Role of the Victim and/or Survivor – Damien Ark

Thirty-seven degrees, light rain, asphalt clouds, eight-hour conference on trauma at nine in the morning. I don’t need to be here. I lived and wrote the book on this shit already. However, one thing did stick out to me. The speaker said that scientists can now take the blood of an adult and see if they were abused as a child. Abuse can damage someone on the cellular level. Trauma lives in the tissue and cartilage, then travels to the brain when you fall into your moment of fight or flight. I’ve had it wrong all this time. It’s not what’s in my head that’s wrong, but my body. That makes sense. The hands of rapists and other abusers spent much more time on my sides, my cock, penetrating my ass, pulling on my throat, yanking my hair.

Otherwise, drink lots of water, try to do some breathing exercises, and then you’ll be totally fine. All that damaged blood will sort itself out over time. I’ve been fed this bullshit for way too long.

Not sure what the fuck I was thinking when I decided to take all of that Xanax, drink my uncle’s alcohol, and then message that random man on Adam4Adam when I was eighteen years old. What I was feeling, it wasn’t enough, and I didn’t care what the fuck he looked like, I just wanted to fuck someone. Didn’t matter that he didn’t upload an avatar, I sent him a picture of me anyway. Told him my address and said I’d be standing outside waiting for him. Ugly fuck picks me up and it’s that fucking Lady Gaga song. “Baby I was born this way…” It’s strange how the worst of things can be interconnected all at once. At the time, I was also hookup up with this other guy my age, who was the biggest Lady Gaga fan, femme, but I had just found out he had brain cancer a few days before. So here we are, little fragile eighteen-year-old men in the passenger seat of a stranger’s car with the gay anthem playing, and once he starts driving, he pulls out his cock and forces my mouth on it.

As I was sucking him off on the way back to his place, I still was trying to process what was happening. I shouldn’t have gotten in the car. I should have at least asked what he looked like. Before I even entered the truck, I could feel the violence in his soul latching onto me, and since I can’t tell the difference between love and abuse, I got in anyway. I’m sucking him. This isn’t what I wanted. I gag. Lift my head up. “Tired already?” “Don’t fucking stop. Keep fucking sucking it.” This is normal, I think. Okay.

I can’t come out to my family because I don’t know how to separate my sexuality from all of the rape and abuse that I’ve experienced. And there’s so much of it. Constantly paranoid and yet unable to see red flags. I don’t know how to love someone either, because all I can think about is the rape and manipulation and hair-pulling and face-punching and even as I’m about to let this guy do this to me, my phone is buzzing, this guy from Texas is still trying to contact me every day, another red flag I couldn’t see waving in my stupid fucking cum-laced barely eighteen-year-old face.

We get to his house, and this is where things get blurry. Good job on getting wasted and taking those drugs, you fucking idiot. We go through his garage, and my eyes are all over the gardening tools, so I’m thinking that he’s going to kill me. Then we’re to his room. Can’t get hard and fuck him. He’s not my type. So he’s like, “I’m not letting you leave until I fuck you or get fucked.” He had me on my back, legs in the air, and that familiar freezing that I remember as a much younger boy comes back.

This is my favorite part of the rape because it’s so ironic, so symbolic to me. It made me realize that no matter what, nobody would ever give a shit about what has happened to me. I told him, “I’ll give you anything. Please, I’ve already been raped before, please don’t let me go through this again. I’ll give you my money, my car, everything.” And I meant it. I would have literally let him steal my car and take everything out of my bank account and even everything in my room if it meant not being raped again. He laughed in my face and said, “I don’t want your fucking money. I don’t fucking care.”

After he raped me on his bed, he lit a candle in his bathroom, lights off, and took me to the shower. I sucked and swallowed him again. One the way back, we’re still listening to Lady Gaga, and I’m sucking his cock on the way home. “I’d like to see you again,” he said as I stepped out of his truck. “Message me again sometime.”

Still fucked up on alcohol and Xanax, I went to my room, deleted my Adam4Adam account, smoked a bowl out of my uncle’s purple brass pipe, and went to bed. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized what just happened. The first person I told was the guy that was texting me while I was sucking the rapist’s dick on the way to his butcher house. I was still falling for him, this manipulative psychotic machine, who in the coming years would do mental damage far worse than this fucking rapist.

“I was raped again,” I told him, trying not to cry, because I didn’t want to feel like a ‘faggot.’

“What? Why didn’t you tell me? You had sex with someone before seeing me? Oh my God. What if he gave you AIDS? You gave me AIDS! YOU FUCKING GAVE ME AIDS! FUCK YOU!”

On his Twitter page, he posted all about me giving him AIDS and how horrible of a person I was. He didn’t even give me time to explain the rape to him. No, I didn’t give him AIDS. The incident had literally just happened.

The second person told me I was too negative to talk to anyone, so he needed to cut ties with me. After that phone call, I went to the kitchen, grabbed the biggest knife that I could find, and slashed my leg open with it.


Here’s fourteen-year-old me. In group art therapy. The two and a half hour sessions I went to every Wednesday. If you’re raped as a child, you go here to get help or get even more traumatized. No matter how experienced this therapist was, there was no way that fourteen-year-old boy was ever going to survive, let alone the rest of the people in the room.

