Culture and training gives us a skewed picture of what it's like to be a man—a real man. Many of us pull back, convinced that we don't, or can't, live up to those imposed standards.
We who were sexually molested have struggles with our sense of masculinity. Some take on the macho image to hide from reality; others slink back and don't try. Regardless of how we respond, it's a challenge. We know we have the same anatomy, but we wonder—and sometimes worry—about muscles, strength, and penis size.
One of the biggest obstacles to feeling like a real man is the message that we absorbed, even though no one said it. "If I were a real man, I wouldn't have been a victim. I wouldn't have let him do that to me. I would have fought him."
Here's my message to men who struggle with this problem. You were a child and defenseless then. Now you are facing the issue. You are struggling. That ongoing effort makes you a man—a real man—because you refuse to give up.
I struggle with issues arising from my abuse.
The struggle reminds me that I am a man.
(This post was adapted from Not Quite Healed, written by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe.)