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ODIN – O’Brien Dennis Initiative News To advertise send an email to odinews@obdi.org

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Content Sexual Intimacy After Sexual Assault or Sexual Abuse. By Josh Leves Pg. 18 How To Help Your Partner Work Pass Sexual Assault. Jonathan P. Higgins, Ed. D. Pg. 34 Conversation with Chad Bailey. O’Brien Dennis Pg. 28 Valentine Gift Ideas for Males Pg. 33 What I Know for Sure Pg. 38 ODI Book Club Pg. 27 “I Am a Rape Survivor” Campaign Pg. 26

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Reviews from ODIN January 2018 Issue

“As a survivor, it was refreshing to see the cover page and its content.” -

Anonymous, NYC

“I have known Dennis for years, and its very eye opening what he is doing with the organization and the newsletter.” -

David

“Looking for me to come, the cover is eye catching” -

Sam

“Less about the author and more about other survivors. Dennis story needs to be told, however, he should try and get others to be on the cover of the next issue. -

Anonymous, Brooklyn

We are looking for constructive feedback to build the content of the newsletter. ODI News is geared to survivors and those who support them. Our aim is to give survivors of male sexual abuse an outlet to get resources and to learn more about their trauma, to let them know that they are not alone.

Send feedback to dtyson@obdi.org

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Spirit of a Man March 9th – 11th, 2018 The Spirit of a Man workshop will support you in being able to identify, master and command your inner forces and inherent power; the invisible realities that support or hinder your capacity to create a meaningful life. For more information go to www.innervisionsworldwide.com

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Editor’s Note February 2018

What is LOVE? This is more than just a calculated risk; some might even see it as suicide. I literally had to have Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” on repeat just to get through this edition. For years I struggled with finding love, often in all the wrong places. I have been in and out of love for most of my adult life. This month, I had to go to a deep place and remind myself that it is ok to give myself permission to be loved. So often the BIG question is what is sex like after sexual abuse? We decided to include an actual published research. Most survivors will see so much of themselves in this article. Pace yourself when reading as it goes deep, it is ok to put it down and come back to it later. No matter what, ensure that you get to the end; the pointers will help you improve how you view intimacy. This is where it becomes personal. “How to Help Your Partner Work Pass Sexual Abuse?”, this is no rocket science question. I realized that for years, most of my partners didn’t fully understand my trauma because I still hadn’t come to terms with the abuse I suffered. For those of you who may have a partner who is a survivor of sexual abuse, this is directed to you. Take your time, find a quiet room and pace yourself when reading. You will have several enlightening moments; get a pen and a book and jot down some notes. The highlight of the issue is my conversation with male survivor Chad Bailey and how he deals with love. It was such a pleasure having this one-on-one conversation with Chad and getting to know him some more. His story is raw and personal, yet provocative as he shares his sense of vulnerability with the world. We couldn’t have ended the issue without some gift ideas for men on Valentine’s Day. Check out our Book Club listing on self-help books. I reached out to a group of survivors to get their take on love and we created a lovely collage of what is love? We end as always with What I Know for Sure.

O’Brien Dennis Editor-in-Chief dtyson@obdi.org 10 | P a g e


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ODI News A Publication Dedicated to Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse _____________________________________________________________________________________

Cover Design ___________________ Debbie Bailey Old Post Studios Editor-at-Large ___________________________________ Courtney Graham Editorial Design __________________ Sheldon Brown Contributors ___________________________________ O’Brien Dennis – Editor-in-Chief Staff Writer Healthyplace.com - Sexual Intimacy After Sexual Assault or Sexual Abuse Jordan Gray - How to Help Your Partner Work Pass Sexual Abuse O’Brien Dennis – Conversation with Chad Bailey For Suggestions/Feedback _____________________ ODINews@obdi.org

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Introduction to the Board VISION STRATEGY Empowering communities within New York, to create an environment where men and boys can speak freely about sexual violence and grow up free from sexual abuse. MISSION To empower male victims of sexual violence to live productive and fulfilling lives in their communities. Educate the New York Community about the effects of male sexual assault. WHO WE SERVE We serve men who are victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA), men who are victims of sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and men who are victims of sexual harassment within the workplace. OVERVIEW OF THE ORGANIZATION The O’Brien Dennis Initiative (formally the O’Brien Dennis Foundation) formed in 2009 out of a need to target and change social perception about male sexual abuse. The founder, O’Brien Dennis, was a victim of male sexual abuse and at age twenty-five wrote an autobiographical book detailing his abuse and how he dealt with the challenges. Out of constant requests from his readers, O’Brien realized that it was imperative to create an avenue for men to discuss the abuse, and feel comfortable and secure in dealing with the challenges of the abuse.

