No Safe Place – A Male Survivor of Sexual Abuse confronts his Past in a Monterey California Support Group

By Mary Barker
Herald Staff Writer
March 21, 1997
Monterey, CA

Friends kept telling him his night light was too bright. So he tempered it with some color. But he can’t turn it off – not yet, maybe not ever. William Baker, 32, is afraid of the dark.

It was there where his elder brother subjected him to a 10-year ordeal of of sexual molestation and physical abuse from the time Baker was a first grader until he was old enough to drive a car, a terrifying stretch of seeming infinity that ended only when his brother went into the Army.

Baker become so frightened he remembers wetting himself one day during a school play – he was the baby bear in “The Three Bears” – when he spotted his brother in the audience. “It was just how he looked at me,” Baker said. And Baker still has trouble going home to the Los Angeles area house where he grew up. “There’s no safe place for me in that house, ” he said. “Every part of me was violated as a child there. I can visit the house, but I can’t stay there. He was my oldest brother. There’s supposed to be a trust there.”

Things are getting better, though.

Baker just recently spent four months in a Monterey Rape Crisis Center support group for survivors of sexual abuse. He has found forgiveness and his older brother is now dead, the victim of a brutal 1988 murder. “Not by me,” Baker said, with a half smile. “It’s funny, I cried at his grave. I think (I cried) because he would never harm anybody again. And I felt someone cheated me. I wanted to be the one to do this. My brother hurt a lot of people. I don’t know what creates something like that.”

“But I don’t walk around this Earth hating him. I do forgive him. I forgave him a long time before he died, but I’ll never forget what he did.” And maybe Baker will never get over the dark being such a scary place either. But so be it.

For so long, nighttime meant unrelenting visits from the male sibling six years Baker’s senior. What started off as a “fun” thing, a “boys-will-be-boys” experiment of sorts, quickly transformed into oral sex and anal penetration several times a week. “There were a lot of instances when he would come into my room when I was asleep,” Baker said. “As a child, I never got a good night’s sleep. I stayed up praying he wouldn’t be there. And, if he wasn’t doing it, he was threatening me with it.”

So, Baker started getting horrible headaches. Not really, but that’s what he told his parents when he wandered into their room evening after evening. “I told them that so I could spend the night with them in their bed,” Baker explained. “I made up a lot of things.”