Sunday, 11 June 2017

All you need is LOVE by @survivorsburg #loveisall

Another gem from my very good friend May Thomson.

May has helped me through some very rough times and I can safely say I would not be here today if not for her kindness and strength of character. She is a true superstar.

Before I got sick

In my last job, before I got sick, I was a steward/security officer and stewarded rugby matches, football matches, security of property etc and some big gigs all over Britain.

I have met a lot of people from all over the world, folk like myself, others rich and famous, all walks of life including two royal gigs at Edinburgh and London - amazing experiences all of them!

One constant I always had in my work life, no matter if you the boss or my colleagues customers, all get treated the same and it applies to the rule set too:- i.e rules for each gig different e.g doing stage door if no pass I not care who you say you are not getting in, ask the drummer of Status Quo!Rick Parfitt had to come to his rescue at usher hall lol lol.

I was not superviser management, just a steward or so I thought.

Sadly we had a family loss and I was off work quite a while with the adjustments etc. On my return to one of regular football venues I had the most uplifting joyous experiences I could ever wish for.

A young supporter of the team I was stewarding for, his grandfather and his dad, wow he was a short little boy. I thought he was about 7 yrs old but then discovered he was 11. In my first week back at work this little boys granddad spotted me first he nudged his grandson gesturing to look up which this little boy did his face lit up with such joy let go his granddads hand and came running to me saying "your back!your back! I am so glad your back!" ( choke) with a huge hug.

Before this I had spoken to little boy a couple of times and knew his granddad brought him in as his dad not in till later as he was a landlord.
I asked the little chap why are you so happy that I am back? He said "Because I like you! You are always nice and you smile at me when I come in", wow that blew me away.

Till that day I thought I was just an average steward but that taught me so much. Yes I was one small part of a very large team but even my small contribution of carrying out my job correctly for the company I worked for to the best of my abitlies made an impact to the customers I served too.

This venue was also where young fans copied heroes,  national football star putting feet on back of seats etc. The Scotland team got told same as the supporters coming down. One little boy said "Do you know who you just told off misses?" No, I replied.  He said the players name and that he was a Scotland player. I told him yes well he's no different to you in these seats! So he gets told off too!! He thought I was so cool he really made me smile.

These interactions help build who you are today. Everyone I meet I respect and love till they prove themselves unworthy of it, and that applies to everyone. If it's in an official capacity I abide by the rules and I don't change.

I am no longer able to be employed but that does not mean I don't work. I just work differently and I don't get paid for my work.

Yes I write poetry which I hope helps others on difficult days etc or to say thank you for what others have done for me.
Behind the scenes I talk to people because I have crazy view points on lots of things that others find funny and helpful dealing with their issues etc, or to try to bring balance to issues etc.

But, even for me, life lately has been very challenging - from being taken seriously ill (life threatening), to humiliation, to husband having accident, to bad customer services which left someone normally so positive as me feeling useless and worthless i.e on benefits with finances not stretching enough etc etc.

I am not useless or worthless.

I am a unwell, loving, caring human being who has feelings and emotions.

I am really fed up that people like me become the enemy because of mainstream media and political agenda.

My accident happened at end of my working shift.

In our situation one emergency can take 6 to 12 weeks to recover from financially. We have to take a deep breath and start long slog back again.

The media portrays us as scroungers, lazy good for nothing individuals. I am not saying that some are like that but most of us were hard working people before our circumstances changed.

I don't claim for anything extra i.e fuel costs, hospital travel, car tax etc etc. What we get pays everything we can off. Our car? Well that is required not a luxury as my mobility is very poor and my husband visits his ill mum every 2nd week and is on emergency standby 24/7. We are not the type of people to claim and get everything we can. We claim and take only what we need. The basics.

The "work" I do now would not be possible if I was still able to work full time because what I do can be called for anytime night or day.

