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.

My Story of Abuse

(By Thomas Edward)

I was the martial arts tiger--rough and tough. When the convenience store was held up that night, I disarmed the robber and smashed him into the wall. I was steel on the outside, but no martial arts training prepared me for the battle of facing the aftermath of childhood sexual abuse.

Childhood sexual abuse doesn't happen in Christian homes, right? Especially not in the home of a gospel preacher. Wrong.

Today as an adult I realize people are imperfect, but try explaining that concept to a six-year-old child whose trust was betrayed by an illicit familial relationship of sexual abuse. I still remember six of the perpetrators, and I hope you'll trust me these aren't false memories. I still have a burn mark as a constant reminder of sexual abuse and torture for rebelling.

My earliest encounters occurred at six years of age and stopped around age fourteen. Numerous abusers, some family, and other close friends who groomed me, knew I was the tender young lamb to be preyed on. There are many stories I could share with you, but I’ll share one.

Steve came to live with us during his divorce. He was a cool guy. He was masculine and had time for me, not like my father, who spent time with me only to discipline me. Steve often teased me about girls, so I felt comfortable and trusted him. When I tried to talk with Dad about girls and the birds and bees, he told me to look it up in the dictionary.

Steve was an avid fisherman and we often headed up to the lake. He bought me anything I needed for the trip: bait, snacks, or lures. As we walked and talked, he always put his hand on my shoulder, like he was my good friend. I trusted Steve. During such a tumultuous time in life, pre-adolescence, I had already been sexually abused for five years and it felt great having a friend.

We had gone to one fishing spot many times, but on one particular adventure something was different. As we sat and fished on the bank, Steve reached across me for a soda, and he "accidently" spilled it on my pants. As he tried to wipe and rub the soda out of my lap, physiological events started happening to my body. He said it was okay and natural and nothing to be embarrassed about. He unzipped me as he tried to dry off my pants.

That was how it began. Before I knew it, he was doing things to me. It felt strange but sometimes exciting at the same time. It was different from the other sexual abuse instances.

Fast forward twenty years later when my college roommate and I cruised to the theater to watch a movie. From the title and review of the movie, it seemed like a good murder mystery. That is, until they showed that the person was sexually abused, tortured, and murdered.

To this day I can't fully express the powerful emotions and thoughts triggered by the film. My mind flashed with images that had been buried for decades. I couldn’t stop them. I saw faces and people. I saw violations and betrayals, sexual abuse, and torture. Rejection flooded my mind. "I have to leave," I told my roommate.

The floodgates were opened. I cried, trembled, agonized, sobbed, and experienced uncontrollable outbursts, rage, anger, fear, doubt, and hopelessness in the next 36 hours. I experienced record depression and began a suicide death march.

Something stopped me. God brought a caring friend into my life. Where other Christians had rejected and ignored me, he comforted me. The healing began.

Thirteen years down the road, I began a ministry in Seattle called Healing Broken Men. I want to help men like me who have lived with the terrible secret. Some battle addictions with food, sex, money, power; others become workaholics and have serious relationship issues. Such dysfunctions are the manifested fruits on their tree of life, but at the root and origin is the secret of childhood or adult sexual abuse.

Thomas Edward is a speaker and the author of HEALING A MAN'S HEART. His desire is to help men of faith experience freedom from the pain of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about Thomas, his book, or his Healing Broken Men workshops, visit www.healingbrokenmen.com.

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