How should you react if someone you love tells you they were molested as a child ?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 12:11 AM GMT
    I would hate for someone who trusted and loved me enough to spill their heart to me about this part of their past and for me to make some cliche comment. What would you say and do? What should you NOT do? What if this person was not only someone you love, but also your lover? Do you treat the situation differently?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 12:20 AM GMT
    If it was a friend I would listen with a sympathetic ear. If it was a lover I would not only listen with a sympathetic ear but also recommend therapy if he was comfortable with it. If not then I would try and make sure he did not bottle things up inside. Trauma like sexual abuse can be very damaging to a person's psyche and cause all sorts of physical and mental problems.

    As a friend I have always felt I should be there for the bad times as well as the good.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 1:08 AM GMT
    Remember to breathe. Him opening up to you about his painful past is his choice. Reiterate that you are glad he is talking about it, and that he can go at his own pace, cause you know it is difficult and uncomfortable to talk about. As hard as it may be for you, try to keep soft eye contact, though he may avoid it. Reiterate that it was a horrible thing that happened to him, which no one deserves. If he is your lover or your friend, be gentle with him and ask if you can hold his hand. If you experienced something similar, this is not the time to bring it up. Listen to his story now, tell yours later. Thank him for sharing this story with you and acknowledge the courage it took to talk about such a painful experience. Oh yeah, remember to breathe.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 1:23 AM GMT
    I've been in this situation more times than I'm happy about. icon_cry.gif

    With friends I've found the best reaction is just to be present with them and (this is the hard part) to ask if they want to be held. Many people might want to be embraced or some form of touch but don't want sudden, abrupt physical contact without consent. You want to give them a sense of security and a sense of power and control over their physical body.

    One lover told me he's been molested after weeks of me trying to figure out why he would sometimes want to cuddle after sex and other times curl into a ball or tell me he had to leave. He asked if I wanted to go to therapy with him. I said yes. After saying that we got into increasingly frequent fights, breaking up before I ever went with him.

    In retrospect, I think he was trying to drive me away and succeeded. If this happens to you, just keep in mind that fear of dealing with issues can lead to strong reactions. Be strong for your partner but most importantly find support for yourself so you can be there for them.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 1:29 AM GMT
    I've been there. The person I'm with now has confessed that to me.. and it really tore me up. But there's not a lot you CAN do.. besides be there for them. Listen, help them move past it.

    If anything.. it's priceless insight into why your lover might act the way they do. And in some circumstances, insight into how you, yourself should act.

    Just be understanding.. and at the very least, consider yourself lucky they love, and trust you enough to let you in on what can be a damaging, and hurtful secret.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 2:13 AM GMT
    tryandbuy, muchmorethanmuscle, kentucky tuss and the rest of you equally. Thanks.

    Does the damage of being molested or raped stop after the age of being a child? Muchmorethanmuscle, Thank you for saying this. It is as accessible as one wants it to be.

    I thought I would share some notes I wrote down some years ago.
    "IT"
    I feel IT
    a lump in my throat.
    My heart winces with sadness over IT
    IT consumes me like a cloud over a field
    the sunshine is all around but I feel darkness
    what does it take to rid me of IT

    "FOCUS"
    Tunnel Vision
    With no Access
    Leading to a Safe place

    "Inclusiveness"
    Just to be reminded of what I have
    It's clear
    The ache is gone, the body is full again with no unsatisfied holes or parts
    Where I am is more tolerable, liveable
    No desire to move back
    Looking forward to Saudi, England
    (I wrote this one on the plane-pulling a geographic-called denial.)

    "Anger"
    Anger-my second skin
    Colourless, scentless yet porous with sadness

    Words that come to mind: fear, denial, anger, shame, helpless, painful, feeling sorry for myself, flawed, darkness, confused, aimless and so on.

    The recovery process was lengthy, the flaw is permanent. Acceptance of myself is crucial. The steps go forward one at a time. Listening is the best thing you can do.



