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Finding My Voice After 25 Years of Shame

Kevin, a volunteer with BARCC's Survivor Speakers Bureau, poses with a fish near water

This post is written by a survivor who has participated in BARCC’s counseling groups for male survivors. This survivor also volunteers at BARCC as a member of the Survivor Speakers Bureau. Content note: childhood sexual violence.

My name is Kevin. I’m 49 years old. I’m married and the father of three children. I’m also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

During fifth grade, my mother’s boyfriend abused me numerous times. I was silent about the abuse for 25 years. I just tried to pretend it never happened.

I’m sharing my story with you today because I feel it’s important to bring awareness to the subject of childhood sexual abuse. I also want to bring awareness to others about the incredible people and services available at BARCC.

As a 10-year-old boy and for most of my adulthood life, I felt ashamed and embarrassed and humiliated about the abuse. I thought my abuser was doing those things to me because he loved me.

I felt like I was betraying my mother. I also thought I was a willing participant, and it was my fault. After the abuse stopped, I just wanted to pretend it never happened. I started hanging out with my friends, getting into trouble, drinking, smoking pot. I was doing these things to avoid being home and around my abuser.

One day in high school, federal agents appeared at my family’s door. It turned out the man who abused me also abused other children. He was also involved with child pornography. I felt bad that it happened to other children. I thought I was the only one. I thought that if I’d spoken up, I could have stopped it from happening to others. It took many years for me to learn that my silence was a coping skill I had learned early on. After high school, I met my best friend and future wife Kim. We got married when I was 22. Things were going really well for the most part. We bought a house and decided to start a family.

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, things got really bad for me. I was drinking more and I was not taking care of my responsibilities or myself. I remember one morning my wife saying to me, “I don’t know what’s going on with you, but we can’t live like this.” She told me that I needed to get some help.

That afternoon, I called the employee assistance program I had through work. They set me up with an incredible therapist name Wendy. Through Wendy, I learned about services provided at BARCC. At BARCC, I’ve been part of two male survivor recovery groups and a day of recovery. I’ve met some brave men and women. I have made lifelong friends. These people gave me something I will always be grateful for. They gave me understanding and support. They shared their experiences, struggles, and triumphs related to sexual abuse.

These groups and the folks at BARCC will always be an important part of my life. It is an incredible feeling to know that I can call these men and women any time to talk about something that is bothering me and vice versa.

"Without BARCC, I would still feel alone and isolated. Through BARCC, I learned that I am not alone and never will be again."

Without BARCC, I would still feel alone and isolated. Through BARCC, I learned that I am not alone and never will be again. I have learned to speak for that 10-year-old boy inside me. I have learned to share my story of sexual abuse with my family, friends, coworkers, and even total strangers.

It’s important that BARCC continue to provide services to male survivors. There really aren’t many other male survivor groups in the Boston area. It was also comforting to me that I didn’t have to worry about being able to pay for the services at BARCC. They were free. This was one less thing I had to worry about, and I could focus on my recovery.

BARCC offers free and confidential services to survivors of sexual violence and their loved ones. Learn more about our services or call our 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371.

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Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides free, confidential support and services to survivors of sexual violence ages 12 and up and their families and friends. We work with survivors regardless of when the violence occurred, and our goal is to empower survivors to heal. We also work with a wide range of organizations and communities, including schools, colleges, and police, to advocate for change. We provide training in how to respond to survivors and create cultures that prevent sexual violence in the first place.

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