Yoan (40 years old) is gay. He was sexually abused as a teenager. While studying in Flanders, a friend of the family who was hosting him raped him several times, and this had a huge impact on his self-confidence. For a long time he lived in shame, guilt and fear. His insecurities influence his life even today, especially sexually and relationally
According to a 2021 survey supervised by Professor Ines Keygnaert of the ICRH University of Ghent, approximately 48 percent of Belgian men go through at least one violent sexual experience in their lifetime. The psychological consequences of rape have a long-term impact on victims. Sexual harassment is associated with anxiety , post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, shame and depression .
Yoan spoke to Michel-Ange Vinti about the consequences of the abuse for him. He talked about how difficult it is for him to have a healthy relationship with a man or to be touched. How can she overcome her shame to have a fulfilling sex life?
I grew up in the countryside of Wallonia. At first, I had romantic relationships with girls, but when they wanted to have sex , I always felt withdrawn and found reasons to end the relationship. As a teenager, there was playful touching between me and my boy friends. And so. But then something happened that changed my life.
I went to study abroad for a year. I lived with a host family. During this time, I was abused by an adult, a family friend. And sometime during that time I realized that I was extremely ashamed, but at the same time I was turned on. A 15-year-old boy’s body reacts to any physical stimulus. I was forced to do something I didn’t want to do, but somewhere deep inside I felt a desire, so I didn’t understand what was going on. It took me many years to understand that I was a victim of abuse. An adult had taken advantage of my sexual blossoming and my innocence.
Shortly after that, my parents found out I was gay without me telling them. The host family had read my emails and sent them to my parents without telling me. I had to admit to them that something had happened between me and a man. The abuse had ended, but so had my parents’ trust in me. My host family thought I made up the abuse thing because I was afraid to admit I was gay.
After that, my parents kept an eye on me around the clock, I wasn’t allowed to go out. I went to college in Brussels, but I wasn’t allowed to stay there on weekends, so I wouldn’t go to gay clubs. So I always felt shame, guilt and anxiety about my identity. And this manifested itself in panic attacks and depressive episodes.
From the first days in Brussels, …