Unlike medical professionals, I don't have time limits.. If it takes 10/15 minute or 4/5 hours of talking to someone to help them through then that's what happens.

I don't have all the answers to every question because my knowledge is based only on my own experiences,

Even more so since my accident and losing my job. I thought my life was over.. I thought "what can I do now?" luckily in 2008 I discovered poetry which was to become my new path.

Most of my "work" i.e poetry, talking to others, sharing my own story etc is how I help and give to society today.

A few years ago I was called "Benefit Scum". At the time it really hurt and enraged all the normal feeling of a loving, caring human being, and felt like being kicked in the teeth.

But it did make me look more closely at myself. Firstly were they right? After much thought the answer was No, I do not take take take and give nothing back.

I have offered talks to medical students, law students, police trainee’s etc. The fact they choose not to take me up on my offer is their loss sadly.

At 55 yrs old and unwell I would see myself as useless and  worthless because I am at the moment unable to make my own living.

Well nothing could be further from the truth! I have purpose! I have hope! and... I have a dream!

All of thid because I have the most valuable ingredient of all..

I have LOVE.

May Thomson 2017

Aka Survivorsburg

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Inner Child via @SurvivorsBurg #stopchildabuse

What can I say about my guest blogger this week..

May Thomson is most certainly one of a kind. She has battled and overcome so very much. What makes her stand out is her humour and quick wit, combined with compassion and empathy. She is simply amazing. I have known her now for six years and my life is a better place for having her in it. Thank you May, my wee Scottish Thistle xx

Inner Child

The last 11 years have had to do a lot of work on my inner child to help keep me to my normal, sadly I find most survivors still hate their inner child. “Yes it has even recovered” taken me over ten years to love my own,

I read an article on a journalist interviewing old male survivors in Ireland and most prominent thing he saw was men turning back to boys as they told their own stories, I think this field of any survivor needs lot more work and could help recover the survivor quicker it is also mostly the part deepest buried and neglected even by survivors themselves

When I was unwell I always felt trapped and could not escape thought I never would and why I tried killing myself so many times to escape it,
That is one of the major keys that gets over looked most survivors are trapped in childhood some adapt,  others addiction, crime, mental illness,ect ect ect,

The first time one of my abusers who was arrested my Father:
No protection laws in the 70’s so his name in papers, (School life became such a joy NOT), no counselling for individuals or family, occasional visit from a social worker,
A mother who was also toxic verbally and physically abusive to her children and not coping with 5 now dysfunctional children,
Today all 5 of us 4 unrecovered and struggle everyday and me recovered 11yr, I would give everyone of siblings what I have but sadly mother and fathers legacy left Dysfunctional Family most don't speak to each other not all but most.

Then two 1/2 sisters  once again the mother not change so now 2 more,
So 7 children 6 struggling with their lives in some way,
Sadly for me most don't talk to me especially but I remember the essences of who they were when we were brother and sisters together for each other because that all we had each other,
Once again unwell I hated them as much as they hate me,after recovery no it breaks my heart, I cant help them I can't tell them about the recovery and the insight it gives you to what actually happened to us to point of waring not talking ect ect ,
Our mother 17 yrs dead I have tried continually to build bridges with my siblings who don't talk, and will till day I Die not their fault but our abusers and toxic parenting that caused us to be like they are, I was.

Filled with hate guilt ect ect 1thing I can see don't think they can when we were all together the common enemy was our Father, as his children we loved him we were told to,  but we also hated him with a great passion his cruelty his abuse,

But once the enemy is removed what then? That's were I fit in I became the enemy police interviewed me first and after our father was arrested anything went wrong in family my fault,
But remember I am only aged 9-11yrs old myself at this time of pure turmoil,

I can tell you now if you asked all 7 of us same questions about our fathers and mother yes similarities but each different,
As we all see circumstances differently, but each their own truth of how they either saw it or felt at that time in our lives,

