Sunday, 30 August 2015

Memories and Regrets

I have seen and experienced a number of horrific incidents in my life. One would think that time would take away their power to affect me to my core.

I once witnessed a boy being strangled. It was an "abusive sex game" that went horribly wrong. I shut most of the memory out until recently. I don't know for sure what happened to the boy but I can see his face so very clearly today. I had a nightmare about it this morning and awoke coughing and choking as I had vomit in my mouth and throat.

I am 48 years old yet today feel like a frightened little boy again. I feel very alone and that no-one will ever truly understand me. I am ashamed to say that I even feel that life has no purpose. I can never escape the horrors of the past. If I had spoken out all those years ago maybe some horrors could have been prevented. Maybe I wouldn't be the messed up shadow of a man I am today,

These memories and others I have mentioned came back after I called myself "Beyond Survivor". That feels like a sad joke right now. I feel very much a victim.


Monday, 24 August 2015

Lingering in the darkness #childabuse #poetry


Lingering in the darkness
unseeing, fearing, fearing 
not the dark, but the light
fearing the light
for with the light comes discovery
with discovery comes him
with him comes a touch
oh, what a dirty touch
why oh why
what have I done wrong?
this is normal, he says
this is our little secret, he says
you tell anyone, I’ll kill you..
maybe death would be better
he could not touch me then 
he could not touch me in all
those private places
he says he loves me
I should love him
but I don’t 
I can’t
I won’t
there is no escape
only death might suffice
his death
or mine
and then
maybe
not

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Sexual Abuse Of Males - Possible Lasting Effects

This section provides some basic information on the complexity of this issue, then reviews research on long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse in men's lives. At the end of this section, several articles and books are listed along with the symptoms and other effects. The complete citations for these articles and books, which you can get from libraries and bookstores, are in the next section of this page (Recommended Books and Articles).
Of course the sexual abuse of male children can lead to a variety of problems and suffering. But it's not that simple. My aim in this section is to provide some basic information that, while conveying the possible effects of the sexual abuse of males, helps people appreciate the complexity of this issue and avoid unnecessarily pessimistic beliefs.
Therefore, I will start with four basic points:
  1. Being sexually abused is one of many painful and potentially damaging experiences that a human being may suffer in childhood.

  2. Whether and to what extent child abuse and neglect (or other painful experiences) have negative effects depends on a variety of factors - related to the abuse itself, but also to relationships, in which the abuse and the child's responses occur.

  3. Child abuse, in itself, does not "doom" people to lives of horrible suffering.

  4. If a person has been sexually abused and experiences some of the problems or symptoms listed below, the abuse is not necessarily the primary (let alone only) reason for such suffering.

Child Abuse and the Human Condition

It is important to consider these issues in relation to what some people refer to as "the human condition." By this I mean:
  • All human beings suffer painful experiences, and some of these occur in childhood.

  • All caregivers of children are sometimes unable to protect them from painful experiences.

  • We all need love and support to deal with the effects of painful experiences.

  • Everyone must find ways to cope with the emotions generated by painful experiences - whether or not we get love and support from others.

  • Many coping or self-regulation strategies work in some ways, but also limit people in other ways. For example:

    • Ignoring painful feelings may reduce one's conscious experience of them. But it also prevents one from learning how to manage them in smaller doses, let alone larger ones - which makes one vulnerable to alternating between feeling little or no emotions and being overwhelmed and unable to cope with them.

    • Avoiding getting close to people and trying to hide all of one's pain and vulnerabilities may create a sense of safety. But this approach to relationships leads to a great deal of loneliness, prevents experiences and learning about developing true intimacy and trust, and makes one vulnerable to desperately and naively putting trust in the wrong people and being betrayed again.

    • At the extreme, getting really drunk can block out painful memories and feelings, including the feeling of being disconnected from others - but cause lots of other problems and disconnections from people.

  • Some people suffer more painful experiences than others, and abuse is one of many possible causes of extreme emotional pain (others include life-threatening illness, death of a loved one, physical disfigurement, etc.).

