Are we not Men?
by John Fowler
How do you begin with "I was sexually abused, and I am male!" other than to say it! Sounds simple right? Wrong! When you are a male of the species, it is one thing you are NOT supposed to ever admit. One of the misconceptions of our society, is that simply because Testosterone flows in our veins, Men are supposed to be tough.That somehow, we should display an unbreakable wall of resiliency, at all times.
Throughout our lives, we were told that "Men don't cry" or "A real Man can handle pain". We were expected to keep our tears inside and our emotions in check! After all, society expects us to be the bastions of invulnerability and stalwart examples of manhood. Even as children, we were inundated with the need to maintain the status quo. We'd run our heads into walls for the laughs it will get us. We ignore our loved ones because the game is on! And we don't tell things that may put us in anything other than a "Manly" light! Were MEN, that's our job, it's what we do!
The irony of this situation is that we tried to be just that! And, speaking as a Male of the species who tried, it is a battle I am glad to loose. As a survivor, I have begun to look back with a biased eye at this belief. I do it now as an adult Male of the species. And what always manages to grab my attention the quickest is that I always look back to that small, 10 year old boy who is trying his hardest to pull the tears back into his blackened eyes. Not because he was told he was a "Wimp or a Baby" if he cried. But, because he was affraid and in pain. And that is what his Perp wanted more than the "use" of his little body! To satisfy his need for power. Inhale the aroma of fear and shame that a frightened child would give off, like a humidifier, to clear his nostrils. Was the boy being macho or was he preforming some small measure of self preservation? Was he living up to society's expectations or hiding what was most dear and precious to him, his feelings? And in doing so, started to place upon himself, what society demands he should when he was a Man. It is a dilemma. At an early age, we learned to hide our feelings out of necessity.
As we grew older, we picked up on certain ideas and concepts that were passed on to us from our family and friends. Unfounded knowledge that we accepted as gospel. Such as, that a guy who had any kind of sex with another guy was sick, queer, or perverted! And the fear of rejection or derision kept us quiet. We knew if we told, pain and even death might follow, and kept quiet. But, we could never take the chance on being an outcast or labeled anything other than "A Guy!" And as time passed, we ourselves, continued to perpetuate the Man Myth! We labored under the belief that because we were men, we could handle it on our own! A "Man" doesn't ask for help...
We learned about masks, emotional displacement, disassociation and hiding ourselves in anger. At the time they were called "Phases" by the unknowing, and attitudes by the uncaring. Some of us learned how to hide it in chemicals and alcohol, others by sheer force of will. And yet, all these paths combined and with time, came to the same conclusion. We may be men, but we hurt, and were dying inside! Even the strongest walls cannot hold back the floods when they rise too high!
Society is just now beginning to see that we are capable of not only feeling, but expressing our pain. The so-called mainstream is acknowledging that males too, can be sexually abused. I personally think it is long overdue. The time has finally arrived when we as men can say we need help and not loose, but improve our standing as people for being strong enough to admit it! And as awareness rises, the need for forums for Male sexual abuse survivors is greater than ever. And it is in places like this that we will come together and find strength to seek healing, together. I think that it would be rather difficult, to stop a bunch of men that are joined by a common cause, working together.
Ever wonder why a offensive(or even a defensive) line can be so effective when its 4th and goal?