  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 2:22 AM GMT
    I was molested as a child, but after the passage of time, you realize there is no shame on you, so it isn't a hard thing to tell people anymore. My experience wasn't all together bad, and towards the end, I think I actually enjoyed the experience. I still JO thinking about it on occasion.

    I do realize that is not so for everyone. I realize as well as that it is not generally a positive experience.

    For those just starting to deal with it, telling others is a good thing and something that helps. If someone told me, I would just listen and hear what they have to say about how they feel about it.

  • drakutis

    Posts: 586

    Oct 06, 2008 2:27 AM GMT
    I would listen to them and understand, since I was also molested once.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 2:37 AM GMT
    [quote][cite]dawgson said[/cite]I've been in this situation more times than I'm happy about. icon_cry.gif

    Me too. My response has been "I'm hear to listen as much as you want to talk about it." And to be understanding and accepting of the range of emotions that FOGOS describes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 2:46 AM GMT
    Just be there for them, if it is a friend listening to them is what they are seeking. Re-affirm your friendship with them, that you value your friendship and are glad they were comfortable enough with you to share.

    Be careful that you dont become their "therapist", its not your role. I am assuming this is someone you consider a close friend. This kind of background 'confession" will probably help explain a lot of their behaviours that previously left you thinking "huh?"

    Its amazing, and disturbing how prevalent this type of thing is. Most of us have probably either experienced it or have had this type of discussion with someone we know.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 2:54 AM GMT
    A lot of you are saying to just be there for them. They are right. Listen to them, and make sure they know you are there for them.

    I was molested as a child. I tell anyone I'm in a relationship with because I sometimes have flashbacks while having sex. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does. . this is not a good thing.

    Just be happy they love you enough to let you know this.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 3:54 AM GMT
    The replies have been right on target. Allow them to talk, be supportive and remember that this is their issue so try not to allow your feelings take center stage.

    My ex-lover and his siblings were repeatedly molested by their father. This really angered me but it was not my place to take action on this anger. He still loved his father, and we visited his parents many times. It was very difficult for me to be in the same room with his father, but I could not allow my feelings to interfere with my lover's decision on what his relationship should be with his father.

    Those of us who are fortunate enough not to have been in this position can never truly know what is best for the victims. The best we can do is support them in their decisions, and allow them to make the decisions that are appropriate for them. If I thought his decisions were having a negative impact on his life, I would have counseled him otherwise but he seemed to be handling it very well. He was also receiving counseling.

    He was a better man than me, because I don't know if I could have forgiven the way he did. I guess that's my point, do not assume you know better than the person who has actually been there.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 4:06 AM GMT


    I wouldn't say anything.. I'd sit, listen and give him/her a hug.

  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 06, 2008 7:44 AM GMT
    First, if you're worried about saying something cliched, it's okay to say, "I really don't know what to say. But I'm here for you. And thank you for trusting in me to tell me." Or something along those lines. It's not something easy to share for either of you.

    I was in this position with a guy I was seeing. Intimacy didn't always play out the same way. There were times he let me top him. Other times he preferred if I didn't touch him sexually, but he wanted to touch me. He moved up to San Francisco after a few months, but we stayed in touch and we'd visit on occasion.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Oct 06, 2008 10:11 AM GMT
    Depends on the circumstances why he told you

    Generally you lend him a sympathetic ear
    and say I'm sorry, that must have been awful for you
    But people don't bring things up for no reason
    Tell him if there's anytime he wants to discuss it further that you're there
    so the communication lines will be open
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 5:09 PM GMT
    Listening is the key.

    When I was molested as a child by a family member I thought it was god’s punishment for me being gay. I didnt tell anyone until my early 20s, I had a lot of anger and mess up emitions during this time period of my life.

