Welcome back X3ers! This week’s blog was a tough one to do. I had to dig deep and bring up some pretty nasty things in my life that i hope will help someone out there this week. Also keep the families of those who have passed away this week. Now lets get started….
Looking back 1983 was a pretty good year. We had Disneyland open up in Tokyo, The A Team debut, Microsoft Word was released, Michael Jackson had a hit with Beat It, and my favorite KISS unmasked on MTV, Ronald Reagan signed a bill declaring Martin Luther King Day, and Tom Brokaw became the lead anchor at NBC.
Now my little world as a preacher’s kid in North Carolina things were a little bit different that year. I was 9 years old loving life. I would play with my buddy Artie who lived across the street. We would ride bikes, build forts, listen to Prince and Duran Duran. We were having the time of our lives. We didn’t have a care in the world. Until one day at dinner my life changed forever. I can remember it like it just happened. My family was eating dinner one night and my mom asked the question ” Has anyone ever touched you?” My little mind went 200mph. What do i say? Will i get in trouble if i say yes? While i had all these thoughts going on my dad reassured me that i would not be in any trouble. So i spoke up and said “YES!” My mom busted out into tears and was hysterical. My dad then asked me ” Who touched you?” I sat there for a while scared, mom still hysterical. My dad asked again with tears in his eyes “Stephen, who touched you?” I then went on to tell them who did this to me. It was my Sunday School teacher.My dad then stood up and went straight to the phone. That night dad and some of the deacons went around to different houses asking the young boys in my class “Has anyone ever touched you?” This went on for several hours. My dad and his board members then confronted the man accused (several of the boys had said that this man had touched them) he admitted he was doing it. Long story short the was arrested, went to trial and convicted.
Remember i was 9. I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t understand that what he was doing to me was wrong. After he was finished doing with us what he did he would always give me money and say “This is our secret, nobody needs to know.” Having a “secret” with a grown up kinda made me feel important. These events had been going on for almost 2 years. In that time frame my life had been filled with more sexual encounters and images than most adults. Why did he do this? Who knows?All i know is that it happened, i know i was taken in bathrooms, classrooms, vans, basements and made to do horrible things with a grown man.
I know years after that i had issues with sex. I thought about it a lot. I looked at porn magazines and movies. I even hid in the woods with my buddy and watched my neighbor and her friend lay out in the sun topless. Why did i do this at a young age? I believe that it stemmed from the abuse. I liked the way it made me feel. I continued to look at porn for years. I wasn’t addicted but i enjoyed it. I didn’t have self control. As crazy as it sounds this is what i learned from my abuser.
I bet you are saying to yourself why his he telling me this? I’ll tell you why, there are thousands of men out there who have been abused and never told anyone. They are walking around with that extra weight. Studies show that men are less likely to disclose sexual abuse. Men take significantly longer than women to discuss experiences of childhood sexual abuse, in many cases more than 10 years.
Why is it so hard for men to open up and share what has happened to them? Most men are scared that they will be looked at as “queer” , that they are going to have to prove themselves sexually, that they are not worthy to be a man. Our ideas about masculinity don’t leave room for being seem as a “victim.”I am a man and don’t want to be seem as anything else. There are also the societal myths concerning victims becoming perpetrators.
Some of the other problems that you can find in sexual abuse victims is addiction. Everyone is different some turn to drugs and alcohol, some feel they have to look at or be involved in porn to “prove” themselves. As many studies have also shown in males suicide is the chosen way out. Don’t let that be you!!
This is for the men. If you have been sexually abused and never told anyone don’t be scared to share it. Get it off your back, you don’t have to carry that baggage any longer. People aren’t going to look at you like you are less of a man because this happened to you. You are not going to be thought of as gay, or a pervert. I promise. If you have told someone and are still struggling know this that sexual abuse does not define who you are. Don’t let it overrun your life. Hiding is the worst thing to do. I know that its hard due to the shame of society especially as a man. Know that you were not responsible, be your own man.
My life has been turned around. I am not ashamed of what i went through. I use it to help others. If you are struggling please find someone to talk to. Find a good church and in it i know you will find a loving pastor who will get you on the path to recovery. If you don’t feel comfortable with church you can email me and i will be glad to help you. Know that there are people who care and want to help and that you are not alone.
One last thing one of my favorite verese from the bible “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME” Take care and until next week……..
LOVE JESUS/LOVE PEOPLE