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“After Sexual Violence, Hope Grows in Honesty, Trust and Loving Relationships”

A fantastic article on the Huffington Post as part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

After Sexual Violence, Hope Grows in Honesty, Trust and Loving Relationships
By Eric Stiles
April 20th, 2014

All too often, male survivors of sexual assault do not come forward or have support. Hope keeps them going. Hope kept me going.

The people who abused me told me that no one would believe me.

The isolation I felt while growing up chilled me to the bone. I did not know what was happening to me. I did not know boys could be raped. I did not know which words to use to describe my feelings.

I often was picked on at school for being different. I was seen as “gay” or “not male enough.”

Throughout this rejection, the adults in my life told me that I should learn to toughen up. They did not think to ask if I was ok. They said I was “going through a time” and implied that I should be “more of a man.”

I guarded a flicker of hope for a better day, a day when I would be loved by others and feel a sense of belonging. I would turn to the safe ones in my life, my pets and nature. I would not let others in. If I was going to be without other humans, I at least had the love of animals.

A realization came to me while healing from child sexual abuse: Hope is guarded in isolation and from rejection. Hope grows through honesty, trust and loving relationships.

To read the full article, visit

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