Sean's Courageous Journey ~ #SAAM

*This series for #SAAM is stories of tremendous courage as Survivors have spoken/written them. There may be graphic and/or triggering information or language. Please make sure to take care of yourself as you read through and practice grounding exercises as needed.

SEAN'S STORY...

So to start I am a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I have been putting off sharing my story for sometime because of my fear to start and share with people my experience as a child. My father is my abuser, he groomed me from the time I was five where I was still being molested during that time. At about seven that changed to where he was physically raping me.  That went on till half way through grade eight so that would have made me twelve and a half I suppose. I spent many nights afraid to go to sleep and may days looking over my shoulder to see if he was behind me.

   Now after thirty years of bad relationships, quitting numerous jobs and making really bad life choices that were negatively affecting me and my child. I finally started to at least make the decision to get better. Quick side note I have not worked since 2010. Three years ago this January past I ended up leaving a job I only had for three months. Mainly because I was starting this process of opening up parts of my brain that had made me forget most if not all the memories of the abuse. I was well on my way to becoming suicidal again. Which I had been suicidal and made two attempts a few years earlier.

   Three years ago I went to a retreat for survivors of sexual assault. I spent a week connecting with people like me who felt alone and scared. Once the week was over I had a completely different outlook and approach to how I was going to heal over the next few years to come. Mind you I am definitely not saying that week and retreat fixed everything. It was just a great way to see that others could see my value which helped me start to see it as well. When I got home I had a few things to fix. For one my back rent and the possible eviction which I had already received a notice for. I owed the money because my compulsiveness was becoming out of control.  For that to happen I had to apply for a type of assistance which is hard to get but I received it about two years ago so mine and my sons home was secure.

   Since then I have been doing therapy to learn how to cope with things I know will never completely go away I have just learned to manage them. The other plan I had to put into action was to receive financial compensation for the crime committed against me as a child. In Ontario Canada it is called the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. To make that happen I had to do two years of really intense therapy for months and months Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, tons of talk therapy. Therapy sessions with a physiologist for an assessment to proof I suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All this therapy because I did not have a criminal charge against my father and also he is deceased. Well last December I received that compensation. It wasn't easy and very uncomfortable. I had to go into Toronto and speak in front of a panel and describe certain aspects of my abuse. Something that was not pleasant, but something I did for three years of my five year plan to become the kind of person who wants to help and who want to share my story and let others know that there is hope there is help.

   If I did not finally get used to calling the suicide hot lines, Or get the local distress centre to call me three times a week. Also using an organization called the Canadian Mental Health Association I do not think I would be doing as well as I am. I have had some good days and some really really bad days. That is OK though when you go to bed and get up the next day you get a wonderful chance to try again. All this work is because I have no other way to even think about living a full, happy and healed life after remembering a man who was to supposed to protect me sexually abuse me close to two hundred times over the course of eight years, other than to give back. So for the past three years I have been working towards my goal of working with children of abuse and perhaps work with young men and show then an example of what it means to be a positive male in today's world.

Sean

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