My family lived in England at this time for me I only wanted to go home,go home tae Ma Bonnie Scotland and I did not care how I got it I did not enjoy living in England my heart my soul was always in Scotland,

My uncle started taken me on holidays home to Scotland and eventually I moved in with him, most would think idyllic sadly not he became my last abuser,
Until I was aged 23yrs  when I finally got out and stayed out,

Today as I write this I was asked a Question long time since I was last asked but so fitting for the article on Childhood memories no one can erase,
Why don't you just forget about your past and move on,
Normally the question itself would infuriate me, this time I challenged it,
I will never forget my past but I don't live there anymore, I live today and use my past to help others or inform others,

Forget my past no because I deny a very important part of what shaped me good or bad it has helped me become who I am today, and today I am very proud of what I have overcame to become who I am.

A Scottish poetess a recovered survivor who everyday puts Love into the world instead of anger hatred and pain, I went through that so I could truly love again starting with myself because if you don't love any part of you is when difficulty in dealing with life starts,
Lot of my knowledge especially in retrieving your inner child has only came last 11years since I found the recovery from the after effects of my abuse,
And been my key to so much insight and as I have said previously does not make immune to emotional crashes from my past just deal and cope with them differently today a more balanced approach to daily problems, some that can trigger wanted or unwanted memories of our childhood.

Most of my life I hated the little girl in me, she was sad pathetic helpless person,
When in reality she was such a strong little girl, living most of her life pillar to post between parents and relatives,
No stability in this little girls life even at home fights beating abuse even starvation at times,

So she shut down today best we estimate about 5/6 yrs old, and the 48 year battle to bring her back to life again.
The journey to helping and recovering my inner child started over 10 yrs ago after the recovery, bit by bit memories finally sorted and layed to rest, feelings emotions bit by bit needed sorted out, the hardest part was judging my inner child with who I am today the experience ect each time I tackled my inner child, we forget as children we did not have same knowledge skills ect that we judge our inner child with today,
Which then means giving ourselves a very hard time for what we didn't do to stop it ect,
Today also the grooming side of abuse is more recognised which wasn't back in my earlier life,
How my uncle became my last abuser groomed me for 2 yrs before going to live with him,

Many ask why didn't I just go back to my mum and family I tried that twice last time was told go back to Scotland you are no longer part of this family,
It destroyed me at the time the final betrayal I only had my uncle or so it seemed to me at the time.
I felt useless worthless unloved and the spiral towards mental illness set in,
From 14 yrs old I was on a mission to end my life most serious attempt 21yrs old,
Luckily I survived yet again.

Today I love and care for my inner child I hug her everyday,I tell her I love her how beautiful she is everything a mothers love should give her daughter,
I now give to myself, I am not a parent that does not mean I don't know how to parent,
So I parent that little girl yes she still get frighten scared ect so I comfort her,
Because that little girl inside my rock she strong talented and very loving and has a zest for life that's boundless.
Mostly today she is also happy little girl and it shines out the adult I have became.

We cannot change our pasts but we can heal the pain within by lovingly parenting ourselves first.

If we want a world of peace it starts with the children today, simple example: how many parents smack their children? this is the child's first teaching probably of violence towards them parent can't cope so smacks child,
And rather than face and feel the violence the child will shut off or worse shut down,

Prior to recovery I could not rescue her I could not cope or deal with her demands, always wanting attention ect ect but in my head was driving me crazy mostly because I did not understand myself her or our needs at the time.

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Thursday, 30 March 2017

Phoenix Warriors - Beyond The Ashes of Childhood Sexual Abuse with @26PeacockLady

"Phoenix Warriors - Beyond The Ashes of Childhood Sexual Abuse"

Donna Bailey and Ján L Frayne met online in the early part of 2012.

After much discussion they decided there was need for a book that addressed the issues of childhood sexual abuse from a new angle. 

