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.

Secrets

In our family, sexual abuse wasn’t the only thing we didn't talk about, but it was the most important. Although no one ever instructed me, outside the house we were an average family with normal problems—no worse than anyone else.

We were also liars and frauds by our silence and cover-ups. And yet had anyone said that to my parents, me, or any of my siblings, we would have been aghast, even angry. The hidden reality was so deeply ingrained in my family of origin we didn't know a different way to behave.

I broke the silence and brought my sexual assault out into the open. After talking to my wife and friends about my childhood, I gained the courage to talk to my surviving siblings. It was the most difficult conversation I ever had in growing up.

To my amazement (and delight) they were open to me. In addition, and even more important, we no longer had to guard the family secrets.

Secrets trapped us in the past;
now we're free to live without secrets in the present.

4 comments:

Andrew Schmutzer said...

To my great pain and counter-healing, my family did not want to hear my story...which they caused! From collusion to cover up, when I needed their help the most, help sided with the offender. In faith and fellowship, I've moved on and found a precious few not offended by my warm tears and pained memories. That's family. This is common.

Cec Murphey said...

Andrew, once again, thank you for your excellent-but-sad comment. Too often the family doesn't want to hear or refuses to listen.

Cec

Mark Cooper said...

I think of how much I've contributed to our family secrets. When I was first out of college I had to move back in with my parents. My mom found a book I'd accidentally left laying out - a book on sexual abuse.

"Did this happen to you?" she asked. I denied it. "Oh good", was her response. "I've been wracking my mind as to when it could have happened, because I thought I'd kept you safe". (Or something like that.)

Another episode, during that same time period, a teenage niece came across a journal I'd left laying open (I'm seeing a trend here!) The opening line of the page laying open said something about my struggle with homosexuality. "Uncle Mark, is this true?" "No, just a project I was writing about."

In both cases, I lied to protect myself from facing truths about myself in front of others. I added to the family secrets.

Cec Murphey said...

Mark, I'm sorry you had to lie to protect yourself. Isn't it sad that our families who supposedly nurtured are often the least safe place where we can talk?

Cec