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ODI Board Members 2018

Dennis O. Tyson MPA Survivor, Author, Advocate, Behavioral Specialist Founder OBDI, Researcher

Andre Morgan Administrative Coordinator, MSW Student

Courtney Graham BBA Behavioral Specialist

Orlando Charles Coordinator, Founder – Your Men Support Group, Board Member Reaching Full Potential

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Chad Baley Survivor, Model

Corey George Author, Producer at Cory George

Keith Spates Corporate Client Service Manager

Reginald Prince Host of OFFSTAGE with Reginald Prince

Tracy Ann Graham Mother, Wife

Raymond Sosa Survivor, Advocate

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What is LOVE? I had the opportunity of asking male survivors of sexual abuse to give their definition of love. I have omitted their names and instead call each individual “ME TOO”

“LIMITLESS strong feeling/affection for a person or a thing” “Living on Vibration EVERYDAY” “That STRONG emotional desire to connect or unite with something or another person” “The ability to be TRUE to yourself without regret or FEAR” “PURE” “Connecting with someone not only intimately but on a FRIENDLY level where both person understand each other” “Someone you share ideas, emotions, finance, happiness, sorrow and romance without CONDITION” “Love is to CARE for someone (anyone) when they hurt you or even when they make you MAD” “It’s that DEEP intimate feeling that you never want to go away” “Love is an emotional and mental deep connection” “A relationship where CHRIST stands in the center” “A situation where someone accepts your flaws and helps to elevate you to see your PURPOSE in life” “TRUST, understanding, communication and commitment” “Unconditional COMMUNICATION, loyalty and RESPECT” “Love is the embodiment of INFINITE possibilities” 17 | P a g e


SEXUAL INTIMACY AFTER SEXUAL ASSAULT OR SEXUAL ABUSE HEALTHYPLACE.COM STAFF WRITER

Many adult survivors of sexual abuse find that their sexual attitudes and reactions are impacted after a sexual assault or sexual abuse. While these effects are not permanent, they can be very frustrating as they can decrease the enjoyment of one's sexual life and intimacy with others for some time. Fortunately, even if one does not actively work on sexual healing, as the sexual assault or abuse is healed, the sexual symptoms will diminish. Experiencing sexual symptoms after sexual assault or abuse is not only very common, but it is also understandable; "sexual abuse is not only a betrayal of human trust and affection, but it is, by definition an attack on a person's sexuality."2 Some people may react to this attack by avoiding sexual activity and isolating their sexual selves, perhaps fearing losing control of their body or feeling vulnerable to someone else. Others may react by having more sexual activity than they had before this experience; possibly because they may feel that sex is less important to them now or that it is a way for them to regain a sense of power. No matter what your reaction after a sexual assault or sexual abuse, it is important to remember that it is part of your healing, helping you process what happened to you and regain a sense of normalcy.

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Common Sexual Symptoms The sexual effects that a survivor may experience after sexual abuse or sexual assault may be present immediately after the experience(s), or they may appear long afterwards. Sometimes the effects are not present until you are in a trusting and loving relationship, or when you truly feel safe with someone. The ten most common sexual symptoms after sexual abuse or sexual assault include:

