Lasting Effects of Male Sexual Abuse
Ray says he decided to share his story after speaking to some of the men in the audience. "I couldn't ask them to do it, and I not do it," he says. "I knew that as long as I wasn't speaking out about it, if I wasn't putting my face on it, then it still had control over me."
Tired of living with the effects of abuse, Ray is taking a stand. "I'm just not willing to live my life like that," he says. "I didn't do this to me, so why am I walking around with all of the aftermath? Why am I walking around with the guilt and the shame and all the things that go along with it?"
When Ray first shared his story with Oprah, he explained there is a difference between trying to cope and being ready to heal. "I thought that was really profound and poignant that there is a really big difference between coping ... the fact that you're still standing means you've coped with it," Oprah says. "Now you're ready to open the doors to healing. You see the difference."
Ray says healing begins when you start to let yourself feel, you're honest with yourself about what the abuse has done to you and you're able to mourn. "I've been a big bucket of tears through this whole process," he says. "I would be driving to work, [I would] pull over to the side of the road and just break down. It wasn't until I read an email from Howard that said, 'You have to mourn it,' that got me to understand that that's what I'm going through."