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.

First Steps

Robert emailed me and I was so touched by it, I asked him for permission to share what he sent (with minor editing for his privacy). He agreed.

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I am reading your book Not Quite Healed: 40 Truths for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. I can't tell you how this is emotionally impacting me today. I can't put it down, although I have felt like I was going to throw up while reading it this morning.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this book, I feel it is starting me on the long road to healing. I have a memory of being sexually abused by a male babysitter and older family friend sometime around age six, but I am certain there was another person who abused me as well earlier because I am having flashbacks now at age 52.

I don't see the person in my flashbacks, but I see how I did strange sexual things as a five year old which indicates I was very disturbed.

Your book has already helped me in just one day. I have never been able to tell anyone my awful secret, what I have been filled with shame about my entire life. I have an irrational sexual attraction to other men. There, I said this to another human being for the first time in 50 years.

I know this is just an email, but I am already feeling empowered by typing this to you. I have never engaged in sexual intercourse with a man, but I do have a temptation for what I call "soft porn," on the internet. I feel like I dance as close as possible to actually getting on a porn site and the urge is overpowering. I do well for a time, then it hits me hard.

It seems like in the last couple of years reaction to the abuse has gotten worse. I am emotionally off, make assumptions about people, and see myself negatively. My childhood was so dramatically affected by the abuse, and I am just now understanding it with the help of your book.

I have been happily married more than 30 years. We have three wonderful kids.

I loved the part of your book where it talks about this desire is "irrational." This email is my first step in recovery and I am so grateful to you and Gary for writing this book.


Joseph said...

My hurting brother, I felt the same way when I read the book–I saw myself on every page. And it was such a release to see, written down, that others had struggled as I had; I was not alone in this fight. I bought a copy of the book for my counselor and for my pastor.

A radio program 4 years or so ago first opened my eyes. I didn’t realize that what I remember happening to me at age 5 and in my mid-teens was abuse until hearing on Christian radio station a discussion about adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I heard something said that rang a bell, and I said out loud, “That happened to me.” That radio program started me on the path of discovery about myself.

In my counseling, I remembered a strange thing I did that had to have had a causing event that I’ve blocked out. I’ll share it: When I was about 7, the Sears catalog came, and I found the men and boys underwear section, took a pencil and outlined the crotch of every man and boy in the ads. Now, a child the age I was would not have done that had there not been a provoking incident to cause it. Mother asked me why I did it and I said, “I don’t know.”

But one year ago this month, at age 74, I found a counselor and I have up upchucked every memory, every bizarre temptation, every bizarre thing I ever did to him. Now, I didn’t do it all the first session! But I decided before I went the first time that I would puke it all up, and I have. That godly young man (well, 30 years younger than I am) with the compassion Christ has helped God put me back together.

Facing the past, looking it eyeball-to-eyeball, unlocked the doors to the prison walls I’d built around myself for almost 60 years. By facing the past, I came to realize and accept that I didn’t start the same-sex attractions that I felt. Somebody else started that. True that “marked my desires” and I made many wrong choice in my life (soft porn; cruising; book stores, etc.)

I will pray for you, my hurting brother, that you will find healing–I’m proof that we’re never too old to heal and live a joyful life. You’re on your way; don’t give up.

Cec Murphey said...

Joseph sent this comment:

Thanks for posting Robert’s email to you. It will surely speak to many men. I posted a lengthy reply and signed it. It is such a relief to feel free from the past chains and prison walls. In the past year, for the first time in my life, I have felt like a man. Most of my life has been a crucible, but it was God’s crucible and it was good by His grace.
All the best,

Anonymous said...

from Robert to Joseph,
Thank you so much for your comment, you have been a blessing to me today. It meant so much to me when you said that you did not choose the attraction, but someone else chose it for you. Thank you, that was one of the most powerful things anyone has ever said to me. This is a very painful journey and I know now that this abuse drammatically changed my childhood and adult life, but I am not going to let it ruin my life. God has used it in the past, I am sure and He will use it again. Thank you brother.

Joseph said...

It is definitely a painful journey, but I found it a journey worth taking. In Nov. 2013 Cec posted some emails from "Joseph." I am that Joseph, and if you read those you'll see some of what I have worked through. Dottie Rambo wrote a gospel song titled "I'm Free" and the chorus reads like this: "I'm free from the fear of tomorrow, I'm free from the guilt of the past; For I've traded my shackles for a glorious song; I'm free, praise the Lord free at last." I have a friend who is my accountability partner, and he gets a report of my internet activity from CovenantEyes Filtering. He can see every where I've visited online. That's been a great blessing and help.

I'm still tempted, of course. The Roaring Lion of temptation is not slain in this life, but small wins in victory leads to more wins in victory until there's much more victory in resisting the Roaring Lion's lures than there are times when I'm snagged by the lure. (Does any of that make sense?)

Remember that there's hope, there's help (Shattering the Silence is a big help), and there is ultimate success in the journey when God is in charge.

Vesta Duvall said...

Your first step in recovery includes seeking help from support groups. Reach out to those who are willing to listen to your pain and help you claim your life back again. The abuser may have taken away a portion of your past, but you still have your future to live a happy life. I hope sharing these thoughts can motivate other survivors to help other victims as well. :)

Vesta Duvall @ The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C.