1. Avoiding or being afraid of sex 2. Approaching sex as an obligation 3. Experiencing negative feelings such as anger, disgust, or guilt with touch 4. Having difficulty becoming aroused or feeling sensation 5. Feeling emotionally distant or not present during sex 6. Experiencing intrusive or disturbing sexual thoughts and images 7. Engaging in compulsive or inappropriate sexual behaviors 8. Experiencing difficulty establishing or maintaining an intimate relationship 9. Experiencing vaginal pain or orgasmic difficulties 10.Experiencing erectile or ejaculatory difficulties Discovering your specific sexual symptoms is an important part of beginning sexual healing. It can be very upsetting to think about all the ways that the sexual assault or abuse has influenced you sexually, yet by knowing, you can begin to address those symptoms specifically. One way to uncover your sexual symptoms is to complete the Sexual Effects Inventory in The Sexual Healing Journey by Wendy Maltz. This inventory is a tool to give you a general picture of your sexual concerns at this time, and it will indicate to you how the sexual assault or abuse may have impacted your attitudes about sex, your sexual selfconcept, your sexual behavior, and your intimate relationships. Although completing the inventory can be overwhelming, it can be a good place to start in understanding how your sexuality has been impacted by the abuse. Many of the effects of the sexual assault/abuse on your sexuality are a result of the sexual abuse mind-set. This mind-set consists of false beliefs about sex, and it is common to experience after a sexual assault or abuse. False beliefs about sex are commonly developed because the sexual assault or abuse is confused with sex. It is important to remember that while sexual activity was a part of the sexual assault or abuse, it was not healthy sex because it was not consensual and the perpetrator used sexual activity to gain power over you, making it abusive sex. The following table summarizes the differences between healthy sexual attitudes and sexual attitudes that equate sex to sexual abuse. With time, and the suggestions given later, it is possible to shift a sexual abuse mind-set to healthy sexual attitudes.

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Sexual Attitudes3 Sexual Abuse Mind-set Healthy Sexual Attitudes (sex = sexual abuse) (sex = positive sexual energy) Sex is uncontrollable energy Sex is controllable energy Sex is an obligation Sex is a choice Sex is addictive Sex is a natural drive Sex is hurtful Sex is nurturing, healing Sex is a condition for receiving love Sex is an expression of love Sex is "doing to" someone Sex is sharing with someone Sex is a commodity Sex is part of who I am Sex is void of communication Sex requires communication Sex is secretive Sex is private Sex is exploitive Sex is respectful Sex is deceitful Sex is honest Sex benefits one person Sex is mutual Sex is emotionally distant Sex is intimate Sex is irresponsible Sex is responsible Sex is unsafe Sex is safe Sex has no limits Sex has boundaries Sex is power over someone Sex is empowering

Moving towards healthy sexual attitudes and reactions The passing of time and positive sexual experiences by yourself or with a partner will naturally move you towards more healthy sexual attitudes. You can also actively begin the process of shifting your ideas that promote the sexual abuse mind-set to healthy sexual attitudes by trying some of the following: 1. Avoid exposure to people and things that reinforce the sexual abuse mindset. Avoid any media (TV programs, books, magazines, websites, etc.) that portray sex as sexual abuse. This includes avoiding pornography. Pornography consistently depicts sexually aggressive and abusive situations as pleasurable and consensual. As an alternative to pornography there are erotic materials, often named erotica, where the sexual situations shown display sex with consent, equality, and respect. 2. Use positive and accurate language when referring to sex. When referring to body parts use the proper names, not slang terms that can be negative or degrading. Ensure that your language about sex reflects that sex is something positive and healthy, and that it is something that you can make choices about. Do not use words that reinforce the idea that sex is sexual abuse, such as "banging" or "nailing." 3. Discover more about your current sexual attitudes and how you would like them to change. Spend time considering how you would feel about sex if you had never been sexually assaulted or abused. Consider how you want to think and feel about sex in the future. 4. Discuss ideas about healthy sexuality and sex with others such as with your friends, partner, therapist, or support group members. 20 | P a g e


5. Educate yourself about healthy sex. Read books, take workshops, or talk with a counselor. One way you can determine if you are about to engage in healthy sex is by asking yourself if your current situation meets all the requirements of the C.E.R.T.S. healthy sex model.

1. CONSENT: Can I freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity? Am I able to stop the activity at any time during the sexual contact? 2. Is my feeling of personal power on an equal level with my partner? Does EQUALITY: neither of us dominate the other? 3. RESPECT: Do I have a positive regard for myself and for my partner? Do I feel respected by my partner? Do I feel supportive of my partner and supported by my partner? 4. TRUST: Do I trust my partner on both a physical and emotional level? Do we have a mutual acceptance of vulnerability and an ability to respond to each other with sensitivity? 5. SAFETY: Do I feel secure and safe within the sexual setting? Am I comfortable with and assertive about where, when and how the sexual activity takes place? Do I feel safe from the possibility of unwanted pregnancy and/or STDs?

