Suggested Guidelines on Telling Your Story

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C. E.

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TELLING YOUR STORY is a difficult step for many survivors. We consider this particular forum to be a rather sacred place on MaleSurvivor.org. There is no right or wrong way to approach sharing your story, if and when you are ready to do so. The power of storytelling is found in its resonance with others. So many of us thought we were alone; the sexual abuse of males can be such an isolating experience, buried under years of secrecy and shame. The power of seeing that we are not alone is most palpable in sharing our stories.

For those who are considering posting their story, we offer these suggested guidelines compiled from addressing the questions others have asked.

How much detail should I share?

Often, the details are what the victim remembers. Especially where children are concerned, the details were what they knew physically and emotionally at the time, while the interpretation of those details - what is chosen to be remembered, misremembered or forgotten - is what the adult knows. We invite both voices here - the physical and emotional details the immediate victim knows, and the sequelae of how that experience was reconciled by the survivor. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Some are more comfortable with sharing the physical details of the sexual experience of their abuse, while others find they can only refer to that experience obliquely. Some find they have evolved as a registrant after having posted their story and decide to add a chapter. However the writer approaches this, he is in essence allowing the victim that he was (often a child at the time) to speak. As moderators, we consider these voices as sacrosanct. We do our best to ensure they are not silenced, edited, censored, or otherwise modified in any way. The testimony of our memories - the voice of the victim - is the most sacred thing we bring here, and it is to be respected and heard precisely as the survivor writes it.

So is this no-holds barred sharing, then?

While we allow the detailed and even explicit sharing of experience, we also ask of the writer that he relate his experience to the topic of healing, to a journey that he can share with others. Perhaps that sharing is intended to help others. Perhaps, instead, it is a cry for others to help him. Or maybe it is just to simply write it out for the first time with no particular expectation of giving or getting help - but just to be heard. We only ask that the writer keep in mind that other survivors will read it. A guiding question might help: what will my sharing contribute to other survivors, or even to the public that may know little of sexual abuse of males?

How can I trust where to draw the line on what level of sharing is appropriate?

Memories can be disturbing to recall and difficult to phrase. The difference between a story that is graphic vs one that is pornographic is perhaps best defined this way: a story that draws lines to the topics of healing, of self-reckoning, of disorientation or confusion - or to any deeper reason that compelled the writer to register with MaleSurvivor - may be quite graphic. That same identical share of experience that does not draw those lines may instead read as pornographic. Please understand that while the moderator team does everything to ensure the unedited voice and experience of the writer is shared, it is this standard that we must enforce for the safety of the site. If the board makes such a decision, we always respectfully approach the writer explaining specifically where we feel the story needs attention before being posted.

What if I'm still not sure?

Some survivors are ready to share immediately. Others are not. For those who are thinking about it, we recommend reading some of the stories and get a sense of the varied ways in which others have shared.

Your voice stands alone.

We do not allow anyone to post a response to a story. We believe that each story stand alone. However, if the writer wishes, and he can certainly discuss any aspect of his story in the other forums or via messaging.

Processing and Posting

Once a story is submitted, it is reviewed and posted unedited by the moderator staff usually within 48 hours. If we feel any clarification or edit is required, we contact the writer via site messaging/conversations to clarify.
 
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