Life After Abuse: What No-one Tells You

It’s easy to assume that the end of an abusive relationship means the end of the problems caused by abuse. This may happen for a few people, but it’s not true for everyone!

Life After Abuse: What No-one Tells You. "Your old life doesn't just snap back into place immediately. You changed, and others changed along with you. - Thomas Fiffer, The Good Men Project

Your old life doesn’t just snap back into place immediately. You changed, and others changed along with you. – Thomas Fiffer

The lingering effects of abuse, and the extent of the damage that it is caused may only become apparent some time later. You will also find that coping with the abuse has changed your way of interacting with others, lowered your self-esteem and distanced you from those close to you (or, those who were close to you but no longer are.

If this sounds overwhelming and depressing then remember that recovering is both possible, and worthwhile. You can begin to have the good life you deserve. You might find it helpful to read the excellent article below – and to share it with those close to you, to help them understand that possible reactions after the end of the abuse – and what can be done to help.

    The Unspoken Secrets about Life After Abuse by Thomas Fiffer (The Good Men Project)

Related Links

It’s my fault, it’s always my fault: Self-Blame (
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (
Denial: A psychological defense against trauma (
If the Abuse is Ongoing (
Being male and a survivor (
The Misconcepts of Misandry (hatred against men) (
Signs of being in a pscyhologically abusive relationship (

10 Male Sexual Assault Myths – Male Abuse Awareness Week

Survivor - to remain alive or in existence, to carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere. Abuse - intentional harm or injury to another person, can be physical, sexual, and/or psychological. Dec 1- 8th Male Abuse Awareness Week.

Male Abuse Awareness Week

~ May Trigger ~

Myth 1: Men can’t be raped or sexually assaulted.

Reality: Any man can be sexually assaulted or raped regardless of size, strength, appearance, age, occupation, race or sexual identity. The idea that men can’t be raped or sexually assaulted is linked to unrealistic beliefs that a ‘man’ should be able to defend himself against attack. Until 1997, under Australia’s Queensland Criminal Code, the offence of rape could only be committed against a woman.

Myth 2: Only gay men are sexually assaulted.

Reality: Any man can be raped, whether he identifies as straight, gay, bi, transgender or fluid sexuality. Rape is an act of force or coercion where someone’s personal choice is ignored. Just as being robbed does not tell you anything about someone’s sexuality, neither does rape. However, research does suggest that gay identifying men are more likely to be the subject of sexual violence.

Myth 3: It is gay men who sexually assault other men.

Reality: Most men who sexually assault other men identify themselves as straight.

Myth 4: Men cannot be sexually assaulted by women.

Reality: Although the majority of sexual assaults of men are committed by men, women do sexually assault men. Sexual assault is not always enacted through overwhelming physical force: it can involve emotional manipulation whereby a man can be coerced into sexual act out of fear of potential repercussions for his relationships, work, etc. The number of men identifying sexual abuse by a woman as a boy or young man has increased over the past few years. Ideas that men should always want sex with women and that as a young man you should feel lucky if you have sex with an older woman also make it difficult for a man to publicly name sexual assault by a woman.

Myth 5: Erection or ejaculation during sexual assault means you “really wanted it” or consented to it.

Reality: Erection or ejaculation are physiological responses that can be induced through manipulation and pressure on the prostate. Some people who commit sexual assault are aware how erections and ejaculations can confuse a man and this motivates them to manipulate their body and penis to the point of erections or ejaculation. They also can use this manipulation as a way to increase their feelings of control and to discourage reporting of the offence.

Myth 6: Most rapists are strangers.

Reality: Most men know the person who assaults them in some way. Often he/she is well known to them. They may be a friend, neighbour, boss or a relative, father, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, partner or ex partner. They may be a tradesperson or a professional e.g. doctor, teacher, psychiatrist, police officer, clergy or public servant.

Myth 7: Some people physically can’t commit rape.

Reality: A person’s physical strength, sex, sexual potency and sexual preference does not affect their ability to rape. Sexual assault can be committed through coercion or manipulation, by using fingers or objects such as sticks, marker pens or bottles. Rape is not all about physical force: young people and old people do sexually assault young and old people.

Myth 8: Men who sexually assault can’t control their sexuality.

Reality: People can control their sexual desires if they want to, however strong they might be. No “desire” gives anyone the right to violate and abuse another person. Far from being caused by lack of control, many sexual assaults are pre-planned and involve considerable abuse of power and control.

Myth 9: Men who have been sexually assaulted will go on to perpetrate sexual assault.

Reality: The majority of men who experience sexual violence do not perpetrate abuse or assault (they are horrified by such a suggestion). This is one of the most difficult myths for men: it can make men very reluctant to talk about experiences of rape or sexual abuse. There is no evidence to suggest an automatic route from experiencing abuse to going on to commit sexual offences. However, particular experiences (additional to sexual abuse) and models of masculinity are associated with an increased risk of someone perpetrating abuse.