Sexual Activity For many people it is essential to take a break from sexual activity at some point in their healing. This break is an opportunity for you to consider your own sexual self without any concerns about someone else's sexual desires. It also ensures that your time and energy can be focused on healing and not on worrying about sex or sexual advances. Taking a break from sexual activity is an important option for survivors to have, regardless of how long they have been in a relationship and whether or not they are married or common-law. When you decide to be sexually intimate with someone, challenge yourself to take some steps towards engaging in healthier sexual activity, such as: Only have sexual activity when you really want to, not when you feel you should want to (such as after a long period away from your partner, on your anniversary, or on another special occasion). 1. Take an active role in sexual activity. Communicate with your partner about how you are feeling, your preferences, including what you don't like or what makes you uncomfortable, as well as your desires. 2. Give yourself permission to say no to sexual activity at any time, even after you have initiated or consented to sexual activity. It can be helpful to discuss guidelines regarding your shared sexual intimacy that can help you feel safer during sexual encounters. The following is an example of a list of guidelines that you can use

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in your own relationship. Discuss this list with your partner, and feel free to add to it or take away items so that it results in a complete list of ground rules that make you both feel more comfortable.

The Healthy Sex Trust Contract4 • • • • • • • • • • • •

• • •

It's okay to say no to sex at ANY TIME. It's okay to ask for what we want sexually, without being teased or shamed for it. We don't ever have to do anything we don't want to do sexually. We will take a break or stop sexual activity whenever either of us requests it. It's okay to say how we are feeling or what we are needing at ANY TIME. We agree to be responsive to each other's needs for improving physical comfort. What we do sexually is private and not to be discussed with others outside our relationship unless we give permission to discuss it. We are ultimately responsible for our own sexual fulfillment and orgasm. Our sexual thoughts and fantasies are our own and we don't have to share them with each other unless we want to reveal them. We don't have to disclose the details of a previous sexual relationship unless that information is important to our present partner's physical health or safety. We can initiate or decline sex without incurring a negative reaction from our partner. We each agree to be sexually faithful unless we have a clear, prior understanding that it's okay to have sex outside the relationship (this includes virtual sex, such as phone or internet sex). We will support each other in minimizing risk and using protection to decrease the possibility of disease and/or unwanted pregnancy. We will notify each other immediately if we have or suspect we have a sexually transmitted infection. We will support each other in handling any negative consequences that may result from our sexual interactions.

Once you and your partner have agreed on your complete set of guidelines in your sexual relationship, you should also discuss what the potential consequences will be for breaking one of the guidelines.

Automatic Reactions to Touch Even once you have set up guidelines to make sexual activity feel safer for you, you may experience automatic reactions to touch, such as a flashback, a panic attack, a sense of sadness, a sense of fear, dissociation, nausea, pain, or freezing. These reactions are unwanted and upsetting to both you and your partner, and fortunately, with time and healing they will minimize in frequency and severity. In order to gain control of your body and mind during an automatic reaction, you want to ensure that you stop all sexual activity. Take time to make yourself aware of and

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acknowledge that you are having an automatic reaction. Try to consider what triggered it. Once you have made yourself aware that you are experiencing an automatic reaction, take some time to calm yourself and make yourself feel safe again. Pay attention to your breathing, and try to take slow, deep breaths. Take some time to bring your mind and body back to the present by reorienting yourself in your surroundings. Remind yourself that you are no longer living the sexual assault or abuse. Using your different senses, make yourself aware of your current environment. What do you see? What do you hear? Touch some of the objects around you to ground yourself to the present. After you have overcome an automatic reaction, take some time to rest and recover. These reactions are overwhelming for both your body and mind. When you are ready, take some time to think about the trigger of your automatic reaction, and if there is some way you could alter the situation somehow so that the trigger does not happen or does not affect you in the same way. For example, perhaps changing the set up of the room would be helpful, or asking your partner not to do the activity that you believe may have set off your flashback. Also, if you are being triggered while being intimate with a partner, discuss with your partner what you would like her/him to do when you have an automatic reaction (e.g. stop what they are doing, hold you, talk to you, sit with you, etc.) Ask your partner to watch for signs that you are having an automatic reaction, and to stop sexual activity immediately when you have one.

Relearning Touch Many survivors find that because of their sexual assault or abuse they experience sexual touch or certain sexual activities as negative and unpleasant. Through specific therapeutic exercises you can learn to enjoy and feel safe during sexual touch. There are exercises that you can do on your own, and also those that you can do with a partner. A series of relearning touch exercises are described in Chapter 10 of Wendy Maltz's book The Sexual Healing Journey. If you are in a partnership at the time that you want to actively begin healing sexually, it is important that you work together. It is essential that you feel safe and comfortable with your partner, and that your partner always respects your limits and is prepared to follow your lead throughout this process. Partners who act in ways that mimic sexual assault or abuse, such as 23 | P a g e


touching without consent, ignoring how you feel, behaving in impulsive or hurtful ways, will prevent you from healing. Building emotional trust and a sense of safety in a relationship are important prerequisites to enjoying sexual intimacy.

