Male survivors of sexual abuse and violence
are SPEAKING OUT!
I recently posed a question to male survivors in my online community: If you could give just one piece of advice to the spouse/partner/friend/family member who wants to support you, what would it be? I got a few responses, and I'd like to share them with you in honor of International Days.
"Try to bear in mind that I don't act the way I do just to irritate you.I'm using behaviors that used to be my only survival techniques. They're not effective anymore, but I'm kind of stuck with them because I'm terrified of trying anything different." -Lars
"Be strong when I am weak, uplift when I am depressed, be calm when I am angry, come find me when I am lost…… but most of all be yourself, there is good reason why God chose you to be with me." -Don
"If I had to choose just one piece of advice, I think I would go with 'educate yourself'. There are a number of great resources online and elsewhere that can help you understand what's happening and what he is going through. Take the time to learn what you can, but also realize that you both need to stop and have fun every once in a while too. Life is going on all around him and spending time living it is an important part of healing." -Mike
In a recent book review blog, I mentioned that I was surprised at the similarity in male and female survivor experiences and coping mechanisms. Many male survivors are afraid to reach out for the same reasons females don't reach out. They're scared. They feel ashamed. They need to know that we'll be there for them. For many (ridiculous) reasons the majority of society doesn't look at male survivors the same way they look at female survivors. Let's do what we can to show society that EVERY victim of abuse deserves the support of someone who'll be willing to walk beside them as they heal. We cannot expect to see a change in society's ways if we personally don't do something to reach out to these guys. What's that famous quote? BE the change we want to see in the world? Yup. Let's do it!
*In celebration of International Days, I'll be posting two blogs specifically for male survivors and their supporters. Today's blog addresses how we can help the male survivors in our lives. Tomorrow's blog will be a list of online resources for males seeking help and healing.