is for a woman.
  3. It was because I’m a man that my first inkling was to minimize what happened to me.
  4. Even if my body reacted to the assault, it doesn’t mean I liked it or wanted it to happen.
  5. It wasn’t my fault, I didn’t ask for it.
  6. This doesn’t mean I’m not a “real man.”
  7. Most importantly, I am not alone, abnormal or responsible.

Through the resources made available to me, and with the support of the people listed above, I was able to begin healing.

Forgive yourself. Take care of yourself,

Author’s Note: If you or someone you know is suffering after a sexual assault, there is help. You can visit the National Sexual Assault Hotline. They are free and confidential, 24/7. You can call them: 800-656-HOPE, or you can make use of their live chat system. 

This is one of the places I did some research at: Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (U of M). They have a lot of good information.

As always, thank you for reading and for your support,

52 comments

bmitjessesue June 18, 2018 - 10:16 am

I feel I could almost recite this, I read it so many times before. Well done and I like that at the end, you summoned it all up to make it completely clear. For everyone, rape survivor or not.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 10:39 am

Thank you, Bee. 🙂 I wanted to treat this subject in the most sensitive way possible. I’m really thankful for your help.

Reply
bmitjessesue June 18, 2018 - 10:44 am

Oh no! You did most of the work. I changed maybe three sentences. this is all you! This is one moment where I wish I didn’t have the ability to help you. But, this is life and the chapter turned out just as I could envision Holden saying it

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 10:49 am

Thank you, Bee. I know it wasn’t easy for you and I appreciate you very much.

Reply
joliesattic June 18, 2018 - 10:40 am

Thanks and well done. I so understand this very well. One of the things I had to deal with was how I could still care about the person who violated me. It has been the one thing I’ve never been able to reconcile. . . no matter how many counselors I’ve seen. I can move on as a person, but I have to put that part away. My father is dead now, but the question is still there. Because I had blocked the memory completely and had a relationship with this man as an adult that was different than the child, I still find it hard to reconcile. In part it’s because, in my twenties he cried and apologized and I accepted his apology, however I never knew the whole story or the full extent of the violation.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 10:46 am

Thank you for sharing this, Jolie. My heart goes out to you. It must have been so difficult for you, especially since we’re taught to look up to our parents and trust them. It sounds to me as if you’ve come very far and for that, I’m glad. I hope someday you will have the answers and peace you need and deserve. <3 <3

Reply
loladiamond01 June 18, 2018 - 10:43 am

Well said, or rather well-written. Throughout reading, I felt so relieved and happy for Holden and that he’s continuously getting better. It’s also good that he seeked help and there are so many people who have supported him. There is so much important information in this letter. The weight and hurt a sexual assault brings about to a survivor cannot be underestimated.
I understand your concern about the pictures, too.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 10:48 am

Thank you, Jowita. That means a lot to me. I thought I should do this so everyone could see what Holden’s been thinking and how he’s been healing.

Reply
Marjorie Flo Watts June 18, 2018 - 10:48 am

This is definitely a subject not discussed very often. Sexual abuse knows no age or sex, and it’s enlightening and encouraging to see it addressed in a positive way like you have done with Holden’s story. Thank YOU for making this a part of your story! ♥

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 10:51 am

Thank you, Marj, so much 🙂 I’m glad you like that we’re discussing this. And I’m happy Holden could begin to heal despite what he’s been through.

Reply
audreyfld June 18, 2018 - 11:53 am

Nicely done. Nompictures were needed…❤️

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 12:00 pm

Thank you so much, Audrey. <3

Reply
NotJustaBook June 18, 2018 - 11:59 am

You did this topic complete justice and treated it beautifully and thoughtfully. Thank you for that. I think you’re right that pictures wouldn’t suit it and would only take away from the impact of the words.
It’s really nice to hear more about Holden dealing with this.
All my respect for how you’ve handled a topic as sensitive as this <3

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 12:01 pm

Thank you so much, Louise. 🙂 You can probably imagine how nervous I was. I’m so glad you think the subject was handled appropriately and that it did it justice. That means so much to me.

