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.

"He Acted Out"

I recently read a romance novel written in 1932. Quaint, of course, but one thing stood out. At the end of chapter 9, the hero picks up the heroine (his wife who had resisted his affections) and carries her into the bedroom. The chapter ends with these words: "He kicked the door closed."

"The next morning," are the first words in chapter 10.

In those days writers were careful not to write about sexual issues but readers figured out what they meant. Maybe that's why we speak of pre-World War II as the time of innocence.

I mentioned that concept because of a phrase I hear quite often today about men who have been sexually assaulted in childhood. They talk about their change of heart, conversion, counseling, and move on to the changes in their lives.

But once in awhile a man admits, "But I acted out," and that's all he says. I certainly am not a voyeur and I'm not interested in reading graphic descriptions, but I would like a little more direct honesty.

• "I fell into sin."

• "I went back into my old ways."

• “I was promiscuous.”

• “I got into porn.”

• "I had sex with another man."

• "I committed a homosexual act."

As repulsive as those statements may sound to some, they're honest. I realize that saying a simple sentence like engaging in sexual acts with someone of the same gender is too difficult for some men to admit. Or they may not feel safe in saying those words.

But if a man seeks healing, that's part of the reality if he has "acted out." He needs to learn to speak the truth as candidly as he can. Not to say it straight is a form of denial or at least an attempt to mitigate the seriousness of the activity. Or it may be a statement still wrapped in shame.

I'm certainly not trying to urge survivors to speak openly and publicly until they're ready. But to speak in euphemisms or cover words isn't being candid.

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