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.

"Walking in the Rain"

I taped the second Oprah Winfrey show where she dealt with male sexual abuse and watched the program that same night. She had two hundred sexually assaulted men in her audience. I was touched by their openness (and their tears).

Afterward, I thought about what I had seen, and I went emotionally numb. I haven't had that kind of emotional freeze for years. The last time it had happened was when I watched a PBS program on sexual abuse—a documentary by a Canadian woman who had been a victim of incest by her father. After watching her documentary, I wasn't able to talk afterward and went for a long walk late at night.

A similar thing happened after the Oprah segment and I went for a walk in the dark. Even before I was out of my yard, I had a flashback.

I was somewhere between 12 and 14 years of age. I lived on Second Street but at night I often walked down Third because it was darker and I wanted to be alone. During those walks I felt the pain of childhood—not the molestation because I had "forgotten" that. I felt useless and unloved.

As I walked, I felt totally alone. "No one cares about me," I said aloud as I walked along. If I died, I didn't think anyone would miss me. I assumed my mother would cry, but she cried about many things, and she would soon forget me.

A few times I walked in the rain and that caused me to feel even more alone. The rain pelted my face and my clothes and I didn't care.

The brief flashback after the Oprah show reminded me of the pain of my teen years. I had forgotten about those walks, but somewhere, deep inside, the memory had lay hidden.

After my walk I tried to talk to Shirley and called my best friend. With both of them I stammered, trying to find words to explain, and finally quit trying to put my emotions into words.

I went into our guest room and lay on the bed. I kept thinking of that kid walking in the dark, and his pain washed over me again. "I'm with you," I whispered to that confused, miserable teen inside me. "I'm here now and we're both safe."

Eventually I relaxed and fell asleep. Perhaps an hour later I awakened. The pain was gone but the memory remained vivid.

I share this because it reminds me that there seems always to be just a little more hidden pain. But these days I'm older and I feel compassion for that lonely boy who walked in the dark.

No comments: