Our stories, “that we need you to hear”
My abuse started at the age of nine, my abusers were my paternal grandfather and cousin, I was being abused at least once a week. I believe I was being punished for something. At the age of fourteen, I used my rage to stop my abuse by beating up my abusers, what a powerful day that was for me I took my abuse locked it into a box never to be opened. I was full of rage and I used this to further my career as a bouncer.
I didn’t care whether I lived or died, I worked in some of the roughest public houses in Glasgow and I couldn’t wait until there was trouble. I will be in there fighting like a maniac inflicting as much pain as I physically could.
In my late thirties I fell in love and this caused the box in my head to open, my abuse rushed forth and hit me like a sledgehammer, I needed help. My GP directed me to a counselling service. I received one to one therapy for two years which gave me the tools and confidence I needed for my road to recovery. I learned to connect with my real emotions and group therapy has given me the space to find out who I am. There was no time limit on our recovery so we are under no pressure.
I am moving back into the world as an equal, free to live in the present.
Listen five years of abuse forty years of therapy, so maybe it will take forty years but because of the help, I received I look forward to every day. I am a real man who enjoys and embraces life. I have learned to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and vice versa and such is life.
I attended therapy for 2 and a half years. In this time I changed from being a victim of childhood sexual abuse to a fully thriving survivor. During my time in therapy I experienced many positive outcomes, it gave me the opportunity to build my self-confidence. This allowed me to confront my fears about my sexual abuse, leading to the disclosure of the abuse to my family, and friends. I even report the crime to the police. The initial phone call was terrifying but as soon as I heard the voice at the other end of the phone I calmed down. My counsellor for individual sessions was extremely patient. The number of sessions was not limited, which was a huge relief not to feel pressured into moving on before I felt ready to do so. My life before therapy was going nowhere fast.
In fact, it was crumbling around me. I was so close to losing everything. My dysfunctional behaviour was destroying all the good things I had.
I believed I didn’t deserve happiness. During my counselling we set targets and as I would reach each goal I felt so proud of myself. I grew more confident each week.
I also attended group therapy. I made many friends in the group, sharing our lives together allowed a unique bond to be forged. Seeing the other members of the group grow in their journey has given me great pleasure. When one man’s happiness was shared, it was reflected around the room. I knew I was in the right place.
In fact, it was the first place I felt I had ever fitted in. I was able to bare my soul to a group of people who I knew understood me.
That was one of the most comforting feelings I have ever known. I am now the happiest I have ever been, I have an enthusiasm for life I never imagined possible. I now enjoy being a husband and have even become a dad.
Over a 2 year period, I confronted all the issues that had held me back for so long.
I now have the tools I need to continue on my journey.
I can now live my life knowing I am free of the shame of this crime against me.
A male survivor has written the poem below specifically for SOS we thank him so much.
We are the forgotten children,
We are the forgotten sons,
We are the forgotten brothers,
We are the forgotten ones.
Our stories, That filled us with fear,
Our stories, That we need you to hear.
Of abuse, not abusers,
Of silence and tears,
Just newly released,
After too many years.
For survivors, We are still,
Here and alive, Lost children and men,
Still seeking to thrive.
Stolen so young, In others beds,
alone and silent, In our own heads.
From ourselves and the world,
Innocent victims, Taunted, Berated,
Broken children, Devastated
Silenced by lies, And stolen from youth,
Blinded by fear, An uncomfortable truth.
Traumatized and left, With no one to hear,
Of this heinous theft, For year after year.
Our loss of innocence, Has left us demanding,
A voice and a place, In your understanding,
We did not know, Till we broke the silence
Before we knew, We forgot to survive,
A desperate trick to stay alive.
Lost and alone, We still got through,
Don’t help keep the secret,
Don’t you forget to!
For we are still here, We’ve not gone away,
Children that dream of a voice,
In adult day,
Our numbers are great, That statistics will show,
Can you still ignore us,
Now that you know?
(Anon, Copyright Speak Out Scotland April 2009)
How long? A poem by a male survivor
How long can you keep quiet?
Five, maybe, ten minutes or so?
How about for 30 years?
Could you keep silent all that time?
Or would your reply be “I don’t know”?
How long can you hold your tongue?
When some gives you something precious?
It’s easy to show it to all your friends,
That someone loves you, that much;
The gift of love is so delicious!
How about when someone hurts you?
A terrible deed has just been done.
Makes you feel so cheap and dirty,
Full of shame and feel quite powerless,
That someone could do that to a loved one.
To tell someone, but who will care?
Or will it just feed more fuel to the fire?
If you tell a parent or anyone,
Will that parent listens, or want to know?
Or will they say that you’re a liar?
Do you feel you CAN tell someone?
This deed is such a terrible thing,
It makes you feel that YOU’RE imprisoned,
The power the person has upon you,
It makes you feel bad; while they feel like King.
No, please; do yourself a favour,
Give yourself that precious chance,
That someone would try to steal from you,
To kill the innocence you once had,
Don’t give him a second glance!
Break the silence, don’t be scared,
You never should have felt this terror,
It’s not your doing,
It can’t go on,
Purge the lies, the pain, and the horror.
Tell anybody, you feel will listen,
Let them know, don’t hold it in.
Don’t let them steal your precious childhood,
What you tell is so important;
You have to let real care begin.
You need to know it’s not your fault,
You didn’t invite this tragedy.
Don’t allow it to take over,
Or ruin all your life it will.
Expose the lies; grab the truth and let your inner child stay free!
So, how long can you keep a secret?
For minutes days or hours or longer!
Denounce the lies
That person told you
The gift of truth is so much stronger!!
You can contact Speak Out Scotland at firstname.lastname@example.org m or call 07873258677.