survivors manchester

Why I Kept Silent

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In 2009 we put an open call out to male survivors to help us with a poster project. Our idea was to collect responses to the question “Why Did You Keep Silent” from boys and men who have survived childhood sexual abuse, rape and sexual violence. Once we had collected these words, we would use them to illustrate the struggle we have to speak out in all of our official documents.

We had an amazing response and words have continued to roll in from some of the most inspirational men we have ever had the pleasure of being in contact with.

These are their words…

I could not begin to heal until I was able to say those three words – I was raped

James (38)

is it rape because it was a woman, should i have been grateful, surely its every young boys fantasy. There’s no way anyone’s going to believe me

Danny (33)

It was our secret, I promised not to tell

Sam (26)

I didn’t know I was being abused. Too young 4yrs old. When I tried talking to guys about it, the names and beatings that followed made life numb through adulthood. When I talked to women about it they assumed the ‘stereotypical’ man hater/fear answers . When I spoke to other survivors about it Men and Women , I started to heal

Mac (39)

So that’s why i took drugs! Thank God someone believes me! Now i can face this. No longer is he going to have a hold of me. Why’s he living rent free in my head/life

Danny (33)

How to speak about something you don’t have the words for?.. Sometimes silence seems the only option

Onno (32)

I was afraid he would banish me from home, he was all i had

Dan (19)

I was only 19, he was 35, who would they believe?

Andrew (Aged 22)

I was not at fault, I didn’t deserve this. But it’s so hard to believe when alone

Jose (Age 22)

How did I slip through the net? why did nobody notice I wasn’t my self any more? Does this mean I’m gay? how long should I keep this to myself?

Danny (33)

If you don’t let me then I will get you bashed again, You know you like it, look you are hard. Your just a little faggot whimp, we can do what we want to you. But I love you, you want friends don’t you
you got us into trouble, if you dob again we are really going to hurt you

Ste (30)

He was my friend. I’d hate to see what he would have done to me if we were enemies

Andrew (Aged 22)

I thought i deserved it
I thought no one would care if I told

Dan (19)

She told me she loved me and it was okay

Scott (At age 12 – Now 35)

Don’t say a word, don’t you move. If you tell anyone, I’ll just tell them you asked for it

Andrew (Aged 22)

She told me that my body belonged to her

Scott (At age 15 – Now 35)

If I could ignore it, it wasn’t real

Jose (Age 22)

She tells me that it is my fault

Scott (At age 35)

If I only knew what to acknowledge, I could deal with it

Onno (32)

He said my mom would lose her job if I told.
He said I’d be in trouble if I told.
I thought it was my fault

Sam (26)

She tells me that I deserve to be punished

Scott (At age 35)

If I told, then it would only make this nightmare a reality

Andrew (Aged 22)

don’t tell stories steven, i am sick of you whinging all the time.
stand up for yourself, they will soon get sick of it, they only do it because you react, don’t let them see that they are getting to you and they will leave you alone

Ste (30)

She told me that I deserved to be punished

Scott (At age 15 – Now 35)

Although I sometimes really feel this part of my history does not belong to me, I can’t ignore I still belong to it

Onno (32)

She tells me that my body belongs to her

Scott (At age 35)

Covered in bruises, no one bothered to ask me if I was OK

Jose (Age 22)

Until I could admit it to myself, I was unable to ask for help for 18 years

James (38)

I thought it wasn’t abuse when i liked it
I thought responding to it meant i liked it.
I thought that was all i was good at

Dan (21)

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