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#2907 - 08/02/04 10:43 PM What kept you from telling?
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
I'm working on a book for survivors. One of the potential chapters is about how abusers kept the victim silent. I'd appreciate hearing what kept you from telling about the abuse.

Thanks,
Ken


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#2909 - 08/03/04 12:40 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
FLRich Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404
Ken,

I was a 16 year old guy, living on the island I was born and grew up on. Everyone knew everyone. All my perp said to me was, "If you tell, everyone will know that you were F--ked by a man." Added to that, after he raped me, he gave me a blowjob and I had an orgasm. He then told me, "See, you must have enjoyed it or you wouldn't have cum." Dont' think that didn't mess with my head. Needless to say, I didn't tell a soul for 31 years. And to this day, no one, including my parents and brother know about it. Abusing a child or a teen is the perfect crime for these perps and they know it.

Rarely does anyone tell. Few women tell when they've been raped because of the stigma. A guy has the ego thing working against him. I have been with friends and heard them say, "There is no way I would let a guy do that to me, I don't care if he had a gun to my head. He'd just have to kill me." Well, they don't know it, but that's exactly what happened to me. I want to tell them, "Have a madman shove a pistol into the back of your ear, and then tell me what you would or wouldn't let him do to you." Of course I keep quiet, though..just like my perp knew I would. I feel guilty not telling for only one reason, and that is because maybe I could have saved some other guy from going thru the same thing from this perverse, pistol happy little shit.


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#2910 - 08/03/04 01:29 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
cpt. confusion Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/26/04
Posts: 159
Loc: midwest
it didnt take much for my perp to keep my quiet...he was my brother, and i trusted him. why wouldn't i, i was about 5 or 6, and i looked up to him for everything. All he had to say was that we would get in trouble, and i clammed right up. that line even worked when he accidentally shot me in the chest with a be-be gun, first thing he said was dont tell mom, we;ll get in trouble! he's my big brother, what else was i supposed to do but trust in him? i still haven't open up to anyone in my family, for different reasons now, but still, its basically worked for almost 20 years... trust is a powerful thing.


hope this helps your writing ken...

take care,
cpt.

_________________________
"Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use."
-Carlos Castaneda

*WoR Alum
Sequoia I-March '11
Alta II, September '11

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#2911 - 08/03/04 02:27 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Bill_1965 Offline
Chat Mod Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/29/03
Posts: 1983
Loc: Flint, Michigan
Ken,

My first abuse was violent in nature, I fought back and paid a price for it.

Fear kept me quiet. Being hung out a sixth story window left me with the real impression that the threats would be followed through with. That fear followed through with the others.

Bill

_________________________
Pain is Temporary; Quitting lasts Forever. - Lance Armstrong

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#2912 - 08/03/04 02:34 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Archnut Offline
Member

Registered: 10/26/02
Posts: 343
Loc: United Kingdom
Fear......Fear of being labelled gay and the fear of having the police knock on the front door.

I was told never, ever was I to be the cause of the police coming up the front path which they would have to do if I made a complaint.

Archnut
"And all that was left was hope"

My Story (TRIGGERS)
http://www.waltonhop.blogspot.com


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#2913 - 08/03/04 02:53 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
x-fred Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3
Loc: us
Right after it happened for the first time I did tell someone... and then he took his turn. I never told anyone about anything ever again.


Wow, after coming here for longer than I care to think about I just clicked, typed and posted for the first time... I guess you could say this topic hit home.


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#2914 - 08/03/04 03:18 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Howster Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/16/04
Posts: 28
One way to keep things quiet is for the activity to be covert. So if it wasn't physical, then you never knew you were fucked, right?

Howard


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#2915 - 08/03/04 10:14 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY
The confusion caused by the emotional abuse that I was put through. The fact that I had known, trusted, and respected my abuser. The fact that she continued to emotionally abuse me after doing it. She tried to convince me that she was doing it because it was in my best interest. Then, she emotionally blackmailed me, then she kept trying to convince me that she had done and was doing all of the things that she did because she "loved" me and is "in love" with me. If you care about me, you will trust me and accept what I say or do, etc. etc. etc. I love you, and am in love with you, but your beliefs, wishes, feelings, thoughts, etc. are meaningless and I'm just going to do whatever the hell I want to and you MUST accept it because I love you and if you truly care about me, then you will want me to have these things. BULL $#!^"!!!!! I was also told how we are soul mates and all kinds of other stuff like that after the rape. Plus, I should just accept having my stated wishes, beliefs, and feelings ignored and be happy that I was raped. Plus, anyone that I tried to talk to about it just kept telling me things like: "she is confused", or "You are lucky, I'd like to have sex with her". I thought, "If I did this to a woman, I would be going to jail for it". Since then, I have told people, I have been told "You were used, get over it". Let's see, what else, I cared about the person, I didn't want to see the person arrested or get hurt. I was constantly being told how much the person cared about me, but she ignored everything that I had ever told her about anything, including my wishes, my feelings, and my beliefs. The woman who raped me was stuck in some little world of her own where she believed all of the crap that she was feeding me and somehow it made sense to her. Then she tried to take control over me and my emotions and convince me that the crap that she was feeding me made sense and was true. She failed miserably for many reasons. After playing all of the "tapes", I realized just how much everything that she was feeding me was nothing but a lie. Let's see, other reasons why I didn't tell anyone to begin with, the masculinity issues, the REALISTIC fear of not being listened to or believed. The "Freudian" conflict between my own feelings, my beliefs, and how society sees things. Another conflict was the one between what I was being told by my abuser who was manipulating my emotions and what I saw and know to be true. I am relatively confident that her little world of lies that make sense to her will be her downfall in court. She fully believes them to all be true and that she never did anything wrong.

_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#2916 - 08/03/04 10:19 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY
Oops. Don't know what happened.

_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#2917 - 08/03/04 10:20 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY


_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#2918 - 08/03/04 11:00 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Ken,

No matter how many times I look at this, it still hurts, but I'll try.

Why I didn't tell -

He was an adult.
He manipulated me into loving him.
He manipulated me into thinking he loved me.
He used my love of my mother against me.
He used my fear of my father against me.
He took pictures that I didn't want anyone to see (and probably have anyway).
He scared me.
He beat me.
He tried to murder me.
He told me love hurt.
He raped me repeatedly.
He made me believe I was nothing and nobody would care.
He made me believe he was the only one who cared.
He made me feel like I was less than nothing.

I'm angry as I look at this. Not at you personally, Ken, but that it stirred up all the frigging shame again.

I hope it helps. I don't know if I'll read your book.

\:\(

Scot

_________________________
There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

fromacuriousmind.blogspot.com
malehurtandsurvive.blogspot.com

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#2919 - 08/03/04 11:06 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I did tell someone about it.

He told me to get over it. I was not the first kid it had happened to and I would not be the last. He also told me that is was probably my own fault because normal guys ( yeh right) know what kind of guy to use that way and I must have signalled wanting it. This is exactly what my three abusers had told me.

This statement by a so-called counsellor at the YMCA contributed a whole lot to my spending 3 years on the street as a male prostitute and kept me from telling another person until I was 56 years old.

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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#2920 - 08/03/04 12:18 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
jacobtk Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/08/03
Posts: 527
i told one person before i went into foster care. i was tired and it slipped out. he told my father, and my father took it out on my brother. after that, i kept my mouth shut until i was "safe" in foster care.

