I feel privileged to receive the stories of survivors. I am moved by their honesty, saddened by the stories of suffering and uplifted by their courage and healing. This edition of Beyond Survival: Still We Rise includes a story by Michael W. His story speaks of the healing power of giving back to others even in the midst of personal pain. Please be aware is contains information which includes sexual details.
If you have a story you’d like to share, please let me know, email@example.com. There is healing in sharing. If you need help in crafting your story or prefer an interview I am here to help.
I was abused from the age of 8-12 along with my sister, two years younger than me, by a man in his 40s. My abuse continued with an older male cousin up until around age 17.
I always felt I was straight and that the abuse was just sex. I joined the military when I was 18.
Twenty years later, in early 2002 I was on a Temporary Duty assignment. Until then did not have any male sexual encounters. I visited an adult theater where there were nothing but guys having sex all over the place. I immediately left, but the seed had been planted. I had a return trip to the same location maybe a month or so later and sure enough I found myself back in that theater. “I really was just observing but guys were very interested in me as I was new meat.”After some touching and fondling I left. But it started me down the road to meeting men and sexually acting out with them.
In 2009 I was struggling with that. I then heard Dr. Joe Kort on the Dr. Laura Berman show. He was just getting off the air when he said “wait….I really wanted to get this out. There is a pattern I have found with straight men having male-to-male sex. Every single one of them were sexually abused.” Then there was a reference to malesurvivor.org
“the first person to greet me is a big muscular guy”
So through MaleSurvivor I am scheduled for my first WOR within weeks. I had been communicating with someone and he helped me get all setup. So I make the drive to the retreat and just before I get there I pull over and sit in my car and think this through. So I get the courage to continue on and I get there and the first person to greet me is a big muscular guy and he introduces himself as Dr. Howard Fradkin. I was like you can’t be, I imagined an old scientist looking type. Seeing him put me at ease immediately. I wanted to know someone there.
But here is the good story. That very week Howard had actually traveled to Georgia to be at his father’s side as he lay in his deathbed. Howard’s father was his abuser and I believe he was able to get some closure and say goodbye to his father. His father died just before my first WOR. He did not tell any of the attendees about this and I did not learn of this until he was accepting an award at the MaleSurvivor Conference in New York. In his speech he spoke of the time his father had passed and then attending a WOR. So I am sitting there hearing him when I realize he is talking about my first WOR. The feeling in my heart I can’t describe, but I was elated, sad, and very appreciative. I could have easily turned around and walked away if I did not see Howard. I could not believe Howard was still able to attend the WOR. I just think it’s a great story and another example of Howard’s never ending commitment to the Male Survivor cause.
“…one good thing my father did teach me, and that was the importance of doing for others“
I contacted Howard to make sure he was ok with me sharing this and he was, but he added another piece. Howard said “The reason just so you know I was able to be at the weekend is because of at least one good thing my father did teach me, and that was the importance of doing for others, the importance of giving to the community…so I decided, in honoring his good soul and good wisdom, it felt absolutely the right thing to do to be at the weekend.”
Just thought that was a beautiful message that we all can be reminded of.
Special thanks to Mike W for sharing this story. Please feel free to leave comments, questions, thoughts in the comment section below.
Be well. Stay safe. Take good care.