Monday, 4 April 2016

ARC: Meet Mr Gay Malta Iven Fenech

Talks about being “Abused, Raped, Brother’s Suicide & Upcoming Community projects”

MARCH 30 · PUBLIC; Edited by Russell Sammut

I was a young boy raised in a traditional family, I was the eldest of 3 brothers. At 11 I was admitted to a Boarding School. I started adjusting to my new life, I began to see my siblings only on weekends, while still adjusting to this new “lifestyle”. One day my parents told me that they were going to separate. It was very hard on me. I can still recall the sleepless nights and mixed emotions, but I had to keep my feelings to myself I had to be strong for my two younger brothers who were too young and needed me to be strong for them.
As the separation took place I had to choose whether to live with my mother or my father. Even though they only lived a few minutes away from each other, the choice of choosing between the two people who I loved the most was tough. In the end, my brothers remained with my mother and I moved in with my father.
“Two police officers came to pick me up from school and took me to the police station. None of this made sense, I was confused, What Happened? What did I do?”

2 years passed, and I turned 13, I made new friends and my life was back on track. I was faring quite well at school and dealt with most issues. It was on a Friday in November when two police officers came to pick me up from school and took me to the police station. None of this made sense, I was confused, What Happened? What did I do?

I was being interrogated by two officers, I been asked questions that were making no sense, both my parents were sitting next to me. I felt guilty although I didn’t know what I could have done wrong. Hours passed until my parents eventually left the room and that’s when I started talking. I answered the Police’s questions, eventually it was established that my teacher was abusing several students and I was one of the victims, being so young I had no idea what was happening. Months later I been offered a councilor to help me with this experience but I rejected her help. I wanted to deal with it myself and that’s what I tried to do.

When I turned 15, I moved back home and started discovering myself, I started dating boys. My mother got suspicious and asked me if I was Gay an I said “Yes”, life became “complicated”. My mother didn’t know how to how to react and I shut myself off. Spending most of the time locked alone in my room and making excuses to get out of the house as much as possible.

Feeling vulnerable in order to escape I started meeting new people and unfortunately other than finding help, I found someone who abused my situation and raped me. My mother realised something was off, she asked a lot of questions, but I didn’t want to answer her. I needed her help but I was too afraid, eventually I told her. Once again I ended up at the police station. I had to go to hospital in the early hours of the morning to be checked and once I was released I had to go back to the Police Headquarters for further questioning. I didn’t sleep that night. I cried my eyes out, I felt so dirty I didn’t know what to do.

In 2008 I have moved to Belgium with my boyfriend. I felt great, I grew up so from a little boy into a young man; Away from my past, away from my parents questioning everything I do. I felt free for the first time, and I felt like nothing could go wrong.

“I was on Facebook and I received an R.I.P. message”

Two years later I returned to Malta on vacation, little did I know that it would have been the last time I would see my youngest brother. 15 days after I returned to Belgium, I was on Facebook and I received an R.I.P. message… I asked the sender what he meant and I got no reply, (looking back he probably assumed I knew). I then called Home, my mother picked up the phone, crying, but I couldn’t make out anything of what was being said, so I hung up and called my father. “A tragedy, a tragedy your brother - committed suicide!” I hung up. I was shaking and couldn’t move or stand on my feet. I called my father again and asked him what to do and what happened.

I rushed to the airport and boarded the first flight to Malta. Facebook was brimming with messages, I didn’t want to ignore them, but I didn’t want to deal with them either. I went to see my Mother, Father and brother, together as a family we had to prepare the funeral.

The weather was very sunny day and everyone wearing white, we said our last good bye to Shalon.
“My project is called ‪#‎lifematters‬ as every life matters”

My Shalon’s death was a wake up call, it helped me appreciate life and change my life for the better. In 2014 I moved back to Malta, reluctant at first, but month after month things got better. I decided to take part in Mr Gay Malta to share my story and empower youth (especially LGBTI). I don’t want other families passing through suicide or another LGBTI people being unaccepted. I’m working with my team and the millennium chapel to create a section for the LGBT community where psychologists, shelter and other help can be provided. My project is called ‪#‎lifematters‬ as every life matters. My campaign will be helping individuals to see the positive part of life and leave the past behind, look ahead and be excited for the future. We are one community and as a community we can do it together!

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