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If this is your first time at the Friends and Family of Male Survivors forum, first of all we want to extend a warm welcome. Chances are you are pretty worried right now and maybe even in a state of shock concerning revelations that a man in your life has been sexually abused whether in the past as a child, or even as an adult.

Please understand you are not alone. This is very important - the statistics are piling up - male survivors of csa (childhood sexual abuse) are out there among us - and more and more are coming forward every day to deal with these tragic and traumatic acts which effect the lives not just of those who were directly abused but also families, friends and later on in life, partners, wives, girlfriends and coworkers.

This forum, the Friends and Family Forum (known here as F&F) exists for our questions, our concerns, to both cry and laugh, to share or just to read and learn. There are countless stories on here that all ring true in one respect - the man who is the survivor demonstrates difficulty in relating to those who love him the most.

Some of us have offered up some words of wisdom we'd like to share. Here are some of our comments:

*Welcome to a new world. One I'm sure you wouldn't choose to be a part of, but which has come into your life uninvited. There are other people here who are also finding their way through this reality who will talk to you as a friend without ever having met you because they understand how confused and hurt you are. No matter the event that brought you here, you will find that all who are here have similar issues and pains. We are all bound by one awful reality; the men we love were harmed as children and continue to be harmed in adulthood. You may have known very early in your relationship or you may not have found out until you were married for 20 years; it doesn't matter. You're here because you love your man and you want to know what you can do to help and support him. Just as important, you need to know how to help yourself. You'll find as much support here as we can offer.

*Read as much as you can handle and post when you feel you can. Ask as many questions as come to your mind. You'll be shocked at how many of us have asked the same questions. Every answer from every partner and survivor provides a new piece of the puzzle. As you learn from us, we will learn from you too. That's how we are able to come together.

* YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this strange new world.

* Im not a lady but I think you need to know you are not alone. I know there is a lot of talk about how us men feel this, but sometimes I think you lady's need to hear it as well. One very important aspect is learning to take care of yourself. I tell people from F&F all the time "Taking care of you IS taking care of your loved one".

* There are a number of symptoms that we as partners have seen or think we have seen...

The survivor pushing away all he seemed to previously care for
The acting out, whether it be online with cybersex or porn, or if it's in person with secretive meetings for sex with other men or women
The things that trigger your loved one to explode in anger, withdraw, or become emotional.

*He, the survivor, needs to be in charge of his/her own recovery. It cannot be managed for him.

* We as partners of a sexual abuse cvictim also share in the survivors grief and we also search for answers.

* You as a partner are not a trained therapist and one is almost certainly required for this journey.

* My first time here I was quickly rushed to a place full of cyber hugs... I needed that, I was a little hysterical, crying, shaking my head in disbelief that my world was suffering an earthquake. Well that was me, but I also was calmed by the fact of the statistics I read to my partner about CSA. He responded to that, letting out an emphatic, "HUH!" after I read them.

* I can't say enough how much this site has helped me AND our marriage. It has answered so many of the questions I had before I even knew I had them. I am seeing our theripist sometime this week, and she wants to hear all about this site. She said she has never heard of it. I can tell already from talking on the phone, she was happy I found it.

* Our surviving men need our support. For the last 8 years I have felt myself become weaker and weighted down with his abuse. Even just a few months ago I wanted to leave. I felt I was just at the end of my ropes with my husband.

* I love him so much, but I could see myself changing into this person I did not like. I was more depressed then ever, and I always thought my needs for companionship, or least my problems were to small to even consider when comparing mine to his.

* It's our Turn to let this world know we are here

* You are not alone. This nightmare is real but we are here to hold your hand through it. You can survive it, as we are. Here, you can begin to find the answers to the mysterious things about your husband. I felt when I found this site and started reading that I finally was starting to understand and know my husband of 15 yrs for the very first time. In a way that in its self was exhilarating but heartbreaking at the same time.

* When I found this site and learned, it was as if the whole universe just cracked open and gave me all the answers I had long ago given up on ever discovering about why it seemed my husband and I couldn't really be very close, why he couldn't look me in the eyes for long, why he seemed like a little boy in so many ways. He never, even to this day, has let me know just how destroyed he was as a child.

* I remember a quote that I read somewhere years ago: 'The greatest pain is that which you cannot tell another.'

* There is hope. This doesn't have to end your marriage or your bond. It can in fact be the first stepping stone to greater intimacy Finally! The understanding one gains sews compassion within. For some reason lately I've felt I am just a stubborn person; I do not want to allow this CSA stuff to beat us!!

Last but not least as you embark upon what may be a new albeit challenging journey, from all of us at F&F:

* A cyber hug is a great idea as well. Sometimes y'all/us just need to know someone out there cares.

The Friends and Family of Male Survivors Forum
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