My 26 Hour Silence for WAVES
26 hours... it may not seem long, but when you turn each hour into a year, then you have 26 years, which is the time on average it takes a male to talk about the sexual violence he has suffered.
It may sound silly, but I learn't a lot during this time, for example a family member had made a misinterpretation based on limited information and I was unable to correct him, and this made me think of those men who may dismiss male sexual abuse as if it is something that does not happen, and that perhaps a male listening knows this could not be further from the truth, yet unable to say anything for fear of revealing it happened to him too; I thought about how men have had to lie about what has happened to them and refer to it as cancer or an illness of some kind, feeling if their employer knew the truth that they would not be believed, be laughed at, or seen as weak.
There were also people who did not understand why I was being silent, and I was unable to communicate why. I wonder how these people must feel when their male friends have changed in personality, are reserved, avoidant, dismissive, and wondering what happened. The same goes for family, unaware of what trauma their loved one has experienced and yet wondering if it is something they had done or not.
I was 14 years old, I was a cheeky and mischievous young teenager, I never thought in a million years that it would happen to me, I always saw it in the news and I would just avoid listening to it or reading it because it was too horrible - Survivors UK
In the time I was silent I reflected on those 26 years, I thought about how for some that can be half a life time, the pain from going that long without talking about the abuse, and what a person must have to do just to put that abuse somewhere in their mind, stored away somewhere so that he can get on with his everyday life, make an income, be there for his son or daughter, and meet every other expectation. I also thought about how men tend to hide a lot of how they feel anyway, but wondered how full with horrible thoughts and feelings that mental bucket must be with the sexual abuse always filling half of it to begin with.
I have known of men who have been through abuse and have felt that sense of relief when the abuser passes away, when that place where it happened has been demolished, and how these things could also take 26 years to happen, or more. But I believe there is a sense of freedom and empowerment for those that seek help to speak about what happened, to air it and for it to no longer be a secret between yourself and the abuser, it takes away the abusers power, and that power can then return to you, and more.
WAVES has always been a project I have believed in and always will believe in, we have seen as an agency referral after referral from men, women, the LGBT+ community, come through, wanting counselling for the abuse he or she has suffered, and how amazing are each one of these people for taking that step to share what they went through, to process and make changes in their life!? Because the reality is abuse has no gender or sexuality preference, and any of us could be abused, it is not something we want, it is not something we have asked for, but it does happen all the same. That is why I think WAVES is amazing, because it will support anyone!
I am proud to say we raised over £60 on our fundraiser, and every penny of that will make a world of difference to our current and future clients, and if you have donated, please be proud, because you are helping us to achieve our goal to end all abuse, and support anyone who needs it.
If you would still like to donate to the fundraiser, you can do so by going here: https://www.gofundme.com/WAVES26
And also, don't forget, if you gave experienced abuse, you can refer yourself now by going to our Home Page at the WAVES Counselling Project.