Conclusion Fortunately, the effects that sexual assault or abuse have on your ability to enjoy sexual intimacy can be minimized and healed with time and efforts. The process of sexual healing is one that must be done slowly and patiently, and it works best if it follows or coincides with other healing regarding the assault or abuse. The guidance of a counselor can be very beneficial in the process of sexual healing, and is often recommended as this process can trigger difficult memories and emotions. While sexual healing is something that may take much time and energy, ultimately it will lead to enjoyment of sexual intimacy that is consistently positive and pleasurable.

Resources http://www.healthyplace.com/sex/abuse/sexual-intimacy-after-sexual-assault-or-sexual-abuse/ (other than those referenced earlier) Incest and Sexuality: A Guide to Understanding and Healing by Wendy Maltz The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse by: Staci Haines The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering From Sexual Child Abuse by: Mike Lew 1 Much of the information in this pamphlet was taken from Wendy Maltz's book The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse (2001). For more detail on the information found here please read this book. 2 Wendy Maltz, 1999 (www.healthysex.com) 3 The Sexual Healing Journey by Wendy Maltz (p.99) 4 Taken from www.healthysex.com by Wendy Maltz

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The Conversation is an unconventional support group for men led by men. The group allows men to network with each other in a safe space. A clinician or counselor is always present to give support as needed. It is imperative that men share their stories amongst themselves and gather strength and support from each other. We have decided to take more of an ecological approach by realizing that we must accept everyone at the level that they are currently in their respective lives. The Conversation Addresses: ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪

Childhood Sexual Abuse Male Rape Prison Rape Intimate Partner Violence Workplace Sexual Harassment

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The “I am a Rape Survivor� campaign was started out of an increasing number of women coming forward about sexual assault and sexual harassment. The conversation has been thought provocative, however too often men are seen as perpetrators and not as victims. Men are survivors of Rape, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault. The aim of the campaign is to have men come forward to put a face to the assault which hopefully will encourage other men to stand in their truth and tell their stories of survival to uplift other men. To join the campaign, please send an email to info@obdi.org

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ODI Book Club The book club will select books that are motivational and be an inspirational guide to our readers. Not all the books will be focused on sexual violence survivors. Our aim is to allow readers to find a deep spiritual awaking on the larger journey to understand the purpose of living. The Greatest Secret of All: Simple Steps to Abundance, Fulfillment, and a Life Well Lived by Marc Allen The Law of Attraction — how to use the mental and physical abilities we were born with to create wealth and success — is wonderful to know, but many who have discovered this “secret” still lead miserable lives. This little book clearly explains this law of manifestation but then takes it a quantum leap further, revealing how to create what is truly important in life — happiness, fulfillment, inner peace, and making the world a better place for all.

The Road to Healing: A Guide to Recovery from Sexual Abuse by Janet L. Black, Jeffrey M. Proulx Sexual abuse results in a number of damaging effects that the survivor may, or may not, be aware of. This book is a practical, easyto-use recovery tool to help the survivor become aware of and heal from these effects.

The Male Survivor: The Impact of Sexual Abuse / Edition 1 By Matthew Parynik Mendel This landmark study examines the largest clinical sample to date of male survivors of sexual abuse in childhood. Using data from his nationwide North American survey, the author reveals that such abuse is extensive, thus dispelling myths regarding the invulnerability of males.

