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.

Victims No More

(This is an encore post from John Joseph.)

I was abused.

These words can crush me each time I remember them. They can fall upon me like a boulder out of the sky. They can pound in my ears like monstrous tympani reverberating repeatedly, beating out their excruciating rhythm, “I WAS ABUSED! I WAS ABUSED! I WAS ABUSED!”

They can rattle in my soul like old bones—brittle and broken. They can scrape against me like bad brake pads, metal on metal. They can wound and bruise and cut and batter me mercilessly every time I think of them, but only if I let them.

It's taken me years to understand something crucial to my recovery from childhood sexual assault. The memories have only as much power as I will give them.

This sounds easy enough, but don’t be fooled. The trauma is real. The memories are potent. The reality that an older male raped me is just as disgusting as it ever was, but somehow, little by little, the power of it can be sapped, the pollution of my mind cleaned up, and the venom of the bite be drained as I heal one day at a time.

I was abused.

It happened and nothing can change that fact. But I can change how I respond to it now. The choice I have today is to let the abuse make me bitter or better. There resides in the human soul the power to let the past find its proper place as we pursue the present with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

I was abused, yes, and forced into the role of a victim. But right now, today, in this moment I am living, I choose to be a victim no more. Today, I am an overcomer.


Larry Clemson said...

I was too.... but overcoming!

Roger Mann said...

I remember very well the first time I wrote those words. I was posting my story for the very first time. It was hard for me to do that. I had resisted saying it, thinking it, and absolutely avoided putting anything in writing. For many minutes after I found myself upstairs in the bathroom crying into a large towel to keep from being overheard by my family. I did that more than once.

For me it was the finale acceptance of the truth about my father. I had lived a fantasy I clung to with all my emotional might that what happened between us meant he loved me and wanted me as his son. Maybe even just that on some level he liked me. Writing those words, accepting those facts dissolved that fantasy once and for all and it hurt so bad to let that go that I still sometimes grieve it's loss.

Reality is sometimes not pretty. Sometimes it is very messy. But reality is where I need to live. It is healthier if less comforting for a while. And it helps me heal from the lies I was told, taught, assumed or told myself.

For a while it was "There's no such thing as gravity, the WHOLE world sucks!" But now the gravity of reality has be firmly grounded and I am relating to the world and others in healthier ways than ever.