Reply
adwilson1991 June 18, 2018 - 12:35 pm

Thank you for this bonus post, it was good to see Holden’s point of view in such a positive way (a letter that he can read again whenever he needs this gentle reminder). Rape has nothing to do with the body being physically ready or made-to-be-ready. It is about choice, specifically the lack of giving consent. It is also about being forced to give consent. I experienced both of those “choices” at a very young age with someone I was told I had to respect (my mom’s boyfriend).

For years I was confused and conflicted because of this. Tried counseling but felt he wasn’t receptive so I never bothered opening up and stopped going to see him ~ around this time I stepped forward and told my mom but felt like she didn’t fully believe me. Those two black marks could have turned out a very different me if I hadn’t decided enough was enough and that I was worthy of a good relationship. I stopped making poor choices and found myself a nice guy. I have been married for 27 years to a wonderful man who knows everything and still loves me. When the time was right, I shared my story with our daughter so she could understand and hopefully avoid that particular pitfall.

Yes, I carry the emotional scars from this but count myself lucky. I have the life I want and am very happy. And I want to mention that while I didn’t report him to the police … a few years after he was out of the picture, he called trying to re-establish a hold over me and I shut him down before hanging up. It was scary but one of the best feelings too.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 1:07 pm

Thank you so much, Addy, for sharing your story. I always think when people share their experiences, well, you never know who will read it and who it might help. I’m sorry for what you went through and that you weren’t 100% believed. That had to be so difficult.

I’m so, so glad that you met your husband and that you’ve had a good relationship for so long. it’s sickening to me that he tried to re-establish contact with you. Good on you for shutting him down.

You are a good mom also, because you waited until she was ready and you confided in your daughter so that this wouldn’t happen to her. <3 I really admire you.

Reply
adwilson1991 June 18, 2018 - 2:43 pm

Thank you, Kymber. You have a way with words and a kind, supporting nature.

I agree, which is why I chose to “speak out” in your comment section. Each of us have different experiences and reactions but if something I wrote can help another even in a small way, then I am glad I did.

My mom and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a few things. We started repairing our bridge when she was diagnosed with cancer, but never fully finished before her death in ’07. I wish it could have been different. Because of this, I make determined steps to parent differently from the way I was raised. I’m not perfect and when I make a mistake … I own up and tell my girl that I’m sorry.

It was scary and my heart was pounding when I slammed the phone down, but it also felt good.

My family is perfect for me and I let both my husband and daughter know how much I treasure having them in my life. Day by day we add to the wonderful memory quilt that we three share.

Thank you for allowing this conversation to happen via your comment section.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 2:55 pm

Thank you for your kind words. I am so glad we can converse about this topic, too. I feel the same way in that if people share their experiences, it might help someone else.

I think the attitude you developed regarding your husband and daughter is wonderful. It goes to show how far you’ve come. Despite what happened, you are able to love, have a family and love them well. I really think that is admirable.

Thank you again, so much, for opening up.

Reply
cathytea June 18, 2018 - 12:40 pm

I’m so grateful you’ve posted this . I can see from the comments that it’s helping to bring healing to readers , and I know it will continue to .

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 1:10 pm

Thank you so much 🙂 It is so kind of you to say this. The pain and hurt in the world weighs heavily on my heart. Perhaps I am oversensitive. But I hope this post and what has happened with Holden will shed a light on the ability to heal. No one should have to go through this.

Reply
lifeslemonslegacy June 18, 2018 - 2:14 pm

This is so heart wrenching. The “my body betrayed me” line kills me inside. I have never experienced this, but I can imagine the pain in feeling as if you have no control, even over your own body, which is the one thing we all cling to. Holden is a great messenger to others. I dont think reading about the pain rape causes will stop a rapist (as obviously they are heartless) but I think more importantly, that it gives the masses a better understanding. Victims need support, and after reading about Holden, I feel like I can better supply that support to a real friend or family member going through this pain.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 2:18 pm

Thank you so much. Your comment is beautifully written. You’re right about how out of control you would feel after this happens. I’m so glad you can feel empathy toward Holden and I’m even more glad that you think this post helps in a way. <3

Reply
raymondsanti June 18, 2018 - 3:50 pm

Thank you for bringing up this subject and tactfully approaching it with well-researched information. This definitely helped me understand what male rape victims go through and how terrible it is, but that there is also a light at the end of the tunnel. ❤️

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Thank you so much, Raymond. <3 I’m glad you felt this was handled sensitively. Your words are very kind and I’m glad this subject can be discussed.

