SNAP: Stories for Living

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Healing from child abuse is difficult and trying, especially when surrounded by individuals who cannot understand or relate to the internal pain.  Because of this arduous journey, I would like to share my experience with the men’s group at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford, CT. 

I am a forty-five year old man, and the victim of sexual assault as a child.  After I began one-on-one therapy, my therapist recommended I attend a men’s group.  Just thinking about it sent me into a panic attack.  Then, six months later, I was ready to attend my first meeting.  After completion of that program, I joined the next one.  It was remarkable and immensely healing.  To be in a room with other men who could understand what I had been through, and who could validate my feelings, was priceless. 

For a moment, imagine yourself in Grand Central Station as people are swarming about.  You look at people as they pass by, imagining how wonderful their lives must be; afraid if they knew what happened to you as a child; and feeling alone, as if you are in the middle of the funnel of a tornado, spinning out of control.

Now, put yourself in a room with men who were also abused. It was amazing to just sit in that room without speaking a word. We all knew why we were there - we were all abused, and couldn’t hide from that secret we kept from the rest of the world. I knew these other men knew my pain.  For that moment, that funnel had stopped, and a cement block had been lifted off my shoulders.

The most rewarding experience for me was to find that regardless of the depth of the abuse, we all had the same thoughts, feelings, fears and anxieties.  I was not alone and no longer had to feel so isolated.
The men’s group inspired me to continue my journey, even when life seemed impossible.  I have nothing to feel ashamed about.  I wasn’t the only one this happened to, and I alone, do not suffer.

Note: this story is from 2007. View other 2007 stories and 2007 voting results. View current stories.