They decided to collaborate on a book which would reflect gender perspectives and international perspectives as well as a more natural approach to healing and living with the aftermath of abuse.  The book crosses boundaries that others do not and helps the reader understand why they feel as they do and how to improve all aspects of their life post abuse.

Through their  personal experiences and through trying to find materials for themselves, they found that there is not enough content out there and would like to change that.

Both have had many experiences which hold opportunities for learning and growth, and in passing on this knowledge their hope is to reach out to and help many others through their own healing journeys.

This is their story. They will share their experiences with difficult topics and concepts that are often hard to understand and share what worked for them.  
Healing should be a very personal experience, not everyone is the same or reacts to the same stimuli in the same way. This book is not intended as a “do as we say”,  more “do what feels right for you”… 

Expect the new book during Summer 2017!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Stumbling in the darkness - my story via @DafyddLlinos for @BBCCymruFyw

I was approached before last Christmas by a journalist for BBC Wales. She writes for the Welsh language section of their news website. She asked me to share my story. 

I've shared my story many times in English, but never in my "mother tongue" of Welsh. 

The story was published on January 24th. I've included an English version of the information I sent her below the Welsh. 

"Baglu yn y tywyllwch"

*Rhybudd: Gall gynnwys yr erthygl beri loes i rai darllenwyr*
Image copyright
Image caption
Byddai'r rhan fwyaf o blant yn ystyried eu hamser yng nghwmni eu tad-cu a'u mam-gu ymysg y mwyaf dedwydd a hapus yn eu bywydau. Ond trodd ymweliadau Ján Frayne gyda nhw yn ystod y gwyliau ysgol yn hunllef. Dechreuodd ei dad-cu ei gam-drin yn rhywiol, a gwahodd ffrindiau iddo draw i wneud yr un peth.
Mae Ján Frayne, awdur 49 oed, yn rhannu ei stori ysgytwol gyda Cymru Fyw:

Roedd tad Ján Frayne yn gweithio ar y môr a bu farw ei fam pan roedd yn naw oed, ar ôl brwydro canser. Golygai hynny y byddai'n treulio bron pob gwyliau ysgol yn nhŷ rhieni ei fam yn Llanybydder.
Roedd ei dad-cu yn deiliwr a'i fam-gu yn gweithio iddo hefyd - ond roedd hi'n ddynes fywiog a phrysur iawn, ac yn aml iawn allan o'r tŷ.
"Roedd hi'n ddall i'r hyn oedd yn digwydd," meddai Ján, sy'n wreiddiol o Gaerfyrddin.
Ond roedd un dyn arall yn ei gam-drin hefyd, sef brawd ei dad-cu, a oedd yn Weinidog gyda'r Methodistiaid Calfinaidd.
"Roedd fy nhad-cu yn alcoholig, a doedd e na mam-gu ddim yn rhannu gwely, nac ystafell wely. Yn ystod y gwyliau, gan amlaf roedd rhaid i fi rannu gwely gyda fy nhad-cu. Roedd e a fy hen ewythr yn fy nghyffwrdd i'r un pryd," meddai.
"Wnaeth popeth ddechrau pan o'n i'n fach iawn, a pharhau tan fy mod i'n 12 oed. Ac er mai fy nhad-cu oedd yn fy ngham-drin i fwyaf, ar rai achlysuron, roedd ei ffrindiau yn cymryd rhan hefyd."
Mae'n sôn am ddwylo ei ddad-cu yn crwydro ar draws ei gorff, yr oglau tybaco a wisgi - ag yntau'n gorwedd yno, yn gaeth, methu symud.
Roedd ei dad-cu yn defnyddio teclynnau hefyd, yn cynnwys rhaffau, ac ynghyd â bod yn gaeth i'r gwely, roedd e hefyd yn cael ei hongian oddi ar y wal mewn gefynnau.
"Bydden i'n cael fy ngadael fel yna am awr, neu hyd at bedair awr, yn dibynnu ar ble oedd fy mam-gu ar y pryd," meddai.
Dro arall, roedd e'n cael ei glymu lawr ar fwrdd gwnïo, meddai.
Ján FrayneImage copyrightJÁN FRAYNE
Image captionDyddiau diniweidrwydd cyn i fywyd Ján Frayne newid yn llwyr

