Tuesday, 20 January 2015

MatrixMen South Africa @Matrixmensa


MatrixMen was established to provide support for men that get to a point in their lives where they can no longer deny the fact that they were at some point in their lives sexually abused.
This is often a harsh reality that is difficult to deal with, and many men choose to end it all. This is not the only choice, You now have help at hand.
The effects of sexual abuse remain with the victim and often create serious and ongoing problems for both the victim and their families in later life.
The problems associated with CSA include :
  • The inability to create meaningful relationships.
  • Some form of sexual dysfunction, including sex addiction, porn addiction and incapacity for intimacy.
  • Relationship problems including excessive anger towards ones partner.
  • Personal shame.
  • The inability to fulfill ones potential.
  • Excessive reliance on drugs & alcohol.
  • Homophobia 
  • Excessive anger 
MatrixMen is a Non-Profit and a Non Government Organisation, created and managed by people who have themselves been victims of sexual abuse.
MatrixMen provides support services to people who wish to overcome the ongoing effects of abuse. These services include the creation of a safe environment for the discussion of these issues, in a group dynamic.

Please welcome Martin Pelders, founder of Matrix Men South Africa.

Often I look back on my life and smile,  odd statement for a guy that suffered sexual abuse and neglect, but I smile thinking,  what a journey it has been,  what a turnaround it has been, and all of this in 4 short years.
But that is now,  life up until four years ago was pretty miserable, and getting to this point was probably one of the most painful experiences I have had to endure.  

Memories of my abuse go back to the age of five or six,  these years are pretty patchy and many of them still lost,  but I've had flashes of things being done to me at that age,  the abuse continued to the age of 19.
Finally at the age of 19 we were conscripted into the military in South Africa where we had to serve a two year national service stint.  It was during one of the days of physical training that I remember thinking "boy I'm pretty tough,  I'm sure I can fight these guys of me"

Throughout the two years of national service I tried to avoid rather than to confront my perpetrators, I was already a pretty heavy drinker, after all it was easier to avoid than to confront, and drinking was sure a great way of avoiding the issues. 

After the military service, I was released into the big world where I would encounter people and situations that I was certainly not ready for after the relative safety of the known that the military gave me.  

Initially I was afraid to go out and find jobs, mostly calling on family and friends to help with their contacts,  and when I finally did get one, I didn't stay long,  I think the longest I stayed at a company was a year,  and I would be of in search of a new challenge,  hopeful this time it would finally make me happy.
I went into many careers, many varied fields, quickly mastering and excelling in that field,  but then as the end of my first year rolled in I would begin to itch and want to move on.

Eventually I became quite proficient at finding work for myself,  selling myself and doing well for a short while and then this burning desire to move again. At the time I didn't know what drove me to move on so much,  but years later with the benefit of hindsight I saw that it was the fear of someone finally finding out what I really was,  as sexual deviant, alcoholic,  porn addict and a liar. There was at the time also the added fear of failure,  the fear of not being as good as I portrayed myself to be. 

One of the most prevalent goals in my life was always the search for happiness,  the deep seated knowledge that there had to be something better,  after all, being alone and wanting to be drunk all the time, wanting to blow my brains out every day was not my idea of a happy life.

I wanted a real girlfriend not a magazine and my hand.  I tried the gay scene,  but left a lover on his knees open mouthed on a beach and walked away.  Another orgasm was not going to make my dead heart feel better,  whether with a guy or girl. 

Finally I thought perhaps if I found a girl got married and did what society told me to do I would be happy,  you know the dream,  wife,  house,  2 kids,  a cat and a microwave.  This was the key to happiness,  it had to be. 

Well I found a young girl,  we dated for a while and was soon married.  I remember on our honeymoon night,  I opted to go get drunk in the bar rather than spend the first night with my bride, she was waiting in the room in a frilly outfit and waited whilst I "moved the car". I just didn't come back,  she fell asleep alone.  This should have been a sign,  she should have run there and then. 

It was as in most things in my life, not going to be easy to find the happiness that I so craved or the happy life that society was trying to sell us.  My young bride could not fall pregnant,  there was something wrong and for a long time our desire to have children gave us a common goal,  something we could focus on,  that short time was 11 years.  Finally God blessed us the miracle we so desired, a beautiful baby girl. 

This for me was the beginning of the end,  my life was from this point going to get more and more dysfunctional. 

I could not understand my increased alcohol intake,  the drinking got heavier and heavier,  my moods got worse and worse,  my anger exploded.  My poor daughter could not make a noise,  could not ask me anything,  could not play with me,  whatever she tried to do to be close to daddy was met with either a bad mood or anger.  I kept saying that it would get better when she got older,  "I just can't relate to little kids" I would say.  My wife began hinting that perhaps I was drinking a little too much, to which I of course responded “it’s because I’m so stressed”.

