A Common Bond

Victor's Story

I was raised in a family that was divided by religion, in the south end of America. This is the story of my life:

The first memories I have about my childhood are those of a little boy playing being big, building highways and buildings, since I was a child I always liked construction, and with my brothers, all of us children like me, we used to have fun in our home backyard and in our street. However, the fun always ended at the time our mother had to take us to the Kingdom Hall. She, a Witness since she was a child, was very aware of her duty as a member of that organization, that is, to raise her children under God's teachings.

Almost every morning my mother went to do field service, preaching hope for a new world to people. Sometimes we went with her. We were six brothers, plus a step brother, a son of my father, whom my parents kept home when he was nine. His name is Antonio.

I remember that morning very well: my mother wasn't home, the sun shined through the thin wooden walls of my room, lightening every single corner. I was only five. We were alone, under my step brother's care, which at the time was about nine. That was the first time he raped me, not just me, but one of my brothers too. That happened throughout my entire childhood. The abuses were ongoing, and they all happened while my mother went out to talk to people about hope, and God's love and mercy for human kind.

Several years passed, until one day I told my mom. She, in denial, told me that those were just dreams that children have. I left it all at that until one day, when Antonio wasn't living with us anymore (he was already married and had a son), I told my older brother. He did believe me and told my mother.

That time, in spite of the police informing my mother that they could charge him, she decided not to press charges since she loved him as her own child. The solution then was to move to a different city. That's how my quest for God's forgiveness started, as by that time I already was feeling attracted to men. No psychological, or any specialist's or professional help was offered, nothing that could "change my ways". My only treatment was to stay with the Jehovah's Witnesses, and for a long time I though that that's the only treatment I needed.

Time passed. I grew up, and the weight on my shoulders became heavier and heavier. At some point I thought that the solution was to have a girlfriend, but I couldn't as I didn't have enough Christian maturity to get married; I was only 17 at the time. Eventually I left home, abandoned my parents and moved to a different city.

Convinced that the solution to my problem was to fill my life with service, I quit higher education and dedicated my life to service, sharing my gift by spreading the message to all whom deserve it. I was 22 at the time, I had served as a missioner for about 2 years. I didn't have much, no money or luxuries; I was living in a room I rented. I was happy doing such fulfilling service, yet the ghost of the abuse, rape and homosexuality was haunting me. I thought I fell in love with my best friend, which I found detestable. I wanted to give him love and protect him, but I couldn't. He was another man. One day my situation was too much to bear and it went out of hand. That's when I just disappeared for about an entire week.

One afternoon I was at the shore, standing by the sea. The strong wind was blowing on my face. The only sounds I could hear were those of the breaking waves in the background, far down. I looked at the city, that beautiful city that hosted me for four years, and I saw hope. How many people are happy at this very moment? How many young men can study and have a career? That's when I decided to let go and get away from what was hurting me. For the first time I came to understand that it wasn't me, but the people around me, those who knew about my problems, that couldn't provide me the support I needed when I needed it the most.

When I was 23 I decided to return to home. I had not seen my parents since I left at 18. The scene was devastating: a broken marriage, an alcoholic father, and a mother working from dawn to sunset to hold the family together; it didn't matter at what cost, what mattered was that her marriage stayed together. She was married "and she had to stay that way until her husband dies". That's the life that it took for her to maintain a marriage that's honorable on the eyes of God, until I convinced her of separating (in my country legal divorce didn't exist at that time), so we left to another city, then she married and now she's happy.

As of me, I started the struggle to accept my reality, now far from all outside influence. Is started psychological therapy, and for the first time I understood many of the things that happened to me. I was not the bad person that many times I believed I was. Never again I cried out of the guilt for seeking the company and understanding of another man. It was not a choice, that's who I am. Finally I found my true self.

Today I'm 29. I started a career, I'm studying something I love, I have my own apartment, and most important, I am with a person I love. By coincidence, his name is the same of my first love.


Santiago, Chile