A common trope in therapy is “it gets easier, the more you tell it” – pertaining to many life experiences including but not limited to abuse. But nobody tells you “it gets harder, the more you hear it.” The first time I heard “it,” I asked my friend hundreds of questions because I was in complete disbelief. The most recent time I heard it, I was silent because I had no reason to be shocked. But when you grow up viewing sex as a taboo topic, you see sexual abuse as a taboo topic too. You want to talk, you want to listen, but these big elephants named shame, purity, dignity, ego, masculinity and modesty fill every fucking room, your inboxes and your own mind. Even though you know that sexual abuse is not sex, it’s power. Even though you know that men get abused too and that men are people despite the norms of masculinity that sometimes dehumanize them. And even though you know so much about rape culture, patriarchy, and consent, you do not know anything about what it feels like to survive, compartmentalize and then become triggered so long after it happened. You do not know how to support someone who usually supports you. I do not know and I wish someone could tell me so I could break my silence.

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