At this stage of my life I had my own business,  I was doing the sales,  installations,  invoicing,  purchases,  books, I did everything and I was tired, but that was certainly not the reason I was drinking so much
Finally we started trying for a second child,  and this was again a process of doctors and tests,  but to no avail.   I did discover one thing in this process, and that was that I was an alcoholic.  
In remember the doctor asking me if I drank a lot,  I said 
“Only about two drinks a night” (lie)
He asked if I would stop drinking for 6 weeks,  
"No problem" I replied,  well after the second day I realised that this wasn't going to be that easy,  in fact I started to drink again.  
This was hard, I started realizing that I was an alcoholic,  
"Damn, that woman was right" I thought. 

One night we had a bit of a party at my home,  and when I woke up naked on the lawn the next morning,  I decided that this was not on.  I stopped drinking that day. 

Three months of pain were to follow as my body withdrew from the constant intake of alcohol,  but I managed and to this day have not let a drop of alcohol cross my lips. 

Sad thing is,  that not drinking didn't make me happy either, and after 4 years of sobriety I was finally forced to go to the AA and see if I could save my marriage. 

With the drinking over I began to fall to my other great addiction,  porn.

Wow was I never going to be normal?

I went through the AA program and still happiness evaded me until one day I was home and saw the Oprah show,  the 200 men. Here were a bunch of men telling my story,  guys talking about how I felt,  talking about the thoughts that were going through my mind,  how did they know?  They were me. 

From this point in my life,  my entire focus was on finding out more about what sexual abuse did to me, the effects I the dysfunctions,  the way it altered my life,  that was my quest. 

I was 45 when I finally worked out what the problem was with me, I  am a male survivor of sexual abuse. 
The porn gave way to a new passion,  studying,  learning, writing,  asking questions,  absorbing every little bit of information.  That gave way to understanding what my problems were, which moved into pain and discovery,  loss,  fear,   dread. I discovered that over the years as a survivor, I had developed several different personalities.  At work I was the ultimate professional, top of my field.  At home I was the worst person, the one I thought was the real me. In the community I was a fighter for a safe suburb.  At the parties I was the comedian, the joker, life and soul of the party, and at Church, well I was the leader the helper the nice guy.  Would I ever be normal,  could I take these different me's and make them one whole functional man?  Would the real Martin please stand up? 

At one point in the journey I thought that I couldn't,  that I would never be "normal". That night I wanted one of two things from God, healing or death,  I didn't care which. 
God gave me healing,  and I promised Him that I would make it my mission to talk to all the men in my country about male survivors,  I would be one of the 200 men in the South African context. I would become the one to say its ok, you are not alone. 

That night MatrixMen was born.  Being the only one in the country that spoke about this was not easy. At first people thought I was mad,  but I kept going,  I kept puffing away at it, I kept calling into talk shows,  writing to the press,  calling people,  talking talking talking.

About a year into recovery I got a call from another male survivor in South Africa,  he wanted to join me,  so we met and spoke and spoke or first meeting we chatted for 5 hours,  we couldn't get enough of it, he later went on to start the other organization that talks about this in South Africa, I was sad that we did not work together at first, but in hindsight it was good to have two organizations instead of only one crazy guy shouting out.

MatrixMen and the other groups in South Africa have a tremendous amount of work to do, there are many millions of men to reach, people to help and perspectives to change.  All of this will take time and energy, and with Gods help and guidance we will get there and help the men that are hurting.  One thing I have learnt in the 50 years that I have been on earth is that patience is a virtue.

There I realize two types of people on earth, those that have been hurt and those that have not.  The one group that has been hurt has at the end of the day 2 choices in their lives, remain a victim or stand up and face your demons.  

Both options are scary, remaining a victim means that you will go through life unhappy and hurting, and standing up and facing the hurts of your past will, I repeat WILL be hard and Will cause you pain, it will be difficult, but I promise that if you tackle this task with a firm desire to heal your life, that pain will be very very short in the greater scheme of things.  I was a victim for 45 years, I fought my demons for about a year, of which 8 months were the hardest, but yes, today I can sit back and smile at the path that I have traveled, happy in the knowledge that I am a good person, I am a happy person, I am sucessful, loved and a good father. None of this would have happened had I not faced and fought the demons of my past.

Two things have brought me through all this, the support of my father whose quiet support I have been blessed to have, and my Father in Heaven that has told me that I could be a new creation, that all the bad things that I had done in my past were forgiven and that I am a special creation with a calling and a purpose.
All Survivors are Special people and my wish for all of you is that you find the courage and conviction to face your demons and fears and conquer them so that you too can live a life free from fear and bondage.
You are all special, you are all chosen, you all have a purpose, I pray you find yours.

Martin Pelders 

Founder MatrixMen South Africa


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