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’ve Believed

(This post comes from "J".)

Among the worst of the many lies I have believed about myself is that the abuse in my childhood was my fault. It's common among victims to believe they brought the abuse on themselves or caused it to happen. I've learned that the abuse was the sick choice of the abuser and not my doing.

I was about 16 before I understood that men had sex with women and not just with other men or boys. I knew that men liked to look at women, but the abuse was so pervasive in my life that I didn’t understand the basic physiology of the human body.

Gender confusion and identity struggles haunt me to this day. A therapist had to tell me I had been abused. It didn't occur to me that something was wrong with the people who touched me and used me.

The lie that I caused those broken people to have sexual contact with me has affected me throughout my life. The sexual confusion alone is devastating, but there are many more consequences that victims experience because of that distorted belief. Here are a few of mine:

* A sense of chronic failure; 
* The feeling that I have no control over my emotions or my body; 
* Problems making decisions;
* Compulsive behavior.

The best thing that has happened is gaining the understanding that I did not cause the abuse—not any of it. I participated at some level because I didn’t know that it was abuse or that I was being taken advantage of.

I was a child. I didn’t understand what was happening. It was not my fault.

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