When I was about 14 years old, I became active on some boylove forums that were popular then. I really enjoyed them. I am a member at one that I still frequently visit. The forums are nice because they offer a way for people who have had similar experiences to come together. But in the mid-2000s, it used to be on these boards that there were separate sections where people who were comfortable with adult-child sex could talk, and people who were not comfortable with adult-child sex could speak. So they were different spaces on the same forum. I recall being most active in the sections for people who were not comfortable with sexual contact with children. I remember seeing that there were Christian boylovers and being blown away by that.
Unfortunately, I inevitably looked at the forum sections for people who supported sexual relationships between adults and children. I was very young and did not know what I was doing, and I’ve always carried immense guilt for this. I was led to some AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) chat rooms, Freenet and Tor. In exchange for pictures of myself, I was offered links to pornography, photographs, and videos. For years this happened, and it tore me apart. I still have awful memories of it.
For my entire life, I thought it was my fault that this happened. That I should have been punished for this. When I was in the military, I had a challenging deployment. I was exposed to violent imagery; some were sexual, and I was regularly around combat (though I never found myself in combat). I developed PTSD while I was deployed and almost killed myself. I reported my actions to my leadership and was medically evacuated to a mental health care facility. My doctors asked me to tell them everything that was bothering me, so I told them about my experiences while deployed, my experiences growing up, and the sexual attractions that I had developed. The military doctors diagnosed me as a pedophile and reported me to my command because they felt that I was a risk. In hindsight I have mixed feelings about this, I held a very high level clearance, so the fear of some risk may have been legitimate, I just don’t think my command were the right people to tell. My command initiated an investigation against me, all of my electronic devices were taken. No evidence of sexual misconduct was found. My command court martial-ed me for minor misconduct (like being late to work). I was given a severe and prolonged sentence in federal prison. The prison was informed about my sexuality, and most of that time was spent in solitary confinement. I have read on the UN human rights page that what happened to me was torture ( OHCHR | United States: prolonged solitary confinement amounts to psychological torture, says UN expert).
I have an attorney who has helped me get my military discharge upgraded, and the VA now gives me disability. It has taken me 10 years to get to where I am now. It is still difficult for me to work. When I received disability at the beginning of this year, I felt like I could finally talk more openly about what happened to me and became active on the forums again. However, I was terribly afraid that if I tried to talk about what happened to me while appealing my characterization of service, the military would use my words against me and that as a result, I wouldn’t get my discharge successfully upgraded. While my discharge upgrade was being processed by the military, I graduated at the top of my class from one of the best universities in the country. I completed a graduate degree, I am published and successful. However, until very recently, I had always thought that the pornography issues when I was a kid were my fault. However, I am starting to realize that this was actually abuse. I am not sure how to process this realization.
It has been an emotional roller coaster for me. One that many on MSC have witnessed first hand. I have spoken to my wife about these issues, and she is very kind and patient. She listens and gives me hugs and never judges me. I sincerely wish I could have talked to someone when I was 15 about what was happening to me without fearing being put in prison or separated from my family. I wish I could have had the realizations I now have at 31, when I was 15 instead. I desperately want that for future generations. Also, I want people who have similar experiences to me to access resources that can help them cope with this kind of trauma. I have had a lot of success using the VA VetChange app. I wish there was something like that for us. VetChange | VA Mobile
I also wish that the internet companies would be held accountable. I feel like they should bear some responsibility for what happened to me because they didn’t provide my parents with any information about what the internet could do. The only thing they did was report kids to the police, who were often re-traumatized by the criminal justice system. It doesn’t seem right.
I also feel like the Feres doctrine needs to be revised so that people like myself can sue the government for damages to know they did something wrong. My attorney agrees and is the one that recommended that I write my congressman with this recommendation.
I am worried I am rambling, but I just wanted to put more of my story out here on the internet. I know bits and pieces are in various places. There is more here for example: https://www.reddit.com/r/BlockedAndReported/comments/pizqp0/comment/hbxnzo1/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
I have a post on VirPed, too, about my experience in prison.
Thanks for reading my post,
PS: Some things that have been helpful for me:
-Forgiving the people on the internet, whoever they were
-Forgiving my parents for not setting better boundaries with the computer
-Forgiving the military
-Medication (I take venlafaxine, which I love, but make sure you understand what you are getting into before you start it)
-Teaching, I work with kids and teaching them how to use a computer has been really rewarding for me. I even run classes on safe internet use. I noticed some people do not take it super seriously but I take it very seriously, and I think it means a lot to the kids to see someone like me who knows a lot about computers taking it seriously.
-Mindfulness, using that VetChange app
-Getting involved on the forums
-Understanding that my sexuality isn’t going to change, but that I have complete control over my actions
-School has been helpful because it has given me access to therapy and stuff I wouldn’t otherwise have access to
-Church/Spiritual Health I go to church and am active in my community and it helps.
-Therapy has not been very helpful but it has helped me “build my case” which has led to many positive outcomes
oh: and boychoir music, very therapeutic.