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Shattering His Shame: One Man’s Journey To Healing

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The following post was written by Jim Holland, a survivor who came to BARCC for counseling and serves as a Survivor Speakers Bureau volunteer. *Content note: childhood sexual violence.

I was a typical 13-year-old boy growing up in South Boston. I attended Catholic school, was an altar boy, and had many friends. I also had a very close and unique relationship with one of the priests in my parish. All that was shattered the night when I was raped by that priest while another priest in the next room stood by and did nothing.

I remained silent for decades. In October 2009, I decided to break my silence. I spent months searching for a therapist. I met with many, but found it difficult to find the right one. Instead, I joined a male survivor’s group and was told during the screening process that I needed to be in therapy. I told them how hard it had been to find someone I connected with. That’s when I found out that one of the facilitators of the group was a therapist at BARCC. She offered to meet with me individually for therapy. I had no idea that BARCC offered services for men. I always thought that the services offered by BARCC were for women only.

The impact of the therapy I received at BARCC has altered the direction of my life. I regained my confidence, self-esteem, my trust in people, and most importantly it gave me back my voice. I knew I had to give something back for all the help they gave me, so I decided to volunteer with BARCC. As a member of their Survivors Speakers Bureau, I go into the community and tell my story to others. Even if I touch just one person in the audience in raising awareness of sexual assault and abuse then I consider it a success.

Today, I am a much stronger man than I was just four years ago. I will always be thankful to BARCC for helping me get back on my feet.

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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