Dioddef yn dawel

Mae'n cymryd dewrder anhygoel i droi at rywun i ddweud eich bod wedi dioddef camdriniaeth rywiol, meddai Ján. Er iddo fe ei hunan ymddiried yn ei chwaer a'i fodryb pan oedd e'n 16 oed, doedd y naill na'r llall yn ei gredu.
"Wnes i ddweud wrth Dad pan o'n i'n saith oed nad o'n i'n hoffi mynd i aros gyda fy nhad-cu a bod pethau gwael yn digwydd, ond wnaeth e ddim byd," meddai.
"Tan fy mod i'n fy mhedwar degau, wnes i aros yn dawel. Bu farw Dad pan o'n i'n 19 oed, a bu farw fy nhad-cu pan o'n i'n 21 oed, a dwi'n cymryd bod y sawl wnaeth fy mrifo i wedi hen farw.
"Ond dim ond nawr mae pobl yn fy nghredu. Mae pobl eraill wedi dod i siarad gyda fi, a dweud eu bod nhw wedi cael eu cam-drin gyda fy nhad-cu hefyd."
Mae'r cyfan oll wedi ei adael yn oedolyn cymhleth iawn, mae'n cyfaddef. Dyw e ddim wedi gallu gweithio ers 2011.
"Dwi wedi cael iselder ofnadwy, anhwylder personoliaeth ac anhwylder gorfodaeth obsesiynol; ynghyd â chael casineb llwyr tuag at fy hun yn dilyn blynyddoedd o gael fy ngham-drin," meddai.
"Mae fy meddwl a fy nghorff wedi cael eu chwalu, ac am flynyddoedd wnes i fyw gyda hyn yn hollol ddall i'r rheswm go iawn pam fy mod i mewn cyflwr mor gymhleth. Roedd y cam-drin mor drawmatig, roedd fy ymwybod yn cael gwared ar yr atgofion i gyd, yn eu claddu nhw'n ddwfn yn fy isymwybod.
"Roedd peidio deall beth oedd yn bod arna' i yn ychwanegu at y boen. Dim ond drwy simsanu wrth bron â cholli fy mhwyll nôl yn 2011 wnes i ddarganfod y gwirionedd."

'Nid fi sydd ar fai'

Mae'r siwrne ers hynny wedi bod yn boenus iawn, meddai, wrth fynd drwy amryw therapi.
"Dwi wedi gorfod datgymalu fy mywyd, a'i roi yn ôl, darn wrth ddarn. Mae'r boen yn dal yno, yn gorfforol a meddyliol, ond dwi'n gwybod nawr sut i'w leihau, a'i reoli.
"Mae yna gyfnodau tywyll o hyd, a gallaf ddychmygu y bydd hynny'n digwydd gweddill fy mywyd. Y gwahaniaeth nawr yw fy mod i'n deall y rhesymau. Dwi'n deall nad fi sydd ar fai.
"Dyw'r gorffennol ddim yn fy rheoli i bellach. Dwi wedi cymryd rheolaeth. Fi sydd wrth y llyw, ar ôl blynyddoedd o faglu yn y tywyllwch."
Ján Frayne heddiw
Image captionJán Frayne heddiw: "Fi sydd wrth y llyw, ar ôl blynyddoedd o faglu yn y tywyllwch."

