Rape is a Spiritual Violation | Male Sexual Assault

"It took me a long time to get back to being one…It was a very traumatizing experience."

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When Tony was raped as a small boy, the deep wound might have shuttered his soul and severed his emotional ties to others. But the opposite happened. Perhaps because of the gentle, bone-deep love of his grandmother, who nurtured him tenderly in the months following the rape, and because of the elements of Tony’s own old soul, his heart never closed. Instead, the traumas of Tony’s childhood opened him to the pain and vulnerability of others, a gift that he is slowly learning how to manage. As a veteran teacher in the Oakland public schools, he is immersed in the wounds of countless young students. Breathing in their pain, he is learning also to breathe it out.

A recent, life-changing visit to his ancestral home in Africa has catalyzed a new period of reckoning in Tony. Standing alone in the dungeon of the Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, where the agony of his ancestors reverberated through his bones; walking the streets of Addis Ababa, where a many-thousands year old culture resonated deeply within him; Tony is coming to grasp the fine weave of personal and ancestral threads that have come together to create him. Holding the beaded necklace representing his ancestors, he is beginning to look ahead, and to ponder where that unfinished tapestry might yet lead him.

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1in6 is a national nonprofit organization supporting the estimated 1 in 6 men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault. At 1in6, we believe that the tens of millions of male survivors who have had such experiences deserve to live whole, meaningful lives, but we know that isn’t always easy. Entrenched myths about masculinity, the stigma and silence around the issue, and a lack of male-specific services are just some of the barriers men face to seeking help and addressing emotional wounds in a healthy way.

Men who feel unsafe to disclose and seek help may risk exposure to social dysfunction and mental and physical health issues, including but not limited to: depression, PTSD, suicidal ideation, addiction, isolation, fear of intimacy, confusion about sexuality, interpersonal violence, and feelings such as anger, guilt, shame, and distrust.

We help men overcome the negative effects of past experiences and reclaim their lives by offering information, outreach, and free and anonymous services for men and their loved ones, as well as service providers working with men.

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