Shaking the shame of having been a molested child is one of the hardest things do sometimes.
To put things more succinctly: “Shaking the shame of having been a sexually used BOY is one of the hardest things to do.” For it is different with a man. It’s harder to find support, or anyone who understands. Not knocking you females – but sometimes you just “don’t get it” while protesting you understand. You can’t understand. You are not a man raised in this kind of society. Just as I cannot understand certain issues about being a woman; you can’t understand mine.
But there is one thing we often share – the shame of being sexually abused. Especially as a boy. Especially as a man.
In large part I blame that social stigma thing. Do you know where it comes from? I think I do, at least some.
It comes from a society that has drilled: “Sex is bad.” “You need to keep your pants on.” “Don’t run around naked.” “Nakedness and sex are wrong.” “Sex with children is a terrible thing, a horrible thing.”
Sex is something done in the dark, out of sight, never talked about. Sex is something nobody admits to doing. Sex is shameful. Don’t talk, don’t tell. (But apparently asking is okay . . . )
Add to that the male culture; the ‘man thing’. “Be a man and take it.” “Big boys don’t cry.” “Buck up. Be a man.” “Suck it up.” “Toughen up.” “Stuff it”.
Real men (apparently) don’t feel shame, because in theory they’ve done nothing to be shameful for . . . though we know that’s all wrong, men are people, too.
But it must be that Social Stigma that causes so much of ‘shame’ in so many survivors – otherwise, why can’t they tell? It’s because of the social shame of having been molested in your childhood. The concern about what others are thinking about you. “What will they think?”, you wonder, wondering if you should tell. “How disgusted will they be with me (for breaking this social taboo on sex in general, plus sex as a child – just to make it more disgusting still – to them. To you all of this is quite normal; it’s part of your childhood . . .) and so you blunder on . . . stumbling to say – and say nothing. I know. I’ve done it in the end, over and over again. Wanting to tell – but can’t. Won’t. Because of the “social shame” – brought on by all these years of training, of warnings (“big boys don’t do that” – meaning homosexual games) . . .
Shaking self-shame is a little easier, but not much. Ceasing to blame yourself for what went on. In our case – a ‘groomed child’ who had learned to like it – recruit sometimes (or at least trying to) – who had fallen in love with his abuser, who wanted to be ‘molested’ (without even knowing the word) – who begged his ‘friend’ to ‘do it’ – over and over again . . .
yeah, it can be hard not to blame one’s self for that kind of stuff. And stuff that later went on. So how do you go about dealing with that kind of shame? How do you get over it, or at least sweep it under the ol’ mental rug (noticing the lumps – just reminders) . . .
First we had to forgive ourselves – and him – for being human. For ‘giving into our weaknesses’ – ours for needing him (seeing something as love) – and him for …. well, he did try to say ‘no’ there at the very end, didn’t he? And we pressed him for that . . . and he conceded. So perhaps then, there – it was ‘our fault’ – but so what? We “needed” him – and ‘his love’ (though it was only sex at the time) – to keep us ‘together’ and feeling somewhat loved in a time in our life when we needed some love . . . so yeah – we can (just barely) forgive him for that – and he was young, just a teenager at the time as well (and being abused as well, no doubt in my mind – though I do not know if it was sexually, they were even poorer than us) . . .
Looking at that little boy in us we see . . . a little boy who needed love – needed someone badly to be his friend – and not just any friend, but a close friend who could love him in ways he could feel and understand it – that was important back then – someone to ‘love’. And if you buy into the notion that love is a needed emotion; that a little child needs some love sometimes; that this one did (remember: abused, torn, father often absent, torturous psychotic mom; poverty stricken southern neighborhood) . . .
We can’t blame him for that; not one bit, not one iota. The rest of mankind might blame him – but I won’t. (That paragraph above just makes me want to cry for him.) He needs ‘forgiving’ (but I’ve already forgave) – and the ability to hold his head and chin up when he strides this world without feeling the burden of ‘his sin’ – when his sin was just living and loving as best he could with what he knew at the time . . .
This social stigma “stuff” has got to end. It’s time for ‘mankind’ to take another good long look at this thing – a hard one – and work on removing the ‘sin’ and the ‘stain’ of a ‘childhood’ sin from the child . . . not just from the world’s perspective, but from the perspectives of those who’ve been abused – so that they can feel this burden lifted and can begin to heal . . . just a little bit more.