Geiriau'n gysur

Erbyn hyn, mae Ján Frayne yn rhedeg blog am ei brofiad, ac yn 2012 fe gyhoeddodd y llyfr Beyond Survivor - Rising From The Ashes Of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
"Daeth ysgrifennu yn ddihangfa i fi, ac yn therapi. Ro'n i'n gallu mynegi'r erchylltra mewn cerddi neu ryddiaith nad o'n i'n gallu eu dweud ar lafar."
Mae'n awyddus i ledaenu'r gair, a rhoi sylw i gamdriniaeth rhywiol, am ei fod e'n teimlo mai prin iawn yw'r adnoddau i'r rheiny sydd wedi diodde, meddai, ac mae wedi treulio pedair blynedd yn ceisio codi proffil dynion sydd wedi goroesi.
"Mae'r dynion sy'n dioddef yn cael eu gwatwar.
"Dwi'n nabod llawer sydd ddim yn codi llais am eu bod nhw'n poeni y bydd cymdeithas yn meddwl na fyddan nhw'n 'ddigon o ddyn', a bydd pobl yn chwerthin am eu pennau. Efallai bod rhai dynion yn teimlo bod hi'n haws i beidio dweud dim, a byddai'n well ganddyn nhw farw na chyfaddef beth sy'n digwydd iddyn nhw.
"Mewn gwirionedd, mae llawer iawn o fechgyn a dynion yn marw - mae'n well ganddyn nhw ladd eu hunain na siarad.
"Mae'r treisiwr neu'r pidoffeil yn ennill bob tro. Rhaid i hyn newid."
Ysgrifennodd Jàn Frayne lyfr yn 2012 i godi ymwybyddiaeth o gam-drin rhywiol
Image captionYsgrifennodd Jàn Frayne lyfr yn 2012 i godi ymwybyddiaeth o gam-drin rhywiol

I am a male survivor of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse. My story stretches over almost five decades. The impact of what was done to me inmy formative years affecting most of my adult life. I was sexually and physically abused over a period of ten years from about the age of eighteen months old. The abuse was carried out by both family members and their friends.In my teens and early twenties I was sexually assaulted - as a result of what happened to me as a child. The emotional abuse lasted decades. The result of this was that I became a dysfunctional adult. I suffered depression, personality disorders, obsessive compulsions, self-loathing as well as living with the physical legacy of years of abuse. My mind and body were fractured, distorted. I lived with most of this totally oblivious as to the reason. The abuse was so traumatic that my conscious mind blacked out the memories, burying them deep in my subconcious. Being unable to understand what was wrong with me added to my pain. It was only through self-realization and tottering on the edge of sanity that the truthcame out.  That was in early 2011. The journey since then has been painful but uplifting.  I've been through various therapies, I've had to dismantle my life and putit back together piece by piece. The pain is still there, both emotional and physical, but I know now how to minimize it, to control it even. There are still dark moments; I imagine there always will be. The difference now is that I understand the reasons; I understand that the blame is not mine. The past no longer controls me; instead I have taken control of how I let it affect me.  Well... Most of the time.I had decades of stumbling around in the dark. Resources for survivors of sexual abuse were almost non-existent.  I knew my entire life that bad things had happened to me as a child, I knew I'd had "naughty" stuff done. I just didn't realize how much, over such a long time and by so many. Writing became an escape for me, a therapy in itself. I was able to express in poetry and prose the horror that my tongue would not speak.
Even today the resources for male survivors of any form of sexual abuse are few and far between. I've spent over four years trying to raise the profile of male survivors, trying to reach out via my first book "Beyond Survivor - Rising From The Ashes Of Childhood Sexual Abuse", via online advocacy and by writing  articles for other books and online resources. Male victims of sexual crime are often ridiculed. I have worked to dispel the myths and misconceptions that surround male survivors of abuse. Whilst many of the side effects are not gender specific, there are both subtle and distinct areas of difference.

