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.

Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence

"Have you told anyone?" I asked the twenty-year-old man.

He shook his head. "Only you." He went on to say, "They wouldn't understand." He referred to his family.

"How do you know?"

He shrugged. "It wouldn't do any good. They won't believe me."

Our conversation went on for a full minute before he admitted he was afraid to tell his family. I pleaded with him to speak up—but only when he was ready. "We have a term called 'the conspiracy of silence,' which means that no one in the family talks about it. No one admits the horrible, shameful acts. The suffering continues."

"It was no big deal for you, but to me—"

"It took me seven years to speak up," I said.

"Really?"

"That's right. And the longer we wait to tell anyone, the easier it is to pretend it didn't happen. Or to convince ourselves that it's not important."

My response surprised him because I talk openly and easily about the issue of male sexual abuse. I keep talking about it to help others—and to help Cec—get to the other side, which is freedom. Deliverance. Total victory.

I'm still on the road to healing. "Even so," I told him, "shattering the conspiracy of silence was one of the biggest, most positive steps I ever took."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was sexually abused at such a young age that I honestly had no words for what had happened. I was traumatized and deeply unhappy but I didn't say a word because I felt sick and ashamed.

I was as afraid of myself as I was of my abuser.

A few years later I realized exactly what had happened and I was furious and mortified.

I was never, ever going to tell a soul as long as I lived.

I tried to kill myself when I was 21 with a combination of vodka and painkillers, but I told my parents that it was an accident and they believed me.

I had begun to drink heavily in college and kept it up after I graduated, so it did not require a great leap of the imagination to picture me getting too drunk to know what I was doing.

In two seperate drunken stupors, I told both my boyfriend (I'm a woman and I hope that's okay!) and my best friend what had happened.

I remember telling my boyfriend but I told my best friend while I was blacked out.

One morning I woke up in her bed with her sitting next to me. I had shown up the night before and told her everything. She said I kept repeating that I was "so sorry" and that I wished that I were "normal."

Over and over again. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Normal, normal, normal.

My boyfriend dumped soon after, largely because of my drinking. I was miserable, so what did I do? I made drinking a daily activity.

My friend and I went to a club one night and I got so drunk I blacked out yet again.

She took me home and I told my parents what had happened to me that night. I still don't remember it, but I woke up the next morning and they wanted to talk about it.

I told them it was too upsetting to talk about so they agreed to leave me alone but they wanted me to stop drinking.

I was conflicted. Drinking was the best way I knew to deal with pain but I could no longer trust myself to keep my own counsel once I blacked out.

So I tried to control it. It was very, very hard and I often made excuses to slip away from people so I could drink alone without disappointing them or making any unplanned confessions.

Roughly a year later I had my first manic episode (with psychotic features) and I finally got professional help.

Getting sick like that was terrifying, but at least I finally got help: medication and talk therapy.

It took a long time to find the right combination of medications and it was rough, but the upside to that was that I had to stop drinking.

Once I did find the right combination, my tolerance for alcohol was so much lower than it had been that I couldn't have drunk the way I used to if I wanted to.

I still can't. And I am incredibly grateful.

I couldn't really talk to my psychiatrist about the abuse until my symptoms were under control and even then I was hesitant...but she had already helped me so much that I hoped she could help me with "IT."

She could and she did. It is not over yet and I am not all better yet (not by a long shot) but I finally understand that what happened was not my fault AT ALL.

It was the my abuser's and my abuser's alone. I was not complicit in the act.

I was afraid and uncomfortable, but I finally broached the subject with my parents: sober and sane. We didn't say too much but I know that they love me and they don't blame me.

No one I've told does.

If something like this has happened to you, please don't try to bury it as long as I did. I spent so much time and energy keeping my secret that it blew up in my face and it almost killed me.

You do not have to let it get as bad as I did, but if you already have, it is still not too late. Make an appointment with a psychiatrist or a trained therapist. They will help you and they are morally and legally bound to keep your private business private unless you are actively homicidal or suicidal.

Please. Just tell someone.