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.

Naming Myself

One of the most difficult (and painful) steps is to identify ourselves by name. I can still remember—vividly—what it was like to give my name to a group of men, all of whom had been sexually molested.

Identifying myself and not worrying who knew was a powerful healing step.

Here’s something I’d like some of you readers to respond to: Tell us your experience in telling about yourself. When was the first public admission? What brought it about? How did you feel?

As you do so, think about the newer readers of this blog. Think how you could help them by sharing your experience.

"You Shouldn't Feel . . ."

In conversation with my friend Beth, I mentioned that even though I knew the molestation in childhood wasn't my fault, I still felt shame and guilt over my abuse as if I had failed in some way. "I keep thinking that only if I—"

"You shouldn't feel that way," Beth said.

Before I could respond, she listed my achievements (as if I didn't know them) and told me how much she admired me for the way I had dealt with my painful childhood.

"But still—"

"You don't deserve to feel that way."

Beth was trying to encourage me and I appreciated her concern; however, nothing she said was helpful. She tried to persuade me with logic and tell me how unreasonable it was to feel as I did.

I knew that, but I also knew that emotions don't listen to logic.

Beth could have told me a thousand times not to feel as I did because of what someone did to me. I would have agreed, but nothing would have changed.

What I also hear from well-meaning friends when I speak of my painful feelings is, "Just get over it!"

Easy words, but meaningless and powerless.

Do they think I want to hold on to my painful emotions? Do they believe I want to wallow in self-judgment?

One time when I spoke about the lingering feelings of shame, my late friend Steve Grubman-Black, also a survivor of sexual abuse, said, "Be kind to yourself. Accept those feelings because they're real. When you're able to feel compassion for that innocent child you were, those negative feelings will begin to dissipate."

Steve was right, even though it took at least three more years for me to become aware of the change.

These days whenever I feel a negative, condemning emotion, I remind myself that I can't argue myself out of feeling as I do. But here's something I tell myself: "I accept myself the way I am."

I also remind myself that emotions don't listen to logic.

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A note from Cec's assistant: A big thanks to those of you who have responded to our request for influencers for Cec's upcoming book, More than Surviving. Some of you have asked what's involved in being an influencer. It's basically just helping get the word out about the book to people you think might have an interest. That could be through social media, blogging, writing reviews, word of mouth, or any other way. If you are interested, please send Cec an email with your contact info at
cec.murp@comcast.net. The publisher will send you a free copy of the book when it's due to be released.

"We Didn't Know"

"We didn't know," the civilians said when asked about the gas chambers after World War II.

"We didn't know," neighbors say when they learn that the man across the street had molested a boy.

"We didn't know," parents say when their adult children talk about their past sexual abuse.

When I began to deal with my abuse, I told my three older sisters. They said the same thing.

I don't think they were lying. I think they couldn't accept the enormity of the revelation. If they had known, perhaps they wouldn't have been able to face the personal guilt for doing nothing.

What about abused kids' point of view when they hear those responses? One of the witnesses against Jerry Sandusky said he never told anyone. Asked why, he repeated an answer that rang true to me and to many others, "Who would believe a kid?"

When the perpetrator is a prominent person in the community, leads a scout troop, teaches Sunday school, or runs a charitable organization for kids, who wants to hear such stories?

The answer: No one wants to hear such stories.

Perhaps the question should be, Who needs to hear such stories?

When asked that way, the answer is obvious. Parents and religious and civic leaders need to hear. But too often they don't.

Sandusky's wife said she never heard the boy screaming in the basement. Apparently, she also didn't know when their adopted son said Sandusky molested him repeatedly for several years.

When will they believe us?

When will the cries of bruised and raped boys be heard?

Until they are, the survivor on the witness stand has spoken for all of us who were abused in the past. He speaks for those who are or will be molested.

"Who would believe a kid?"

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A note from Cec's assistant: Cec's publisher (Kregel Publishing) plans to release his newest book, More than Surviving, in March, and they've asked us to provide a list of influencers. An influencer is someone who is familiar with Cec and his work and would be willing to help get the word out about his book through reviews, social media, blogs, and/or other ways. If you're interested in being an influencer for More than Surviving, email Cec at cec.murp@comcast.net to let him know, and make sure to provide your contact info. The publisher will send you a copy of the book when it's available. Thank you!

Why Am I Still Not Healed?

"Why haven't I worked through all these issues? Why am I still not healed?" Most of us survivors ask ourselves that question many times. "I've been on this journey for five years. When does it end?" Those are the questions we ask on our worst days.

On our better days, we examine our lives and remember where we started. In those self-reflective times, we admit we've come a long way. A friend said to me, "In those depressing times when you tell yourself that you ought to be farther down the road, you're probably more healthy than you know."

Maybe he was correct, but it doesn't stop us from asking the question. Why not? Why not?

For myself, I can say this. I keep discovering the insidious consequences of my sexual abuse. It's a good thing I didn't recognize all the effects in the beginning, or it would most likely have overwhelmed and immobilized me. In my darkest moments, it seems as if the healing takes place one day at a time, or perhaps even slower—one small step a year.

I've jokingly said, "If I'd known in the beginning that this would be such a hard, painful journey, I probably wouldn't have started."

In my early days of grappling with the issue, I felt that way because the feelings were too intense and too brutal. But now I add, "I'm glad I struggled and fought. It's been worth re-experiencing the pain. I've learned more about myself. I've not only accepted who I am but I honestly like the person inside me."

Here's something I say to myself regularly: I am not quite healed; I am a healing-in-progress.

* * * * *

A note from Cec's assistant: Cec's publisher (Kregel Publishing) plans to release his newest book, More than Surviving, in March, and they've asked us to provide a list of influencers. An influencer is someone who is familiar with Cec and his work and would be willing to help get the word out about his book through reviews, social media, blogs, and/or other ways. If you're interested in being an influencer for More than Surviving, email Cec at cec.murp@comcast.net to let him know, and make sure to provide your contact info. The publisher will send you a copy of the book when it's available. Thank you!