  • Some people get more love and support from their families and friends than others, and families in which abuse occurs tend to provide less of the love and support needed to recover from abuse. But families in which abuse does not happen can also experience significant problems, and can make it hard for family members to deal with the inevitable painful experiences in life.
  • Finally, because everyone needs caring relationships and love, emotional neglect can be more devastating than abuse, particularly in the earliest years of life.

The Effects of Child Abuse Depend on a Variety of Factors

We have learned from many people's experiences and a great deal of research that the effects of abuse and neglect depend on a variety of factors. Below I group these effects into those which research has shown to influence negative outcomes, and a variety of other factors that are harder to measure for research purposes and/or may be very important for some people but not others.
Factors research has shown to influence the effects of abuse:
  • Age of the child when the abuse happened.  Younger is usually more damaging, but different effects are associated with different developmental periods.

  • Who committed the abuse.  Effects are generally worse when it was a parent, step-parent or trusted adult than a stranger.

  • Whether the child told anyone, and if so, the person's response.  Doubting, ignoring, blaming and shaming responses can be extremely damaging - in some cases even more than the abuse itself.

  • Whether or not violence was involved, and if so, how severe.

  • How long the abuse went on.
Additional factors that are difficult to research or may differ in significance for different people:
  • Whether the abuse involved deliberately humiliating the child.

  • How "normal" such abuse was in the extended family and local culture.

  • Whether the child had loving family members, and/or knew that someone loved her or him.

  • Whether the child had some good relationships - with siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.

  • Whether the child had relationships in which "negative" feelings were acceptable, and could be expressed and managed safely and constructively.
Some of these factors are about how severe the abuse was, and some are about the relational context of the abuse and the child's reactions. Both types of factors are extremely important.
A great deal of research has been conducted, and continues to be conducted, on how such factors determine outcomes for those abused in childhood. Factors that increase the likelihood of negative outcomes have been referred to as "risk factors," and ones that decrease the likelihood of negative outcomes as "protective factors." Every person who has experienced abuse is unique. And every person who has experienced abuse has a unique combination of risk and protective factors that have influenced, and continue to influence, the effects in his or her life.
In summary, it is important to appreciate that these issues are very complex, and to be familiar with how abuse and neglect can - depending on a variety of other factors - affect various aspects of a person's life. Keep this in mind as you search the web for information and understanding about the effects of child abuse.

Potential Long-Term Effects of the Sexual Abuse of Males

This section lists potential, but not inevitable, lasting effects of the sexual abuse of male children. It should not be read as a "laundry list" of problems and symptoms that necessarily follow the sexual abuse of males, nor does the presence of any in males with sexual abuse histories necessarily mean the abuse is their primary cause. (See above.)
Findings on the long-term effects of child sexual abuse in males have been more consistent than those on prevalence. Methodologies for detecting problems and symptoms that could be outcomes are relatively straightforward, and many studies have utilized standardized measures that are widely accepted in the field.
First, I want to recommend a paper by David Lisak, Ph.D. This paper contains many powerful quotations from interviews with male survivors of sexual abuse. Lisak groups the quotations into themes, and discusses them with remarkable insight and compassion. The themes are:
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Homosexuality Issues
  • Helplessness
  • Isolation and Alienation
  • Legitimacy
  • Loss
  • Masculinity Issues
  • Negative Childhood Peer Relations
  • Negative Schemas about People
  • Negative Schemas about the Self
  • Problems with Sexuality
  • Self Blame/Guilt
  • Shame/Humiliation
One man emailed me to share this experience: "reading [Lisak's article] was the first time I realized that other people have the same issues I have. I sat in the library and cried when I read that article. Not the usual reaction to scholarly research, but I'm sure Prof. Lisak wouldn't mind" (used with permission).
Lisak, D. (1994). The psychological impact of sexual abuse: Content analysis of interviews with male survivorsJournal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 525-548.
Using standardized measures of symptoms, researchers have found that men who were sexually abused in childhood, whether or not they seek out mental health services, may suffer from:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Hostility and anger
  • Impaired relationships
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Suicidal ideas and behavior
SOURCE Jim Hooper 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Child sex abuse victims' vulnerability must not be barrier to justice

