The Strong Boy who be­came a Weak Man

mailife - - Contents - By JONE KALOUNIVITI

Joshua was ev­ery­thing a par­ent could ask for. All through­out pri­mary and high school he was a leader and an ac­com­plished sports­man. His school­teach­ers and rel­a­tives had high hopes for him. Though he was quiet and re­served, he al­ways rose to the oc­ca­sion when given re­spon­si­bil­ity. He was a model stu­dent; he frowned on any kind of vi­o­lence –es­pe­cially to­wards girls and the smaller stu­dents in school. He spoke his mind when given the op­por­tu­nity. On the sport­ing field, he al­ways trans­formed into a some­what dif­fer­ent ver­sion of him­self. At times he was feared on the rugby pitch and also stood his ground in track and field. To­wards the later stages of high school how­ever, there was a pro­found change of be­hav­ior from Joshua. For the first time in his life he was rel­e­gated to the back of the class, he be­gan to have fo­cus is­sues and very soon he found him­self in the midst of the school drugs cir­cle. He barely passed his ex­ter­nal ex­ams but found sports as his soul food. He com­mit­ted him­self to sports and through it found it would con­nect him more with the op­po­site sex. Even though he had many fe­male friends, when it came to the usual high school court­ing or flirt­ing Joshua found he was un­com­fort­able. Un­der his ex­em­plary suit of ex­cel­lence was a dark se­cret – one which un­til to­day left him dis­con­nected. Many years later, Joshua still has fo­cus is­sues – he has changed jobs nu­mer­ous times, has an al­co­hol prob­lem and can­not seem to keep a re­la­tion­ship with a woman. “I was sex­u­ally abused by al­most ev­ery nanny that came into our home when I was lit­tle, I think I was be­tween six and 10 years old,’’ Joshua told Mai Life as he shared his story around a basin of kava. “This was around the time when both my par­ents were pur­su­ing fur­ther stud­ies so were al­ways late home. As the el­dest I had to help the nanny look af­ter my two small brothers and two sis­ters.” “But I put what hap­pened in the back of my mind for two rea­sons: first was out of dis­gust that I liked it be­cause nat­u­rally, as a boy, you will like sex; and se­condly due to the idea that only girls and women got abused, and I was em­bar­rassed. “So I kept my mouth shut and just some­how for­got it be­cause even think­ing about it made me hate my­self. My first at­tempt at try­ing to tell an un­cle was met with the ‘talk’: boys don’t com­plain. In one of the in­stances, my un­cle used it to black­mail the nanny into hav­ing sex with him.” To­day, Joshua is com­ing to terms with his demons with help from the church. “Af­ter my sec­ond mar­riage failed, I re­al­ized some­thing was wrong with me and it was some­how con­nected to my child­hood ex­pe­ri­ences.” Joshua had two chil­dren from his first mar­riage and four

from his sec­ond. “Al­co­hol and also what my sec­ond wife termed ‘dis­con­nec­tion’ led to the fail­ure of my mar­riages, sec­ond was my in­abil­ity to con­trol my tem­per – like I had a rag­ing bull within me which only made its en­trance when I was drunk. I have also be­come a sex ad­dict and at times feared that I may even turn on my own kids.” A Catholic priest who had known him since he was a child and to whom Joshua had first con­fided, brought Joshua to his senses. “He was a qual­i­fied coun­selor, he made me see that I was bro­ken and my ac­tions would only change if I un­der­stood why I felt emo­tions dif­fer­ently from oth­ers and why I could not hide it any longer. I wasted all those years be­cause I was too em­bar­rassed to face up to my demons and in turn I hurt my own fam­ily.” Joshua is now 44 years old is al­ready a grand­fa­ther of three. When asked whether he ever saw any of his nan­nies again, Joshua said he al­ways be­lieved that ev­ery­thing hap­pened in a cy­cle. But he didn’t want to seek jus­tice for their ac­tions be­cause he would not put his fam­ily through an­other episode of what they had al­ready en­dured. “But many years ago, I read in the papers that the daugh­ter of one of our nan­nies was raped by an un­cle - so I guess it’s also about karma. Though I feel for the lit­tle girl least her Mum will no know the pain and mis­ery.” Joshua has now kept the same job for five years – the long­est time to date and has also gained a sec­ond pro­mo­tion last De­cem­ber. He is in the process of rec­on­cil­ing with his sec­ond wife. “Dur­ing my drunken rag­ing days about seven years ago I had a run in with the law. I got off with a fine and made friends with a po­lice of­fi­cer who works with the sex­ual crimes unit. “He is my close friend to­day and also helps me stay on track. He has stud­ied Psy­chol­ogy and once told me vic­tims of sex­ual abuse are of­ten dis­con­nected from those around them, in­clud­ing them­selves.” “He saw in me signs of some­one who was abused, my only prob­lem was that I was em­bar­rassed to be a vic­tim be­cause I was a man, I didn’t know the im­pact is same for ev­ery­one.” “I live to­day be­cause I was made to un­der­stand why I was do­ing things, and telling my story to those close to me helped me be­come bet­ter.” The priest who helped Joshua get back on his feet said there was a lot of hurt young men in Fiji to­day who were vic­tims of sex­ual abuse. “It is harder for man to ad­mit to this, so they of­ten go through life dys­func­tional, of­ten vi­o­lent and with­drawn – some un­for­tu­nately are in jail now be­cause they have also done what was done to them. It is a vi­cious cy­cle.”

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