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We Are Survivors: 1in6 Thursdays on the Joyful Heart Foundation Blog

Early in my healing process, I read an online article. I’ve long forgotten the title and the author; however, one statement went something like this: There is nothing wrong with us; something wrong was done to us.

Those words stayed inside my mind and heart for a long time. Perhaps one reason is because I had believed there was something wrong with me. I felt ashamed. Worthless. So many times I took the blame for the moral crimes committed against me.

There is nothing wrong with us; something wrong was done to us

I also felt isolated because I didn’t know anyone to trust with my pain. Logically, I knew there had to be other male survivors, but emotionally, I felt I was the only one. For years I made no connection between my lack of self-worth and my abusive childhood. If I had reasoned it out, I would have known differently, but emotional pain often blocks rational thinking.

A few months after I began to deal with my painful past, I learned to say something and I repeated it every day for months: “I am a survivor.”

And I was, because I’d made it past my childhood; I’d become a healthy, productive member of society. Several times I thought, this is the best revenge against those who wounded me: I survived, even though they hurt me deeply. My two younger brothers became alcoholics and died alcoholics.

As sad as I am over losing them, the other side of me says, “I confronted what they were unable to face.” I don’t look down on them for that, but instead I consider myself so blessed and fortunate. I survived. I went through the pain even though at times I felt like giving up.

But I kept going. And I survived.

About three years into my healing, I became part of a year-long, state-sponsored group called, Adult Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault.

I learned invaluable lessons by participating in those every-Monday-evening sessions: I was with others who had the same issues of low self-esteem as I did. I felt camaraderie with other broken men. Connecting with them helped me to stand strong.

On the last day, the state-appointed therapist said to me, “You’re a survivor. You didn’t fail; an adult failed you.”

I am a survivor.

Cecil Murphey

Cecil Murphey ImageCecil Murphey wrote, When a Man You Love Was Abused and Not Quite Healed with survivor Gary Roe. Murphey is the author or coauthor of 137 books including international best sellers, 90 Minutes in Heaven and Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson Story. His latest book is Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor, written with Katariina Rosenblatt. His twice-weekly blog is

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