Friday, February 25, 2011

Questions and Answers (Part 3 of 7)

"Why do some boys become victims and others aren't?"

That's unanswerable, but I'll give you my observation. Some boys (and I was one of them) feel unloved and alone. Every person in the world needs attention and affection. Because they don't feel loved by their parents or other family members, they become susceptible to predators.

There are exceptions and other reasons, but think of it this way. The boy already has a relationship with a family member or someone in the community who is in a position of trust. They might be neighbors, teachers, church leaders, politicians, or a store clerk—anyone whom the boy looks up to, admires, or trusts.

The point is that the perpetrator already has some connection. That authority figure befriends the boy, giving him needed attention. The boy feels wanted, accepted, and perhaps loved. The perpetrator has gone after the innocent boy and destroys his childhood.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Questions and Answers (Part 2 of 7)

"Is it typical for molested boys to keep quiet and not tell?"

It's definitely typical and there are many reasons they say nothing. Sometimes they fear they won't be believed. They think it's their fault. In my case, I believe it was because I didn't think anyone cared.

The official-and-conservative figure is that one out of every six boys has been abused before they reach the age of sixteen. Oprah Winfrey commented on that and said, "Those are only the ones who speak up."

I think Oprah was correct. I was abused and didn't speak up until I hit 50. I wonder how many more men are around who haven't talked. I wonder how many men carried the dark secret all their lives and died without telling anyone.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Questions and Answers (Part 1 of 7)

"If it happened only once is that sexual abuse?"

Abuse is abuse, regardless of the number of times it happened. As I see the issues, it's not how many times it happened, but how did it affect the boy who was abused?

If he was traumatized, and it happened only one time, the obvious answer is yes. That's like saying, "The robber stole my money. It happened only once, so was I robbed?"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Confederacy of Silence

Phil Leftwich, a Presbyterian pastor, who recently retired as a church executive, wrote a letter to members of an organization called The Healing Trust. This is from a recent letter to members.

A Confederacy of Silence

As president of The Healing Trust, if I have learned nothing else in 2010 it is that our primary task is to break apart the confederacy of silence that surrounds people who are wounded by sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse. The abused don't choose to remain silent. They live in silence out of fear rooted in deep shame and believing that others won't listen, will be frightened if they do talk, or will reject them if they listen to the horror of their stories.

They protect themselves, even with those they trust—even with those who share their most intimate lives—because of their shame and fear of rejection. They're afraid the graphic details of their lives are so horrifying that others cannot bear to listen and will turn away.

Sadly, there are still few safe places or people for the wounded to share the innermost secrets of their lives. They often can't find safety and help as hard as they try because the help is so rare.

That’s where the work of The Healing Trust is unique. We

• provide the resources of support groups for men and women who have been scarred by abuse.

• train and certify local counselors with a high degree of specialization in helping those traumatized by abuse.

• provide scholarship fees for those who can't afford such counseling.

• produce public events for educating helpers, especially pastors and church leaders, in understanding the signs and nature of abuse.

• are fiercely committed to protecting children and youth from being abused through educating adults in watching for the signs and symptoms.

• offer special seasonal services to give voice to the wounded in churches that have made commitments to bring openness in talking about abuse. Some are host sites for support groups that meet weekly. For many of the wounded, those groups are the first places they have ever felt welcomed and safe.

Last year, I participated in a service called "Grace for the Wounded." I vividly recall the church’s pastor standing in the rain as night was falling around us. Although “church” had been the place of their abuse and shame, he assured two women who were on the edge of taking a giant step back into a church that they would be accepted.

The pastor shared that he understood because he had also been abused and his church was a safe haven. He accompanied them into the church’s chapel with gentle and inviting warmth that allowed them to know that they were safe in that particular sanctuary.

As a pastor, I cling to the term sanctuary that derives from the Latin, Sanctus, or holy. We know that sanctuaries, whether churches, our homes, or places of retreat, are supposed to be holy spaces to protect and shield us from many of life’s hardships. They are meant to be holy ground that reviles the sickness and brokenness of the world. They are intended to allow the freedom to share life’s deepest hurts. They stand as places of healing and comfort that lead us into becoming the healed and whole people God wants us to be.

—Contact Phil at pwleftwich (at) yahoo (dot) com or Dr. Max Haskett at m44haskett (at) comcast (dot) net.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stan's Story

Stan W. posted the following message on his blog on Saturday, February 5. He gave us permission to share it here. (

The subject of sexual abuse is a topic that is difficult to talk about for a man and even to admit that it happened, takes courage. This video is posted on Cecil Murphey's blog. In his blog he talks about his own abuse and also posts the stories of other men as they process what occurred in their own lives.