_________________________
Every day I die again, and again Iím reborn/Every day I have to find the courage/To walk out into the street/With arms out/Got a love you canít defeat/Neither down nor out/Thereís nothing you have that I need/I can breathe/Breathe now - U2

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#2921 - 08/03/04 12:25 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Mr. Malaise Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 19
Loc: New York
I didn't tell, not for one reason, but many. I was very small and easily manipulated. I didn't tell at first becuase I loved my Grandmaother. She told me if I told i wouldn't get to see her anymore. Later on when I didn't like seeing her, she told me if I told God would kill me and send me to hell. If I tried to resist her molestation she would hurt me, threaten me by hanging me off the pourch, flipping me out windows, and getting very physical; if I fought back, I made it worse. I knew that if I told I wouldn't be believed (and in fact I wasn't the one time I did tell). There was really no safe place for me to turn for help and i knew it. If I told I would get in serious trouble. I would be dead and sent to hell. At 5 years old, I was inclined to believe it.

Jon


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#2922 - 08/03/04 12:26 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
My gang rape, early on in the cycle of abuse, was discovered by my headmaster at the boarding school.
And I eventually told him what happened to me, and who the older boys were.

But he believed them and not me, and I got caned for being a troublemaker and lying.
I was 11yo, and he was the most powerful person in my world at that time.
Was I ever likely to trust anyone else with this secret? no way!
I hung on for 31 years because I feared more rejection, more humiliation.
It took me 25 years to tell my wife, and by that time I was so screwed up I didn't know if she'd believe me.

I was also thinking that people would ( if they believed me ) wonder why I took so long to say anything, especially my wife.
Would people think I was making excuses for my dysfunctional behaviours? I thought they would.

The reality has been so much different, and 31 years is a long time.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#2923 - 08/03/04 12:58 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
Fear was the main reason I didn't tell while it was going on. My abuse ran from age 6 to 14. It started right after my dad died, and my mother invited a local minister and teacher into the family. She had little interest in being a mother to begin with, and even less after my dad passed, as she was quite depressed. She handed our care over to this minister. And my brother and I didn't know what was going to happen to our family. He was a strict disciplinarian with a quick temper, and he used this small stick to hit my brother and me. Later he'd occasionally hit me with bigger things, but it's that small stick and his tirades I remember most. It really stung and I think it instilled fear in me so that even as I got bigger, the fear stayed. At the same time, he worked hard to isolate us from others. We weren't allowed sports, music, or friends because he had convinced my mother these things were evil -- that they could lead to illegal drugs. Instead, we got a lot of home Bible study. Any time I would fight with him, he'd just accuse me of being worldly or joining the "drug culture."

In the beginning, I really didn't understand what he was doing when he was molesting us. I was too young. Later, when I was older and understood what was going on, I was intimidated. One thing he had done was take pictures of my brother and me. I remember that made me incredibly ashamed. I had terrible fear that someone would see those. I don't believe he ever threatened it directly, but he alluded to those pictures many times.

As I got older, the fact that he was a well-respected minister and teacher in our small town was also intimidating. He worked with the police in teaching kids about how to avoid drugs. Add to that, by the time I was 12 I was getting pretty much out of control. The police and schools knew me as a trouble maker. I don't recall specifically thinking about going to them for help because I didn't believe my word would count for much. My brother and I did run away once, when I was 10 and he was 11. The police returned us home, and I'm still pissed that they thought it was their business to catch us, but no one ever asked why we ran away. They just treated us like criminals. By 14 or 15, I was out of the house more than in it, and just chose to stay away from him, other than occasional fights over drugs. He never lived with us full time, and spent less time there too as we got older.

When I was 18 or 19, I told a state welfare inspector that he was a molester. They were investigating him in relation to another child whose back had been mysteriously broken. They came to the house looking for any information. I never heard why, but that case died.

The last time I dealt with this directly was on my own when I was 23. It was a Christmas morning and he was still in the habit of interacting with my family, though generally not me. I was going home for Christmas for the first time in a while. My mother told me he would be stopping by. So I went to his house early in the morning and gave him a letter explaining why he should stay the hell away from me and my family. He told me that he wasn't molesting kids any more (which I doubt). I told him if I ever heard he was, I'd kill him.

Anyway, I'm sure that's more than you wanted to know. The bottom line is I never told anyone when it was happening because of fear and isolation. I hope today kids are taught more about sexual abuse and made to feel more empowered to tell adults and that teachers and police are taught to go looking for it rather than sweeping it under the rug. When I was a kid, no one ever mentioned it to us, let alone told us how to handle it. And when I finally got my freedom by rebelling, I had no interest in discussing it with anyone. Like everyone else, at that point I just wanted to ignore the whole ugly mess.


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#2924 - 08/03/04 02:19 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Absolute terror and fear of him coming back, or of others getting to know and calling you things like gay or c**k sucker.

It is the only crime I can think of where the victim ends up being "victimised" he feels he is the wrongdoer and somehow attracted it to himself.

Feelings of anger, frustration, humiliation, worthlessness, danger, inability to understand, fear, guilt.

No kid ever really wants his mates or family ever to know what happened, I think the abuser knows that and hopes nobody tells, but I just hope every one of them spend a life looking over their shoulder and waiting for that knock.

Mine was reported, but after the event and another one of them kept following me, I told him I would report him to the Police, but I guess I probably wouldn't have, just as I never did with the second one, I thought, no, they will never believe me, you think that older people are always gonna win because you're only a kid.

So he got away, and I knew where he lived, but thankfully I never saw him again

ste

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#2925 - 08/03/04 02:29 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Aden Offline
Member

Registered: 07/05/04
Posts: 499
Shame, guilt, fear of punishment from supposed protectors. Maybe will add more detail later, but that is the basic reasons.


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#2926 - 08/03/04 02:37 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
survive75 Offline
Member

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 304
Loc: Massachusetts
This was from a prior post of mine... guess I'm just being lazy, but it was easier to quote it than rewrite it.

Quote:
A good portion of my therapy over the years has been spent on dealing with my refusal to admit that my abuse happened because I could not remember much, if anything, about the sexual abuse. I could remember most of the physical abuse, I could remember my mother questioning or commenting on some of the symptoms I had as a kid, and I could realistically look at my symptoms of depression as a teenager, my suicide attempt at 17, my need to control everything, my excessive drinking, and my issues with sex and violent fantasy all as definate signs that "something" happened.

Ahhh... that elusive "something." It is "something" that no one seems to want to ask about or acknowledge. When I was 17, they put me on Prozac. The two times I was asked about the possible "something" I denied it. I wasn't lying... I really didn't remember and didn't believe that "something" happened. I was just depressed and suicidal.

Once I went to therapy as an adult, however, my symptoms were too difficult to ignore and we started to work with the few memories I had. But even then, I held onto the belief that "if I couldn't remember everything, then it didn't happen." Or rather, how could I say that something happened if I couldn't remember it?

And that is what I am posting this about today. I really believe, and I think many survivors do, that we will be doubted if we even DARE to admit that this happened out loud. We fear doubt by our families, our friends, our therapists, and society.

And can anyone blame us? We are SCARED SILENT everytime we see criticism of rape and abuse survivors (male and female) on television; the jokes made about male rape in prisons (and the sick assumption that it is part of the territory and punishment that criminals must endure); the complete and public disbelief of survivors that have told their story after years of silence. We hear people ask the same questions over and over:
"Why didn't they come forward sooner?"
"What are they looking to gain?"
"How come they didn't tell when it was happening?"

