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A Survivor's Response to the Milwaukee Archdiocese Scandal

Contact: Twila Belk, 563-332-1622, twilabelk@mchsi.com

ATLANTA, Feb. 2, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- A statement from veteran author and abuse survivor Cecil Murphey:

Minutes ago I read about the latest scandal. The Catholic Diocese of Milwaukee may have to file for bankruptcy because 550 young men have filed claims of abuse against the clergy.

Most of the article was about money -- paying the victims and draining the treasury. But I read nothing about the shattered, broken lives of those 550 men.

And only 550 individuals have made claims -- which implies there are probably at least that many who don't have the courage to speak up.

I admire those 550 and how difficult it must have been for them to say, "I was molested." Male sexual abuse is probably the most under-reported crime in the world. Like women reporting rape two decades ago, the survivors often become victimized again through publicity and often charges of lying.

I still become a little numb when I read such terrible things. More ruined lives. More pain. And so little help. Payment of money may be the only way organizations know how to make amends. But there is no way to make amends.

Howling about the money is an easy way to avoid healing the victims. It's as if dollars can cure depression, shame, and self-hatred -- all results of the abuse.

Those men need compassion. They need people to care. But most of all, they need people they can trust.

If you know a male survivor of sexual molestation, here are things you can do:

  1. Say, "I'm sorry for what happened. I want to be your friend." You may have to prove your friendship. He's been betrayed by someone he trusted.
  2. Say, "I promise you that I will not tell anyone anything you say without your permission." Keep that promise.
  3. Validate his story. He may not be sure that you (or anyone) believes him. You help him most by listening and accepting what he says.
  4. Empathize with him. Try to feel his anguish. If you can't, say honestly, "I don't understand what happened, but I care."
  5. Don't focus on your feelings of anger, pain, or revulsion. This is his struggle.
  6. Remind yourself that you can't heal him and you can't talk him out of it. You can support him while he works though his trauma.
  7. Don't press him for details.
  8. Suggest professional help. It's not for everyone, but it might be for him.

Cecil Murphey is the author of "When a Man You Love Was Abused" (Kregel, 2010) and the not yet released "Not Quite Healed" (Kregel, 2012), as well as 125 other books, including the New York Times bestseller "90 Minutes in Heaven" (with Don Piper) and "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" (with Dr. Ben Carson). His blog for male survivors is available at www.menshatteringthesilence.blogspot.com.  

On February 11, Cecil Murphey will present a Help 4 Survivors seminar in El Paso, TX. See www.help4survivors.com for details.