New York Jets great Mark Gastineau recently went through hell on Earth after he had to go through a year-long battle with stage 3 colon cancer, where he had to deal with surgery and months of exhausting chemotherapy and weeks of daily radiation.
He is now cancer free. After being so close to death and escaping its grasp, Gastineau is ready to speak his truth and talk about things he endured as a child.
While speaking with the NY Post, Gastineau revealed he was sexually assaulted as a child.
““I was raped,” Gastineau reveals almost matter of factly. “But I held it in for so long. Maybe cancer has made me confront it.”
He says it started when he was only 11. His abuser was a man from Mexico who worked as his father’s right hand on the family’s 80-acre ranch in the White Mountains of Arizona.
“Can you imagine, somebody like myself, a football player, a big bad guy, getting raped at that age? He scared me to death,” says Gastineau, recalling being “passive” and afraid of his own shadow as a kid. “You would never believe I was going to grow up to be a football player.”
He says the abuse lasted until he was 14, and he buried the horrific memories until he met his third wife, Jo Ann, whom he married 12 years ago.
“I didn’t even think about it until I married her and I could trust someone to tell,” he says, sitting across from Jo Ann in the living room of their suburban home, just outside of Trenton. “But I held it in for so long.”
Despite the trauma he endured, he doesn’t blame his experiences as a child on his anger-management and drug-abuse issues he had to deal with as an adult.
“I didn’t think about it. God blessed me with a short memory,” he says.
Gastineau says he’ll get more into the details in a memoir he plans to publish soon.