Predators: The Father Figure Effect
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
DISCLAIMER: Some of the events in this story can be triggering to certain individuals.
Where to begin?
It’s not every day that someone decides to be brave and tell their story when it pertains to any kind of sexual violence. It is even rarer in regards to men being victims of sexual violence. We all know it happens, yet society has created this stigma that men can’t be vulnerable or show emotions. In reality, Men are going through sexual trauma-related events just like women and they deserve to have their voices heard. What you are about to read is a story of a young man who was manipulated and then raped at a young age and now that he is 26 years old, he is even more ready to share his story. We, here at Thyme Heals, are proud to call this brave individual our friend but even more so, we are also honored that we are the ones to get to share his story. This is the story of Dan Williams and what changed his life in his teen years.
In situations like Dan’s, many predators prey on young boys. Around the age of 13, he was introduced to an older man(we will call him Frank for the purpose of this article). Frank became a father figure to him when his biological father was absent at times. Frank would be around his family and he carried on as a normal father-son relationship. In the beginning, it started with Dan receiving gifts from Frank. This all seemed normal to Dan at the age of 13 going on 14. Frank would get him school clothes, new backpacks, and other supplies. They went out to eat together and Dan remembers Frank telling him all the time, “I have no problem doing these things because I know your father isn’t in the home and you need a father figure in your life.” Many times while they were creating this bond, Dan would spend the night at Frank’s. During these stays, Frank would start to touch Dan in ways he couldn’t understand, yet was reassured by Frank that this was normal father-son behavior. Multiple times, he would be touching Dan’s thigh while watching a movie or hugging him to the point it might have been uncomfortable. The touching and manipulation lasted a whole year before things seemed to progress.
When Dan was 14, almost 15 years old, things with Frank progressed. There was a major argument between Dan and his mother that led to Dan leaving his mother’s home and when he needed somewhere to go, Frank was right there. The random overnight stays turned into Dan staying with Frank for months because of this argument. Three days after his 15th birthday, Dan woke up to Frank pleasing himself right next to him. Frank once again assured Dan that this was all normal. Frank even went to the lengths of showing Dan how to put on a condom and watching porn with him. Now by this point, Frank had manipulated Dan into believing almost everything. The things he was doing with Dan weren’t normal, but he knew Dan was longing for the father figure and played off of that to fully manipulate him.
About a week later, Frank was drunk and decided that he was going to take full advantage of Dan. He went into Dan’s room and Dan woke up to see him completely naked standing next to his bed. Dan asked, “hey pops, what are you doing?” and Frank had replied, “Just let it happen, it won’t hurt if you relax.” Dan tried his best to fight him off, but he was no match for how big Frank was and how much he had been overpowered. Frank raped Dan. Under these circumstances, Dan was confused. He didn’t understand why the man he looked up to had done what he did. He didn’t understand what had just happened and days later when he went to him and Frank apologized and said he didn’t know what came over him and they left it at that. Then two days later, Frank did it again. He wasn’t sorry, he was just manipulative. Thankfully, by this time Dan was able to go back to his mother’s house. He was done with Frank, or so he thought.
After not seeing Frank for about 6 months, he popped up at a family cookout. Dan was with his cousin and once he saw Frank, his cousin pulled him to the side and asked him why did he look like he had seen a ghost. At that moment, Dan broke down in tears and told his cousin everything. This was the first person that ever found out and until the age of 23, the rest of Dan’s mother and the rest of his family didn’t know anything. Through all the years of keeping this abuse a secret, Dan had questions for himself. What did I do to make him feel like this was ok? Did he deserve it? Why would this happen? These led him in a path during his adolescence that made it hard for him to have a stable romantic relationship. A lot of times, victims of rape and abuse can take that abuse and become hyper-sexual to deal with the pain or some become closed off to the world and rather not have anyone touch them. Dan ended up becoming very hyper-sexual in a fight or flight reaction as if he had to prove something when in reality he was not the one in the wrong nor did he deserve something so violent to happen to him. The abuse he endured had him questioning his respect and value for people when it came to sex and woman. He looked at sex as if it was just something you do with no connection, no love, no emotions. Not until after going to therapy at the age of 24, he realized the various layers of sexual abuse made him think he was worthless and there was no value in himself or in sex.
Once Dan took the turning point and realized he was not to blame and that his worth didn’t get taken away because someone invaded his body, his respect for women and people came back. His love for life came back. His energy to fight the stigmas and tell his story grew stronger. When I asked Dan what he wanted men and other survivors to take from this he gave me a few bullet points that helped him in his path of “recovering” from the trauma:
First, confide in someone who you know will not be judgemental. After an incident, you can be emotional and having someone that might not be understanding and that might judge isn’t what you need at that time.
When you finally come to terms that it happened, don't blame yourself. You are not the problem nor did you deserve this. No one deserves this and you didn't do anything to make it happen.
Let go of the stigmas society puts on victims of sexual abuse
CRY! Crying isn't a form of weakness, it is an act of healing. Don't be afraid to cry it out.
We hope that this article was able to help anyone that might be going through something similar and is afraid to tell their story. Women and men alike, we all need to speak up and put an end to the stigmas and put an end to this sick culture. If you or anyone you know needs help finding a place that can help them in a situation such as this, feel free to contact us(
)and we will be more than happy to find an organization near your area that can give you immediate assistance.