Oprah’s Historical Landmark Event

In his book The Pursuit of God A.W. Tozer quotes a Chinese sage Lao-tze, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” 

200 men; husbands, brothers, and sons all were featured on the Oprah show November 4,2010.  Bless her heart, Oprah has had the most courage of anyone I have seen to break the Code of Silence that engulfs not only men, but women and children too.

Tyler Perry (actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and author) was the featured guest.  He was surrounded by the 200 men, all of whom had horrendous stories.  Unfortunately, only a few got a chance to tell theirs.  Tyler himself was molested by a neighbor starting at age 5.  A man in his church molested him.  He was raped at age 10 by a friend of his mother’s.  Sound familiar to anyone?

Oprah asked him if he felt lighter by talking about it.  He said a hearty YES.  He also said that for him it helped release the shame he has carried.  The talking about it lightens the load and can begin the journey of healing if survivors pursue that.  Often the old adage ‘boys don’t cry’ get in the way of the telling.  Such a lie.  Tears help heal us when things hurt. 

The culture wants to believe that male sexual violence is rare, but this is not true.  One man made a statement about how dark  his traumas are….that they stole his soul.  He knows they are unhealed and are still affecting him today. 

Someone made a statement that ‘oral sex’ was done to him.  I want to emphasize that there is no such thing.  The true statement was that he was orally raped.  Sexual violence is never, I repeat, never sex.  Our cultural language on this topic is so unconscious.  Incest is not a sexual experience; when the body responds (as it is designed by God to do) does not mean the incest is not violent. 

There was a question of how to work through the abuse…the statement to do so was made often…but no ‘hows’ were given.  My book describes the ‘journey of a thousand miles’ choices that I long for all survivors to make.  These men were beginning the journey, but will they continue to make the Intentional Choices to continue on the road?  I hope so, because the journey is so great; hard but great. 

Yes, self-blame and blaming survivors is common.  These statements were made by some of the men interviewed.  My other positions on things that came up during the show are:

  • Never allow children around known abusers, I don’t care how much you believe they would never do it again.  Such a risk is simply stupid.
  • Yes anger is a usual component of recovery (and rightly so) but is usually taken out on others.
  • Yes children are lured and groomed for abuse.
  • Yes it really messes up what love really is.

Twins who had been molested by a priest were featured.  Just know that the priest was any adult, male or female.  The church component can add some complex spiritual issues though.

Whatever age the abuse began, the child’s brain became altered in that moment.  This fact is very, very significant.  With proper help, the brain can recover the hay-wiring that took place.  It may change who we become, but it is possible to recapture and even grow from these traumas; such great, great hope.

Tyler made a statement to ‘take the power back.’  But how does one continue on the journey to achieve that goal?  Make some Intentional Choices! 

These are 200 amazing men; such courage. 

Oprah means and does well in many respects, but her well-intentioned statement that it is never their fault, though completely true, does not reach their soul/heart/brain without some serious ’emotional surgery.’

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