The stories of healing from these courageous men will inspire a range of emotions.
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The Bristlecone Project

Portraits and Biographies of Male Survivors

Tom Scott

Years of sexual and physical abuse by his mother left Tom in the grip of overwhelming fear. As an adult, a police car once pulled up and the officer started walking toward him. Tom was paralyzed. Until the officer walked past him, oblivious. Such was the brainwashed terror induced by his mother’s abuse.

His mother’s attacks often left Tom bruised and covered with welts. When they were bad enough, she kept him home from school lest a teacher ask questions. Still, there were many signs of Tom’s distress, and no one seemed to care enough to read them. This, despite the fact that Tom was disabled and attended schools for children with disabilities.

So Tom remained in his mother’s grip, controlled physically and mentally and kept in constant fear. Her control extended well into Tom’s adulthood, and yet the spark of resistance somehow endured in him. One day, his mother struck Tom in front of his wife, and his wife stood up for him, ordering her never to hit Tom again. The incident opened a door, and for the first time Tom disclosed the abuse that his mother had subjected him to.

Slowly, Tom has begun to undo the damage inflicted by his mother. Condemned by her as worthless, he has found worth in himself. Entirely self-taught, he mastered the intricacies of computers and for many years operated his own web design business.

And Tom has made strides in reducing the isolation induced by his mother. Encouraged by his wife, he made contact with Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust in Christchurch. After two years, he is a stalwart participant in the Trust’s support groups and has served on its board. And Tom’s testimony about his painful journey as a child with disabilities, abused and unprotected, is now helping to educate medical professionals who may be more curious about the next child who appears before them covered in welts and bruises.