    Now that I am older, I can look back on it and see how it affected my life. I have been able to form good relationships w/ both my partner and friends. It is rare that I even think of it. I was also able to forgive this family member.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 5:49 PM GMT
    tryandbuy saidI would hate for someone who trusted and loved me enough to spill their heart to me about this part of their past and for me to make some cliche comment. What would you say and do? What should you NOT do? What if this person was not only someone you love, but also your lover? Do you treat the situation differently?


    This is a great question. A few months back I disclosed on this board that I had been molested at a very young age. The response I got both on the board and in private email from complete strangers was very kind.

    Honestly, what we really want from you is for you to be yourselves and not suddenly treat us as an eternal victim. We have a tendency to first monitor your response and comfort you until we see if you are ok with the subject before we proceed with any information. I can't answer in the absolute and say all survivors are one in the same but in my case I feel more comfortable with someone just asking direct questions instead of walking on eggshells after the initial disclosure.

    Yes, there are probably things I do out of protection that I can date back to all that mess but I can also find many areas where I've worked very hard at letting those things go. The bottom line.. Please, just be yourself and try hard not to be too uncomfortable with the new found information. Or at least try your hardest to control your initial feelings of shock over the new found information. Don't over do the sympathy. It makes us feel uncomfortable. At least it does with me. I always try to cover that real fast with someone and let them know It's all cool they can ask anything they like and if there is a subject that they hit that I don't want to talk about I'd let them know.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 06, 2008 6:16 PM GMT
    I think listening empathically is important, also just love the guy. He may want you just to understand where he's coming from. Maybe some actions he's made within the relationship are not him being his true self, but being the victim of molestation. Self empowerment is important for people who've been molested and raped so you don't want to be his rescuer because it tends to take that away.
  • westdave

    Posts: 212

    Nov 13, 2008 3:54 AM GMT
    I think discussion of this sensitive subject by men on here shows maturity, selflessness and courage that is above and beyond any other gay male chat website I've visited.

    Salut to you all!

    dave
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Nov 13, 2008 4:01 AM GMT
    I have had two relationships where this came up...not easy and not an issue that comes up only once, is dealt with, and then gone...it permeated not only our sex life, but issues around safety/security in the relationship, and sometimes an amazing amount of risk taking...

    For me:

    1. I thanked the person for confiding in me and trusting me with the information.
    2. Acknowledged that it must have been difficult to hold on to that information for such a time.
    3. Ask if there is anything they need.

    I agree with much of what has been stated already with regard to listening, breathing.

    The two relationships with abuse survivors had some really complicated sexual histories and patterns...and this issue placed a strain on both relationships until they both failed...there was a great deal of self-hate, hyper-sexual behavior [including cheating], and little communication.

    I really left it up to the person to disclose what he wanted to disclose. I opened up conversation every once in awhile to assure him that that I was open to talk if it was needed.

    Careful to not forget your own needs when dealing with a significant other...much of my focus ended up being on him and I sometimes lost track of what I needed...

    - David
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 13, 2008 4:05 AM GMT

    We can't get too specific as we are close to both a couple of guys and girls that have been molested, and have to be respectful of their identities. One was consensual at 13, but carries the emotional scars still at 45. One was forced at 12.
    Another was coerced and considered it consensual for years til a break-down occurred and therapy helped this person release a lot of anger and denial, realizing it was sexual interference that robbed them of an innocent time of discovery.

    Neither of us have ever had a lover that had this happen to them, so can't assist there.

    Our hats are off to any that have had to endure sexual violation, subtle or obvious, disguised or blatant, of any kind.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 13, 2008 5:10 AM GMT
    Funny I was molested from the age of 5, until about 7. Yet I don't know how to tell some-one how to react if some-one told them the same thing.

    Maybe I'm lucky It never ate away at me. Maybe because I never felt like it was abuse? Even Though it was, rape in fact!

    But what amazes me is if I talk about how my mom and the catholic Church murded my childhood and raped my soul. people seem to not to want to believe this?

