"Healing starts from within, no matter how many distractions one has to try and forget. Hurt will never be forgotten, it'll simply stay hidden in the shadows waiting to attack when you're vulnerable and you least expect it. If you want to help those you love, start by helping yourself." —Treka L. House
Those who know me well, understands my passion for males who have been sexually abused. I've always felt that the topic of sexually abused men, has never been nurtured enough. I'm grateful that God opened the door for me pursue my passion; while offering healing. Though sexual abuse is a broad topic that is not restricted to gender, status, race, religion or age; it’s still a crime that is much like a taboo. It can’t be fathomed the number of individuals you encounter on a daily basis that may have their own story of sexual abuse. Their personality sparkles and you can not only see the beam of light exuding from them, but you feel inspired when you’re in their presence. It’s also possible that there is someone you are instinctively drawn to, yet a wall of anger and disappointment divide you.
This interview came as a wonderful surprise to me and I'm elated to be given the opportunity to be a platform for a subject I'm so passionate about. Thaddeus D. Wright, the Author of Shhh...God is Speaking,reached out to me with this message:
"Hey, I don't know if you're interested or not, but I wouldn't mind doing an interview with you, because I see know that your heart is pure and your words are the truth. I want people to know that we can overcome sexual abuse. As I'm sure you know, I was molested by my pastor in Greenwood. I won't call names, but if you're interested, you can put together the questions and I'll answer them honestly and transparently."
To find out more details about the life experiences of Thaddeus, please purchase a copy of his book by clicking here.
Most of my readers read your interview about how your book came about, but I would love for you to give them a little more insight about you personally.
Thaddeus: Personally, I am a man of faith and I have a strong belief in God. I desire to please Him, but I have not always been this way. I was once a man (boy) who would lie to get what I wanted. I have always had a strong love for God, but one could not tell by my actions. I was raised in a single parent home with one brother and one sister, with me being the oldest. I was raised and brought up in the church. I used to be a man who caused more hurt than I did well. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and I ask myself, Juan what were you thinking? I used to tell people I was something that I wasn’t, because I was too afraid that people would not like the real Thaddeus.
You’ve expressed to me that you were sexually molested by your childhood babysitter and the pastor of your church. At what age did this happen to you?
Thaddeus: The sexual abuse took place at the age of 8 and lasted until I was around 9 years old.
Was anything done or said by your abusers that lured you into those abusive situation? If so, what?
Thaddeus: Yes, there were things said by my abusers that lured me in. I remember the preacher would tell me that what was happening was normal; but I couldn't tell anyone and that it would be our secret. He would say that the youth was having a sleep over at his house, yet I was always the only one there. My babysitter would get naked in front of me. She would take my pants down and force me inside of her. At that age, I really did not understand what she was doing. Honestly, it felt natural, but wrong at the same time.
Did you tell anyone? If so, who and what were their responses to your situation?
Thaddeus: Yes, I eventually told my mother. One night out of the blue, she asked had the pastor been touching me and I said yes. I remember it like it was yesterday. She was in the kitchen cooking, when she called me in there and asked me about it. I never told her about the babysitter until I became an adult. I guess I didn’t tell her because she didn’t ask and because like I stated previously, it felt natural and wrong at the same time.
Where was your father during this whole negative ordeal?
Thaddeus: He was not available for support doing that time; however, my grandfather was the supportive male figure present in my life then. He actually held my hand and expressed his love for me the night the pastor was confronted. He actually started the healing process for me, by being that emotional male force I needed.
What were the consequences for your offenders?
Thaddeus: Nothing happened with babysitter. The pastor was given a ten year sentence and he served two years.
Is there a difference in the physical inappropriateness between your two violators? If so, what?
Thaddeus: Yes, there was definitely a difference, since with my babysitter there was actual insertion and she would hold me down until she finished. With the pastor there was no penetration. He would grind me and perform oral sex on me. He would grind on me with his family in the same bed as us. I remember it being a water bed. His wife and kids were at the head of the bed and we were at the foot. Surprisingly, they never woke up during his inappropriateness and if they did, they didn’t alert us or say anything.
