I’ve been doing sexual assault prevention now for over eleven years and I still hear adult men say “Oh, but that happened to me.” As I begin to explain what child abuse is and the subtle ways abuse impacts an individual, it often triggers the realization that what their older cousin did to them was sexual abuse, what the baby sitter asked you to keep a secret about was molestation, and when your uncle told you that you would be gay if you told anyone that you performed oral sex on him– is considered incest. I’ve had numerous African American men tell me that their first sexual experience was with their fourteen year old female cousin. It is when I begin to hear stories like these that I think back to how most boys and men wish to protect those that are close to them. Most boys tend to protect their idea of what they believe manhood is until one day they begin to question, “am I a man because of what happened to me as a child?” I say this to every man that chooses to protect the boy inside of him:
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