Add all of the media pressure to shut up about abuse to what many of us heard or felt from our families, and gee... is it any wonder why we don't say anything sooner? Is it any wonder why we repress these memories for years and years and years and years. And then DISBELIEVE OURSELVES once they surface?!?

We have been taught to distrust ourselves. Hell... why didn't we tell when it was happening? Why didn't we come forward sooner? What are we looking to gain? I am haunted by these questions every day.

And the answer is the same: I was SCARED SILENT from the time I was four years old. So basically, our abusers scared us into not telling, and then our families wanted to live in the denial so we didn't tell, and when we finally get old enough and the symptoms and memories get big enough to bring this shit up, society and the media tells us to shut up too.

The fear that people will either dismiss it or disbelieve it or hell, disown us, if we tell is so strong that I think many of us run around with a little courtroom in our heads where we are always on trial. We see the media portrayal of the difficulties of prosecuting rape and abuse cases all the time, whether real or fictional, and we apply that to ourselves, even if we never plan to prosecute our abusers!

In my head, I really do think I have this inner criminal defense attorney asking, "Sean, how can you say these things about your stepdad if you can't even remember EXACTLY what he did?" Or "Sean, you mean to tell me that you 'recovered' these memories in therapy? If this really happened, you would have remembered it from the beginning, don't you think?"

Maybe I'm being dramatic here, but that is really how it feels sometimes, even in therapy. What will happen if I say this out loud? What will happen if I even speculate about this flashback that I'm having?

I am angry that we have been taught to censor ourselves. I am angry that we have been convinced that we will not be believed if we tell. I am angry that we continue to perpetuate our silence out of fear of dismissal and disbelief from anyone in our lives.

I am angry that despite that I can write about this clearly and see it all for what it is, that I cannot stop myself from doubting my memories.


_________________________
-Sean

"Even though I know/I donít want to know/Yeah I guess I know/I just hate how it sounds"

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#2927 - 08/03/04 03:33 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Redsongbird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/01/01
Posts: 209
When I was kid - I didn't tell because I was told they would hurt my family. (this was 5-6years old)

Laster on 7-8 I was told no one would believe me - besides I lived in a VERY christian home.

Later as an adult (40) whne I was assulted I did tell..I called the police got examed etc etc etc.
I was told I was brave for doing so.

Now (43) I keep getting stalk by the same people - even yesterday I was at the local fitness place and there these two men where - I told my wife.
She is now worried about me going there too.

Tobey


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#2928 - 08/03/04 04:54 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
JamesMichael Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/24/02
Posts: 134
I didn't tell anyone because my brother said we would get into trouble. I was eight years old when it ended. He was 15 1/2 years old. Big developmental spread there. I guess that's why I didn't tell. Hard to remember. There other part must've been something like,"it's our secret." I never did tell anyone until I was 19 yrs. old and told a Catholic priest. He seduced and abused me too.


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#2929 - 08/03/04 06:03 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
ecb Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/04/03
Posts: 205
I didn't tell primarily because I didn't know to. I didn't really understand what was happeneing and that it was as bad as it was. I knew I didn't like it, but life was full of things I didn't like.

More rencely I've come to the relization that I was desperately lacking any kind of older male affection and therefore was especially unlikely to say anything that could get the only person who had (to my mind) given me any in trouble.

And once I did realize the enormity of what had happened (around 16 or so) I was basically too ashamed and frigtenend of what people would think of me. They would think me weak which was something I simply wouldn't allow myself to be seen as.

I don't know if this has been particularly clear, but I hope that it helps.

-Eric


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#2930 - 08/03/04 06:33 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
crisispoint Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/24/03
Posts: 2154
Loc: Massachusetts
Ken,

This is a post>
_________________________
There are reasons I'm taking medication. They're called "other people." - Me, displaying my anti-social tendancies

fromacuriousmind.blogspot.com
malehurtandsurvive.blogspot.com

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#2931 - 08/03/04 09:13 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Ken, I told no one for several reasons:

I was always beaten badly and choked. He told me he would kill me, how he would do it and why everyone would think I died from accidental drowning. I believed every word of that.

I was filled with shame. I truly thought that no other boy had been sodomized and I sure would not let anybody know I had.

I did not think that what he did was a crime, so I had no reason to tell anyone.

He was a guy I admired and he was a super good friend when he was not in one of his crappy moods. I felt I needed him. I just could not understand why he got so angry with me. What had I done?

He told me I had caused him to do it because I "flashed my butt" all over town. I did believe that I did something that caused him to harm me--it was my fault.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#2932 - 08/04/04 01:17 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Muldoon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/02
Posts: 1428
Loc: St Paul MN
Ken I did tell at the age of 11yo when I was raped by Father Ryan. My 5th grade nun asked me why I was no longer an altar boy and I told her what Father had done to me.

"You have to tell Tom to keep it from happening to the other boys" she said,So I told.

That when the mental rape of me begin.I was told that if I went to the police all the boys and girls would know what Father Ryan did to me. They said they beleived me but I should let the church board deal with this matter. In Aug of 1961 I sat before a group of church people and told them what Father Ryan did and they told me my story was unbelevable. They never questioned the other altar boy and would not let me in the room when Father R was questioned. I trusted these people but they just raped me again.

3years later when my English teacher raped me I didn't tell because I knew no one would do anything to help me. Tom

_________________________
Teach the Children to Never Hide in the Silence

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#2933 - 08/04/04 10:24 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Dan88 Offline
Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 247
Loc: DC
I wanted to just mention that what Scot says really resonates with me, too. The first time a therapist asked me why I didn't tell, I got really angry and it created a barrier in our communications. While all he said was, why didn't you tell, what I heard was a judgment. I took from him an implied: You should have been able to tell unless you were weak or, if you didn't tell there must be some reason, such as you wanted the abuse to continue.

I know these aren't implied in your question (nor were they implied in his). And perhaps his intent was to make me confront that part of me that was judging myself. The negative voices were, after all, my own. And I hope your book can serve to help caring people finds better ways to intervene and prevent continuing abuse.

Anyway, I hope I'm not taking this too far off your topic, but I thought I'd add my two cents on this in case you wanted to cover that aspect of this in your book. It's been 27 years since my abuse stopped, and this question can still provoke a lot of anger.


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#2934 - 08/04/04 03:50 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
At first, he tell me he will make sure I am taken away from my mom, and put in orphanage. He know I feel like I make my father leave us, because I am bad. Later, when that don't work on me any more, he threaten that he will hurt my mom if I tell anyone. I believed him. He tell me what he will do to hurt me, and he do it. He give me reason to believe he will do those things.

leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#2935 - 08/04/04 05:29 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
MrDon Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/08/01
Posts: 957
Loc: Deltona, FL
I got abandoned when I was born. My father was sick and so they made her choose seeing him over me is what I was told by my parents. It was because whatever he had was contagious. So my first few days or weeks (however long it was) was spent with nurses and hospital staff instead of my mother. I grew up being afraid that I was going to be separated from my mom.

So when my dad or brother would threaten me with breaking the family up or splitting it up because I told, there was no way I could do this. I always was afraid that if I did the slightest thing wrong, the family would split up and it would be my fault. Than I would once again be abandoned.