I’m not sure why, but I would make these Basquiat rip-off’s during my therapy sessions, painting on 84”60” canvases, the images of distorted faces, crossed-out eyes, I even stole the crown from him. My art therapist once told me that survivors of child abuse will often paint the same symbols, which resemble parts of their rape. Teary eyes symbolized abused assholes and vaginas. There were damaged eyes painted all over this fucking room, and yet I never felt more at home than I did in that four-by-four art space. Maybe we just like painting eyeballs because that’s where we seek trust in people, and therapists just sexualize everything we say or do.

Art therapy wasn’t helping, even after I had made over a hundred or so handmade canvases. So my mom complained to me about it. “I think you like being depressed. You don’t want to get better, do you?” “When will you move on?” “I have to spend thirty minutes to drive you here, sit here for two and a half hours, and then another thirty minutes to drive you back every week. Do you realize how inconvenient that is for me? Do you know how much gas money I’m wasting?” She took me out of therapy and continued to pretend that I wasn’t abused and maintained a routine to constantly blame me for my PTSD because I wasn’t trying hard enough to get over it. So I promised her I’ll try harder not to think about it.

So now that I’m gone, after you kicked me out for the second time, you want to fix shit. Maybe you can become my friend, but you’ll never be my mother. You had eighteen years to do it and if that wasn’t enough time, then you’ll have to drag that shame to the grave. I already have to drag around multiple corpses of my former self everywhere I go. Each person that abused me killed another child version of myself. Can I really say ‘child’ though, if I never really had a childhood to begin with? If I were to show you each of the bodies, would you be able to point out which one you killed? Do you remember the specific day you did it?

Would you still want to be momma or friend or whatever if I told you all the shit that I was doing that you didn’t know about? What if I told you about what I did when I was seventeen with a fifty-year-old man? I consented, I wanted it, I didn’t even want money from it, and it felt great. Want to take a guess as to how I was making money for all those drugs I was taking as a kid? “Stop playing the victim.” “Your fault.” Hey mom, let’s be friends!

It’s four in the morning. Fourteen-year-old Damien stares at his computer, and opens a thread on a message board entitled, “Cutting thread.” He types, “Fourteen on my chest and six on my legs. What’s even the point anymore?” Other users post the same shit. They say how many times they cut themselves on each specific part of their body. He’s posted in this thread more than enough times than you need to know.

When he’s not on the forum, watching porn, or cutting himself and crying, he’s typically downloading and listening to music. He wants to be Elliott Smith, Richey Edwards, and Rozz Williams, all combined as one, with the release of cathartic art to an undeserving world and the brutal suicides and all. “I just want to let the world see my pain, fuck with it, and then I’ll kill myself. Maybe then they’ll understand. Hang myself, drown myself, disappear, stab myself, or get murdered by a dealer.”

Dear sister,

When I was your age, I had already been institutionalized multiple times, attempted suicide four times, developed drug habits, had been taking six different medications, and been sexually abused. For the most part, I don’t think you need to know any of this, but maybe you do, since you’re getting older, and you’ll eventually be exposed to this world of abusers and rapists. You’re really into guys right now, so I want you to know this – if a guy raises his voice at you, end it. If he’s texting you constantly, end it. If he ever makes you feel uncomfortable for even the slightest second, end it.

They’re not worth it. Don’t ever accept a drink from anyone, no matter how nice they seem. Don’t ever send dirty pictures to anyone, ever.

G-d. Please don’t ever let what’s happened to me ever happen to my sister. She’s way too pure and innocent for this twisted world.

Aileen Wuornos had it right all along.

I was a horny kid. By the age of nine, I already knew how to download porn. I’d touch myself any time that I could. I thought about my male teachers taking me to the bathrooms to touch me in class. I’d jack off and hump my pillow like crazy and experiment with other people my age and cry in my closet while holding a kitchen knife and eat a whole bottle of pills because I saw someone do it on TV and. I was a horny. Kid that had been raped and liked parts of it. I remember going from school to school to school to school to school in elementary and the bullying because I looked like a queer faggot gaywad and I was a gaywad faggot queer, yes yes yes. A Jewish one too. I was a. Horny to the point that all I could think about was masturbation and sex and being hurt and understanding that all of it was hurt, not just the parts that didn’t feel good. I was a victim not a survivor I’m a survivor not a victim which one which one which one? I was. The victim, always, for you. I. Am not that kid anymore. I’ve become something far, far worse.

These days, I don’t tell people anything about my past. Other people will give me every detail of their abuse from birth to current, and I keep my fucking mouth shut. I’ve told people, and all they did was use it against me or tell me it’s my fault. Anyone else is a fucking battered angel deserving of love, but not me. People must look at me and think I’m fine. I’m twenty-four and still not over any of this shit. Still can’t sleep and having nightmares and triggers every day over all of it. When it’s happened so many times by so many different people, where do you even begin? I remember how I had this first session with a therapist for two years, and after I described the first three instances of abuse, she was ready to move onto the next question. “Wait,” I stopped her. “That was just the beginning. It goes on.”

