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4 Ways Men Can Heal From Sexual Abuse
Most often when we read or hear about the sexual abuse of children the stories are about the victimization of young girls. Less often discussed, but still pervasive, are the number of young boys who have also been affected. In the United States, one out of every six young men has been a victim.
I am one of them; I was physically and sexually abused as a preteen.
But what I want you to know is that I was healed and made whole through Jesus Christ and the same can be true for any boy or man who has walked in my shoes. In this article I will share some of the healing techniques that helped me overcome the residual effects associated with this painful and traumatic experience.
Whether a person has been assaulted by a stranger or someone they know like an uncle, stepfather, mother, aunt or family friend, doesn’t really matter. In every case, as with all traumatic situations, the child suffers a threat to his life or body that is so overwhelming that it destroys all normal systems of safety and trust. In short, the child’s world, belief system, and sense of how life is supposed to be are destroyed. The child becomes like a puzzle whose pieces are scattered and must be put back together again.
Four techniques can help victims of sex abuse restore their sense of safety and who they are. The techniques are:
Know that they are not alone. Sixty-two percent of children throughout the world have been sexually abused. In addition, it is helpful to consider that traumatic events and tragedies are part of the lives of the vast majority of people in the world today. Trauma could be a tsunami off the coast of Asia, a roadside bomb in Iraq, a hurricane in New Orleans, a car accident near home or sexual violence in the bedroom of a child. Trauma knows know gender, race or culture.
Find a community. A person who suffers a trauma like sexual abuse loses three things – their voice, identity and a sense of self. Seeking out a community allows the individual to find all three. A community can be one person, ten people or a hundred. The important thing is that it serves to let a person tell and retell his story in total comfort.
Forgive everyone. This is perhaps the most difficult of the first three steps, but the most critical. The longer it takes to forgive the individual, or the event, or even God, the longer the effects of the trauma will remain in a person’s life. Forgiveness releases the victim’s need for personal revenge and primes them to take action to help the perpetrator and the community. Once forgiveness has taken place, it may be possible to get help for the abuser by informing family, clergy and even law enforcement officials of this individual’s need of help.
Put his world back together. Through awareness, acceptance, assurance, adoration, association, assignment, accountability and assimilation – what I call the 8 A’s of Ascension into the Arms of the Almighty – a man can take a new look at God, his worldview, his values, beliefs of right and wrong, reward and punishment and himself. As he progresses through each of the A’s he can put his world back together and move forward into a productive and substantial life.
Dr. Dennis L. Waters is Pastor/President of Spirit of Victory and Praise Community Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland and Pastor/President of Spirit, Victory, Praise Ministries. SVP Ministries helps people move beyond the shame, blame, and pain of past tragedy, trauma, and loss by tapping into the tools and techniques for healing of major Christian religions, including meditation and self-talk affirmations. His latest book, "I Will Restore: A Ministry of Healing to African American Male Survivors of Prepubescent Physical and Sexual Abuse," explains the Eight A's of Ascension into the Arms of the Almighty in greater detail.
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