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.

"I'll Never Forgive You."

(This entry from Cec Murphey was originally posted on Mariska Hartigay's Joyful Heart Foundation site on 10/25/12.)

For several days, one sentence has continued to trouble me: "I'll never forgive you." Those words were spoken by the man identified only as Victim 4 at the Jerry Sandusky sentencing on October 9, 2012. His emotional cry says several things to me.

The most obvious is that he expresses the unhealed pain that comes from betrayal. At the trial itself, Victim 4 and other survivors referred to the gifts and personal attentiveness from Sandusky, who became their role model. Then came the molestation. Until then, Sandusky had probably been the most trusted man in their lives. His wooing them through seductive actions and evil motives caused an unrelenting pain that still remains.

Perhaps the words are also an unconscious cry to the perpetrator to admit what he did. If I faced someone and shouted those words, it would signify an unconscious or unspoken plea: "Please tell me you're sorry for how deeply you wounded me. Help me understand why you would hurt me." When the victimizer is someone we admire and love, the hurt becomes far more intense.

The words also speak of despair. What Victim 4 lost as a boy won't ever be restored, even if his perpetrator confesses. As a survivor of sexual molestation, I know how abuse damages us for life. We're emotionally shattered and we don't know how to trust others. We're suspicious of the motives when someone treats us kindly. We push away many good people because one bad person took advantage of our naïveté and youth.

Possibly the words are also a threat. It's as if to say, "You want absolution for your wrongdoing but you'll never, never get it from me." They seem like words to withhold forgiveness and that will punish the guilty.

Even worse, the words mean we carry the pain and refuse to offer compassion for the wrongdoer. I call myself a serious Christian and many of my peers would jump on Victim 4's words and insist, "You must forgive him."

If I could speak to Victim 4, I'd say, "Feel your pain. Don't release it until you're ready. If you move forward to find your own healing, the day will come when you'll shed your anger and freely offer your forgiveness (even if you never tell him).

I think of his statement as much like people who grieve after the death of a loved one—an awareness of the abuse is like death—the end of a powerful, emotional relationship.

"Number 4, grieve as long as you need to. Don't push yourself or allow anyone to nudge you toward letting go. When you're ready, you won't need prodding."

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