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.

Loss of Control

In childhood, children learn to differentiate between what belongs to them and what doesn't. The most intimate possession is our bodies. Sexual molestation violates our ultimate sense of self. Someone else takes control of our bodies--against our wills.

Because we are children, we don't feel we have the right to protect ourselves from attack, or we don't know how. An adult, an authority figure, violates us. And as children, we "learned" that adults didn't hurt kids.

Many molested children also learned that the world isn't a safe place and they had to protect themselves. For many, though, the loss of control over our bodies robbed us of the normal ability to protect ourselves. To compensate, some men stay in the victim mind-set all their lives, rebelling and fighting anyone who tries to get close. On the other end of the spectrum are men who become revictimized, remaining naive or unaware of the evil intentions of others, and who end up being taken advantage of.

Even after we grew up and became physically larger, many of us felt small and helpless. That's the pattern we learned as children. When we looked into mirrors we often saw ourselves as ugly and unattractive--regardless of the reality.

Despite any evidence, we accepted the lies that sexual abuse taught us. We were lied to--and not only in words but in actions. We were lied to about love. We were lied to about caring. We became objects of someone else's lust. For many, to be loved meant to have a sexual experience. Is it any wonder that some adult survivors can't distinguish between making love and having sex?

--excerpted from When A Man You Love Was Abused by Cecil Murphey, Kregel Publications, 2010, pages 43-44.

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