Dylan Graves Barbeta-Comstock

Being made the object of another’s choice while still in diapers – and not believed – set the stage for polyvictimization. Being a boy left me out of the images used to protect our youth from what was done to me many times. Being gay set me up for silent acceptance of covert sexual violence as the price of false community.   

Forsaken in attempt to reckon with what was done – self-harm, addiction, and isolation; I did not choose this, yet shame kept collecting. I lacked role models, and guilt was easier than accepting it wasn’t I who left the gate unlocked.  

Boys will be boys, and you either like or fight it – right?  

And as a gay boy, you asked for it – right?  

I start by believing so others may speak. I speak so that others may see themselves as I could not. The many shapes of trauma taught me my superpower. The graceful force of survival delivered me. I live in gratitude to be alive.