Hello All,

I am new to posting. I have been around the site for months - observing what people were saying and taking strength in knowing other people like me were out there. I was also very terrified in writing anything back thinking people will make fun of me.

I attended the Conference this past weekend and it was the greatest thing I have ever done for myself. Last Thursday, I attended the Mike Lew institute for Male survivors. I was terrified of going once again feeling people will make fun of me and look at me as the perverted one. As the day went on, I connected with these guys and have made quite a few connections that I will keep for support. I finally felt that I belonged. On Friday, Mic Hunter had a presentation and talked about breaking the silence and I was able to stand up and state my name and that I was sexually abused by my teacher. I was overwhelmed with being able to publically annouce it. By the afternoon, I was terrified by what I did but went home and realized it was the best thing to do. On Saturday, I went to hear an FBI agent tell his story of abuse and how down the road, he was able to arrest the abuser for doing this to kids. I was relating to his story 100%, a little different from mine but so close. I was shocked when he announced that the person who abused him was the same man who abused me. I was terrified when he spoke his name and wanted to run from the room but me not wanting to draw any attention to myself stayed and cried in the desk. I went upto him after to let him know and that is another contact that I will never let go. He has validated my charge.

I just wanted to THANK ALL THE GUYS in the Mike Lew session. You had a major impact on me and I will never forget all the support and encouragement you gave me this weekend. It was also great when the guys heard about my story that weekend and came upto me and embraced me. Like I said earlier, I finally belong and the feeling of shame has decreased within me. I am proud to be a survivor where before I was embarassed by it.

Thank you all for listening. We are here for each other.

TAT2BEAR - it was a pleasure meeting you this weekend. You were awesome.

Mike