Vulnerability among child sex abuse victims should no longer be a barrier to justice, the director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, has declared as he unveiled new guidelines for handling cases.
Victims will in future be told that other complaints have been made against suspects "to strengthen their resolve to continue with the criminal process".
Detectives and prosecutors will also be reminded that "reluctance to co-operate with those in authority, failure to report allegations of abuse swiftly" and providing inconsistent accounts are not uncommon patterns of behaviour for child sex abuse victims.
The new guidelines are a joint response by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and police to the investigation into Jimmy Savile and a series of high-profile child sex grooming cases.
"Vulnerability can no longer be a barrier to justice and I want to see prosecutors actively challenging any misconceptions a jury might have," Starmer announced.
Chief Constable Dave Whatton, the police's leading officer on violence and public protection, said: "This consultation is a moment to reflect on how we can deliver the best for victims of child sexual abuse."
The CPS currently takes to court between 4,000 and 5,000 cases of child sex abuse a year. Around 75% result in convictions.
The new guidelines could result in a flood of new cases entering the criminal justice system. A joint police/CPS panel has been established to consider complaints about past cases where either prosecutors or detectives declined to continue with investigations. The panel is already looking at claims by four individuals.
The new CPS guidelines will require all child sex abuse cases to be dealt with by specialists in rape and serious sexual offences. There will be earlier consultation on cases between the police and CPS.
Victims will be given more support. "There is no bar to a victim seeking pre-trial therapy or counselling and neither police nor prosecutors should prevent therapy taking place prior to a trial," the guidelines state.
On informing victims about suspects, they say: "There is no rule which prevents victims being told that they are not the only ones to have made a complaint of abuse.
"Victims can be told that the suspect has been the subject of complaints by others. Doing so may strengthen their resolve to continue their engagement with the criminal process. But this should usually only be done after the victim's account has been given, and details of other allegations should not be disclosed."

Talking about sexually abused boys, and the men they become

Talking about boyhood sexual abuse and its aftermath for men can be difficult, even painful. But such talk is absolutely essential.
By age 16, as many as one in six boys in America has had unwanted sex with an adult or older child. Millions of men, abused as children, continue to live with the debilitating effects of shattered trust.
The media has been of little help deepening the conversation about male sexual victimization.  Recent coverage about the sexual abuse of boys has emphasized preventing abuse, making sure sexual predators are sequestered from youthful prey, and "moving on."  For example, the crises of a church that harbored predators have gotten far more air time than the harm done to the boys molested by priests. 
To be fair, while these boys - and the men they become - have mostly been neglected by the media, at least those scandals brought boyhood abuse into the public discourse. We can talk about it now, and we must do so, no matter how difficult this talk can be.
It's disturbing to think about what it means to a boy when he's sexually abused by someone he trusts. Uncomfortable as we feel, however, we must either talk about the reality of his experience or continue to live in silence, with devastating consequences.
Abusers use their age or authority to satisfy their own needs without regard to those of their victims. Seemingly unbreakable bonds are broken when treachery is introduced into these relationships. Consequently, many sexually abused boys grow up distrustful, considering people dishonest, malevolent, and undependable. They often become frightened of emotional connection and isolate themselves. This may alternate with merging with loved ones so they hardly know where they end and others begin.
Confusing affection with abuse, desire with tenderness, sexually abused boys often become men who have difficulty distinguishing among sex, love, nurturance, affection, and abuse. They may experience friendly interpersonal approaches as seductive and manipulative. On the other hand, they may not notice when exploitative demands are made on them - they've learned to see these as normal and acceptable.
Believing sexual closeness is the way to feel loved but experiencing love as abuse, some of these men solve their dilemma by engaging in frequent, indiscriminate, and compulsive sexual encounters. These are not free, joyous expressions of erotic passion. Sex is pursued incessantly, but with little chance for intimacy. Although strongly desiring love, these men have no sense of feeling loved once the sex act is concluded. They're left feeling empty and lonely, while the idea of fully pursuing relationships fills them with dread. Many believe sexually abused boys almost inevitably become sexually abusive men. But, while a significant proportion of male abusers were victims themselves, there's evidence that relatively few sexually abused boys actually become abusers. Because of the myth, however, many menfear they'll become abusive or worry that if they disclose their history, others will consider them predators.
Sexually abused boys are also troubled if they were aroused while being abused. Teenagersare easily aroused, having little control over the hormones surging through their bodies. But if they're stimulated by aspects of their experience, they may feel they participated in or even invited the abuse. This confuses a boy who also knows he was also repelled by the experience. Feeling guilty about any sexual pleasure he felt during his molestation, he may become ambivalent about all sexual pleasure.
Also, masculine gender expectations teach boys they can't be victims. Boys are supposed to be competitive, resilient, self-reliant, and independent, but certainly not emotionally needy. "Real" men initiate sexual activity and want sex whenever it's offered, especially by women. For many men, these qualities define masculinity.
As a result, boys may not even recognize their sexual victimization. They may assert that they weren't abused, weren't hurt, or were in charge of what happened. For them, acknowledging victimization means admitting they're weak or "not male."
Finally, when the abuser is male (and even sometimes when she is female), many boys - whether straight or gay - develop fears and concerns about sexual orientation. Conventionalwisdom says sexual abuse turns boys gay, although there's no persuasive evidence that premature sexual activity fundamentally changes sexual orientation. Nevertheless, a heterosexual boy is likely to doubt himself, wondering why he was chosen by a man for sex. A homosexual boy may feel rushed into considering himself gay, or may hate his homosexuality because he believes it was caused by his abuse. Whether boys are gay or straight, these manipulative introductions to sexuality can set lifetime patterns of exploitation and self-destructive behavior.
These aftereffects are ugly. They're not only painful for victims but also costly to our society. Boys who grow up without coming to terms with their childhood abuse often struggle as men with addictions, anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide as well as the inability to develop or maintain relationships.
The good news: healing is possible. 
A first step is acknowledging that abuse occurred and articulating what has been silenced. Putting the experience into words is freeing for many men, whether they tell a loved one, a professional, a confidant, or simply write in a journal. Beyond that, there are several options. Knowledgeable professionals can help, as can healing retreats, some 12-Step programs, and men's groups focused on victimization and masculinity. The Internet offers several options, including web sites for sexually abused men such as www.malesurvivor.org(link is external), where men can find one another and talk, anonymously if necessary, about their common dilemmas, or 1in6.org(link is external), where additional information is available.
Talk about it.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Learning To Bend But Not Break Within A Relationship