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Conversation with Chad By: O’Brien Dennis, 2018 I had the opportunity of inviting Chad over to my Man Cave for this interview. It was a rainy day and it reminded me of a chilly winter evening in Central London. My Man Cave was the perfect setting for an interview; it has a Manhattan loft feel with exposed concrete and stones. Chad arrived somewhat high on, his drug of choice, the one thing that helps to relax his mind and calm him down. Chad is familiar with my home, so it didn’t take him much time to get himself relaxed. I had gotten an important call, so I had to excuse myself for a moment. Not long after, I came back finding Chad dozing off at my desk. I laughed at him for finding himself so much at home. My day had just started, so breakfast was in order. I went into the refrigerator and got some eggs out, slowly minced some vegetables. It didn’t take Chad long to wake up, giving me a tale about his night and the reason for his hangover. Chad and I are both Jamaican by birth, and my recent trip to Jamaica was the basis of our conversation. My intention was to get Chad as comfortable as possible to allow him to be in that vulnerable place to be more open and frank in our conversation. Over breakfast we both spoke about the similarities in our relationships and how I dealt with relationships over the years. I was trying to not be that older guy, telling the much younger generation how to live or find love. My advice was simple, “trust your gut, give yourself the permission to be loved and try not to relive the abuse through your partner”. It didn’t take long before we moved the conversation over to Chad the man and who he has become. 28 | P a g e


I didn’t want to focus too much on the abuse; I wanted to emphasize the recovery process instead. Too often as survivors we focus on our narrative and glorifying the story with the intent of having our listeners believe us. The intention should never be to seek empathy or sympathy; it is a survivor’s responsibility to stand in their truth, even if they might not be believed. Sometimes the story might seem questionable at best but it’s pointless to want to try to convince others of your truth. The rain was coming down heavily and I found myself looking out the window trying to figure out how to start the interview. It is important to point out that my intention was to help Chad tell his story in his own voice, so that other young men who have experienced sexual trauma can learn from his experience. What does love look like for you? Think about your current relationship and the life you lived after your abuse occurred. For me love looks like a $5 box deal at Popeyes but let’s not talk about what my stomach is dreaming about (laughs). Honestly love for me is my current relationship. I have never felt more secure and safe in my whole life. Being with someone who understands you and really got your back no matter what is the ultimate blessing for a victim of sexual abuse. The trick is never giving up and not telling everyone your business. Without going into much detail, did your abuse impact how you view love? The abuse has impacted my views on love because that one situation taught me how to recognize when something isn’t right or if a person isn’t right for me, hence why I have the perfect partner. As survivors we need to remember that if you are alive now that means that you’re stronger than they thought you would be. That means that your abuser didn’t take away your power; that means you still got it. Every survivor of sexual abuse has the spirit of a King/Queen so show it. When was the first time you fell in love and what did that look like for you? Being that I was abused at a youthful age when I got to teenage years toxic relationships were the norm to me. The first time I fell in love that person was very verbally and physically abusive and I stayed. I knew it was unhealthy but I had a lot of growing up to

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do. Its 2018 and unhealthy relationships are definitely a No for me, I’m worth so much more than that.

I don’t like for survivors to go into the graphic nature of their abuse, however for this interview, in your own words, just explain what happened. The abuse for me was more confusing than anything else. It didn’t make sense to me how my cousin thought that molesting a little kid was cool. I used to wake up every day knowing that what he was doing was wrong but it’s that great fear of being judged by your parents that compels you to keep it to yourself. He would sneak in my room in the night to have his way with me; he didn’t care about me bleeding and feeling pain, he didn’t care that this one decision can affect my whole, he didn’t care that I was too young to even comprehend what was happening. Growing up in that house as a kid I just wanted to be loved and a lot of times we as victims of sexual abuse tend to think that is unrealistic but that isn’t true. To be in love, or be loved, there must be some element of vulnerability, what does vulnerability look like for you in your current relationship? Having the ability to compromise, because being able to compromise means that you are giving yourself the ability to open up and be who you want to be. I feel that I am 100% vulnerable with him because of what he brings to me. We are both not embarrassed about our past and we also don’t judge each other for our past. How did you meet your current partner? Oddly enough, we met up on an app, well not with the intention to have sex or hookup. I was going through a tough time and I was dealing with the death of a friend. I went by his house, he cooked me dinner and we had a great evening just talking and getting to know each other. It was just refreshing, knowing that we could just spend such quality time with each other not focusing on sex. To be honest, I have never experienced that level of vulnerability with a total stranger while not focusing on intimacy. At what point in the relationship did you tell your partner about your sexual abuse? I know people will find this to be strange, I told him on our first encounter. Something within me that felt that it was the best thing to do. It turned out that he too had experienced sexual trauma both as a child growing up and as a young man. I no longer have shame in telling my story, simply because it is a part of who I am.