When people know all of this shit, they see and treat you differently. You’re that one person that got raped and beaten a lot. But you’re also using that victim card because it was your fault for looking good and being stupid and that whiny bitch that needs to get over it. Keep your mouth shut. Just shut the fuck up. I’m wasting your gas money, and you’re sitting here in the lobby waiting for the session to be over. You’re sick of this kid cutting himself and how he’s trying to navigate how to make sense of his abuse. You love him. He gave you meaning and forced you to become mature real quick when you had him at a young age. But now he’s a fucking thorn in your side. You lying cunt. You stupid fuck.

I told these guys that I was dating all of this crazy shit that happened to me and all they did was abuse the fuck out of me so what the fuck is the point in opening up about shit? Why re-traumatize myself by telling a therapist so all they do is quit their job out of nowhere or refer me to someone else a few weeks later because they don’t know how to work with male survivors or gay survivors? It’s all a fucking joke. The only person that can help me make sense of this shit is myself. That’s what I should have learned the day after the first instances of abuse happened. Be the wolf, fend for yourself, and fuck everyone else.

I’ve always had a strange obsession with staircases, and it wasn’t until recently that I started to understand why. A painting of the miraculous staircase in my friend’s bedroom of the Loretto Chapel. He told me the painting was haunted. I told him that all staircases are haunted. Especially the hidden ones inside of malls that only employees and security officers can get into through all the tunnels that lead to storage rooms and dumpsters. Nostalgia is truly a virus. It’s strange to think that my earliest memory of life consisted of being raped, and that was just the start of it all.

I want to kill you all. You get where I was coming from when I was screaming into the phone? “I fucking hate you. Leave me alone! Don’t ever talk to me again. If I ever see you again, I will fucking kill you. I hate nobody more on this planet than you. You ruined me. YOU RUINED ME! What the fuck is wrong with you? I wish you were dead.” No matter how hard I screamed, it didn’t matter. Was it all just some sick and twisted fucking game to you? People like you should be dead. Dead. You should be dead. That would be the ultimate catharsis. Only in death can I move on from the bullshit. And I want to see it. You fucking piece of shit.

It still scares the shit out of me that he looks at my nudes that are on his computer, that he probably has all of the texts and emails and reads them over and over all the time.

Sometimes, I still see the other guy that came after him parked outside of my house. Once every few months. Just a reminder that he still has power over me. Next time I see him, I’ll kill him.

Don’t tell me that I can’t write about rape and abuse. I’m not going to stop writing or talking about it until it stops happening, which is never. If I want to write about every gruesome detail of an event in a story, whether it’s fictional or true, that’s not for you to decide. You don’t like the way I write it? The way that I process it? Then maybe you should read it again and try to be more open-minded. I know what my blood looks like – do you?

You should see this. You should feel it. Is that just blatantly sociopathic and evil to say? Nobody deserves anything, ever. Everyone deserves to be hurt. Nobody should be hurt like that. I wish you knew how it felt. Could you deal with it, cunt? How long would you last? No, I’m glad it hasn’t happened to you. Never mind, fuck you, go die.

Sometimes I’ll watch videos of home invasions late at night, get myself really paranoid, and start hearing voices all over the house. I don’t know why I do shit like that. It’s like I’m unable to get out of the Stockholm’s. I wish I were as sociopathic as these people that hurt me. Was that what I was aiming for when I was snorting all of that Oxy? To feel nothing for myself or anyone else. I hate how easily manipulated I am, and I fucking hate my empathy.

I’m not going to sleep tonight, am I?

And the trauma never ends.

All of the art I made in group therapy as a kid is still in my parents house, tucked away in a wide closet next to containers of Halloween decorations. There used to be a hornets nest in there. I hid my drugs and my cutting kit in there, too. Mom doesn’t get why I don’t want to keep it or even look at it. I’m not sure what I was making was even me at the time. It could have just been what my therapist wanted me to paint, because they thought that image best described a specific moment of my abuse. However, I do fantasize about that center sometimes, being back there and making art with other survivors that I understood, that understood me.

The man that held the conference today looked almost exactly like my therapist during those days. I wish it were him. What people don’t realize about trauma is that systems that are meant to support survivors can also impact them negatively, too. Chances are that you’re going to fall through at least one crack when you’ve been raped. Typically, the most common is linked to the criminal justice system, then institutions, schools, therapists, social workers, and practically anyone with a position of power that thinks they have your best intention in mind. I’m writing every day of my life because my sessions in that room are still going on in my head as I attempt to sort this shit out. They’re not over yet. I’m still there, wearing my Converse shoes that have acrylic paint scattered all over them, sitting on a canvas floor, gluing shattered pieces of glass to a painting, watching as one of the other clients is having a psychotic break and has been painting the word ‘HELP’ for practically an entire hour… I remember those sessions lividly and I’m still there, eternally trapped in that room.

You tell me that the abuse in my blood will heal over time or if I drink enough water or meditate or rapid-eye cognitive-behavioral therapy or some other scientifically proven method, but I just can’t believe it, I’m in my flight mode at every second, and I’m not over it until every one of these people are dead.