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The only early memories I have are of being abused. I can feel the gaps in my childhood the way you feel the space in your mouth where a tooth is missing. There are times that I'm grateful to have blocked out something so devastating and times that I feel violated even further because I don't know all of what happened to me.

As someone who transitioned from female to male, the trauma of being raped is paralyzing. When I came out as a trans man, I did not know how to fit into survivor spaces anymore. I watched the #MeToo movement blossom and I felt guilty with my silence. If I told my story, I would have to include that my abuser targeted me because, at the time, I was a young girl. But the dysphoria that came with that was soul crushing. If I told my story as though I had not been a young girl once, I feared I would be encroaching on a movement created to support women. In the end, I said nothing, and blamed myself for that, too.

I know many brave women who have shared stories of abuse with me. Their kindness is so healing. I'm beyond grateful for the people that have put their pain aside in order to open up about their trauma. But, to the day, another male survivor has never confided in me directly. I rarely see statements from male survivors even in online groups like Honey.

It's isolating. You have no example to follow and an unbearable truth to cope with. No one wants to be the first to speak up. But the cycle has to be broken. Think of speaking out as a way to help people you may never meet. Think of the loneliness and the suffering that silence has caused you, and I beg you to let it go. Even anonymously, your words can change lives. Take your first step forward and you'll find that someone, somewhere, will follow you. The world is a big place. You will never be alone.

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