Did the violations effect you differently because of gender or did it have the same impact? Explain the differences or similarities.
Thaddeus: I believe that it affected me in the same manner. The best way I know how to describe it, is it was like a light switch was switched on before its time. It did cause a little confusion early on, as I didn’t know which gender was right or wrong in the sense of relationship. However, lucky for me, I had uncles and all I ever saw them with were women, so that’s what I stuck with.
What ramifications did the abuse have on you as an adolescent?
Thaddeus: The ramifications were severe and brutal. The kids at school would call me “preacher boy”, or say things like “that preacher tore your booty up”. To me the ramifications were worse than the actual molestation, as the ridicule and the name calling were a daily occurrence. Sexual arousal began to become a problem for me. I could look at a woman in a music video and instantly get aroused. I’ve never told anyone what I’m about to say, but I used to put tissue in my underwear and grind on it to feel some sense of sexual pleasure; needless to say, it never worked. Just a waste of some good charmin tissue - lol. Not really funny, but it’s my truth.
What negative effects has the abuse had on your previous and current relationship(s)?
Thaddeus: The inability to truly love and commit to one woman.
What abuse did you subject yourself to afterwards?
Thaddeus: My drug of choice was sex. I think I gravitated toward sex since that is what I was exposed to. To me, sex was love and love was sex. It wasn’t until later in life that I learned that the two were totally different.
Did you share the attack with any of your partner(s)? What were their reaction? How did their reactions affect you?
Thaddeus: I shared the molestation with one of my son's mother and she was supportive. However, when we broke up and she became a police officer, she used it against me as a way of keeping me from seeing my son. She would say things like, "I’m scared you’re going to do the same thing to our son". The other partners I shared it with, were very supportive and understanding. In the midst of sharing my story, I came to find out that some of them had been molested as well.
Was there anything specific the abusers did or said once they finished abusing you? If so, what did that mean to you?
Thaddeus: The only thing they would say is not to tell anyone. I never really understood what it meant at that age. I was more frightened than anything. I was scared I would get in trouble if I said something.
Do you remember how you felt after each encounter? About yourself specifically?
Thaddeus: Yes. After each encounter, I would feel confused, because I didn’t understand what had just happened. I was super lost. I used to wonder why was this happening to me and if it was right or wrong.
What impact has the assaults had on your life as an adult?
Thaddeus: It has had a tremendous impact on my life. It was like there was a void in my life and I could never figure out how to fill it. So I used to sleep with different women, just to try and fill that void. While I would be having sex with them, for a moment my mind and heart would align. I could truly say that I loved that person, but once it was over, it was like that person did not exist to me. Furthermore, I still felt that void. I hurt so many good women unintentionally, seeing as I was looking for them to fill a void that I later learned that only God can fill. I used to look in the mirror and try to figure out what I was doing and why I was doing it. I have five children with five different women. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if I’m even worthy of being their father, due to the lifestyle I've lived. As a man, how can I look my children in the face and explain why daddy wasn’t there, since I never married either of their mothers. To me that’s my greatest hurt. I wish I could be there with them each and every day, but the reality of it all is, I can’t. Being molested took my life in a direction and down a road I was not prepared for. I had the sexual drive of five teenagers all wrapped in little ole me. It was like I couldn’t control it. If I went more than two days without sex, I would literally have physical withdrawal. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. The biggest question I faced within myself was how would I control what I didn't understand.
What emotional and security issues have you noticed that you faced since the incidents?
Thaddeus: I have problems trusting people, since the people who molested me were supposed to be people who loved me, yet they hurt me. So now, I try and guard what’s left of my heart and my identity. It’s like I enjoy giving affection, but I don’t know how to receive affection. My wife will tell you that when she shows affection, I often ask her what she's doing. I know she means well and that she genuinely loves me, but part of me is scared to be truly loved. And what’s funny is I didn’t realize that until I began to answer your question. WOW!
