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.

Did You Tell?

I’ve lost count of the number of radio and TV interviews I’ve done on the topic of sexual assault. In the majority of them, they ask me to tell my story. Almost as soon as I finish, the next question becomes, “Did you tell anyone?”

“No, I didn’t.” If they ask why, I usually say, “I didn’t think anyone would believe me.” That answer is only partially true. Probably more accurately the answer should be, “I felt no one cared enough to listen.”

Like a lot of abused kids, I felt alone, unloved, and unwanted. Who would I have told? Who would have listened?

I haven’t posed such questions on this blog, but if you didn’t tell, I’d like to hear your answer. Use your own name or write anonymously.

If you didn’t tell, do you know why?


Mark Cooper said...

I didn't tell because as a child I didn't understand that what happened was abuse.

I didn't tell much when I became a young adult, because I was told by others to forgive and move on.

It is still a tough decision to tell, because I question my right to have a voice.

Larry Clemson said...

I didn't tell. I was only 5 or 6 - I also think I was slightly drugged so don't remember the details. I do remember the shame & guilt I felt after it. I didn't talk about until I was in my 40's.

Robert said...

I did not tell because I thought it was partly my fault, and I didn't want my father to ever be disappointed in me or see me as less than my brothers.

Anonymous said...

I didn't tell anyone because I was commanded silence by my abuser. He told me he would tell everyone it was my fault if I told anyone, and he said they would blame me for it. I was so afraid of that happening, so I kept silent. He also threatened to hurt my brother if I told anyone.

Anonymous said...

I did not tell because I was told it was my fault and my dad would give me a spanking if he found out. I was 5 when it happened but my guilt and shame that I felt even though I did not understand what had happened told me it was wrong so I thought it must be my fault. I did not tell until I was 29 years old.

Roger Mann said...

I didn't tell because he was my father. He was also the pastor of my church. If he thought it was ok then who was I. I was around ten when I realized he had been coming to my room when I slept. It took me a while to put that together. Sometimes I'd wake up in the morning and my underwear would be down or off. I thought it was me in my sleep. Putting it all together took time and it went on for years. I had no real relationship with him other than that. I wasn't about to jeopardize that and cause trouble. He was my dad; I could overlook this.

As I got older things slowed down. I got worried he didn't like me anymore so I'd do things to try and get him to come back. Now, I really couldn't tell. Even if anyone believed me, which they wouldn't, he and I would both know I wanted it at that point. I was too ashamed, too angry at not being wanted as much, and too confused now about what that meant about me now that I was older and should be interested in girls.

I didn't tell until I got married the second time and then only to my wife to explain why I was so weird. Then he died, or rather killed himself and I was so angry I finally told my sister and a few other family members. It wasn't until Celebrate Recovery and counseling that I finally let go of the secret and accepted what happened to me for what it was. Because I went back and encouraged it, it lessened the guilt and shame only a little.

I still struggle with it all. I guess I always will.

Cec Murphey said...

Thanks to you who responded. Two others sent me an email direct. I appreciate your candor. Your responses point out what I assumed: Most of us didn't tell--and suffered for years.

The more we open up and talk about our abusive childhoods, the more we give others the opportunity and courage to respond. Keep it, guys!


james stilwell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I didnt tell because Im afraid of what will people around will say to me..I dont want to be gay. Pls help me

james stilwell said...

I didn't tell because I was afraid of what they would do to me two family members I was supposed to trust and care for me

Cecil Murphey said...

Comments on this are still coming in--several of them to my personal email.

Again, I'm reminded of how difficult it has been for us males to speak up. We can't change that, but we can keep speaking up NOW for those many hurting boys.

Thank you.

Mark Cooper said...

To Anonymous - I just want you to know that I battle with homosexual feelings, thoughts, desires. I spent many years addicted to gay pornography. I understand the heart cry that says "I do not want this."

These battles and temptations continue. They are present in part because I was abused and raped.

But there is still hope. I find hope in knowing God loves me, even when I hurt and battle and even fail.I remain His son.

I find hope when I talk to trusted male friends who do not understand homosexual desire, but how do not judge or condemn me as I honest with them about the battle.

I long for you to find that hope for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Where so you tell your story when there is no one that will listen or wants to listen

Robert said...

You can tell us, we care and will not judge

Lee said...

I did not tell at first because it was my step-dad. He held absolute power and i was only 6. Who else could i tell? my mom was never around when it happened and as i grew older, i think in some strange way i was trying to protect her from knowing and being hurt.

when i was abused at school, "everyone" knew it - at least all the students and i can't see how the coach didn't know since much of it happened in the locker room.

at scouts, the leaders were never around and the older boys were in charge and they were the perpetrators.

all this was before the days when kids were taught to find a safe person to tell.

for me, there was simply no one to go to.

Anonymous said...

I was raped three times by my adoptive (from birth) mother; twice when I was 11 and once when I was 14. I told no one until my second wife when I was 68. I believed my mother's lies until I was in my late 40's. She told me that if I wouldn't, she'd find some man in a bar. I was used to protecting her with her alcoholism. (She was sober for all three rapes.)

I also believed her when she said, "It's OK, since I'm not your real mother." Eventually, I realized how untrue that was. She was the only mother I had ever known,and I was her only child. When I was three, she told me about my adoption. I loved that she chose me. She nursed me through "whooping cough." She followed me around the house just to answer my questions. Wanting to know about my precociousness, she took me to a psychologist at three. She found a way to afford an exclusive private school. She sang me to sleep each night when I was little. Until I was six, I thought I was the luckiest boy in the world.

About age 8, she started finding excuses to join me in bed. She fondled me for made up reasons; e.g., she was concerned that one of my testicles hung lower, or her legs were cold, etc.

About 6 years ago, I found my birth mother's family. (She had passed.) They LOVE ME! Now, I fear they will find out what my adopted life was like. It would break several hearts.

Thank you for your writing, Cecil. It sounds like boys raped by their mothers is pretty rare, thank heaven. I welcome your comments, please.

Cecil Murphey said...

The email from anonymous, even though it's a month since the original post, is one of the saddest tales I've ever heard. I'm sorry for what he had to go through. I don't often tear up when I read the email responses, but this one really got to me. Human nature can be so perverse.

I hope he's reading this and can sense how deeply (and sadly) his story touched me. It takes a great deal of courage, even anonymously, to become that transparent.

Thank you for sharing that with us.