b'ing stigma-free

Have you ever been in a fight before? How did you react? How did you feel? I remember having my very first fist fight in middle school. I struggled against someone who was bigger and stronger than me, and I was fighting with only one hand. I broke my finger the 3D running up stairsday before and this guy started to pick on me because of it. He had the advantage: his two hands against my one. He knew I couldn’t “win.” I did everything I could to try to get out of it, but I couldn’t.

TheFreeDictionary.com defines the word fighting as “to engage in a boxing match; to cause (a boxer or other challenger) to fight in a match.”

Have you ever been hit before and didn’t know who hit you? Have you ever been taken advantage of, because you didn’t give someone permission to do what they did? Have you ever felt like you didn’t deserve what happened to you? What do you do when you are in the ring of life — and you to go down for the count?

Knocked Down but not Knocked Out

I was knocked off my feet during a home invasion in 2011 and I thought I would never get up again. One – two – three hits, a gun pointed to my head and a pole forced into my rectum. I was out for the count, or so I thought. All I could think about was surviving. I was struggling, trying to think straight and didn’t think others would believe what happened to me. My space was violated. My manhood was taken away from me. The world would look at me differently now.

I’ve learned that it is common for people who are sexually assaulted to fear how the world views them. They fear the stigma.

Some people will judge you based on your past and make you feel less than whole. It hurts to hear over and over again about how you are to blame. It’s important to hold on to your true inner self. I call it, “the God in you.” It’s something greater in you that no man on earth can steal. After my incident I was hospitalized for several weeks, and never thought I would get up again – but I did.

At first, just the thought of receiving help from a crisis center made me feel less of a man. I was prideful and believed others would think less of me. But counseling saved my life. I was brought up in the church where the message was to pray and it will be okay. I also needed professional counseling and family support. I understood that I was destined and created for something greater than myself. I believe that recognizing my true worth was the foundation of moving past my situation.

Overcoming the Stigma

I was so thankful for the people in my corner during the fight. I was able to regroup and get myself back on track. Besides the fight I had in middle school, I’ve never fought beyond my struggle like that before. I never knew how important plugging into the right resources was, until I was assaulted. I’ve learned that the right resources can help you cope with your situation and make you feel good about yourself again. The right resources can mend the wounds and scars that you can get during a fight.

After living with a colostomy bag for five-plus months, I thought people would look at me differently. I didn’t want others to know. I feared what they would think and would not want to be around me. Eventually I overcame these fears by going out and not staying in the house all day. Counselors encouraged me to release what was inside. My family was a great support and encouraged me to keep fighting. They saw how much it took in order to get through those rounds I was in, but their help carried me through. I was fortunate because a lot of families don’t support their loved ones this way.

Keep Moving Forward

I love this quote by Terry Marks, “Keep moving towards your destination or the distance between you and your destination will remain constant.” When you experience something so traumatic in your life, don’t let anyone get in the way of your destiny. People may talk about you and say negative things, but when you can identify who you really are and recognize what your true divine purpose looks like, you can journey through life with a smile. I know and believe you can come out on top. Fight beyond your struggle, and win in spite of what has happened to you. Just keep moving forward.



Marcel Anderson_smallMarcel W. Anderson is a native of Spartanburg, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, a ministerial license from St. Luke Ministerial Training, and is also completing his MA in Psychology at Capella University. After teaching as a High School Special Education Case Manager for five years, in 2010 Marcel founded the Accelerating Men Mentoring Program,  a nonprofit organization created to help educate, train, and cultivate young men so they accelerate in their true Identity, build their Self Esteem, and live a Healthy Lifestyle. Through their monthly workshops at The Boy’s Club in Raleigh, NC, seminars, conference calls and one-on-one consultations, Accelerating Men works diligently to impact the lives of young men, ages 10-18.

In 2014, Marcel simultaneously released his first book, Still Living—A Victimized Man’s Journey and his first album, also entitled Still Living. In one chapter in the book, called “Purposed to Live,” he describes reaching deep within himself to find what is there. “It all starts with understanding and knowing who you are and what you are purposed to do. We are all created with a purpose. I believe that God has a plan for all of us and His plan is not to harm us but to prosper us and give us a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11).”

Marcel is set to release his second book in the fall of 2015 called “Unleashing the Silent Noise: The Untold Stories of a Victim.” Marcel is also the Founder and CEO of the Still Living Movement  a nonprofit organization designed to inspire and motivate victims to live a life on purpose, so others can see a model of victory.

Visit Marcel’s personal website, www.marcelanderson.com


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