I spent nearly all holidays at my grandparents’ home. This amounted to some 13 weeks a year. My father was frequently working away at sea and my mother ran her own business. Dad had an accident at sea and came home fulltime when I was about 8 years old. Mum had battled with cancer a few times and passed away when I was 9years old.  The grandfather was a Tailor and worked in a Gentlemen's Outfitters as well as from home. He was an alcoholic. He and my grandmother did not share a bed, or bedroom. During the vacations I had to share a bed with the grandfather much of the time. My grandmother also worked occasionally at the same business as him and also helped with the sewing at home. She was a very social lady and was frequently out for hours at a time. She also helped cleaning in some local houses and was a companion to some of the more elderly people in the village. She was seemingly oblivious to what was happening.

Grandfathers brother was a Calvinistic Methodist minister.  He was also one of those that used my body, on occasion at the same time as his brother.

The abuse was intermittent, maybe days, weeks could pass. 

It started when I was a toddler and went on until I was 12 years old. Others were involved, friends of Grandfathers mostly. 

Grandfather was the "main" abuser. I wrote the following about one particular incident:

I can still see the hand on my body, blue veined, fingers stained yellow by tobacco,running over my once innocent flesh with a possession that was almost complete. That foul dirty invading hand slipping under my waistband, I close my eyes, pretend I am not there. The voice, telling me I have to learn new things, I have to understand what happens when I get hard, I have to know what to do when I am a man. The hand again, now invading my most private and innermost areas. My rectum reacts and I am told to relax, it will feel good, it will help me to sleep. Sleep? Sleep and I are not good friends. Sleep makes me vulnerable to the hand. The smell, dirty whiskey breath, invades my senses. The smell of teeth unwashed,  hands unwashed, a body fetid. The rope now cuts into my wrists, tightened by the hand. I am helpless, I cannot fight. I do not. I just wait, close my eyes and wait. I am flying now, I am a dragon. My wrists burn,  my insides burn hotter. The hand is everywhere. Drunken anger accompanies the hand and its invasion. I hurt, I am ashamed, I hurt.The hand is my enemy, it's fingers sew together my finger tips, it's fingers rip my flesh. It's strength fuelled by drink and a foul passion. The hand once held me as a baby, nurturing me, waiting for its moment. The hand has my blood in its veins. Why is the hand trying to kill me. The hand puts its fingers into my mouth. Foul, smelling fingers, I choke. I whisper to myself  “I am a dragon, I can fly.” The hand takes my stitched fingers and I have to hold his member. The hand controls mine. I feel sick once more, I close my eyes, I wait, I hope. Now I see the hand, and I smell the lingering fetid memory. Now, when I should take joy from love, I see the hand and I am reminded of it's power. I cannot relax, dare not sleep, dare not give all of me over. The hand is waiting, if only when I close my eyes, if only when I sleep. The hand and it's friends they took what was me, they ripped it up, they bruised and destroyed, they stole my innocence, my life.

In an attempt to stop the thick skin on the top of my fingers being used by the grandfather to stitch my fingertips together I started cutting the skin off the tops and sides of my fingers using a nail clippers and nail file. I chewed my nails to beneath the "quick" anyway, but I also started cutting away the cuticle too. The cutting continued into my twenties at different intervals and I have tried all ways to stop biting my nails and chewing my fingers to this day.

A small coke bottle or similar object was used several times over the years to "bugger" me. Always I was tied down, and always insects and or earth worms were placed inside the bottlefirst. Sometimes I'd be tied down over his sewing bench, others I'd be suspended from shackles high up on the wall of his work room. I would be left like that for a minimum of an hour, up to three or four depending on where my grandmother was..

It seems that patterns of abuse emerge when one is able to look back at life with impartiality. Choices I made as a young adult are now, with hindsight, obviously influenced by the conditioning received during childhood. So often in my adult lifeI had placed myself in abusive situations. I was conditioned to be an underdog, to lie, to steal, to cheat to please others and simply to survive. Physical contact from another was nearly always associated with a feeling of being dirty, of having been used, of waiting for the pain to return.

