Please welcome Jan Frayne to the Health Psychology Consultancy blog. He is a dear friend who continues to strive towards making the world a better place – and, I believe, he is achieving this for so many people. Here, Jan shares some insight into what it is like to be a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse, as well provides a glimpse of how he now supports other survivors. An inspirational writer and poet, you can find out more about Jan over on his blog – The Wounded Warrior.
Thank you for sharing, Jan!
I’m very honoured that Nicola invited me to write a guest post for her. She has been an inspiration to me since we first chatted last Summer.
My name is Jan Frayne. I am a male “survivor” of childhood sexual abuse and adult rape. I say adult rape as I was seventeen when this occurred. The sexual abuse started when I was three years old and continued for twelve years. I’ve spent my adult life knowing that I had been abused, but it was only a year ago that the extent and depth of the abuse came back to me fully.
You may ask how can someone can not remember such horrific events. It is understood that trauma can be blanked out by the brain, especially when full knowledge of such could cause further, psychological damage to the victim. The trauma memories are buried until the victim is in a stronger state of mind. These memories can also be triggered by other stresses. In my case the childhood trauma caused my mind to “fracture” and I developed Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D). You may know this better as multiple personality disorder (not to be confused with schizophrenia which is different again). I developed different personalities to cope with life, to help the inner me survive. Most of these personalities have now assimilated themselves back into ME.
I grew up accustomed to being “a thing”, someone to be used, abused, tormented and put down. I had very low self esteem, was painfully shy and had few friends. I couldn’t mix with others of my own or similar age. I was in my own words, a freak. This was how I saw myself. To many I might just have seemed to be a quiet boy. I lived many lives inside my own head, was frequently told off in school for staring into space, not concentrating on my studies. I was bullied in school as well as by certain members of my family. I didn’t have a happy childhood… My only escape was within my own head, and through writing.
“Jan” today is not the man that the boy grew up to be. I am instead a combination of my old personalities, and the me I created. I am complex. I’ve made many bad decisions in my life, based on the “truths” fed to me by the abusers. I’ve no regrets, what’s done is done. The past cannot be changed, only worked with, mistakes learnt from and then we have to move on .
The affects of sexual abuse on males are still shrouded in mystery to the majority. My blog covers most of the issues. I feel that I have lived many lives within one lifetime. I have experienced much, I wanted to explore all that life had to offer. Though the abuse left me with a very low self esteem, hang ups, inabilities and fears, I pushed myself to try everything life had to offer. Sometimes it would be another personality taking the lead, I would have vague memories sometimes, or most frequently had blanks in my memory. I’d call them “losing time.”
I started blogging seriously after having had most memories return. It was my was to deal with them. Writing things down has always been a passion, this took it one step further and made those words public. The Wounded Warrior blog is my testament. It’s my place to shed light on a subject still considered too sensitive for many to discuss, to hopefully explain how it feels to be a victim, and the journey from victim, through survivor to thriver. In many ways my blog is my antidepressant fix.
I hope that more help becomes available for male victims of sexual assault. I was referred by my family doctor ten months ago to my nearest sexual abuse help center. I’m still waiting to be seen.
If I had not come across Steve from the Amsosa (Adult Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse) group myself, I’d still be struggling to cope with those memories and the side affects on my own. It feels to me that male survivors are being treated as second class citizens. This has to stop.
I am still on the journey to become a “thriver”, I’ve much to do for myself and also to help others, both victims and the general public, to see that there is no shame on the victims head. It is ok to talk about what happened, to share your experiences, fears and hopes.
Where my life is leading I don’t know. I want to write more, I want to educate people. I want to feel at home within my own skin and to actually like myself, the man I am, the man I’ve become.
One of my favourite quotes is:-
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe.
There is life after abuse – recovery and healing are essential to living life to its fullest. I spent over thirty years living a half life, a life in the shadows. If I can help others find the path to recovery and if my work prevents another child being molested, then what I endured will have been “worthwhile.”