Another thing was you got the silent treatment in my family if you had done something to upset my father. It didn't have to be anything of major significance as it could have been he was upset about his day, and you just happened to be standing there at the wrong time. The silent treatment included people talking about you in front of you or behind your back while whatever you said was not listened too or heard. It was like you were there but you didn't exist in their current world. The silent treatment was of course honored by all members of the family because if you didn't give said member the silent treatment, you would then be an outcast at that given moment. The silent treatment would last until some act of god would take place and lift the sentance. Or the silent treatment was lifted on you when someone else did something to earn it more so then you did.

Another thing (probably could go on an on here). My father threatened all of us that if anyone ever turned him in he would beat the shit out of us. Ok, he had demonstrated that enough times to us for it to be very powerful. No one dared to cross him because he was so violent (especially early on in my life as a young kid).

Then there is God and how religion got brought into it. We as kids were told time and time again that we were supposed to be seen and not heard. If we visited someone and they offered us something like a glass of water, we were taught to refuse it. They had to force it at us. But as kids we were supposed to honor our father and mother and not do anything and I mean anything that questioned them. Not only would that bring immediate and harsh punishment, but it meant that the people in church would hear about it as well. And of course than the humiliation and shame really played a major role.

But growing up in a fk'd up house like mine, I didn't know what a world was like outside of what I was experiencing. I learned early in my life that I couldn't trust those that I should have been able to trust or depend on and so in my mind, why was anyone else out there going to treat me any different. I figured there was no one I could trust and so that only person that I relied upon was myself.

Fukc, no wonder I ever told!

Don

_________________________
In order to journey to new worlds, we must first be willing to lose site of the shore.

The Mind Body Thoughts Blog
http://mindbodythoughts.blogspot.com/

Check out my relaxing piano music from the heart!
http://www.donshetterly.com

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#2936 - 08/04/04 06:09 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
markgreyblue Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 5400
Loc: Pasadena, CA
old tapes

_________________________
"...do not look outside yourself for the leader."
-wisdom of the hopi elders

"...the sign of a true leader is service..." - anonymous



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#2937 - 08/04/04 06:52 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
RICK57 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/31/03
Posts: 1611
Loc: ENGLAND
He fed me the crap that they feed to us all - I believed it for far too long!

Rik

_________________________
*Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.
*I was seeking a way of expressing my anger - I found hope!
*There are many battles before the war is won! It can be won!

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#2938 - 08/05/04 05:31 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
MrEdd Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 316
Loc: Texas
I tried to tell several times, but my mother wouldn't listen during the first years. Over time I became convinced that if she did believe me, she would run away and leave the family without her. From a vantage point 37 years later I still believe that to be an accurate assesment.

_________________________
Some Things are not problems to be solved, rather, they are facts which must be coped with over time.

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#2939 - 08/06/04 07:58 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
ak Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/10/04
Posts: 1491
I do not post here so much. And I do not know I like this question, but something of it make me feel I need answer it.

What keep me from telling? What make it that they must do something to keep me from teling? How I can tell of it? What is disgusting, what is gross, what make me feel I am bad, I am evil, I am not human? Why they would have to do anything to make me not tell it?

Three them, they do different things make me not to tell. Threat, physical violence to me, inplying that my family know and don't care. I was child away of home, with no one there with me, and was scare of it all.

But other one, he never threat me, he never is bad or mean to me. He tell me he love me. I have nothing to fear of him. So why I not tell of him?

I don't know. \:\(

andrei


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#2940 - 08/06/04 12:56 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY
I was going to make a new post, then I realized that what I have to say actually belongs here.

Pity
Pity is one reason why. I hate pity. I can't stand it. It is degrading; to me, and to the people who do it. I am a very social person and I was working with the public when my brother died accidentally. For many years after my brother died, I constantly had people coming up to me expressing their sympathy. I know that most, if not all, of them meant well. I cannot tell you how many times I actually encountered pity. It was a countless number of times. It was overbearing. What I found even more unbelieveable was the number of women who were literally throwing themselves at me because of it. I never really did, and still don't mind talking about my brother, or his death. It truly doesn't bother me at all. I have had to not do it because of the pity. I only talk about it now when someone else brings it up, or when I feel that it can add something important to a conversation. Now, there are people who have literally known me for years that don't even know that I had a brother.

Also, my perp knew many of the same people that I knew. When I tried to talk with them, many of them would say that they didn't want to get into the middle of anything. With some other stuff, I can remember not telling about things as a child because of the peer pressure about being a "tattle tale" and parents and other adults actually getting tired of being told about things so that they would literally tell us to be quiet and that they didn't want to hear it.

_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#2941 - 08/06/04 01:26 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7819
My brother molested me and I figured my father would probably beat me if I told him about it (he didn't like to get bad news).

_________________________
Eddie

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#2942 - 08/08/04 06:05 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
JJSB Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/08/04
Posts: 1
Loc: USA
I didn't tell because it felt good and so I beleive it was my fault and inside I have a fear I must be Gay.


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#2943 - 08/08/04 08:04 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
blacken Offline
Chatroom Moderator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 1196
Loc: Northern Ohio
Ken,
I'd have to say ignorance kept me quiet. I was very young when it started, perhaps 4. It was not violent back then. I accepted it like U'd accept snow in Winter. And I actually thought ALL Dads did this to their boys. I dont know if he planted that thought, or I came up with. As the sex became violent, I was really, really scared of him. I didn't dare complain. The thought of telling someone NEVER crossed my mind until my mid teens. I did make one attempt to tell my brother when I was 16. But it back-fired. He wouldn't believe the physical abuse, so I new he wouldn't believe the Sexual Abuse. It was a very ugly experience that sealed the thoughts of disclosure for another 15 years.
Blacken

_________________________
Everyone is a genius! If you were to judge a fish, by its ability to climb a tree,
it would think it was stupid all of it's life.
~Albert Einstein

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#2944 - 08/08/04 09:51 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
blueelectron9 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/07/02
Posts: 387
Loc: Victoria, BC Canada
The first incident of SA from my mother had her cutting her wrists in front of me to show me that she would hurt herself if I told anyone about what was happening. Then, she would continue to replay that scene after each experience.

_________________________
An odd duck who likes even numbers.

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#2945 - 08/08/04 10:48 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Ken -

My female cousin (5+ yrs older) sexually abused me when I was 5 yo. My mom asked me what was happening upstairs. I told her. She never said it was wrong; didn't get angry; I thought it was okay because she said and disd nothing.

My male cousin sexually abused me and in the morning I told my mom. She called me ugly names, beat me with a cat-o-nine tails. I shut up and didn't tell her ever again.

My male cousin continued for another 2 yrs. and I told my dad. He threatened to send me away where I'd never see my family again. Then, he beat me with a cat-o-nine tails too. Again, the shame from my parents and the welts on my body were worse than the "pleasure" I had being sexual with others. I never told again. The abuse continued until I was 13 yo and he was 16.


Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#2946 - 08/09/04 03:33 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
dale1812 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Western New York
Ken -

I didn't tell anyone because I was ashamed. I was so desperate for the attention of a strong male in my life. He befriended me...so I thought. He gave me the physical and emotional attention I had been craving as a 12 year old. I was willing to do anything to keep his attention and affection. I didn't realize the cost nor how dirty I would feel at the end. That was my first lesson in relationships...I still struggle with what that taught me.