We are taught that true loves means that you love the person and respect the differences.  If you truly love them, you love them as a whole and would not want them to change.  If you want them to change it means that you aren't really in love with them and the change will build resentment and cause a rift that will eventually tear apart the relationship.

But my problem with that is this.  Our partners are not our clones; so there are going to be differences.  For the most part we can accept these.  But what happens when one of those differences causes us pain and distress?  Do we just shut up about it and slowly feel our soul become stifled?  Surely, we should assert our own needs?

We develop habits as we go through life. These habits may serve us and even work within some relationships. What happens if a habit cannot be tolerated by a new partner or similar? Do we say "stuff you, this is me, like it or lump it" or do we, out of respect for the other, modify our habits enough to keep them happy without feeling we were forced and therefore creating resentment.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

Our daily lives are often a series of habits played out through the day, a trammeled existence fettered by the slow accretion of our previous actions. But habits can be broken or modified, as difficult as that may seem sometimes. Is the other person important enough to you that you are prepared to make some changes in order to keep them? Some habitual behaviour may serve you when you are single for example, but would not be appropiate within a relationship.

We are all unique. if we are looking to find someone who is exactly like ourselves we would have a long and fruitless wait. Even if we did find that person the chances are that the relationship would become very dull indeed. Differences are good. Celebrate them as long as they do not cause distress.

Our partners, the people we value most, will bring out aspects of our personality otherwise overlooked. Ideally, our relationships make us better people because they encourage us to be more than what we would be alone. In this sense, there’s nothing wrong with taking on some of your lover’s interests, or quirks, or patterns of thought. There’s also nothing wrong with evolving your outlook and behaviour to match a new stage in your life. It’s fine and acceptable that someone may change slightly after making a significant commitment to a relationship.

