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.

Lies I Believed (by Dann Youle)

I believed that somewhere out there really was a "perfect" family. With "Ozzie and Harriet" and "Leave It To Beaver." Heck, "The Andy Griffith Show" perpetuated it as well. Even though there were no alcoholics in my family of origin, and even though abuse didn't happen overtly in my family, I knew we didn't have the perfect family.

I was always the "good boy," but even that wasn't enough. The big lie I believed was that I would never be a man. Having been abused sexually and discarded by my grandpa, struggling with same-sex attraction, not receiving the love and affirmation from my father the way I needed to, I realize that at 45 I still don't always feel like I'm a man!

I know I am a man—a real man—and I'm learning to define myself the way that God sees me. The American ideal of a man I'm not, and I'm finally learning that that's OK.

For the longest time, I couldn't move forward in life because I felt like I didn't have what it takes to have real "masculine initiative" and do the things I know I'm called to do. I'm still learning and have a long way to go, but at least I've started back to school, and I know I can accomplish all God has for me.

It's a great feeling: I'm truly the man God has called me to be and I am "living into that" more and more.

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