Reply
Sherri Bartlett June 18, 2018 - 4:06 pm

So sad and very well written! Thank you for writing this!

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Thank you, my sweet cousin. <3 I really appreciate your kind words.

Reply
Jes2G June 18, 2018 - 7:57 pm

I loved that list!! I had another response typed up and ready to send, but after seeing the list and him telling himself to reread it and believe it, I feel confident he’s going to be ok.

If you must know, however, what my previous thought was about lol, I was kinda mad that he blamed himself.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 8:18 pm

Thank you, Jess 🙂 I think blaming himself would be a common reaction yet it would so exasperating for his loved ones to hear he felt that way. So, I totally get why you’re mad.

I love the list, too. And who knows, he might even have things to add to it as he gets older and looks back on this time. I’m also confident he will be okay.

Reply
Jes2G June 18, 2018 - 8:22 pm

Yeah, I ended my first comment by saying we all do that…and I hate it! It’s just so sad that we always need someone to blame and ourselves are the most convenient targets. :-\

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 8:23 pm

I hear you and couldn’t agree more. It’s a difficult thing to not do.

Reply
socallucyfan June 18, 2018 - 8:42 pm

So sad, but so beautifully written. As with everything you do, thank you for approaching this sensitive subject in a respectful and kindhearted way.
Even though I have never experienced what Holden had to go through that last line hold true for me too (as with all victims of abuse)
“I am not alone, abnormal, or responsible”.

Reply
Kymber June 18, 2018 - 8:50 pm

Thank you so much 🙂 I’m so glad you feel this was done in a sensitive way. I was trying really hard to approach the subject that way. I’m glad that line is true for you, too. I think in the future, Holden will come back to this letter if he’s ever feeling responsible for what happened again.

Reply
Lila Remonn June 19, 2018 - 5:20 am

This was heartbreaking to read — mainly because this exact situation, the exact thoughts in Holden’s head, happens far too often in real life. What a wonderfully written piece, though. It comes at an interesting time because right now, I am writing about sexual assault in the upcoming chapter, and I’m having difficulty with how I should approach the topic (and some other heavy ones) and whether I’m handling it correctly. Holden’s thoughts — notably the confusion of his initial reaction — are similar to Cherry’s, except her situation is not quite as bad. Thank you for writing this so I can now see what a good approach to the topic is 🙂

Reply
Kymber June 19, 2018 - 8:54 pm

Thank you, Lila 🙂 I think you’re right that most people would find reasons to blame themselves or to feel stupid even though they shouldn’t. I’m glad you liked Holden’s letter to himself.

I was wondering what was going to happen in your story because that was a pretty bad situation. I can see why Cherry would have similar thoughts to Holden. I wish you the best in writing about this and I really look forward to reading how Cherry is doing. <3 I know you will do justice to the topic.

Reply
sempreviva June 19, 2018 - 5:25 am

Oh man, this was so sad to read – but beautifully written too, with such sensitivity and insight.
The line “I am not alone, abnormal or responsible” says it all. Thank you for writing this ! <3

Reply
Kymber June 19, 2018 - 8:50 pm

Thank you so much 🙂 I was hoping it would be considered tactful when I wrote it. It’s good that the response has been positive because you never know who is reading and who the chapter and comments might help. <3

Reply
Seto June 19, 2018 - 8:38 am

I leave for five seconds and devestation rained. Poor baby!