For a long time I found that talking about what I remembered about my own sexual abuse seemed like I was telling someone else's story. I knew it was real but over the years I had learned to be numb inside. My feelings were numb and my desire to love and trust were something I had difficulty embracing. Even being remotely close to a woman brought on a desire to keep my distance in the fear that I would not be safe. Even now it is still hard to put into words how I 'feel' in these areas I have mentioned. Getting past the past is something I face each day, some days easier and some days not so easy.

I am so thankful that I can lean on God who I know is carrying me and has carried me through so much turmoil concerning things such as sexual abuse. God has given me a resilience inside to get up when I have felt at the bottom. I really want to pray for other men who face such challenges when confronted with sexual abuse in their own lives. I know how it feels and we shouldn't have to feel alone.

Lord Jesus, help my brothers who have been sexually abused. Help them to know that they are not alone, that they can be free to talk about it, to tell someone. Help them to see that they are loved, that they are worth every effort to be whole, that they can be free from the past. Amen.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Inside Out: Hope for Men Who Have Been Abused (Part 2 of 2)

Kurt Goff of Family Life interviewed Cecil Murphey in January. He gave us permission to share his blog post and a few comments from listeners. See the previous post to read what Kurt Goff had to say.

To listen to the podcast of the interview, visit the Family Life website at this address:

Here are a few more listener comments:

(From Anonymous Wife) THANK YOU, this is such a challenging subject and so hard to find resources on. Praise God, this is such a great answer to years of praying and struggling with this exact issue.

(From Bruce Hughes) I recently finished writing my own story of childhood abuse and telling about my journey to victory from the years of pain. I was amazed at the similarities between Cecil's descriptions and my own. I never thought that I should talk about it, but now that I have I find it hard to stop. God's grace has overwhelmed me and given me a new outlook on life. I too hope to be able to share with others the great relief I have found through my healing.

(From Sarah) Thank you, Cecil for sharing your story and thank you, Kurt for posting this interview. I heard a tidbit on the radio on my way to work this morning and my heart broke for these men. With abuse in my past as well, I thought back to the first few times I shared parts of my story with friends at slumber parties and such. A bunch of girls whispering in a room, stepping out gingerly with our pain-filled memories. But we supported each other and I soon learned I wasn't alone. I thought about my brothers and other male friends and realized that opportunities like that are far more unlikely for men to come by. Men aren't eager to be vulnerable with one another like women are. I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't have talked about my past. I hope and pray that things like this will open doors for men to be able to speak and support one another over similar issues. God bless!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Inside Out: Hope for Men Who Have Been Abused (Part 1 of 2)

Kurt Goff of Family Life interviewed Cecil Murphey in January. He gave us permission to share his blog post and a few comments from listeners.

To listen to the podcast of the interview, visit the Family Life website at this address:

(By Kurt Goff)

This is not an easy topic to tackle.

But it’s an important one.

The stats are shocking: One in six men have experienced unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before the age of 16.

The lasting effects of this are many and can show up in a man’s life in very destructive ways.

Especially in his closest relationships.

As guys, we just don’t talk about it.

It strikes at the core of our manhood.

But I’m so glad my friend and brother in Christ Cecil Murphey has taken a very brave step and broken the silence.

To be sure, the road he has walked has been a long one.

The burden he has carried... a heavy one.

But now God is using his story to bring healing and forgiveness to so many hurting men and the women who love them.

The book is When a Man You Love Was Abused.

A book is one thing.

The voice and the story behind it is another.

Listen and you’ll soon realize that someone really understands your pain.

Maybe for the first time.

And he wants to point you to the One who runs to meet you where you are today.

Psalm 147:3 (ESV)
"He (God) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

If you need to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to call Family Life’s FOCUS Counseling Ministry: 1-800-927-9083.

Here are a couple of the listener comments:

(From Sam) Thank God for this. I have been abused and have been recovering from it. Trust is so so hard. I have a hard time trusting and believing people will be good and have the best intentions...God is Great and Gracious. God is timely too. Cecil in the interview talked about Joseph...God has been having me read devotionals, and walking me through the Joseph story right now.
"dont be afraid, Can I do what only God can do? You meant to hurt me, but God turned your evil into good to save the lives of many people, which is being done. Genesis 50:20
---By the way, since there are not many books on this topic per the podcast a great book on this topic from a Christian man who also was abused is the Wounded heart by Dan Allender

I long for authentic Male connections... that is not always easy in our rural area or anywhere really....May this report touch others deeply -- thank you FLN

(From Anonymous) thank you... the lord has used this in my life today. I have suspects that my husband has been abused, and it has greatly affected our marriage. I am praying for healing in his life, and that he would be able to disclose the information to me. just trusting God for this pain.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Personal Transformation

About 18 months ago I began a process I call personal transformation. I am moving away from victimhood toward survivorship. To this day I am not free of anger and bitterness. My dad robbed me of my life when I was six or seven years old. I hate him.

My friends keep telling me to forgive him and maybe I can one day. But I can't do that yet. Maybe one day I can.