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.

Past Tense of Abuse

A few weeks ago, I compared the rape of 15-year-old Maya, to that of male assault. She’s a major figure in the novel, Beartown. Today I finished reading the sequel, Us Against You.

It’s now months after her rape and the author shows us her heart—and her pain.
When people talk about rape, they always do so in the past tense. She “was.” She “suffered.” She “went through.”

But she didn’t go through it, she’s still going through it. She wasn’t raped, she’s still being raped. For Kevin it lasted a matter of minutes, but for her it never ends. It feels as though she’s going to dream about that running track every night of her life. And she kills [Kevin] there, every time. And wakes up her nails dug into her hands and scream in her mouth.

Anxiety. It’s an invisible ruler.[1]
Obviously, I made a comparison and realized the relevance. For us men, our assault remains present tense for a long, long time.

Once my memories of childhood rape came back to me, I relived them for months. I’m glad no one said to me, “that was the past. Just move on.” I couldn’t have moved on any faster.

Until we start healing inside, there is no moving on and no past tense. We feel it, and like Maya, we live and re-live it.

For me, it took more than a year before the worst flashbacks and memories stopped tugging at me. But gradually the healing showed. I can now say that my abuse has become past tense. Still back there, but no longer controlling my emotions.

Perhaps I’m not fully healed, but I keep getting a little closer to that goal. I rarely feel the pain—at least not the way I did “back then.”

I still hear from survivors who may not use the present tense, but it’s obvious, it’s still part of them. I want every survivor to live in the past tense. Even better, to live in the past perfect tense—an action fully completed in the past.

For a long time I lived in the present tense of pain. 
Now I’m experiencing it as a past event 
and getting closer to it being a past-perfect tense. 

[1] Us Against You by Fredrick Backman (Atria Books, 2017), page 255.

Contemplating My Father (Part 2 of 2)

(This post comes from Roger Mann.)

I swore to myself repeatedly that I wouldn't allow myself to become my father. I've managed fairly well, but sadly, there are exceptions, and that brings me many regrets.

I've imitated my father's work ethic, his charm and charisma, his wit, and his intelligence. Still, I also have the imparted weaknesses. Is it generational? Have the sins of the father actually been passed down to me by decree or by nurture? IDK.

What I do know is that, like him, I’m manipulative, competitive, secretive, lustful, angry, and by my own actions, a loner and lonely. I've done all the things he did with few exceptions and many more he probably wished he had done. And yet, I have no STDs, I'm in good health for my age and look and act at least ten years younger than I am.

I've been wishing my life was over and I could rest. But that's not to be. I must still be needed here for something, and I'm happy to stay a while longer.

If my father’s actually in heaven, as I suspect he is, I don't look forward to seeing him. I think it's because I understand him a lot more now than I ever did. A lot more than I ever wanted to.