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.

Afterward (Part 2 of 2)

(an encore post)

This is a second post from Brad.

The worst part of the abuse wasn't what happened, but it was the effect of the abuse. Marvin did it to me only three times. Then I told my parents that I didn't like Marvin. I don’t remember what I said but they didn't hire him again.

The abuse was over but the effects weren't. Something is wrong with me. I'm not normal. I won't say I thought like that every day, but often enough.

I've read about the results of abuse from a lot of guys. Mine was that I couldn't—really couldn't—express affection. When I touched someone it felt as if something inside my head yelled, "That's wrong!"

My pastor let me come into his office every week for more than a year. I cried and I told him some of the same things again and again. And he listened. I guess that's what helped most of all.

One day he hugged me and I can only say that it didn't confuse me because I knew he cared about me. I hugged him back—very, very gently.

I still struggle. I've been married for two years and I've told my wife my problem and she's understanding.

I can't believe I still struggle with the abuse, but I do. I'm getting better. It's slow, but I'm getting better.

My Mind and My Body (Part 1 of 2)

(an encore post)

This comes from Brad.

After Marvin, my babysitter, finished with me, I was confused. I was eight years old but I couldn't figure it out. I felt dirty and that it was wrong—that part is clear to me. But it also felt good. And if it felt good how could it be bad? Or if it was bad, how could it feel good?

I'm nearly forty and now I finally—finally—understand. My body responded to Marvin, but my spirit resisted. And at that age and being faced by someone twice my age, my spirit couldn't win.

Hand-in-glove Dysfunction

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

This post comes from an anonymous reader.

Thank you for your shattering the silence blog and your openness. It's been nearly 20 years now since my first 20-year marriage ended. I knew I had been sexually abused as a girl, but had no idea until many years later that my children’s dad also had been a victim.

It explained why we fit “hand in glove” in our dysfunction. He watched me go through recovery with a Christian counselor's help, but he said nothing. When men started speaking out, though, he discovered he wasn't unique and alone. He got good help and it changed him completely.

He’s a good friend today and a great dad/grandpa to my children and grandchildren. You are doing such a service to families everywhere by speaking out. Thank you.

Mike

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

His name is Mike and he sent me his story (which I've condensed).

The deacon, who was also my Sunday school teacher, started visiting me to help me understand the Bible. My folks liked him because he was friendly, and so did I. At first. But that changed.

He molested me and kept doing it every week or so for about two years.

You know what he told me? He said I was a terrible sinner and I was heading straight to hell, but he was there to help me get rid of evil thoughts and to be pure. It sounds crazy now, but I did what he told me and that was supposed to make me into a good kid.

"He was the sinner!" I told my wife just four weeks ago.

She said, "Of course he was." She seemed surprised that I hadn't figured it out.

I thought I was the one who had failed God and been evil. For more than twenty years I hated myself because I believed his terrible lies.

A Giant Step

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

The brief email read: When we finally face the abuse and disclose the secret to others, we've made a giant step toward healing.

He wrote only one sentence, but it's true. Here's how I think about it. I need to tell someone else who listens, who believes me, and who also understands.

Here's something I started to say years ago (and still believe): "I know of myself only what I say about myself." That is, when I speak the words about myself and get an understanding nod from someone else, I "own" my words.

"I Did It!"

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

"I did it!" He yelled into the phone. "I did it! I got help!"

I met him nearly twenty years ago when I lived in Louisville, Kentucky. I had talked to him about abuse—which I had just begun to deal with. He didn't say anything then, but something about the way he responded made me think he had probably been victimized.

After I moved back to Atlanta, he called me three or four times a year. He admitted he had been abused but insisted it was too hard to ask for help. "I feel weak and ashamed. Men aren't supposed to feel that way."

"Maybe not," I said, "but we do. And we'll stay weak and confused until we get help." He never wanted to talk much but he'd always say, "You're a friend. You give me hope."

He is in therapy and will soon join a group of other survivors of sexual assault.

"Why did I wait so long?" he asked.

The only answer I could give him—and I think it's true—was this: You weren't ready to be healed.

An Eye-opening Experience

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

An anonymous email reads:

Other men probably know this already, but it was a real eye-opening experience for me. I started talking to a small group of friends at church about my abuse. I wanted healing and wanted to forget all the pain. But something else happened: I learned more about myself.

For the first time in my life I had a handle on the powerful feelings that had been buried deeply inside me. I felt alive. And I now actually like who I am.

Howard

(an encore post by Cecil Murphey)

"We buried Howard last week and he was 59 years old," the email began. "He never talked about his abuse, but I knew because our oldest brother did it to both of us. He didn't talk to me about it and I didn't talk to him."

The writer went on to say that Howard had been a civilian who worked for Army Intelligence. "He knew how to keep military secrets. He also kept his own. They said he died of a heart attack and that's probably true, but it wasn't the kind of heart attack that medicine can treat."

The man spoke of his sadness, and that he had gotten help through AA and Celebrate Recovery. He said he wished he had talked to Howard. "It might not have done any good, but at least I could have tried."