Dale II


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#2947 - 08/09/04 08:23 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Whicker Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/03
Posts: 117
Loc: Pastures of Oregon
Ken,

Fear of being punished for 'doing something naughty'. Shame.

Whicker

_________________________
Esse Quam Videri
(To be, rather than to seem)

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#2948 - 08/09/04 11:40 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
TJ jeff Offline

Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3354
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
I first read this post 2 days ago (along with all of the responses) and it's been eating a hole in me ever since... - So I feel that it is time that I add my reason to the long list - I hope this is not trigger for anyone - but cannot find other way to explain my reasons for silence for so long...

I was about 4 when my uncle (8 years older) first started to play 'doctor' with me up in his room - I trully did not know that what we where doing was wrong - but as time went on and the acts performed changed I did start to think of it as being somehow wrong - and yet i could not tell - he was the nicest person to me in the whole world while I was growing up - things were not nice at home (mental/physical abuse there) so I could not tell them out of fear of being accused of being the one who brought it uppon himself - I held the shame and self-guilt inside for over 25 years... - Now it is my time - to give the shame and guilt back to him!

_________________________
Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

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#2949 - 08/10/04 12:32 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Ken Followell Offline
President
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 987
Loc: Bradenton, FL
I never told because all my life I was being abused. My uncle bean abusing me sometime around my being 2. It continued with him until I was 14 or so. I have many blackholes in my memory of my childhood. I did not remember that abuse until I was 40. I do remember him telling me my family would leave me if I told. I belieived him.

I had a second until who talked about sexual things he wanted to do to me and I did tell a cousin who told her step father. I was scared to death by her telling someone else. I didn't know why I reacted so strongly at the time, now I know it was because of the first uncle's years of lies.

I never told anyone els till I was 40 and the memories of my first abuse returned.

Ken F

_________________________
Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
ÔŅĹ Rabbi Hillel

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#2950 - 08/10/04 01:47 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
InjunE Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/04/01
Posts: 89
Loc: Ohio
Well, for me, my abuse started @ 5 years old. I was used by uncles, aunts, cousins, etc. But I do remember my mother masturbating to the "situation" more than a few times. My father never knew, but that knowledge never seems to help. I wish I had answers, suggestions, or anything. I have nothing right now, nothing but beer, pills, and pain. I wish I could help, but I have nothing here.

_________________________
Without my sons, I would not be here.

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#2951 - 08/10/04 12:27 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
learning2remember Offline
Member

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 224
Loc: Europe
This is really hard for me, but important.

I didn't tell because it was supposed to be a joke.

My big brother had a mean sense of humor, and I learned very early that if I cried or told our parents that he would just laugh at me more. Call me names.

It was humiliating and I don't remember my parents backing me up when I told on him for other things. They told us, perhaps rightly so in THOSE cases, that we should work things out together.

So I learned not to tell. Not to cry.

I learned it was funny when people were mean to me, and that if I laughed with them things were somehow easier.

Keeping the secret, laughing at my abuse, was a better way to preserve my dignity than telling.

To tell would be to admit I couldn't take it, to cry, "Mercy!," or "Uncle," or whatever the codeword is for, "You're stronger than I am and I am helpless against you. Please stop. Your hurting me."

Those words would have definitely made things worse.

So I put up with it and even laughed.

I've had two good therapists, and I never admitted to them that I laughed.

I mean, how could my big brother know what he was doing to me hurt if I was laughing as he did it?

Except that he had to physically force himself onto me. And that, at age 15 or 16, he should have had more than a clue anyway.

_________________________
"This is not my shame, this is their shame." Mona Eltahawy

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#2952 - 08/10/04 12:38 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Brayton Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 696
Loc: Minneapolis
A voice inside my head told me "You will die."

_________________________
Sometimes, things just won't work the way we want them to.

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#2953 - 08/10/04 04:09 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
guy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/30/04
Posts: 236
Loc: nc
ken,

look forward to your book, current survivors who haven't could use the help, support, and understanding.

why i didn't tell and hid it for 31 years:

at the time it was happening - age 10 to 11

he was a "trusted" coach and noone would believe me. he told me that and most of what follows here.

he was a navy corpsman and he knew how to do it all and cover it up so noone would know or believe it. it did hurt some but also felt good, he cleaned me up so good, you might not physically believe i was sodomized or made to give repeated b/j's.

he said he loved me more than his g/f and it was our secret and she did not serve him as good as i did. he compared me to her and i was always "superior".

he told me if i told, i could end up going to a kids boarding school for troubled and "gay" boys.

he would quit taking me to special places and buying me things. he would buy me whatever i wanted.

i thought my dad would blame me, beat me, or punish me as it would tarnish his glowing military career. he made sure we never got in to trouble on a base, cause he would not loose rank or end up in the brig or for us to be in the brig.
we lived next door to the provost marshall and he referred to that on occasion.

i thought my dad might literally kill him as he was trained to kill as a marine. or he would have someone else do it.

because he told me we loved each other and made me enjoy it and i did some. he did not rape me but was loving and a sexual sicky on the sex, cum, his and my little erections. he taught me what to do and how to do guys or girls.

my mom has and had m.s. was weak, timid to my dad, liked our coach, even assisted the team. it would hurt her too much and my dad might blame her for this interfering with his career too.
i was her baby, would not hurt her either.

because i was taught as a marine's son- you can "hack it", be a man, be tough, don't show love or emotion, be a man since as far as i can remember. don't be a "queer". don't look at other guys stuff or do things with other boys or men.

i thought my dad might ship me off to military school as he had threatened if "we" got in to any trouble.

ron (my abuser) told me that my guy and girl friends would call me a faggot and cock sucker and i would not be able to get any real pus_y. ever..

because my dad flew at night, he had to trust my mom and i (and brother and sister) to do the "right" things when he flew, stay out of trouble. i would not let him down.

from then to age 41:

I was tough, could hack it, blocked it, it did not mess me up.

i would turn to alcohol and mild drugs to avoid it, escape.

i would sexually persue women to prove i was o.k. and not gay or not affected by my past practices and sluttiness.

I worked as a workaholic, avoided it, repressed it. Focused on career at the expense of myself and others. Wanted to make my dad proud and compare to his war "hero-ness".

i went thorugh 2 marriages and several relationships and never told them. thought they might think i was whacky or messed up, blame me, think i was bi or wierd.

when i finally told someone and now:

for therapy for depresion, finally trusted my t and told her.

finally told my ex-g/f after she shared how i withdrew, withheld affection, only loved to a certain point.

only told my other f friend from church two years after she told me of hers after my break up. i trusted her and she me.

from now on:

will tell my sister and brother one day.

my mom and dad are too old and fragile. i still think my dad might go after him or have someone else do it and he is a skinnier more frail older man now.

i will persue ron in time. not physically but legally and publicly.

i will tell my first ex wife, she deserves to know. she was a great and is a great person. did not deserve what i put her and her kids through emotionally and financially at the end.

may tell one best friend one day, he knows something is up with me but i never have shared.

sorry so long winded, but had to get it out.

guy


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#2954 - 08/15/04 05:23 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5773
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Gentlemen:
I am truly humbled reading your responses. I would like to incorporate some of them in the book with complete anonymity for those who wrote the responses. I would use no identification but "One survivor wrote:" or "A survivor stated,".

It has been difficult for many of you to write what you did. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share painful memories. I hope your words and the content of this book will benefit many others who have not yet taken the steps you have that brought you to this site.

