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.

Gary Roe's Story

As a result of early childhood abuse, I have struggled deeply with feelings of being alone. The abuse was revealed to me through a series of flashbacks over several years. It was a time of deep pain, confusion, grief, and anger.

In the midst of these flashbacks, I attended the annual Northwest Christian Writer's Association Conference in Seattle. I was walking through the conference bookstore, waiting for the first main session, when I noticed a postcard on the floor at my feet. I picked it up and read about an online ministry for male survivors of sexual abuse begun by Cecil Murphey. And Cec was the keynote speaker for the conference.

I stood there and stared at the postcard. I felt myself tearing up. I turned and walked outside, whipped out my cell phone, and called my wife, Sharon. I could hardly talk. Even though I was in counseling, and had shared with close friends and my congregation about my background, I still felt alone. One of the reasons I felt so alone was that I had yet to meet another man who had been through similar horrors (or at least, no man who admitted it). Now, this evening, I was going to meet a fellow male survivor.

That evening, after Cec spoke, I got in line to meet him. I had no idea what I was going to say. I tried rehearsing it repeatedly in my mind. When I got to him, all I could do was hold up the postcard. A sudden look of recognition passed across his face, and he hugged me. I felt myself tearing up again. He looked directly into my eyes and said something like, "I thank God for you. You're an answer to my prayers." (He had prayed to connect with other abuse victims.)

Over the next two days, Cec and I spent several hours together. Each moment was crucial for me. Here was someone who understood, who could relate, and who knew. As we shared our stories, I was blown away by the similarities of our experiences. I was so amazed that he could tell what I was thinking and feeling. I had found not only a brother, but a fellow soldier in this fight for freedom and healing. He knew.

Since then, every conversation I have had with Cec has been important to me. Yet I am still slow to reach out and initiate with him sometimes, even though I love him dearly. The shame and fear attached to the abuse is great. The power of abuse lies in its secrecy. Every time I tell my story, every time I call Cec, it is like coming out of hiding, and I feel freer afterward.

My interactions with Cec actually led us to begin a ministry in our church for survivors of sexual abuse and those who love us. It is called Oasis. We must come out of hiding. We need each other to heal and to grow. By coming together, we begin to stand against this great evil. I am far from alone.

--excerpted from When a Man You Love Was Abused by Cecil Murphey, Kregel Publications, 2010, pages 155-156

1 comment:

Gail P Smith said...

Praying God will use Gary's story and each story here to free and heal hurting men.