There is something very wrong when the changes are more than slight. For it would be very wrong if a chameleon stopped changing colours so it might better match all the other changeless creatures in the animal kingdom. Thus it would be very wrong if a person stopped being who they really were to better match someone else. It would be worse still if they never sought to be themselves in the first place.

Having a well developed sense of identity is vital to relationship success. Without it, the chance of waking up one morning feeling totally lost and confused and isolated is greatly increased. And, if you’re not already lost before you begin your love affair, there’s a good chance you may be consumed by it. This is dangerous and unhealthy. Yes, you’re creating a partnership, but effective partnerships ideally require two independent, effective people.

Love? What is it anyway? Some may claim that when you are truly in love then that love does not to be expressed. The knowledge that you are loved should be all encompassing and not require expression.

So about expressing love....

Love should be expressed in every way possible, through words, music, gifts, action, whatever you feel like and maybe more importanly what the object of your love needs.

The problem with the present communication system is that we talk a lot but express a little. The concept of expression has taken a back seat and the concept of social media quickies is in full speed drive. If you do not specifically let someone know that how much you love them, it might take a little time to reach them through other sources and that little time might cost you a lot.

If you do not make someone feel loved, what is the use of loving. Feeling loved is one of the best feelings in the world. We all live for that surely? There is no use of hiding your feeling and thinking that some cupid is going to do it for you or that the other person knows you love them so why bother expressing it. You should tell who so ever it is, how much you love them and how important they are in your life. Maybe not always out loud, maybe not always with words at all.

Circumstances might dictate how you express your feelings too. If you are apart from your loved then that is one of the the most important times of all to make sure they know how you feel. The object of your love may not need to have your love expressed constantly when you are together, but time and distance can bring issues of insecurity and fear to the fore.

No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect and that is why happy couples don’t look for perfection in their partner. They are considerate, patient, communicate and learn to deal with their partner’s weakness and strengthen them with love.

Understanding your partner’s boundaries is the first step to respecting them. It can be difficult to make the choice to respect your partner’s boundaries when their boundaries don’t match up with whatever it is that you want, but that doesn’t make respecting their boundaries any less important.

If you want to respect your partner, then you have to be able to see yourselves as a true team together. You should think like a team in your mutual decisions and always think of your partner when you make individual decisions. You should think about you both striving toward goals that make both of you stronger instead of feeling like you have opposing needs and wants. If you truly look at yourselves as a unit, then you’ll be able to give your partner the respect that they deserve.

If you don’t agree with your partner, discuss the situation respectfully. You can’t always be on the same page as your partner, and that’s perfectly fine. However, when differences do arise, it’s important that you discuss them respectfully. As you move forward in your relationship, you will find that there are some ways in which you and your partner are fundamentally different. Though you can change a bit to suit each other, you can’t change completely, and you have to learn to accept and appreciate your differences if you want to truly respect your partner.

The golden rule in relationships is – ‘You get what you put in’. I believe a couple is supposed to practice this before even thinking of changing one another’s habits. If one finds that their partner has some annoying habits, let them get rid of their own annoying habits first and from that change, a partner can also notice what they can change too. It creates a war when one notices the others annoying habits and wants to change them when they also have their own annoying habits that they haven’t done away with.

With true love, a couple can afford to overlook certain things that they know could easily start-off the 3rd World War in their relationship. I am not suggesting you overlook something then bring it up later when having a heated argument but to overlook it and have the discipline and self-control not to bring it up again.

Arguing shouldn’t always be seen as a negative element of your relationship. In fact, compared to a couple that never argue, it could be that your relationship is actually in better standing.

Why? Because arguing is indicative of two people who each have their own views and opinions, and are willing to share them. Arguments can mean that there is communication, and a desire to share the issues that are important to the people in the relationship.

In a relationship where there is barely a heated conversation, it could be that one or both parties don’t feel safe enough to express themselves. They doubt whether they can be honest about their feelings and be heard, respected, and still loved.

A lack of argument can also signal a lack of commitment. If you just don’t care about the longevity of your relationship with someone, you might just keep your head down and ignore anything that comes up because, ultimately, it won’t matter in the end.


There will be those who disagree with what I have put here. Maybe some would call me a hipocrite. We can all change, we can all learn. Life is not stationary, we must learn to adapt.

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