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#189474 - 11/01/07 08:48 AM Putting faces to the numbers
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
In another thread today the point arose that many abused boys don't survive - Howard has cited the figure of 25% who don't live to reach 18.

This had encouraged me to talk about something that has come up over the past few days while I have been visiting my Mom and Dad in PA. I was talking to my Mom about how other boys in my Scout troop were also abused; I had sat down with the friend I was abused with in the last year of things, and between us we figured that there were at least 8 of us, maybe more.

I started doing the math. Our troop had 6 patrols with 5-6 boys showing up each week, so say 40 boys in all. One abuser got through 8 of them. So 20% whose lives were wrecked by the evil of one man.

What happened to the 8? I'm one, of course: alcohol, drugs, acting out, didn't begin to face things until I was in my 50s. My friend is another, and again: big alcohol and drug problems. He says he "got over it" and "it was a long time ago", but at the same time he feels he doesn't deserve a truly loving relationship with anyone.

Two have lost their lives. One got deep into drugs, was arrested, and hung himself in jail. He was my first serious girlfriend's little brother. Another became very promiscuous, turned tricks in Harrisburg because he couldn't hold a regular job, found refuge in heroin and ODed.

Three of the others are practically unapproachable. They talk to each other and do things together, but otherwise no one can reach them. The last guy has drifted from one job to another and hasn't been able to get anywhere professionally. He's remained single and isolated, and when I ran into him some years ago he didn't even want to look me in the eye.

One thing we had in common was that in some way or another we were all especially vulnerable in some way: some were just shy, I had medical problems, others were from a difficult home environment. Our little group could be textbook examples of how pedophiles can be so successful.

I'm not sure where this post is going. Guess I just needed to put real faces to the numbers. It's also a big "if only..." moment, but I know going there doesn't help.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#189477 - 11/01/07 09:28 AM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: roadrunner]
dgoods Offline
Guest

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 622
Loc: Richmond area
Larry, thanks for posting this-
irt reminds me of another aspect of being a MALE survivor. Not only do we have all the usual "boys/men don't cry/aren't victims" crap, it's known that while more girls/women attempt suicide, more boys/men SUCCEED. Males have a deep instinct to resolve things concretely, to DO something, to be more "practical" or "left-brained" in their approach to any problem. How many times have you a heard of a woman complaining to a man, "I wasn't asking you what i should DO, i just wanted you to listen!"
I've also heard that men have a harder time "bouncing back" from losing a partner (whether death, or divorce, etc.) than women.
I'm not trying to generalize all over the place, but from my experience, these points seem valid and relevant. Remember Aesop's fable about the oak and the willow? Sometimes being strong isn't what we've been taught to assume it is..

_________________________
Give sorrow words: the grief that does not speak
Whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.

-William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Sc. III

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#189478 - 11/01/07 09:35 AM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: roadrunner]
Gerald2007 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 157
Loc: Southeastern US
Larry

As always...a very thoughtful post. It brings home that I like all other survivors have had our lives affected by CSA.

I don't know any other survivors in my face-to-face world. That's why this place is so healing.

If only....that's a scary place to go. I think every one survivor or not have regrets about his past. As a survivor it's even even scarier -- the if only place that is.

I suppose we could consider ourselves "lucky"....compare to some of your friends. At least we are here to continue the struggle we sometimes call "recovery".

Grace & Peace,
Gerald




Edited by gcp2007 (11/01/07 09:37 AM)
_________________________
Alumnus: Weekend of Recovery - Dahlonega, May 2008 and May 2009
We are bound together by the pain of the past and our hopes for the future.

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#189483 - 11/01/07 10:20 AM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: Gerald2007]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
its really interesting to hear this. part of me feels like i am my own person and my life is unique. but on the other side, essentially i am just a number too. everything in my life is a statistic.


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#189484 - 11/01/07 10:42 AM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: roadrunner]
kellygtx Offline
Guest

Registered: 07/11/07
Posts: 412
Loc: Texas, USA
Larry -

That was an amazing post! The statistics, when one stops to think about it, are frightening. It is a sad reminder that we are not alone in either our abuse or our reaction to that abuse. Sometimes we need to just give ourseleves credit for being alive to recover.

_________________________
I bid you Peace.

Kelly

The time is always NOW. Breath In. Breath Out. Move On.

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#189487 - 11/01/07 11:16 AM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: kellygtx]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6422
Loc: 2.5 NATO Nations
Larry,

I keep wrestling with this issue of numbers and percentages and occurances and so-on. My root motivation in this focus seems to point to a base-line question of "who are we?"

You can put the emphasis on each of those three words.

WHO are we? Who are the survivors dealing with the abuse head-on? How many of us are there? Is it really 1 in 6 boys? Is it more? And why us? Were we chosen to be abused for some other reason than what we may think?

Who ARE we? Are our roles/positions in life determined by the abuse? Are we condemned to a life of turmoil or is that a variable? Are we damaged-goods in reality or just perception?

Who are WE? If the percentages are correct, then there are many millions of boys and men as walking wounded. Are WE at MS different because we are choosing to deal with it head-on? Are we at MS weak because we could not put it behind us and just get-on with life?

I've met and known several men who claim they were sexually abused as kids and have completely normal and productive lives. Why and how are WE different?

_________________________
This nation has lost its mind!

The Aftermath Video

The Water Buffalo Song

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#189496 - 11/01/07 12:26 PM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: Jarrad]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Gerald,

Originally Posted By: gcp2007
If only....that's a scary place to go. I think every one survivor or not have regrets about his past. As a survivor it's even even scarier -- the if only place that is.