If anyone would not wish to be quoted anonymously (with the protection mentioned above), please pm me and I will not use your words.

Again thank you.

The book is still in the early stages of writing and I will continue to check this thread for additional comments that may be useful for this effort.

Sincerely,
Ken


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#2955 - 08/15/04 06:43 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Ken

I don't think anyone will object to you using what you want in your book, if it can relate to any form of abuse someone has been through, that alone is enough for them to start feeling they were not alone.

The main theme seems to be power, power of somebody older, who you respect, who is responsible for your upbringing or within your social gathering, teaching, coaching or the violent opportunist.

I am sure there are many other categories, but.

They break everything in the childs' life, and turn it into a totally confusing World where right seems to be wrong, and wrong seems to be OK.???

The numerous emotions the kid goes through either just after the event, or further down the line is immeasurable, he feels dirty, abused, humiliated, "am I gay"? is that why he picked me out? did I smile at him the wrong way? did I ask you for it?
he told me this is what daddies do? he told me the police will not believe you? I know where you live and will kill you/your family? It is not wrong for boys' to do this to a man? Nobody will believe you?

There are many more examples, but when you're just a kid you believe this crap, because they are bigger, they know more than you do, you trust them either because they are your guardians, who you learn your lifes'>
_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#2956 - 08/15/04 10:34 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Leonatomi Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 24
Loc: England
I didn't tell because I had no memory of the abuse until 35 years later. The abuse happened at some age between 6 and 11 and was pure unadulterated terror, shame and humilition. Yet I knew nothing of it. When the event came back into conscious memory (not during therapy)it wiped me out for over a year. Years on, I have still kept it to myself. Why? Because I am afraid of the damage I would do to the person I told my story to, should they even so much as attempt to minimize it or its effects.

Hope that helps, and good luck with your book.


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#2957 - 08/15/04 11:13 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
CFO Dave Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 104
Loc: Millis MA
Ken,

The first time it happened I was young 5 or 6. My swim teacher was the one to do it. I'm not sure if I knew that it was wrong but I did know I was scared. My mom was waiting in the car for me. When I got to the car she was really pissed becasue I was late and she yelled at me because I put my pants on over my wet bathing suit. What would she have done if I told her what happened.

The second perp was the teenage neighbor a year or two later. I didn't recognize it as sexual abuse. I liked being with him because he gave me the attention I so much wanted. Also, even though I was like 7 or 8 I got and erection so he told me I was happy and when I was older I would it would really feel good because I would come.


I knew the swim teacher abused me but it wasn't until very recently that I recognized the other instances as abuse.

Dave

_________________________
"We deceive ourselves when we fancy that only weakness needs support. Strength needs it far more."
-Madame Swetchine

"The soul that is within me no man can degrade."
-Frederick Douglas

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#2958 - 08/15/04 11:21 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
onlyakid Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1536
Loc: New Jersey
I don't remember exactly why I didn't tell but I think there are several things that may have had an effect

#1 I didn't know that what was happening to me was wrong. In addition to my brother implying that this is what brothers do. I also was kind of misinformed by the media, I remember listening to a New York based sex call in show called Love Phones on my walkman. It was reported that most men had atleast one homosexual expierence in there life and that this was normal. While I don't know if that is truly a fact, trust me I have no clue as to what is normal sexually, I think it reinforced that what was happening was ok.

#2. I could have been threatened, whether it was implied or blatent. I don't remember this but I do remember when I was considering disclosing to my mother, I had this fear what would he do to me when he found out..would he hurt me/kill me.

#3. I guess it could have also been because he was my brother and he wouldn't do anything to hurt me

_________________________
"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love is...you just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"


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#2959 - 08/16/04 08:29 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
heart Offline
Member

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 48
Loc: UK
when abused at age 9 i didn't say anything simply because i didn't have the understanding and the words necessary to explain to my parents what happened although i knew something was very wrong by the way i felt inside. also i felt intense shame and i guess that was a great factor to stay silent
when abused at 13 the perp was caught and the police informed my parents but they felt it was better to protect him which they did by droping the charges against him and arranging for me to meet up with him again, so every time i got abused after that i didn't say anything (f*** this is bloody painful to write down but that's how it is) otherwise they would send me straight back to those bastards (am i allow to use this word?)
i was covertly emotionally and sexually incested by my mother but did not understand what it was until i read a book about this topic a few years ago


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#2960 - 08/17/04 03:15 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
bec Offline
Member

Registered: 10/03/02
Posts: 187
Loc: chicagoland area
dear Ken:

in my case i was emotionally incested by my mother for 30 years. i told noone because i did not know that anything wrong/harmful was taking place. i was so enmeshed/lost within her i had no idea that i was being severely wounded by her and the sick relationship that existed between us. i am 41 now and so far have no memories of any physical incest by her. this is my story. i hope it helps. sincerely,


bec


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#2961 - 08/18/04 01:41 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
JeffLRich Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 8
Loc: NJ
I didn't tell because I didn't realize there was anything to tell.

I first started having sex with my brothers when I was about 3 so that by the time my father first molested me at the age of 5 it was nothing out of the ordinary, it was just what happened in that house. The sex with my brothers was constant where as the molestation by my father was sporadic but all lasted until I was about 17. It was just a way of life and so ingrained into my psyche that it was "normal".

I now realize that my father had molested my brothers which taught them what sex was (our "acts" went way beyond just childish experimentations), so I don't feel victimized by them since they were just as much victims as I was, we were all just "acting out" from what we had been taught. But the prevailing air of sex in that house (father molesting daughters and sons; brothers having sex with brothers; sisters having sex with brothers; brothers having sex with male friends) certainly had made for an extremely askew vision of the world.

So when I was younger 3-12 I didn't tell because I didn't realize that it was abnormal (it wasn't discussed among us, there was an understanding of secrecy). And when I was older 14-17 I didn't tell because I was a burgeoning homosexual and to be honest with myself even though I then realized that it was abnormal it also felt good and by that time I was so far removed emotionally from the family that it no longer felt like having sex with my brothers or my father but just having sex, which is exactly what a teenage boy whats to do all the time.

I finally started dealing with the effects of the abuse when I was about 25 or 26 (I'm now 39) by going into therapy but by that time my father had already passed (when I was 21). In my early 30's some of us started talking about what had happened in that house (I'm the youngest of 8 children and it now looks like my father got to at least 6 of us as well as some of the grandchildren) and that disclosure has helped but I still choose to be emotionally separated from them, it's just easier for me even though I realize that it's just avoidance of the memories.

As for our mother, there was also an unspoken understanding that we would never tell her because I'm sure we thought "why cause her any more pain". She had her hands full with 8 children and an alcoholic husband.

It was all about a cultivation of secrecy and silence that began at such an early age that when viewed from within that bubble didn't seem like anything worth telling - it was just the way things were.

_________________________
"It's when you cry just a little but you laugh in the middle that you know you've made it." Jason Mraz

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#2962 - 08/18/04 02:05 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
phoster Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/21/03
Posts: 758
Loc: ohio
you know it never even crossed my mind to tell. Mat made it seem like a game, and like everyone did it. i thought it was fun, and it felt good, so it never even crossed my mind to tell.

after going back there using memory regression, i have gained a little insight into my mind as a child. i didnt think in terms like i do now. it seems logical we should have known something was wrong with what was happening, and i beat myself up for it for many years. going back to when i was five, my mind just didnt work that way. it never occured to me when he said we had to keep it a secrete that it was wrong. he explained that it was a game older kids played, and that if adults found out that he had showed me, he would get in trouble. that was good enough for me. it felt like he was being honest, and like i made the choice to do it, instead of like being forced into it. that dumped all the blame in my lap for years. it wasnt until therapy that i began seeing i didnt have the knowledge to make that choice, and what he did was steering me into it. i carried a lot of guilt over that, but was finally able to let go.

