‘I was a walking time bomb’


Overcoming the shame: Ottawa program helps men deal with childhood sexual abuse


Scott Thompson, 51, said he didn’t think he could ever let go of the rage that his childhood sexual abuse had left him with. A program in Ottawa has helped him do just that, though, he says.

Photograph by: Chris Mikula , Ottawa Citizen

The sexual abuse started when Scott Thompson was 6 1/2 years old. Over the next six years, his older brother and his brother’s friend sexually abused him hundreds of times in every imaginable way, usually at gunpoint and often while handcuffed. Eventually, they forced him to have sex with other children.

The horrific abuse nearly destroyed his life. Deeply ashamed and simmering with rage, he says he got caught up in his role as a victim, allowing it to define who he was.

“I was a walking time bomb,” recalls the 51-year-old Kemptville resident, who grew up in London, Ont. “I became aggressive, angry, hostile, vindictive.”

His temperamental outbursts cost him his 27-year marriage, poisoned his relationship with his two children and led to the loss of the only good job he ever had.

“I told everyone, I’m a victim. I’ll always be a victim,” Thompson says. “This is who I am. I can’t change.” When family members urged him to get help, “I’d say, ‘What’s the point? I’m always going to be like this.’”

He says he didn’t hit his former wife, but that he often belittled and criticized her and his children. He punched walls, threw plates or isolated himself in the basement, staring blankly at a wall for hours.

“I punished everybody in my sphere for how I felt about myself as a human being,” Thompson says. “I was hurting so bad inside that it was about me and not about others. I didn’t understand that I could get help and be a different person.”

Three years ago, Thompson got into a fight with his son, then 17. “He came after me one day because he’d had enough of me,” he says. “And I don’t blame him. It was entirely my fault. I take full responsibility for what happened.”

A few days later, his son went to the police. On Jan. 2, 2011, Thompson was arrested and charged with assault. He later pleaded guilty and is now on probation. “It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says, “because it forced me to take stock of my life.”

In August 2011, Thompson joined a trauma recovery program run by The Men’s Project, a 16-year-old non-profit charitable men’s counselling service based at the central YMCA on Argyle Avenue.

By the time he “graduated” from the program this past February, he had turned his life around.

His outbursts of temper have vanished, he says. “I’m a very gentle person at this point. I was a very quiet, happy-go-lucky, gentle little boy, and that’s what I’ve become again.”

A key component of his recovery was letting go of his shame, he says. “The truth is my anger was a byproduct of my shame. Shame is by far the No. 1 component of childhood sexual abuse.”

Among those abused or neglected as children, a profound sense of shame is common, says Rick Goodwin, the social worker who founded The Men’s Project 16 years ago.

Shame is the most powerful of all feelings, he says. “It’s probably the most difficult of all feelings. No one wants to experience shame.”

It’s especially problematic for men, Goodwin says. “If you look at the male code, we’re supposed to be rugged, we’re supposed to be invincible, we’re not supposed to be a victim.”

Among men convicted of domestic violence, studies show between 60 and 95 per cent have experienced some type of childhood abuse, Goodwin says. “That’s a hell of a correlation.”

When tensions build in relationships, that ramps up feelings of shame among men who were abused as boys, Goodwin says.

If those feelings reach a breaking point, those men will often project their feelings of shame onto their partners. “She is the source of all badness and the guy has what we call a shame-free holiday. That allows him to hurt the person he loves,” Goodwin says.

“At that moment of assault, they feel quite in the right. That only lasts for a very short window, and then the shame comes back big time.”

Most men aren’t abusers, Goodwin emphasizes. “We don’t need to tar and feather men as a gender.” But, as they say at The Men’s Project, “hurt people hurt people.”

For Thompson, the “light-bulb moment” — when he realized change was possible — came during his fourth group session at The Men’s Project.

“It was the first time that I’d ever heard another human being say out loud what I felt inside,” he says. “This guy looked me in the eyes and talked about what it was like to be raped.

“I left that room that day thinking, ‘I can do this, and I’m going to do this.’ I said to myself, ‘You can’t fail at this.’ That’s what drives me to this day.”

Thompson hasn’t yet been able to repair his relationship with his son and daughter. “Let’s just say they’re not ready,” he says. “I understand that. Until they see more of me, the calm, peaceful Scott, their attitude is caution. And I don’t blame them for a second.”

But he’s in a relationship with a “wonderful lady” he met last year. “I’ve been very straightforward with her. She knows everything about me.”

He runs the peer support program for graduates of The Mens Project’s trauma recovery program. They meet every two weeks and talk.

And he seizes every opportunity to speak publicly about his experience — insisting, for instance, on being identified by name in this story — to let other men know that they don’t have to be defined by their own childhood abuse.

The Men’s Project, he says, “is by far the most important thing I’ve ever been associated with. Every single man I’ve met there has profoundly changed their lives.”



Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre

Men, if you are a victim of abuse, DO NOT GO to Catholic Family Services or Jewish Family Services. These two organizations are run by Feminists to promote violence by women towards men. 

Mark Holmes does not even return phone calls from male victims of domestic violence, that's contrary to the Government Approved Doctrine that Women are never the perpetrators of domestic violence.

The "Professiona Counsellors" are wolf in sheeps clothing. They WILL testify to CAS as to your comments, and use your confidential statements to remove children from your care.

This Mark Holmes, is an insult to intelligence and every male victim of abuse.

He is part of the "establishment" of Ottawa and puts on a veneer of respectability while the CFS (Catholic Family Services) engages in "male bashing", promoting feminist myths which supports our two corrupt Feminist Crown Attorneys who clog the Ottawa Criminal Courts with charges against, male victims of domestic violence while letting the most violent of women off the most serious of charges.


The fact is, more men are abused by women as a result of an Ottawa Police and a corrupt Children's Aid Society that do their best to eradicate any and all evidence of a woman being violent towards a man.

The fact is Ontario promotes abuse and violence of men by women.

The fact is, if a male victim , a full time father calls the Ottawa Police because he was assaulted by his wife, the Ottawa Police will treat her as a victim, remove the children from him aided and abetted by fabrication of evidence by the likes of the lowest form of humanity in the guise of a Child Protection Worker who will fabricate evidence to protect a violent woman.

Men in Ottawa need to know that this is a City, the Capital of Canada where women are encouraged to kill their husbands or just hire a hit man and be treated as a victim.

That's Ottawa, that's Canada.. A corrupt country where the Rule of Law does not apply if you were born with testicles.