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.

Why Me?

(By Cecil Murphey)

Why did he choose us? What did we do to make him single us out?

Although complicated, here's the most direct and simple answer I know: We were needy kids. Those four words sum it up. We may not have realized our neediness. After all, how many four-year-olds or ten-year-old boys are mature enough to reflect on such issues?

We were needy kids. Whether we came from impoverished homes or our parents were millionaires, unless we felt deep within ourselves that we were loved, we were open to anyone who showed us kindness or affection.

Our perpetrators reached out in such ways that we were ensnared. They gave us gifts or took us places. They spent time with us. They listened to us and made us feel important. They deceived us, but we didn't know.

We were needy kids. I'm not blaming parents, saying only that we didn't feel the warmth we yearned for. Perhaps they were unable to give it to us (as was true with my parents) or they didn't express it in a way that convinced us of their love.

We were needy kids. Maybe we need to repeat those words in first person. I was a needy kid. The absence of affirmation or acceptance, love or affection—whatever I was lacking—made me vulnerable.

I was a needy kid; 
someone took advantage of my neediness and my innocence.

(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)


Carolyn Byers Ruch said...

As a mom who is parenting three children with a history of trauma and neglect, I agree that neediness can lay a foundation for sexual abuse. But I would also add trust. Children trust. Even children who come from abuse and neglect long to trust, need to trust. It's maddening that such a basic, innocent need can be twisted by an abuser and turned into shame. And all because children do what comes naturally--they trust.

Cec Murphey said...

Carolyn makes an excellent point. And that lays an even more significant responsibility on parents. Because their children trust them, they are able to protect the children by teaching them that "nice" people are always trustworthy.
If someone touches children in such a way that they feel uncomfortable, they'll run to their parents—if they know their parents love them.
The problem, as I see it, is that children trend to trust anyone who showers them with attention, time, or gifts. If parents fail to provide that assurance, the children may be unable to cope when faced by manipulative predators.