Shaniyat Chowdhury

Tue Jul 28 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44040St

“I feel a sense of guilt as a heterosexual male. I feel a sense of privilege for being able to carry on as if nothing bothers me. I know that sexual violence predominantly affects women. I try to be an ally and dismantle the powerful men in our community. I didn’t want to speak up and drown out the voices of women. It has always been an internal conflict. But this is my truth.

I was seven years old. My friend’s older brother, a high schooler, was cool and athletic. I was not. For a while, he took me under his wing and taught me how to play sports. What started out as someone who I looked up to as an older brother, soon turned into a moment of life I’ve erased.

I was in my friend’s bedroom with his brother listening to music. My friend had to step out. As he did, his brother locked the door behind him. I did not think much about it. I can’t remember what prompted him to do what he did next.

I was able to break free and say no. I felt scared and no one else was in the home. There was no one I could have screamed for to help me. I was able to maneuver around him and bang on the door hoping my friend would open the door. When he finally did, I frantically told him I had to go home. I pretended it never happened.

I didn’t see his brother for a few weeks until one day we decided to play catch indoors because it was raining outside. We played catch in the long, building hallway. His brother showed up and I thought everything was normal. He threw a football at me at a velocity only professional athletes could handle. I wasn’t able to catch the ball and he punished my body. Though I was getting hit hard, I kept playing because he screamed at me to throw the ball back.

There were bruises on my arms and my legs were bleeding. I had cried and begged him to stop. I thought I was going to die right in front of my home. My friend had begged him to stop but he didn’t listen. I banged on my door and my mother finally opened the door. She was so shocked at my appearance and I told her what had just happened. I couldn’t find it in myself to tell her what happened a few weeks back.

I feel a sense of guilt as a heterosexual male. I feel a sense of privilege for being able to carry on as if nothing bothers me. I know that sexual violence predominantly affects women. I try to be an ally and dismantle the powerful men in our community. I didn’t want to speak up and drown out the voices of women. It has always been an internal conflict. But this is my truth.

I was seven years old. My friend’s older brother, a high schooler, was cool and athletic. I was not. For a while, he took me under his wing and taught me how to play sports. What started out as someone who I looked up to as an older brother, soon turned into a moment of life I’ve erased.

I was in my friend’s bedroom with his brother listening to music. My friend had to step out. As he did, his brother locked the door behind him. I did not think much about it. I can’t remember what prompted him to do what he did next.

I was able to break free and say no. I felt scared and no one else was in the home. There was no one I could have screamed for to help me. I was able to maneuver around him and bang on the door hoping my friend would open the door. When he finally did, I frantically told him I had to go home. I pretended it never happened.

I didn’t see his brother for a few weeks until one day we decided to play catch indoors because it was raining outside. We played catch in the long, building hallway. His brother showed up and I thought everything was normal. He threw a football at me at a velocity only professional athletes could handle. I wasn’t able to catch the ball and he punished my body. Though I was getting hit hard, I kept playing because he screamed at me to throw the ball back.

There were bruises on my arms and my legs were bleeding. I had cried and begged him to stop. I thought I was going to die right in front of my home. My friend had begged him to stop but he didn’t listen. I banged on my door and my mother finally opened the door. She was so shocked at my appearance and I told her what had just happened. I couldn’t find it in myself to tell her what happened a few weeks back.”