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Survivor's Story

Shannon’s Story

Shannon's Story

The abuse affected me in many ways, profoundly and permanently.  It has affected my ability to live in the world, keeping me from feeling like I belong in society.  I haven’t had a social life for most of my life.  I never kept a job for more than six years and have been unemployed for over 13 years.  I’ve had an intense pain inside me since I was seven years old which is emotional and psychological.  This pain grew like a fire burning inside me for 50 years until I couldn’t deal with it any more.  My emotions have been a storm in me that I have had to ignore. 

My father called me a worthless piece of shit for the first twenty years of my life.  He was my father, so I believed him.  He was not someone I could talk to or to ask for advice. 

I’ve never been married or had a love life.  I’ve never been on a date.  I could never imagine anybody wanting to have anything to do with me.  I could never be intimate with anybody in any way, or make a connection with anyone.  My social ineptitude and inability to communicate with the women I liked or loved from afar made me hate myself more. 

Before the sexual abuse, I dreamed of being married and having kids, having a job and coming home to a loving wife.  Those thoughts disappeared when it happened. 

In 1969 I turned eight.  I was sexually abused by a urologist.  This included genital torture.  It happened several times.  He knew how to make things hurt.  He was an expert in the male reproductive system.  He grinned at me while doing it.  I was horrified. 

My viewpoint changed with the abuse.  I no longer saw people as good.  I couldn’t trust anyone.  I was right, too, as my friends were people who just wanted to use me.  I thought my parents wanted to get rid of me. 

I’ve wondered if what I went through had anything to do with why my genitals look way they do.  It’s humiliating and embarrassing.  I feel mutilated by the torture.  I’m ashamed of them for being so vulnerable and sensitive. 

I can’t stand to be examined by male doctors.  When you’re a man asking a female doctor about your genitals, they get suspicious and think you’re a pervert.  They won’t examine you.  I haven’t had a thorough physical exam for many years.  I’ve been impotent for over twenty years. 

I didn’t tell anyone what the doctor did to me.  I thought my parents would punish me for talking about that part of my body.  Also, it was a very embarrassing and humiliating experience.  How could I talk about it? 

I was taught that boys don’t complain or cry about anything.  It wasn’t about being seen as less of a man; it’s what we were taught.  Our teachers punished boys for crying, to teach us to be quiet and hold it in.  If a girl cried about something, she would be comforted.  If a boy cried, he got spanked or had to stand in the corner. 

As time went on, it just seemed too embarrassing to talk about and I had no one to tell.  Girls had places they could go to talk about sensitive topics, school nurses, etc., but boys did not.  We weren’t supposed to go to anyone about any problems.   

Most people don’t take men’s emotions or feelings seriously.  They don’t take our problems seriously.  They think we’re superficial, simple-minded creatures. 

At school, I was beaten up on a regular basis because I was the smallest boy in the school.  I was an easy target.  I’d get good grades and get beaten up for it. 

During and after the sexual abuse, I came to the conclusion that my dad was right: I was a worthless piece of shit.  I would be lucky if I had any friends.  No girl would ever like me.  No woman would ever love me.  I thought girls and women could see through me and see the garbage that I was. 

I saw three different therapists from about 2000 to 2006.  I couldn’t talk about the sex abuse then, so I was just wasting time and money. 

In the spring of 2019, I went to my fourth therapist.  She was the first I told about the sex abuse.  She sneered at me.  She didn’t think that sex abuse of males was a serious thing.  This was almost enough to make me give up trying to get help.  When you’re male, few take you seriously when you tell them you’ve been sexually abused.  They either don’t believe you or think it just doesn’t matter.  This was 50 years after the abuse.  I feel that those 50 years were lost. 

I had a devastating experience at my 40-year high school reunion.  I saw a woman who meant very much to me.  She didn’t remember who I was.  I cried for the first time in 50 years.  I cried several times in the next two months.  I had never hurt so much.  50 years of pain hit me all at once. 

I saw a therapist in December of 2019.  Maybe there was a personality clash.  She did nothing to make me feel at ease with her. 

I’m on my sixth therapist, since January of 2020.  She has helped me in various ways.  She helped me identify my mental illness and its causes.  I’ve unloaded a lot of garbage from my mind.  There’s a lot of garbage to go. 

It’s important for me to tell my story.  I hope that by telling it, it will help other male survivors of sexual abuse to speak out and get help.  I hope by getting more men to speak out, we can help others to see that sexual abuse of males is a real thing and it needs to be taken as seriously as sexual abuse of females.

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