A therapist recently told me that on average men wait 20 years before sharing an experience of childhood sexual abuse. There are lots of reasons for the silence. Here are just a few Some men forget the abuse for a period of time. (I forgot my experience for over 50 years.) Others do not understand that what happened was abuse or minimize its significance. For some men they remain silent out of fear of reprisals or of how others will respond. Some men tried to tell an adult only to be discounted or rebuffed and so told no one else.
Even when keeping silent the effects of the abuse impacts the lives of survivors. The decision to no longer be silent, for many, is an important step on the healing journey. At the end of March, 12 brave men will share their stories, live on Zoom, in a Men’s Story Project-Survivors’ Healing Journey event. I have the privilege of participating in this project. As we have told our stories and shared conversation, I was again and again reminded of the power of breaking silence. There can be liberation and healing in speaking one’s truth. Everyone’s story is unique and yet as a survivor I find many points of connection with each one. When all is said and done these are stories of resiliency and courage.
I have been inspired and moved by the song, “Brave,” by Sara Bareilles. One section says:
Don't run, stop holding your tongue Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live Maybe one of these days you can let the light in Show me how big your brave is Say what you wanna say And let the words fall out Honestly I wanna see you be brave
If you are a survivor, I hope you will tune in to these events. During each time six men will share a short story, followed by a Q&A session. If you are the companion, spouse, partner, parent, sibling, friend or ally of a survivor these stories will help you understand the survivor’s experience.
You can learn more about this event at Men’s Story Project Story Project Events.
Be well. Stay safe. Take good care.
Be sure to watch this video of “Brave” for a shot of inspiration and courage: