I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

"Have you told anyone?" I asked the twenty-year-old man.

He shook his head. "Only you." He went on to say, "They wouldn't understand." He referred to his family.

"How do you know?"

He shrugged. "It wouldn't do any good. They won't believe me."

Our conversation went on for a full minute before he admitted he was afraid to tell his family. I pleaded with him to speak up—but only when he was ready. "We have a term called 'the conspiracy of silence,' which means that no one in the family talks about it. No one admits the horrible, shameful acts. The suffering continues."

"It was no big deal for you, but to me—"

"It took me seven years to speak up," I said.

"Really?"

"That's right. And the longer we wait to tell anyone, the easier it is to pretend it didn't happen. Or to convince ourselves that it's not important."

My response surprised him because I talk openly and easily about the issue of male sexual abuse. I keep talking about it to help others—and to help Cec—get to the other side, which is freedom. Deliverance. Total victory.

I'm still on the road to healing. "Even so," I told him, "shattering the conspiracy of silence was one of the biggest, most positive steps I ever took."

Being Healed

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

Abuse causes most of us to end up with little self-esteem (although some become braggarts or bullies to hide the truth). Because we were overpowered as children, control is often a big issue for us as adults—fighting for it or surrendering to those who threaten us by their words or presence.

Because someone we trusted betrayed us, many of us are slow or unable to trust others. We may freeze when someone unexpectedly touches us. Some of us slide into substance abuse to deaden the pain. Sexual dysfunction is common.

That's not an exhaustive list, but I mention them because they're symptoms of long-term issues. Even to be aware of them isn't a cure, but it's like a doctor analyzing our disease and prescribing the medicine.

I'm not quite healed, but I am being healed.

More on Recovery

This post is from an email Roger sent:

There was a huge disappointment and a lot of anger too when I was told it would probably take over ten years for me to recover from what was done to me. All my life I had minimized it. It was not violent or painful most of the time, and it was my father, so how bad could it be? And yet here I am 15 years later and still struggling with the effects of PTSD from it. ALL of my relationships have suffered and continue to at times be difficult.
When you are in something like what happened to me, there is no reference to "normal." What is, is just what is, and you live with it as if it were normal because it is all you know and probably all you will ever know until someone or something reveals the lie. It can turn your life upside down, and maybe that is a good thing. 
Getting around "healthy" people and learning what healthy relationships are like can make you envious and sad by comparison, but it can also help you navigate back to healthier life choices. 

Recovery #2

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

At the beginning of our recovery, we may assume full healing is imminent —which I did—because we're unaware how severely we've been damaged or don't realize that our wounds have been festering for years.

For many, the abuse took place during a short period of time. It could have been a one-time assault or something that happened repeatedly for three or four years. Regardless of whether once or forty-six times, the molestation worked like an undetected virus that invaded our souls, went systemic, and infected every part of our psyche. Among other things, abuse destroys our ability to see ourselves as we are.

How could healing not be difficult and time-consuming? The core of our being is at stake. We need to fight, not just for ourselves, but for our families and others around us who’ve been touched by the abuse we endured.

Recovery

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

Our abuse took place in secret, and it happened when we were young and innocent. We lived with our hidden pain for years. I turned fifty-one before my memories flooded over me and forced me to learn to cope with my painful childhood.

Here's a statement I've adapted from Voice Today, an organization that works with survivors of sexual molestation.
A victim of murder feels no more pain;
A victim of childhood sexual abuse feels pain for the rest of his life.
You may challenge that last phrase, "for the rest of his life," but I believe it's true. Terrible things were done to us and it takes a long time—years—the rest of our lives--to work through the process and to undo the damage. All our lives is accurate because the damage is deep and it's painful.

Afterward (Part 2 of 2)

(an encore post)

This is a second post from Brad.

The worst part of the abuse wasn't what happened, but it was the effect of the abuse. Marvin did it to me only three times. Then I told my parents that I didn't like Marvin. I don’t remember what I said but they didn't hire him again.

The abuse was over but the effects weren't. Something is wrong with me. I'm not normal. I won't say I thought like that every day, but often enough.

I've read about the results of abuse from a lot of guys. Mine was that I couldn't—really couldn't—express affection. When I touched someone it felt as if something inside my head yelled, "That's wrong!"

My pastor let me come into his office every week for more than a year. I cried and I told him some of the same things again and again. And he listened. I guess that's what helped most of all.

One day he hugged me and I can only say that it didn't confuse me because I knew he cared about me. I hugged him back—very, very gently.

I still struggle. I've been married for two years and I've told my wife my problem and she's understanding.

I can't believe I still struggle with the abuse, but I do. I'm getting better. It's slow, but I'm getting better.

My Mind and My Body (Part 1 of 2)

(an encore post)

This comes from Brad.

After Marvin, my babysitter, finished with me, I was confused. I was eight years old but I couldn't figure it out. I felt dirty and that it was wrong—that part is clear to me. But it also felt good. And if it felt good how could it be bad? Or if it was bad, how could it feel good?

I'm nearly forty and now I finally—finally—understand. My body responded to Marvin, but my spirit resisted. And at that age and being faced by someone twice my age, my spirit couldn't win.