It sure is. But okay, I will go there this once. My girlfriend's little brother was a scrawny shy kid who was 11 when the abuser got chased away from the Scout troop. I imagine he had been caught up in things a few months by then. I remember him going with the abuser alone, showing all the typical body language of a kid who knows what's going to happen to him next.

But that's me thinking about it now. At 14 I wasn't able to connect the dots and figure out why he looked so ashamed. Hell, I couldn't connect the dots even where myself was concerned. I had been abused two years before I figured out this had something to do with sex. It didn't occur to me that there was any other boy in all the world being hurt like this, and even when my friend got dragged into the picture I didn't figure out there might be more. Talk about naive, but sure, I had the right to be naive.

Yeah, if only....

I wasn't going to do this at all, but then I saw Jarrad's comment:

Originally Posted By: Jarrad
...essentially i am just a number too. everything in my life is a statistic.


You know, I sometimes think that. But looking at our group of 8 reminds me that these are all real kids - broken boys. This isn't about wallowing in the past. It's about recognizing that the statistics count the cost of the pain in terms of real lives wrecked and sometimes lost.

At the Mike Lew workshop we did an exercise which I won't reveal, since it's very powerful and helps a lot with guilt- and shame-busting if you get hit by his point only right at the end. But I will say it shows you what a huge accomplishment it is even to be functional at all. Just showing up at a workshop or conference is an act of great courage, and so is coming here to talk about things with guys you don't even know. Fuck the argument that it's the Internet and we're all anonymous. It's still a huge risk and we take that risk every time we hit "enter".

I guess looking at my group of 8 shows me how incredibly fortunate I am, and how fortunate we all are here on MS. We're the ones who, for whatever oddball reason, have been able to get it together and at least try. It's like an iceberg maybe. We're the tip showing above water, trying to heal and refusing to give up. That's already pretty cool (no pun intended).

It's even more significant when we think of those who didn't make it at all, or who are stuck in silence and isolation unable to face what happened to them or to dare to seek the answers they so desperately need.

Part of it's dumb luck, perhaps, but hey, let's lay some claims where we have the right to do so. The rest is just raw courage, guys. That's one thing that overwhelmed me in New York.

One guy who said he was wondering if he would make it through the day, but lasted the whole conference and seemed a changed man by the end - on Saturday evening he was joking about how scared he had been three days previously.

Another guy - couldn't have been more than 18-19 - there with his parents to support him. He was scared, but he showed up every day.

Another guy - also maybe 18-19 - sobbing his heart out after Marty Moran's play, but with a friend on each side to support him and keep him safe. He kept coming back.

Or how about Lou and Pat Serrano, who have been campaigning for male survivors for decades now, since their son told them he had been abused by their parish priest.

NY keeps clobbering me with new ideas and ways of looking at things, and I guess this is another one. Yeah, it sucks bigtime what happened to us, but as kids we kept finding the courage and means, however desperate, to just keep getting through one more day. As older teens and adults we are survivors because we fought off all the false lessons long enough and well enough to decide our lives are worth living and our future is ours if we are willing to reclaim it. We have made that choice. We should appreciate that in ourselves and each other, because we have EARNED our place here - we didn't just tumble in here off the last load of turnips.

I feel so honored and proud to be among you.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#189501 - 11/01/07 12:53 PM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: roadrunner]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
Larry, back in 1991, I remember a 12yo boy that lived in the same small town that I did. 12 years old. His father came home from work one day that year and found him laying dead from a gunshot to his temple, self-inflicted. No suicide note or anything, he just up and did it. I always wonder what drove him to it, and I suspect that it was undisclosed sexual abuse, or worse, perhaps he disclosed to the wrong people. We'll never know.


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#189502 - 11/01/07 01:41 PM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: Hauser]
mogigo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 1331
Loc: Colorado
I have these opposing views running thru me. I can picture what an entire neighborhood of survivor's look like, all living on the same street, and I use the anology of the wildlife coming out into the streets every night to dance and play with us (I know, pretty silly) but it seems almost like that needs to be the standard or I've failed in someway. Like healing won't happen until that's the norm. How do I assimilate into what's really reality. Pedophiles, murders, people that haven't any idea how selfish and perverse they are. It's easy too live in a world of us, but seems impossible to live in a world with "them".

I'm learning how, definately not easy, but I think it's just learning that they're not as important as us.

Were who will change thing's. I just need to understand that it won't happen in just my lifetime.

The good fight, right?

stay strong
Mike

_________________________
Thriving

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#189566 - 11/01/07 09:36 PM Re: Putting faces to the numbers [Re: mogigo]
KeithR Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 363
Loc: Georgia
When I first read this statistic on an earlier post ... 1 in 4 of us don't make it past 18 .... I just thought is was wrong, plain wrong. I thought how could that be. That can't be. There's no way.

Now I read Larry's experience.... and WOW. It really hits home. It is so very sad. I am still in shock though. I just really had no idea.

But me.... I was so self unaware. I had such high self esteem. I did so well in high school and college. I got such a good job.

So what happened to these poor other guys?

Now I realize I was suicidal. I just didn't know it. There was one time I was about to drive drunk.... so drunk I couldn't even put the key in the ignition. That's just an example. That's not to mention my sexual behaviors. When I look back, I can understand the statistic. I am very lucky to be here, and I am very glad that all of you are here with me.

Keith.


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