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.

Milwaukee Scandal

Minutes ago I read about the latest scandal. The Catholic Diocese of Milwaukee may have to file for bankruptcy because 550 young men have filed claims of abuse against the clergy.

Most of the article was about money—paying the victims and draining the treasury. But I read nothing about the shattered, broken lives of those 550 men.

And only 550 individuals have made claims—which implies there are probably at least that many who don't have the courage to speak up.

I admire those 550 and how difficult it must have been for them to say, "I was molested." Male sexual abuse is probably the most under-reported crime in the world. Like women reporting rape two decades ago, the survivors often become victimized again through publicity and often charges of lying.

I still become a little numb when I read such terrible things. More ruined lives. More pain. And so little help. Payment of money may be the only way organizations know how to make amends. But there is no way to make amends.

Howling about the money is an easy way to avoid healing the victims. It's as if dollars can cure depression, shame, and self-hatred—all results of the abuse.

Those men need compassion. They need people to care. But most of all, they need people they can trust.

If you know a male survivor of sexual molestation, here are things you can do:

1. Say, "I'm sorry for what happened. I want to be your friend." You may have to prove your friendship. He's been betrayed by someone he trusted.

2. Say, "I promise you that I will not tell anyone anything you say without your permission." Keep that promise.

3. Validate his story. He may not be sure that you (or anyone) believes him. You help him most by listening and accepting what he says.

4. Empathize with him. Try to feel his anguish. If you can't, say honestly, "I don't understand what happened, but I care."

5. Don't focus on your feelings of anger, pain, or revulsion. This is his struggle.

6. Remind yourself that you can't heal him and you can't talk him out of it. You can support him while he works though his trauma.

7. Don't press him for details.

8. Suggest professional help. It's not for everyone, but it might be for him.

1 comment:

Heather Marsten said...

The advice given for helping male abuse survivors is also valid for women. No amount of money can repair the deep hurts inflicted by abuse. Sadly, in my case, only God could repair that breech of my innocence. And those who could minister that kind of healing have abused the victims, taking away an avenue of healing. I do pray that any who survive abuse find help, therapy or a trustworthy friend, counselor, or pastor. I get so angry at how pervading abuse is in our country. There is no regard for the victim when abusers gratify their lust. Thanks for this post.