I know that you’re are a father. How have you been proactive in preventing such as abuse against your own children? Given that you were so young, what guidance would you give parents to protect their children from this particular behavior?
Thaddeus: My advice to parents would be to truly get to know the people their children are involved with, before they start letting them sleep over and go places with them.
Have you spoken to a professional? Why or why not? Based on your experience, what forms of therapy would you suggest to victims and why?
Thaddeus: Yes, I was in therapy from age nine to around the age of thirteen, at the urging of my mom. It felt uncomfortable telling a complete stranger your personal business. Each person is different when it comes to the healing process. Therapy did not work for me, but the moment I met Jesus, He began to heal me from those hidden scars. I personally believe that without God it is impossible to truly heal, because he can touch places man cannot go.
Is there anything pertaining to this situation that you haven’t told anyone?
Thaddeus: Hmmmmm…..The only thing I never told anyone was the amount of nights I would spend crying asking God, "why me". I never told anyone that one day when I was with the pastor I was sitting in his lap while he was driving the church van and we almost ran into the river. That was very scary.
While answering these questions and looking back over your life since the abuse, what did you discover about yourself? Do you think you’ve healed completely? If not, what do you think is warranted for that to happen?
Thaddeus: I discovered that there is still some healing that needs to take place within myself. No, I have definitely not healed completely from the molestation. For true healing to take place, I’m going to have to pray more and ask God to heal me. I know it sounds like a cop out, but to me God is everything. If I am going to be totally healed, He will be the one to do it. I have come a long way. One Sunday, I walked into his church after I had written him a letter, told him I forgive him and I walked off. The best part of it all is when I walked into the church, everyone knew who I was and it got so quiet you could hear a rat fart - lol. Not to be mean, but that felt so good to me. When I left there it felt like a big burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. To be honest, I still pray for him. I pray that God saves him and blesses him. I’ve learned that in order for me to move on with my life, I had to forgive him. It’s amazing what can happen when we let God take over.
Is there anything you would like to tell sexual abuse victims, particularly the males that haven't or think they have dealt with the residuals of the abuse?
Thaddeus: Acknowledge the situation and accept that it happened and to know that they are not a victim, but a victor. I would tell any male that has been molested or abused that it is nothing to be ashamed of. I had to realize that someone who I saw as a positive person, manipulated me into thinking that what he was doing was right, when in actuality it was wrong. Men don't be ashamed, it's ok. I say that because we've survived an event that has caused a lot of people to commit suicide. The promiscuity that comes along after being molested is not the answer, because all that does is leaves a trail of brokenness. The real answers are found through seeking God and professional counseling. If we never confront what happened, we will never know how to overcome it. You will need a strong support system, because it hurts and rightfully so. As men we are taught to be hard and not to cry, but when dealing with molestation, that can be your biggest mistake. So in closing, don't run from it, instead embrace it and let the healing begin. Healing cannot and will not begin until one accepts what happened and realizes that it was not their fault.
Sexual abuse has no face, attitude, style or financial standing. It is an undeserving violation that negatively impacts the lives of all it’s victims, whether it’s long or short term. Each victim is different, though the encouragement of society should be to make their transition from victim to victor a brave one and not one of humiliation. There is nothing a victim should be ashamed of or made to feel guilty for. Often times, the abused is persuaded to keep quiet for various reasons, many of which have no baring on the victim personally. Moreover, many victims go on a mission to find themselves, as they were lost in the assaults. This can lead to what society considers to be unsavory behavior, such as promiscurity. This can cause additional questioning of who they are as an individual, as most of those sexual encounters have no intimate meaning. It is my belief that the abuser is exposed and prosecuted, so that no harm comes to anyone else. I also believe that each person violated should tackle what they have encountered and gain healing. I pray that this interview provides healing for every person in need. I appreciate Thaddeus opening himself up to be of service to someone else.