_________________________
compassion is a light even to the darkest soul

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#2963 - 08/18/04 02:35 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
David1010 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/04
Posts: 46
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
What kept me from telling was fear, shame, not knowing what was going on, etc. But most important, WHO to tell? One of my perps was my own father, the one that is supposed to protect me!


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#2964 - 08/21/04 10:22 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
honest_lion Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/04
Posts: 16
Loc: Dallas, Tx
Hi Ken,
What a great question. My therapist did not even go there, yet.
When I was four my father almost killed my brother in rage for being 45 minutes late in bringing home his clothes from nearby Laundomat. He actually went to the kitchen, brought the big knife, put white clothes around his head. It took place in a foreign country. All these were legal & moral.
I was seven, when I was molested by a temporary school teacher. Good thing is that it only happened twice. He left the school. I did not have to face him every day any more.
I am not sure I kept quiet for just one reason.
Fear of death by my father so that he does not have to look at the sorry face everyday, fear of hurting family image (which is enormously important over there), and possibly fear of loosing my own face. I knew I never took the time to analyze what to do next. I instantly, knew keeping quiet was the right thing to do. I still believe that, just because of one big reason, that is, that's what I ended up doing. Now what would have happened if I was molested a lot more, and or tormented by his sight for a long time I don't know, and I don't want to know.
During my divorce process, I had to go to a shrink. I was around Forty that time. I finally told him what happened. It was very tough. He told me it was not my fault. And that was it. I thought the Saga was over. Of course I know different now. I became a alcoholic. On the process of recovery I had to go through all traumatic experiences in my my. I had a very tough time expressing that part of life in detail. That's when I knew I have to somehow totally open up, if I wanted to live. I am doing this just for one reason. My Own Recovery. That's why I am here. I have no intention to add more to my recovery process by trying to get even with anyone. I need all the energy I can gather for my recovery.
-honest_lion


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#2965 - 08/24/04 02:17 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Kenn Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/10/04
Posts: 146
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I didn't tell anyone because I could not reconcile the revulsion I felt, for what had happened, with the underlying knowledge that I was gay - something which, in my very limited worldview at the time, seemed to be everything except loving, heterosexual sex.

Now, with the benefit - and occasional curse - of hindsight, I see the abuse as THE formational event in my development. From it, and the lies which spun from it, came an inability to be honest with myself and a lack of interest and inability in forming a true relationship with anyone - leaving me with the unfulfilling years of sex for sex's sake.

Just coming to that realisation is empowering in itself!

_________________________
"This above all; to thine own self be true."

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

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#2966 - 08/24/04 04:01 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
Ken,

1) The worst thing you could call someone in '58 was 'queer' or 'fag'. I got an erection, I liked getting oral sex, it was implied that because of those things I was complicit. I believed it for way too many years.
2) He was my older sister's boyfriend, a trusted friend of the family, I didn't think anyone would believe me.
3) My dad was gone a lot, my mom was an alcoholic, especially when dad was away. I liked the attention of an older guy, any attention I guess, I thought it was all my fault.
4) I always thought that I was a disappointment to my father, that I was never good enough. I can't remember a time that I didn't feel that way. Telling him about it would just reinforce his disappointment in my 11-13 YO mind.
5) I realize now (at almost 57) that I was curious about boys and girls but mostly boys even when I was younger (6-9 YO) than when the abuse happened (11-13).
6) One of my best friends at the time was engaging in anal sex with another boy the same age as us. It reinforced my view that this happened to everyone and no one ever, ever talked about it.

So I didn't say anything to anyone for 38 years. Only after my wife died a year and a half ago and after some horrendous health issues of my own have I decided that life is too short to live two lives any more. I am more gay than straight, I don't believe it is either one or the other but subtle shades of grey. I like myself more now than I ever have before in my life.

I hope this helps some other survivor deal with some of those 'why' questions.

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#2967 - 08/25/04 07:34 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
Little Red Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/25/01
Posts: 15
Loc: White Plains
Ken,

I think you have posts from all here that cover what everyone went thru and thought. Mine was many different issues - ashamed, not wanting anyone to know and he clearly stated that if I said anything who would believe me I'm a kid. He was the Great Teacher that everyone loved and respected. I also knew that my parents would never listen to me. When I finally did tell my mom, she listened but didn't do anything and then later told me that she thought I was making it up. As I think MIKENY wrote - he was the adult, I was raised to do and respect my elders without saying a word. It is a stupid thing but that was how I was raised listen to your teachers and elders. He also told me that I would be made fun of when the other kids knew what happened to me. I was stupid to listen to him on that since I knew that he was abusing 16 other kids from my school at the same time. None of us felt comfortable at all to talk to each other about it or our parents.


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#2968 - 08/25/04 10:22 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
fusionoflove Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/03/04
Posts: 112
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I guess I didn't tell for one reason. I didn't look at as rape. I was so wrecked on drugs and alcohol that I assumed that I wanted it. Of course this brought on other problems. I think that another possible reason I didn't tell was that I didn't want to viewed as gay. It's going to sound crazy, but it wasn't me that pointed out what happened to me was rape, it was a friend. For the first time, everything made sense. When she asked me if I was raped, I said yes. I didn't even hesitate. For over a year, I had been drinking and drugging myself to death. Honestly, I think I was trying to slowly kill myself and I had no real idea why. I had all the symptoms of a rape victim. I guess what it is, is that a man is supposed to be control at all times, but sometimes we're not.

Hopefully that helps,
Fusion


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#2969 - 09/03/04 11:49 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
Bryan Offline
Member

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 37
Loc: tokyo
The long version of my story is my lengthy first post *Confrontation=Secondary wounds, Forgiveness*. Generally, as 3rd consecutive son to a ballerina heavily mandating a female protege as price for protection, mom had a nervous breakdown when I was 4 and spent the remainder of childhood literally walking away while I was being physically abused saying *I will not play referee, I will not play referee, I will not....* and later saying (in front of bro/abuser) *you only ask for IT sometimes* in reply to my *Literally Asking* for her/Dad to stop him.

For bigger brother, escalation throughout my childhood was habit with impunity and even sanction, all he had to do was say *he was asking for it* and Mom would agree and Old School Dad would say *I remember my brother used to bruise me, until I outgrew him...*. My brother:s eventual, poking and threatening forced-fellatio was not anything extraordinary to bigger bro; it was just another in a growing arsenal of degradations that I was *asking for*.

Therefore when I told him he:s a sicko and that I was going to tell Mom and Dad, he was quite correct in saying *Go ahead; they:ll only blame you like they do with everything else!*. Given that my family still has refused to read a book on Sexual Abuse for 4 years standing, it:s easy to see he was right - me telling them would have only meant he would carry out his threat and get away with it *like ...everything else*. I chose Silence over getting told by parents *You only ask for Cum in your mouth sometimes*.

In a way this was my biggest confusion at recognizing this as Sexual Abuse thru the years; this was all non-sexual (to the bro/Perp), but to me pinned to the ground, getting poked analy with his finger and him putting privates next to my mouth, I could only attribute these as *Extended Melvin* (where you pull pants up the butt) and *[No Name Attributed]*, respectively (I had no madeup word for the fellatio threat). Only finding myself screaming at a girl on a TV rape show did I realize *...oh shit, this show is about Rape* and finally have a word that attributed what I felt happened to me. Using Ainscough and Toon:s book *Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse* as a template for all the reasons *Why didn:t I tell*:

1. Whom to tell?
- Parents ill (although Ma still taught dance!)
- No trustworthy adult around
- Caregivers do not listen, involved with own problems
- Frightened (dad once kicked me for *tattling*)

2. What to Say?
Child too embarrassed and ashamed to say what happened.

3. Fears about consequences of telling
(a) Threats from Abuser
- Threatened or actual physical violence to child
(b) Fears concerning other people:s reactions (ALL of these!)
- No one will believe child
- Mother will feel guilty
- Family will be hurt
- Mother/father will be upset
- Mother will reject child
- Other people will think child is to blame
- Other will think child is dirty, contaminated or disgusting
- Child will be rejected and abuser supported.
(c) Fear for the Abuser [nope, NONE here]
(d) Fears that telling won:t help (ALL again)
- Nothing will change
- No one can stop it
- Events will go out of control
- Fear of the unknown
- It might get worse
- Abuser is too powerful and can:t be stopped.

4. The child:s confusion: Feelings and thoughts that prevent children from telling include:
- Fellings of guilt, shame and embarrassment
- Thinking the abuse is normal
- Believing s/he is the only one this has ever happened to
- Feeling dirty, contaminated, polluted
trapped by the secrecy
- Feelings s/he is being punished and deserves it
- Hoping the abuse won:t happen again

This book I found very helpful for these types of lists that validate alot of feelings; hope this helps more than hurts!

_________________________
Bryan Beezer

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#2970 - 09/07/04 03:55 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
BinMichigan Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 18
I kept quiet for a couple of reasons:

1. my step-father (perp 1) - very active in church, outstanding member of the community. No one would have beleived me!

2. My Grandfather (Perp 2) - Ex pastor that founded the church that we attended. Again I would have no chance.

3. Shame: They both made me beleive that there was something wrong with me and they would tell everyone that I was gay. (Iam not)

4. Protect my mother: She was hurt very badly in her first relationship, she was the only one that I could trust and loved me unconditionally. I could not bear to hurt her like that.

5. Until I was older I did not know what was happening was wrong. Ever snce I can remember I was abused and it was not until my early teens that I understood what was really going on.


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#2971 - 09/07/04 04:56 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
brokentoys Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 149
Loc: So. California
I've been thinking about this one for some time now. I guess the thing is that at home I was my father's punching bag whenever he got drunk (everyday) and then sometimes my grandfather would take me away from that. There were a couple of things going on here, first, I had no reference to what a normal relationship between two males should be, secondly, he was my elder and I was never supposed to question my elders. I guess it just didn't seem like such a big deal to get molested a little bit when staying at home meant getting the crap kicked out of me. By the time I was old enough to know what was going on (this happened between the ages of 4 and 8 or 9) and that it was wrong, between the shame, lack of anyone to talk to (my father? please!), and just being withdrawn and living in my own made up world, I just never got around to it. When I became and adult I have really not wanted to say anything because of the various stigmas attached. I figured people would think I was gay or that I was out molesting children since I was a victim, or other unimaginable things. So I buried it all as deep as i could. Now I am at a place in my life where I think I am capable of dealing with it.
BT

_________________________
It's easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.

Arnold Bennet

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#2972 - 09/07/04 07:26 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
reality2k4 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 6838
Loc: Stuck between water, air, and ...
Don't know whether I am repeating myself, but I did tell, and it was treated so trivially by authority, that I had no confidence left.

I think as a child, we have a different mind set, we protect so much, those we love, and don't want to be thought of instigating, what happened.

As a child, we think, OK., if he is caught, he will just blame me for wanting it, adults always win, they know the score, I'm only the kid, they won't believe me, somehow I am guilty, even when forced to do things no kid should ever know about.

But kids don't think that way, they are left to think and meander about the million and one things that may come out of telling, they are trying to protect themselves and their families, believe me, to an 11yr old, I ran so many thoughts through my mind, they all came to one thing, after burning my mind inside out, and just wanting to be "out", you win thing.

Thinking about it, a kid should be thinking of playing, not hiding from some beast, he is stronger, he will come and get you, this is what the imagination of a young boy holds in such an attack.

You just want an end to the monsters in your mind, visiting you every night, through nightmares and terror, afraid to even move in your bed for fear of the beast returning.

You just want an end point to put on the terror, you can't because he is never caught, you live your life in fear of him hunting you down, you fear the police will believe him, not you, what that would do, is indescribable, but it all goes through a kids mind.

I thought? If he does get caught, they will believe him, if I went to court, they will believe him, why? Because my mind is so f**cked up, if he turned it around on me, I would not survive the onslaught, of the guilt I already had, being used to make me look guilty. Think of "IMPRESSION OF GUILT"

Think of all the other "impressions", when they are bestowed on such a young mind, a mind that is so immature, a mind that knows the horrendous things done in the act, but still never does know the adult view, nor will he ever until he reaches adulthood, because he is so vulnerable, and he will be until he can really understand.

There really is so much to be said in this topic, maybe, we could have a topic entitled, what effect did it have on not telling?

I still live with it, have to, have no choice, but I have been there, know the score, wonder why my life is full of crap, but I also wonder. Who could bestow so much mental damage on a kid, and would they, if they knew, probably, because they don't give a shit.

_________________________
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!

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#2973 - 09/07/04 07:36 PM Re: What kept you from telling?
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7819
Quote:
Originally posted by reality2k4:
There really is so much to be said in this topic, maybe, we could have a topic entitled, what effect did it have on not telling?
I agree. I think Ken could fill a whole book on this topic alone (keeping the secret), along with the effects it had on those who kept the secret or told and were rebuffed for doing so. There's so much to this.

_________________________
Eddie

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#2974 - 09/08/04 08:27 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
daniel_ Offline
Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 41
Loc: Washington, DC
Quote:
Originally posted by Ken Singer, LCSW:
I'm working on a book for survivors. One of the potential chapters is about how abusers kept the victim silent. I'd appreciate hearing what kept you from telling about the abuse.

Thanks,
Ken
In my case there were never any threats or such. I knew it was secret stuff. But primarily I was in a family situation where nothing real was ever discussed. You kept your feelings to yourself. I had a bigger feeling that I didnít really matter, and my miserable life, including abuse, was just my due. I guess I didnít think there was anything going on that wasnít supposed to be happening to me.


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#2975 - 09/08/04 08:34 AM Re: What kept you from telling?
daniel_ Offline
Member

Registered: 09/07/04
Posts: 41
Loc: Washington, DC
Quote:
Originally posted by brokentoys:
I had no reference to what a normal relationship between two males should be,

By the time I was old enough to know what was going on and that it was wrong, between the shame, lack of anyone to talk to ... and just being withdrawn and living in my own made up world, I just never got around to it.

Now I am at a place in my life where I think I am capable of dealing with it.
BT
Thanks. It's so helpful hearing others who have had my experience.


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