I told my sister what had happened when I was sixteen. I also told an aunt. Neither believed me. I had told my Dad when I was 7-8 that I didn't like going to see my grandfather, that bad things happened. He did nothing. I remained mostly silent until I was in my early forties. My Dad died when I was nineteen, the grandfather when I was twenty one. As far as I know all those that hurt me are all dead.

Now I am believed. Others have spoken to me and have said that they too were abused by "him". 

I haven't worked since 2011. My physical health has suffered over the years but the affect on my mental health is the most severe. I am on antidepressants, anti anxiety medications and sleeping tablets. What happened to me in childhood affected me my entire life. 

Through therapy, mindfullness and sheer determination I have improved a great deal.  I spend a lot of time writing, trying to help others and myself. I meditate and try to enjoy the beauty in life. I am still very nervous but that will improve with time. I have hope. 

Specialised support via the NHS for victims is minimal. For male victims even worse. The same goes in the private sector as far as male victims are concerned. Men are Supposed to be the strong ones. Abuse has no gender, race, or religious boundaries. Those that think it couldn't  or wouldn't happen in their locality are blind to the truth. 

Victims of sex crimes are frequently reluctant to disclose such crimes. Be they adult victims of rape, children currently being abused sexually or adults who were sexually abused in childhood. 

Our sexuality is the most intimate and personal aspect of our lives. To have that invaded, soiled, and degraded is the most heinous of offences against our person. 

It takes an immense amount of courage to tell someone that we have been a victim of sex crimes.

Fear and coercion is frequently used to try and keep the victim silent and it's not just the perpetrator of the crime that tries to keep the victim silent. Family, friends, colleagues or authority figures often use the "shame" card or simply blunt disbelief to silence the victim.  In so doing they are almost as guilty as the rapist or abusers themselves. "Nimby"ism in the most extreme form..

If the victim gets past these negative influences they then have to go through the process of retelling their history in order to try and seek justice, therapy and some closure. There have been some improvements in recent years, but nowhere near enough. The system itself is corrupt. The perpetrator must be seen as innocent until proven guilty. This basically makes the victim a liar until the courts decide they were telling the truth.  The system does not work.  Perpetrators  often get very lenient  sentences. I am a strong supporter of mandatory reporting. It should be a crime to not report the abuse of children. Better to have the concern proven wrong than for a child to continue suffering.

A great deal of the healing process is about making changes. Changes to how we think, changes to how we respond to various stimuli, changes as to how we perceive ourselves. Some people will no doubt think "why should I change!? I didn't do anything wrong!" Well.. By changing even small things in our lives we can start an avalanche of positive change that could benefit all aspects of our lives. 

As with any form of therapy, it works much better if you want it too. Acceptance of the fact that you need help is a huge step. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It worked for me, though I am still on my own healing journey. I know that I am safe, that life is far better than it used to be. Again, I have hope.

How many men do you know that refuse to show pain, or admit illness? Would they freely admit that they had been "victims" and that they had been rendered helpless and attacked sexually? This is the case for childhood sexual abuse as well as adult rape. Not all men feel this way, otherwise there would be no reporting of sex crimes against men at all. Unfortunately, society still seems to expect men to be the strong, silent, tough guys. Men dare not show weakness. Men should not cry. Men should be the hunter and not the hunted. What total rubbish. This mentality is damaging to men as a whole, and especially so to those that are the victims.

I know many men who will not speak out because they are afraid to be seen as weak, that they will be laughed at, that society will consider them "less of a man". These men suffer in silence, keeping the secrets of those that abused them in the first place. This society induced conspiracy of silence that surrounds these men prevents them from seeking the help they need, from sharing their burden with their nearest and dearest, and permits the abuser the freedom to carry on with their vile crimes undetected. 

I know many men will think that it's better to "shut up and put up" and that they would rather die than divulge the crimes against them. In truth, many boys and men do die. Suicide being preferable to speaking out. The rapist or paedophile wins every time.

This has to STOP.


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