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How difficult is it to be intimate knowing that you were violated sexually? It was hard because I honestly felt that any guy that came to me, they only wanted sex. In the initial stages I didn’t know how to separate being a victim from being a survivor. My perpetrators were always older than I, and now I only have this great fascination to be with older guys. Intimacy in the beginning was difficult as I never wanted to be violated ever again. I won’t say that I am trying to relive the experience ever again or try to put myself in harm’s way, I am more comfortable with myself. I do struggle at times, because the memory of the past does come to mind. I feel very comfortable and safe with my current partner, so intimacy is not an issue in the relationship. What advice can you give to a young man who has experienced sexual trauma and who wants to love and be loved? Fall in love with yourself first; that will not be easy. Look at life knowing that everything in this life happens for a reason. I don’t want the younger generation to keep holding this dark secret thinking that you are all alone. It is important to seek help and come to terms with the hurt that you are going through. Love is a very complex subject topic, not everyone will love us the way we want to be loved. Do you feel that you were always gay? I think that I was gay from an early age. I used to question what my cousin did when I was younger, and it did make it feel that it resulted in me being gay. As I got older though, I realize that this is who I am. I have grown to love and accept myself for who I am and I no longer feel that the abuse led to me being gay. There are those who might question, how can I get raped and molested by another man, yet I find myself having sexual desires for the same sex. It’s no longer a question I ponder, simply because this is who I am. It is important for us to understand and accept who we are first before we even attempt or try to love someone else. O’Brien Dennis AKA Dennis O. Tyson – Is an author, advocate, researcher, mentor and a champion for victims of sexual violence. natty2nyc@aol.com

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Valentine Gift Ideas for Men UO Men’s Care Candle Trio Set

Echo Dot (2nd Generation)

SADDLE LEATHER JEWELRY COLLECTION

SLEEP - LAVENDER & CEDARWOOD

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How To Help Your Partner Work Past Sexual Abuse July 8, 2015 by Jordan Gray

Jordan Gray says that the resulting emotions left over from sexual abuse can be healed with these three, loving steps. —–

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Although this is the first time I’ve written about it publicly, the issue of sexual abuse is one that is very important to me. I have had multiple friends and lovers who have had sexual abuse in their past (either early childhood or later in life) and, with the average statistic saying that 1 in 3 women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, chances are you know someone who has been sexually abused in some way as well. Sexual abuse, in any of it’s various forms, often leaves the victim with a combination of feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and resentment. It’s quite common (especially if they were abused in their younger years) for the victim to internalize the experience and make it say something bad about themselves individually. When this emotional residue/trauma gets stuck in the mind of the victim it often manifests itself later in life in the form of sexual blocks… blocks that keep the person emotionally and sexually repressed, never wanting to fully open for fear of facing the underlying hurt that still exists within them. The repressed trauma might reveal itself as an unwillingness to fully relax, receive, or open during sexual intimacy… or they might cry every time they orgasm… or maybe they have a deep fear of letting you touch a certain part of their body. Any of those three things can be totally healthy in certain contexts, but if it’s a constant theme and they want to be able to move through it, then this article is for you the two of you. All toxic emotions can be melted through with enough time, love, and patience… and the feelings that surround sexual abuse are no different. I have had the privilege of helping many of my former lovers work through some deep-seeded toxic shame that was placed on them from past sexual abuse and, while I am not a registered sex therapist, I have found with 100% consistency that the following methods work wonderfully for helping people work through any difficult emotions resulting from sexual abuse. Here are three steps you can take to help your partner work through their stuck emotions from past sexual abuse.

1. Come to the relationship having worked through your own stuff enough to have compassion for them If you have faced yourself and felt the majority of your own previously feared feelings with love and compassion, it will be that much easier for you to face your partner with love. In other words, if you don’t fear the full spectrum of your own emotions then you won’t fear your partner’s full spectrum of emotions either. It’s very challenging to be able to really hold space for someone else’s experience if you don’t give yourself the same liberty to feel your feelings without judgment. So make sure that (whether through journaling, talk based therapy, or working with a trusted coach) you have done your own work and come to a place of love and acceptance with yourself first. 35 | P a g e


2. Be a safe, non-shaming space for them to talk to about their past experiences from day one Come into your relationship with the overarching intention that your relationship is a safe space and one of the major purposes of the relationship is to allow for each other’s healing. Make sure that you both understand that emotions lash out sometimes and they may manifest themselves in strange thoughts, words, or ideas, but that thoughts aren’t necessarily truth, and any and all emotions that come up are valid and beautiful in their own right. Those were some long sentences. What I’m saying is that whatever you or your partner feel, it’s all good. It’s all welcome. It’s all okay to express. Whatever might come up for them, in or out of the bedroom, is 100% acceptable and loveable. Setting this foundation from day one will make the following step that much easier (not that you necessarily need it to be easy… intentional relationships are deep and vital work, and that doesn’t always mean that it’s going to be easy).