    Is it because I'm not all angry and bitter and eaten away, and I've moved on, but not forgotten.

    Is it because I live in a home with the wow factor, and dress well, eat well when I eat out, and money does not seem to be an issue with me.

    Am I meant to be homeless, or a drunk, or on drugs or both, a loser?

    Yes I abused my body by letting way to many people touch it, when I was in my very early 20s. Thousands in fact (looking for love) and now no-one touches it, other than my personal trainer. But hay I've had men wanting to touch my body since I was 5.

    I don't need sex to keep my men, and too make em stay. Thus I know they really do love me.

    But funny I have no words to tell some-one how to react?

    pattison is not lost for words very much at all!!!

    Maybe thats because I would just listen

  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Nov 13, 2008 5:13 AM GMT
    This just happened to me. My friend/pre-boyfriend just broke off with me as he is still trying to deal with major sexual abuse as a youngster. Basically can't deal with being friends and having sex, as its foreign to him. INtimacy and romanticism is too difficult to handle, apparently


    I've had so many mixed feeling about getting dumped....its tough. I want to be there for him, but being next to him and having feelings for him is insanely hard to be able to touch him right now.


    Thus, I have an appointment tomorrow to speak with a sexual abuse counselor at my school. I would like to know what is going on with this guy (who i really dig) before I we speak next. Every emotion went through my head:

    anger at him for breaking up
    anger at myself for getting back involved (long story)
    feel sorry for him
    feel sorry for me
    etc
    etc
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 13, 2008 5:20 AM GMT
    i think if someone confessed to me, i would try and help them through it as long as they were willing to help themselves icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Nov 13, 2008 5:29 AM GMT
    I remember a guy I was seeing. Well, not really seeing. We would run into each other at the home of a mutual friend often, and I had a huge crush on him, and we would fuck like crazy. The first time we had sex (which was within about ten minutes of meeting each other, and the sex was mind-blowing) he told me that from the age of 5 or 6, his father used to fuck him. This guy is Latino, by the way, and to him it seemed to be a cultural norm. He was also extremely pretty, and I just adored him. When he told me his father had been screwing him since that age, my reaction was one of shock. I don't know if I said anything, as I usually just keep my mouth shut while trying to be supportive. I was really stunned when he told me he really loved it, and his father and he stayed lovers for most of his life up to that point. He was at that time in his early-to-mid-30's, I believe. I must say that while I'm pretty open, and generally let folks do whatever pleases them, I felt there was something inherently wrong here, although he seemed to be perfectly well-adjusted and a nice, normal young Gay man.

    In my own life, I was getting hit on by older "chicken hawks" from the time I was 16, and one of the first ones ever actually paid me to have sex with him, and he was very sweet, gentle, and it was I must say, very hot. Once, however, when I was 14, another guy, a classmate who was much bigger than me, brutally raped me and beat me up, and I had a tough time with guilt for years, although I got to see him get his come uppance when another classmate, who was on the football team, witnessed this guy trying to beat me up shortly after that incident, and just pulverized him right then and there. I also got my own revenge by calling the guy's father and telling him what his son had done.

    Another time, when I was about 22, a guy I met on the beach in Hawaii and I hooked up, went back to my hotel room. The sex started orally, and was fine until I got on all-fours to let him fuck me. Instead of being gentle, though, he began to just slam into me, causing me to tear open and start bleeding, and when I tried to get him to slow down, he pinned me down on my belly and brutally raped me. He had ten inches, so this was very dangerous and extremely painful. I had a bad time with guilt over that for years. I might like fantasy rape, and group bath house scenes, but that's just play-acting, fantasy. The guys don't usually do that for real, and now that I've developed some abilities at self-defense, I'm better able to take care of myself.

    I guess if a guy were to tell me he'd been harmed in that way, I'd simply stay close without crowding him, and let him know he has my support.