(By Max from Nashville)
My name is Max. I am 65 and consider myself one of the lucky ones.
I was in my mid-40s when I first officially had the words sexual abuse applied to my therapy journey. My body had instructed me since I was young, but I could not understand all my thrashing about meant having been sexually abused. I went to many therapists for 30 plus years before anyone asked me if I had ever been sexually abused.
I said no, of course not.
But things began to come together and eventually I recognized what my body had been trying to tell me for decades. Yes, I indeed had been sexually abused at age 4. I did not have what Alice Miller calls an Enlightened Witness—a term she uses to refer to people who have understood and recognized the consequences of child abuse.
Slowly and with tenacity my life moved toward healing. I am one of the lucky ones, in that I have experienced much healing and indeed much thriving. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have leaned into the healing journey sufficiently to discover serenity and thriving.
I remember the first moment I felt understood and simultaneously felt safe for the first time. I was in my first Survivors of Incest Anonymous (SIA) meeting in the 1980s.
There were so few of us openly trying to heal in those days. But we continued and it was wonderful to have understanding Enlightened Witnesses for each other. I no longer felt alone, and no longer felt weird. I had brothers in healing. We helped each other tell the stories and to share the respect of truth telling.
I began to heal. I encourage people to look up SIA on the internet. On their home page, SIA states: We Define Incest Very Broadly. The SIA literature is gentle, honorable, and accurate.
I honor Cecil Murphey for his leadership in opening doors for truth telling. I honor him for his energy to encourage us to break the silence. My hope is that as we learn to break the silence, we do so in honorable and safe environments such as SIA 12 step meetings. We are brothers of healing and we can learn to thrive beyond just healing.