Myth 10: Men who are raped are damaged and scarred for life.

Reality: Men can and do survive sexual assault, physically and emotionally, and go on to live full lives, enjoying rewarding relationships as friends, partners or parents. Although sexual assault can have a profound impact on men, they can and do find a way through and live the kind of life they would like. The media and many professional publications concentrate on stories of damage, recounting horror stories of what happened and the associated problems, without providing equal time to detail how men get on with their lives.

Source: (some changes made)

Help and Information Domestic violence information and help

Boundaries and holidays: Randy Ellison


Read the rest of the blog

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Child Protection and Disclosure: Ten reasons I didn’t tell I was being abused

One question people commonly ask adult survivors of child abuse is “Why didn’t you tell?”

Survivors may also also ask themselves this, or if they did disclose why they did not disclose much sooner (or to a more supportive person).

Carolyn Spring provides some answers from her own perspective, read:
Ten reasons I didn’t tell I was being abused (archived copy).

ten reasons

Some survivors who disclosed in the past may have had a response which made things worse, but increased awareness and the ability to disclose to a greater number of people (for example, child protection websites) should provide more support now.

Perhaps the questions we need to ask in the present are:

How can we, as a society, make it easier for children to tell today?

How can we respond appropriately to a child who discloses?

How can we lower the risk of a child being abused?

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PTSD – 30 Famous Trauma Survivors – Part 3

30 Famous Trauma Survivors - Part 3 - Actors, Models, TV Presenters and senior officers in the Military

Reminder: Only some of these people have disclosed a PTSD diagnosis, but all lived through significant trauma. Some were traumatized before the official recognition of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in 1980.

Actors, models and TV presenters

21 Alan Cumming
Cumming suffered severe physical and emotional abuse as a child, at the hands of his father. He suffered flashbacks and an eating disorder. Cumming has won two Emmys and is best known for playing Eli Gold in The Good Wife. His memoir is called Not My Father’s Son.

22 Amanda Holden
Actress and TV presenter.
British actress Holden was diagnosed with PTSD after nearly dying during a cesarean section during her daughter’s birth in 2012.

23 Carré Otis
Model and actress.
Carré Otis grew up with an alcoholic father, was raped at 17, experienced domestic violence, and was raped again as an adult. Her modeling career involved frequent sexual harassment, and she modeled for Guess? and Calvin Klein. She used eating disorders and drug addiction to cope with her difficult past. She is now an ambassador for the National Association of Eating Disorders.

24 Joan Collins
Collins recently spoke being drugged and date raped at 17 (by her future husband, who was a famous star at the time). She felt obliged to marry him and guilty because he took her virginity; the marriage was abusive. She gave an interview about this in the film Brave Miss World, in which a former Miss World talked about her own rape.

25 Mo’Nique
Comedian and Actress.
Child sexual abuse. Mo’Nique drew on her experience to play the part of the abusive mother in the film Precious.

26 Oprah Winfrey
TV show host and author.
During a 1986 show on sexual abuse, Oprah revealed she had been raped by a relative as a 9 year-old, and was abused by several people for a number of years. She used sexual promiscuity to cope, having a baby at 14 who died. She continues to advocate for sexual abuse survivors.

27 Teri Hatcher
A Bond girl and star of Desparate Housewives, Teri spoke in 2006 about being sexually abused as a 5 year-old.

28 Waris Dirie
Somalia-born supermodel, author and campaigner against FGM.
Waris experienced Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as a 5 year old, which caused her years of pain. At 13 she was forced into marriage with a 60 year old, so she fled home and later found her way to London. She needed surgery prior to childbirth because of the damage.

Careers in Military

29 Audie Murphy
Military combat.
Famous for being the most decorated American Soldier of World War II, he was wounded many times and awarded the Medal of Honor and many Purple Hearts after being injured in combat. Physical injury increases the risk of PTSD. Murphy was also decorated by French and Belgian governments. After the war he sleep with an automatic pistol under his pillow and struggled with nightmares. He died in 1971.

30 Major General John Cantwell
Austrialian Army General
His autobiography Exit Wounds described how he hid his PTSD for 20 years and continued in the army, being promoted to Deputy Chief of the Australian Army. He experienced survivor guilt and avoided cars due to fear of car bombs. He became suicidal and was later admitted to a psychiatric ward for a week, retiring soon after.

PTSD Self Help: Transforming Survival into a Life Worth Living, p205. A. E. Huppert (2014).
The Everything Guide to Overcoming PTSD: Simple, Effective Techniques for Healing and Recovery, p91-94. Romeo Vitelli (2014).
Desert Flower. Waris Dirie (2009).
Beauty Disrupted: The Carrie Otis Story. Carrie Otis and Hugo Schwyzer (2011).
Brave Miss World (documentary).
For Military Merit: Recipients of the Purple Heart. Frederic L. Borch (2010).

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