I’m a survivor.
I’ve waited a long time to work up the courage to write about this in detail but after the last few days and a chain of events that must lead to consequences for a handful of people, I’m ready to tell my story and it’s important that I do before I post something that I find utterly disturbing.
First of all let me preface by saying that I was not an abused child. I had a good home in midwest America in a very liberal state and in a very liberal town. The problem was that it was the 1970s and 80s when I was growing up and a lot of bad things were going on that did have an impact on my life but those things had yet to really have an impact on my life at the time this story takes place. Simply said, I had a good family but had issues of my own and with my parents that made it quite easy for what happened… To happen.
I remember him. Big thick rimmed glasses, skinny, smelled of cigarettes, beer, in his 40s, with a typical left over from the 70s big cheesy mustache. Hell he looked like a skinny version of Burt Reynolds. He was a predator. I had no idea at the time what that was or what he was up to.
I was a latchkey kid. I was also a very free spirit. I also by this time had a clue that I liked boys. I knew nothing about actual sex. I was 13 years old at the time. I was out running around, hanging out at the bowling alley or at the YMCA in the pool swimming, or out at the lake fishing, or running around town with friends. I had a bike and kids being kidnapped wasn’t something I was even aware went on in my safe rural town. But I digress… Bob Cook was his name. I’ll never forget the man.
I was always hanging out at the bowling alley because there was a pool hall upstairs and it was just down the street from my school. So all of my friends would gather there to play pool or go bowling since we could do that really cheap as kids and especially on the weekdays. Bob was always hanging out there. He bowled with one of the local leagues. He also hung around the arcade room a lot when we were around. He was friendly. No one thought anything about the guy. I think he might have even been married. I have no clue.
I was having difficult times at home. My folks and I fought a lot. I was staying out later and later and many times wouldn’t come home till after 1am. I had a lot of personal issues that I couldn’t talk about. I was a typical kid. But I was a gay kid living in a world where as I had come to understand, I could be killed or badly hurt if people found out I was gay. I was confused. I was scared. I was a typical sexually driven teenager that had come into his own a little earlier than some kids. I was very aware but had no clue what to do or who to talk to or anything for that matter. But I was looking for an outlet. What I ended up with was a nightmare that nearly killed me because I lived my life in fear every single day after Bob had managed to find an avenue to manipulate me into coming with him, very late at night, drink beer, and then… then..
He raped me.
I’m certainly not going to go into the details. As I’m writing this I can hardly believe what I’m saying. I’ve never ever, ever told anyone beyond my parents about this. I didn’t tell them till I was in my 20s, happily at the time, with my boyfriend in my own home that I bought after being out on my own for over 10 years by this time. I had moved out on my own at age 16. I had barely been home for the year before my 16th birthday because by that time I was running away all the time. My life was upside down. I had so many bad things happen over those few years. A friend in jail for a murder he didn’t commit. Other people I knew and considered friends that were like mentors to me growing up, on the run for growing pot. Other friends of mine I lost contact with after their dad had literally murdered and butchered their mom. No, this isn’t fiction, it really happened.
Yeah that was my small town 1970s middle America, safe town. And I was the victim of a pedophile for 2 years. One that manipulated me using drugs and alcohol. One that used fear and guilt to keep me under control. One that made sure that I never uttered a word to a soul because I could be beaten, killed, or worse. These are the things he made sure I was painfully aware of.. For two years..
You know the worst part? He wasn’t the only one that did this to me. A few years later I was living on my own about 6 hours away from my hometown. I was with my grandmother. Helping her out. I got a job. It was my boss. Jerry Luper. Won’t forget that man either. I was still a minor at the time by the way. He’d pulled the give the kid some beer trick and get me drunk.. Then raped me too.
So let me say this clearly. I hate. I hate with every fiber of my being. Pedophiles. I was so mentally destroyed for so long. I did so many drugs. I was doing cocaine, meth, smoking crack, drinking… I was a complete and total disaster for some time. I did manage to pick myself up with some help from friends. People that are now my family. People that took me in. People that forgave me for stupid things I did and still to this day love me enough to call me son, brother, grandson.. friend.
I hate who I once was. I see what happened to me. I almost became a victim of the LGBT community as well at one point. A victim of their drug culture. Their party scenes. Their unprotected sex and drug parties. I was lucky. Unlike some that ended up paying the price with their very lives.
I know a lot about pedophiles. I learned a lot about them to deal with what had happened to me. I hated them. I wanted revenge. I wanted more than that. I wanted justice. But I wanted my kind of justice. I wanted to expose them. And I started asking questions. A lot of questions. And doing a lot of reading. And listening to a lot of people. I was an IRC operator, I ran my own network servers on various IRC networks. I had youth support channels on several networks. A website where people could look up local resources for queer and questioning youth. Where PFLAG and The Trevor project could be easily found for kids that needed hope and help.
That’s also when I learned why it was wrong for private citizens to go after sexual predators online. Because nothing I provided law enforcement could be used in court. Because information over the internet can be easily fabricated and made to look authentic. Because law enforcement have very specific rules on chain of evidence so they can prosecute predators they hunt online.
That’s also when I learned that citizens taking the law into their own hands can also lead to consequences for children. Driving a predator further into hiding. Forcing them to act on their impulses if they’re driven offline and into hiding. Presenting a problem that frustrates their predatory desires. Even motivating them to take the next steps and go after an actual child.
I survived. I came out a stronger, wiser, and more motivated person on the other side of the hell I went through and to a degree put myself through because I never confronted problems as a kid and didn’t tell adults what was going on either. But I was scared. We knew about people being beaten and killed for being gay. I at least had an excuse for some of my behavior because anyone that grew up when I did, knows very well what I’m saying is true.
The gay plague. AIDS. It was God’s wrath on us gay people. There was no cure. We’re all going to get it and die. If we came out we risked being beaten up, losing our jobs, our lives.
My life was hard but it was my life and I got through it. It gave me the courage to tell my story today. It gave me the ability to share a bit about what life was like before you could live out in the open like so many gay people are able to enjoy today. We’ve come a very long way. It’s not perfect. Yes some still dislike us. But we don’t have to hide anymore. We are accepted by so many people. So many people that show so much love for so many of us regardless our political backgrounds. Gay people are finding acceptance and love in society that they never enjoyed just 50 short years ago.
I survived. I made it. And no predator of any sort will ever threaten me or give me a reason to retreat. I’ve seen too many of them get away with things that they should never be permitted to get away with. Hollywood. Politicians.. There must be justice for those of us who didn’t survive the attack on our innocence. There must be consequences for those that create obstruction for law enforcement to capture and restrain online predators as well.
That said, I’ll have more on that very soon. But I wanted all of you to know. I post quite a bit about or on topics related to child predators on Twitter because for the first time in my life, under this president. Sex trafficking and pedophiles are being attacked on a level I’ve never seen. And that makes my suffering worthwhile to see this day when predators are on the run each and every day. When people like Epstein are exposed and a massive number of people are now on the run and scared because of what may come out as a result of his arrest and that of any associated with him.
I am for the first time in my life finally at peace with all that I suffered because Donald Trump.. His administration. Is cracking down on predators on a record level that needs to be talked about soon.
More soon.. Thanks for reading..