Reply
Kymber June 19, 2018 - 8:51 pm

Thank you. 🙂 I guess you cannot leave ever again. haha 😀

Reply
Simsered June 20, 2018 - 12:53 am

Sorry I haven’t been commenting on your most recent posts! I’ve been so beyond busy, I just haven’t had the time. But this letter to himself really pulls at my heartstrings. No one, man or woman, should be taken advantage of in such a way. It’s sad how many people have similar stories. It shouldn’t be that way. I have felt all the same things Holden is now, and despite it being nearly seven years since I was violated by a “friend” and classmate of mine, I still have those thoughts of blaming myself. I hope Holden can move on from this, and maybe Ella will eventually reveal that nothing as bad as he thinks happened between them? That would be wonderful news for him!

Reply
Kymber June 20, 2018 - 6:34 am

Thank you so much <3 I was thinking the same thing, how it is sad that Holden’s story isn’t unique but instead common. It shouldn’t be that way. Thank you for sharing your story as you never know who might read this and find comfort or inspiration.

I think Holden has done a really good job of sorting through this but you are right about Ella and how that would be great news for him.

Take care, my friend. <3

Reply
heatherfeather19 June 21, 2018 - 7:39 pm

This is such an important message for everyone to know, and I’m glad that Holden got the help and support he needed to come to those realizations and heal.

And Holden isn’t the first person to bring a complaint against Ella. She must have really thought nothing bad would come of it since she’s never been punished before.

Reply
Kymber June 21, 2018 - 8:01 pm

Thank you, Heather. 🙂 I’m so glad for the positive responses to Holden’s progress. I thought it was important to show why he’s doing pretty well, considering.

You’re right about Ella. She probably never thought anyone would say anything against her since she’d never been punished for her actions. It probably made her more bold knowing she had never been in trouble for it before.

Reply
Simsophonique June 26, 2018 - 8:31 am

You are not guilty of anything Holden, you were a victim. Ella knews you were broken by your breakup with Fletcher, This breakup made you vulnerable. She just take advantage of this , Ella is a sex predator and maybe you’ll hear in the future other victim of her. The painkiller you took were not painkillers but drug , GHB perhaps? Men can be rapped as men can be beat by their wifes, it doesn’t mean you are not a man.
Supports of friends and family are perhaps the best care in these horrible moments.

Miss V.

Reply
Kymber June 26, 2018 - 12:10 pm

Thank you so much 🙂 You are so right about Ella. Everything you said about her is definitely true. I’m also so glad he has a strong family.

Reply
Rosie June 27, 2018 - 12:43 pm

I don’t think anything I can say will match how wonderful this post is. I wish more people understood this.

Reply
Kymber June 27, 2018 - 3:15 pm

Thank you so much, Rosie. I’m so glad you liked this post. I think the subject is important, too.

Reply
freja64 July 14, 2018 - 11:27 pm

No pics needed. Full of insight, this should be posted in another context, too.

Reply
Kymber July 15, 2018 - 4:59 pm

Thank you so much, freja. 🙂 What did you have in mind?

Reply
freja64 July 15, 2018 - 6:33 pm

It’s the kind of reading that could be useful on the kind of sites you’ve linked to; domestic violence, rape, child abuse, psychological abuse – interesting reading for anyone who has come in contact with any kind of violence. It doesn’t need to be specific. The dialogue form can incite victims to open up, to see that talking helps.

Reply
Kymber July 15, 2018 - 7:32 pm

Oh, I see, what you’re saying. Thank you so much for this. <3

Reply
freja64 July 15, 2018 - 6:37 pm

It’s the kind of reading that could be useful on the kind of sites you’ve linked to; domestic violence, rape, child abuse, psychological abuse – interesting reading for anyone who has come in contact with any kind of violence. It doesn’t need to be specific. The letter lorm can incite victims to open up, to see that even if they don’t talk about it, they can still communicate their feelings.

Reply
Kymber July 15, 2018 - 7:33 pm

That’s a wonderful thing to say. Thank you so much. I really appreciate what you’re saying.

Reply

Thank you for reading and commenting!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Booomcha.com uses cookies from Akismet to reduce spam. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. Accept Learn More

%d bloggers like this: