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#399936 - 06/09/12 07:55 PM Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden?
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
I just read in a different thread a comment on how difficult it is for the therapeutic community to advance in helping men who were assaulted/raped as adult men because “how hidden the ASA population is.”

At first read I bristled at the comment feeling defensive. Not because there isn’t truth in this thought, for there clearly is and on one hand I’m thankful for the comment but frankly it goes so much deeper than that us just not speaking up or out. From my personal experienced I/we have ”””been””” silenced which is quite a different matter.

Sure, no question when I first was dealing with the shame, pain and disgust of what had happened I was silent due to my own fears and it took years to process this. To be fair it was being here at Malesurvivor that in many ways gave me the tools to speak out in a more public way and find no shame in doing so. I’ve matured in that I can talk fairly open and calmly about being a victim of rape to anyone if there is a proper reason to do so. (Thank goodness I’ve gotten past the stage of wanting, with abandonment, to yell it from the mountain tops, something I think many of us go through when we first break what was our self-imposed silence.)

Getting back to the need to “speak out about it” comment and why it felt like razor blades sliding beneath my skin where I once again may bleed and scar unseen. (I know this comment was not intended to injure, this is just how I reacted and I think it important to mention it for I may not be alone in this reaction.) But this reaction isn’t without reason.

I have been and I know of a number of other ASA men who have been as well denied their voice – erased – for “speaking out” telling many of us who did “speak out” without the kindness of subtleties they themselves demanded to remain “hidden and silent” for we don’t have the right to insist on being direct to what the issues pertaining to the needs and failure of meeting the needs of ASA men are.

As a result I (along with some others) have done what was demanded of me/us and have grown nearly silent more so than how I existed before coming to MS and what I’ve learned and grieved at the deepest levels is few give a rat’s butt that I/we have. Earlybird



Edited by earlybird (06/09/12 07:58 PM)
_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#399953 - 06/10/12 12:33 AM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
I can see why this touched a nerve in you. The original person who used "hidden" in this way used it as an adjective. But it makes sense to want to analyze it and understand WHO is doing the hiding. I can also relate to the experiences of hiding myself and also being silenced when I do turn for help. There are also times when no one is actively trying to silence me, but I am only one man and when our numbers are small compared to the vast majority of men and women seeking help for sexual abuse/assault, the dominant discource leaves little room for me and my experiences as a survivor are pushed into the margins.

Then, as a survivor I have often pushed myself into the margins of life. I no longer call my friends. I dread going out in public and possibly running into someone I know. I barely spoke for months after the rape. I don't know as if there was anything else to say, after that.

I think the cycle went like this for me. The man who raped me used my lack of strength/illness to take advantage of me, and he used death threats to keep me silent. I still have nightmares that he is going to come after me because I said something, even though he's in jail. Societal pressures kept my experience a secret because I couldn't predict the judgments people would make. I have shared my story. Some people have given me kindness and support, and others have been apathetic, skeptical or insulting--which CONFIRMS the societal pressures and MYTHS about male survivors who were assaulted by adults.

It's hard to confront the myths on a large scale when you're the one struggling with trauma. I can ask my therapist to be more active on my behalf, I can write to organization that advocate for survivors and urge them to stand up for male survivors who were assaulted as adults, but I think a LOT of myth-busting would have to happen before I could come out of 'hiding' and be open about what happened.
_________________________
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

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#400127 - 06/11/12 01:47 PM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
LN3(SS) Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/20/08
Posts: 486
Loc: MD
I have seen exactly what Earlybird describes.

I have been privileged to speak to several different reporters in the mass media. Each time I have been greeted with suspicion. It is unfortunate that, even after the FBI has changed the reporting definition for rape, we are still greeted with suspicion. In some cases this suspicion extends to some corners of the survivor community. But I have decided that, for me, I cannot be silent any longer. I will face the skeptics and the haters armed with the only weapon I need: truth.

We not only have the right to insist on being direct to what the issues pertaining to the needs and failure of meeting the needs of ASA men are, we have an obligation to do so. We should react "with great vengeance and furious anger" (yes I'm watching a Quentin Tarantino movie right now. Can anyone guess which one? lol) anytime when the needs of ASA men are not recognized and supported. We must stand up and demand parity with CSA and other types of survivors. I think that many ASA survivors have been willing to accept the status quo. Perhaps it is a reaction from the trauma where we were willing to believe the worst about ourselves and downplay our trauma to fulfill an outdated gender role.

The longer we choose silence, the more harm we do to ourselves.

Brian
_________________________
"When we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off, and I will leave no one behind. Dead, or alive, we will all come home together." LTG Hal Moore, Jr., USA (Ret.)

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#400301 - 06/13/12 01:10 AM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
CruxFidelis Offline


Registered: 06/16/10
Posts: 486
Loc: NJ
Brian, I really have to commend you for coming out of the shadows and using your voice to bring awareness to the needs of ASA survivors.

There are times when I feel the anger bubble up inside me and I find myself thinking of starting my own organization for survivors of adult male rape, or writing a book. Then it occurs to me... I was raped. this happened to ME. someone with my picture, my face. I can't reconcile with the man my fellow humans know and appreciate...with a man who was raped. I didn't see myself as a man when that was happening. I didn't even see myself as HUMAN. a soulless, mechanical object of another man's lust.

Most days, I can't even handle leaving the house and having the most basic conversations. If I can get out of either of those two things, I will.

The question of "What will other people think?" is a powerful one. It's completely dominated the way I have gone about my friendships and relationships. Before the rape, I thought of myself as a nonconformist. I thought I didn't care about such trivial things as what people will think. But honestly I'd rather die than to go public about my sexual assault. I can't even fathom.

I have a lot of respect for men who are able to go public or even just disclose to their wives, or their friends, or their parents. Heck, if you even told ONE other soul on this planet, that is worthy of respect. There are a lot of ways we can choose to be silent because of the possible repercussions of disclosure and it takes a lot of courage to overcome that silence.

But there is another form of silencing that I think Earl was talking about. Even in the psychological / healing community, there are so many LCSW's and PhD's talking about female CSA / ASA and male CSA. There are retreats. There are books. There are national conferences for therapists, and also for survivors. I just wish someone with even the slightest bit of institutional/organizational clout would offer something for adult male rape survivors that would affirm that yes, we do have as much right to heal just like any other survivor.
_________________________
“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

- Saint John of the Cross

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#400319 - 06/13/12 08:09 AM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
prisonerID Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/08
Posts: 1247
Loc: Oklahoma
"But there is another form of silencing that I think Earl was talking about. Even in the psychological / healing community, there are so many LCSW's and PhD's talking about female CSA / ASA and male CSA. There are retreats. There are books. There are national conferences for therapists, and also for survivors. I just wish someone with even the slightest bit of institutional/organizational clout would offer something for adult male rape survivors that would affirm that yes, we do have as much right to heal just like any other survivor."

To expect a male ASA to be responsible for his own recovery is the right thing. To expect him to do it on his own without the assistance of professionals and organizations taking up his cause as well is truly not fair.


Daryl
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Broad statements often miss their true mark.

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#400322 - 06/13/12 08:41 AM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
earlybird Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 1007
Loc: WA USA
Thanks Crux, LN3 and Daryl for engaging me and others

Have you ever watched a child who is trying to get the attention of a loving but distracted parent? First their little hand tugs at the parent’s sleeves trying to get them to look down for they have something extremely important (to them) to say. Noticing the lack of response they grip a bit harder and pull with more intensity – to no avail – the parent in charge is thinking about “far more important” issues at least in their world they are. So the offspring starts to say “Hey, I’m down here I need you to give me some attention”. But the words come out more like “daddy, daddy, DADDY, DADDYYYYYY” which means the same thing. But the parent is simply unaware of the sounds of his name being repeated over and over, louder and louder until the child grows frustrated and screams inconsolable screeching sounds upward demanding that he be heard even though by now the kid has forgotten all about the reason he wanted his dad’s attention. Does the parent then turn his attentiveness and desired devotion where it rightful needs to go and listen to his seed’s needs. Not quite. Oh, he gives his child attention alright – screaming down at him to shut up and STOP being such a little BRAT!!!

So what often happens – happens. The child recognizes his position and importance in life and goes silent. Later leaving the parent completely puzzled as to why his kid doesn’t listen to him anymore.



Edited by earlybird (06/13/12 08:44 AM)
_________________________
Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

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#400336 - 06/13/12 12:13 PM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
J.Bytendorp Offline
User
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 43
Loc: Salt Lake CIty, Utah
i know that in my recovery, there were many different ways that I was I was hidden. i know at the start, right after it happened, i didn't want to be around anyone, i wanted to be hidden, I wanted to be alone. When i finally decided not to be hidden and I wanted to get help, i was met with the "men can't be abused" or "we can offer you services because you are not a women." I felt hidden again not by my doing but by those rejecting me. When i went to a weekend of recovery, again, being one of the only ASA, i felt hidden this time it was by my own doing, a way to put up my defense mechanisms to stay where I was at because it was comfortable. Once I was able to get out of that feeling of being hidden, i was able to do more healing which lead to being able to talk in public about my experience. But again I felt hidden later on by my own doing because of my own biases about being a survivor and being a therapist. Finally once I started to do research on male survivor I felt Hidden because of the lack of research.

I think my biggest point here is that for me there were both internal and external forces causing me to be hidden, some of my internal forces causing me to be hidden were also causing me not to be able to continue my healing and yes even working through the external forces causing me to be hidden and helped with my recovery. There are so many ways that I hid and so many reasons.

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#400364 - 06/13/12 07:39 PM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: J.Bytendorp]
prisonerID Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/17/08
Posts: 1247
Loc: Oklahoma
I see a lot of truth and balance in your statements and can easily apply them within my own heart and mind. Sometimes the lines get blurred though and I have to sit back and adjust here and there.

Like I have often said - I am sometimes right and sometimes I am wrong in my perceptions. I would dare say it is a struggle for all survivors of all ages and both genders. The rub of deciphering whether it is the inward pull or the outward push that one is experiencing and reacting/responding to at the moment.

Sometimes I would say that it can be both.


Daryl
_________________________
Broad statements often miss their true mark.

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#401021 - 06/20/12 10:30 AM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: earlybird]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/26/14 06:49 PM)
Edit Reason: SILENCED

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#401035 - 06/20/12 12:27 PM Re: Why am I, as an ASA man, hidden? [Re: bodyguard8367]
Chase Eric Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 1206
Geoff -

Well stated. It seems that the bureaucratic structure engages in narrow and preconceptual thinking that does not reflect upon the true realities of abuse. I remember when the 9-11 Commission reported that the US national tragedy that happened that day ultimately resulted from a "failure of imagination." I wonder if a similar "failure of imagination" is at work in the administrative structures you implored for help.

Male sexual abuse is something that is still - I think - seen as a "gay" thing or as something that is so freakishly rare that the numbers do not support any effort for organized support. For those of us who have experienced that victimization, all we can do is shout out about it and hope we are heard.

That said, the "second victimization" - that of being ignored - is a real problem. But that is precisely why I think the Sandusky case should resonate with ASA survivors. Sandusky was SEEN in the act of sexually abusing his young charges on TWO DIFFERENT OCCASIONS - and probably many more that were never reported. In addition, numerous complaints were submitted by concerned parents. An administrative structure KNEW about it and even took half-measures that belied that knowledge - such as barring him from bringing in Second Mile kids to the locker room. They knew these poor kids were being molested. But they didn't want to deal with it. That has to resonate with anyone of any age that has experienced that "second victimization". If those victims didn't know what it was like to be "completely and utterly ignored", I don't know what would.

When I was repeatedly molested as a boy, the adults found out, saved the girl victims and essentially ignored me. So my abuse continued but much more secretively - and the girls were kept safe. So I know VERY well what it means to be ignored as a "male" victim. When I was 21, I was overpowered and endured such a physically and psychologically painful sexual assault that had I been a woman and took it to the courts, that guy would have gotten twenty years at LEAST. Instead, my prior abuse taught me to just "man up" and keep it to myself. That's precisely what I did, because that is what my childhood abuse taught me. I'd be ignored anyways, and probably laughed at in the process.

So I know something about the pain of being both a victim of CSA and ASA. I sense here at MS that ASA victims feel marginalized - that CSA victims are "getting the attention" and the media coverage is crazy now over the Sandusky case - which it is. I guess I see it differently, though - that FINALLY these young male victims are being SEEN. They are no longer invisible and we ALL know what that feels like. There is a universality among especially male survivors of any age of dealing alone with shame, confusion, and self-reproaching humiliation.

In my opinion, the fact that the Sandusky victims are being so considered has to spill over to something positive for the ASA community of survivors. It has to. The world is opening its eyes to things it never really wanted to look at before. The general enlightenment is refreshing, especially when one sees that the stodgy old conservative establishments kept secrets that were the antithesis of what they purported to stand for (eg. the Catholic Church). I only see all of this as ultimately a good thing for EVERY survivor.
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