One in Six

According to the organization One in Six, this number is the scientific estimate of men and boys that have been abused or suffered sexual assault. This is the crime that hides in plain sight. Survivors of abuse and assault are in our schools, workplaces, as well as other areas of professional and places of entertainment. As a survivor of sexual abuse, the statistics are a lot higher.

Abuse occurs when the perpetrator “grooms” the unsuspecting child to gain their trust and compliance. Since this can happen anywhere and anytime under various circumstances, the crime often under-reported if they are reported at all. We do not say anything for distinct reasons. In my personal circumstance, the abuser gained my trust because of the role he played in my catholic church and my community. He systematically targeted boys whose fathers were absent. He was the person who volunteered his car to give 80% of the boys in the eighth, seventh and altar servers rides to any school/church related outings. He volunteered his time to take us all out to dinner and the movies on any given Saturday night.

Boys are not brought up to be victims. I think that most of us know this. Ninety-five percent of us are taught to be leaders, fathers, protectors, and nurturers. Being a victim never entered into the equation.

Some of us in the LGBTQ Community think that being able to “land” an adult would be tantamount to obtaining a badge of honor. It is natural for gay men to be attracted to a member of the same sex. We do not think that any damage is being done whenever we encounter a member of the same sex intimately.

But what about when this happens to a straight male; or the gay male that is simply too young to give consent? We have no idea as to what is really being done to us emotionally. We have no idea as to what was taken from us.

Now this part is important: 

Whoever you would have been prior to the abuse has now been changed, the emotional trajectory altered permanently. You are now a different being with this new way of thinking taking you into late adulthood. Abuse victims may often drink too much, sex too much, drug too much or may simply be given to bouts of severe depression or moments of extreme sadness; all without knowing why.

This is simply my opinion but as a survivor of abuse, I can say unequivocally that this is what happened to me. I have interviewed victims of abuse, both male and female and the information gained is what I base my opinion on.

I never told anyone about my abuse until I reached the age of fifty-one. It just never occurred to me to tell anyone what happened to me. Boys will carry this until they reach adulthood. Some have the courage to tell a trusted adult but those are rare.

One in six.

That is a sizable number to deal with. The victims hide in plain sight not allowing anyone access to their internal pain. For most of us, we walk around blissfully unaware that on the outside, everyone looks fine and well-adjusted. We have no idea just who experienced what when they were growing up. We simply do not make that information available to our friends and loved ones because we are either trying to forget the incident(s), are too ashamed of what has happened or are too angry to share this information with anyone.

RAINN, (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has a host of tools and contact information to help navigate the road to healing from abuse.

I have not healed completely from abuse. Knowledge is power and although I am aware of what was done, I have not finished the healing process. Healing is slow and tedious. Many of us must adjust to our new norm once we realize what was taken from us. Healing takes time. But at the end of the day, time is all we have.

~ J.L. Whitehead

RAINN – 800-656-HOPE (4673)

www.rainn.org

Written by Jerome

J. L. Whitehead has been writing professionally since 1989, initially beginning his career as a contributing freelance columnist for “PGN, Incorporated” located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After writing for the publication for a year, he published his first chap book of poetry entitled “Universal Words” while enjoying various speaking engagements and poetry exhibitions.
His works includes being a major contributing writer to a book of poetry and prose for African American men entitled “A Warm December” in 1989.
In 2002, he became a contributing writer and editor for an online magazine entitled “Never2Funky”.
He has been a journalist for a national web site entitled “The Examiner” as well as contributing to CNN’s iReport. These online publications are web sites dedicated to reporting local and national area news and events. He conducts interviews with local area authors and writes unbiased reviews of their work. He also composes commentaries on topics that pertain to the social issues relevant of the day.
He has also founded his own publication company that goes by the name, Four Brothers Publications. He has released his first full length novel entitled Bruthas and has also written the manuscript for his first play based on the characters of his novel. In 2013, Bruthas, The Final Chapter was released as the second installment of this family crime drama. Both publications are currently available at www.fourbrotherspublications.com and Amazon.
Awards:
The Princeton Literary Review Silver Standard of Literary Excellence for “Bruthas” published August 2011 by Four Brothers Publications

Again, But Better

For anyone that is hurting, it will get better