3. When your partner’s old emotional wound comes up in bed, embrace it and encourage their emotions with full love and acceptance Some of the most common emotional experiences that tack themselves on to the victim of sexual abuse are shame and guilt… and both of these emotions make the victim want to push people away. They might experience the feelings (or themselves) as wrong, disgusting, or somehow inherently damaged beyond all repair. In order for the shame to keep thriving, they may try to put more distance between the two of you. Either by keeping the emotions hidden, or even by physically pushing you away when they feel the most triggered. Let’s say that when your partner has an orgasm from penetrative sex (male or female) they cry after orgasm (especially deeper orgasms like G-spot or cervical) and feel intense shame. Their shame voice may tell them to push you away or to retreat internally (i.e. hide and internalize… something that shame is very good at). Shame thrives in solitude, and is doused and eradicated by love and acceptance. When your partner begins to cry, envelope them… energetically, emotionally, and physically. Wrap your arms around them. Kiss them. Tell them how much you love them. Encourage the fullness of their emotional release. Tell them that you’ve got them, and that you love them. Tell them their tears are beautiful. Tell them that they’re safe. Tell them to let it all out. Let them have the fullest expression of their emotional release as possible (as much as they are willing to let out in each session of emotional release – as there is no rush for them to melt through whatever there is to melt through). Let it come, and love them through it.

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When you envelope their fear, shame, guilt, or sadness in love and acceptance, it will melt away the sexual shame. Guaranteed. Not necessarily in one round of healing, but sooner than you each thought possible. Remember, relationships are ultimately about healing and growing. And sex is equally, if not more, healing. The way we show up in bed is a microcosm of how we live our lives. And if you can help your partner open up more fully and be less afraid of their emotions, past, and sexuality, don’t be surprised if you see them open up more throughout their entire lives after healing their sexual trauma. I’ve known clients that have had full life/career turnarounds after transformative, deeply healing sex with their compassionate, non-shaming partner. They felt like they were allowed to be their authentic selves for the first time since childhood. Because that’s the power of sex and relationship. Love them. Accept them. Let them feel whatever they need to feel. And be there to hold them through it. This is how we heal the world. One loving embrace at a time. – This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

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What I Know for Sure I have loved and lost so many times, however I have decided not to give up on LOVE. I might be the last person to have a conversation with anyone about love simply because I am at constant war with love and the formalities of “What is Love”. Love for me is a combination, of TRUST, COMMITMENT, COMMUNICATION, FAITHFULNESS and BETRAYAL. I struggle with all five, and that makes it so difficult to cope with love. For a very long time, I didn’t know the difference between love and sex. I was introduced to love through sex. As I got older, I held the view that if my partners didn’t have enough sex with me, they didn’t love me enough. I have evolved pass these views, and I realize that sex is more of an intimate connection and love doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of that equation. What I know for sure is, love comes first from within and it is only when you have found selflove, then and only then can you love someone else. It took me years to find love, to walk away from the self-destructive behavior of looking for love in all the wrong places. Love for me is like a flower and watching it grow from a bulb, nurturing it, and then finally it blossoms. I have created a country-style backyard garden. This is where I learn patience, trust, commitment and communication. Betrayal is never a part of what I do, simply because, I care too much for my flowers to betray them by neglecting them. While this month reflects the season of love, it is important to look beyond the superficial. You may or may not have a significant other or in pursuit of someone. Find some time to spend some alone time, to reflect on what happiness looks like for you. It is only when we become completely still that we gain the greatest amount of clarity.

Dennis O. Tyson MPA Founder, President & CEO O’Brien Dennis Initiative dtyson@obdi.org 38 | P a g e


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Odi News February 201802 (002)  

February 2018 ODI News - Valentine Issue Conversation with Chad Bailey Sexual Intimacy after Sexual Assault/Sexual Abuse How to Help your Pa...

Odi News February 201802 (002)  

February 2018 ODI News - Valentine Issue Conversation with Chad Bailey Sexual Intimacy after Sexual Assault/Sexual Abuse How to Help your Pa...