At this week's Rotary Club meeting, Greg Holtmeyer shared information about male childhood sexual abuse, trauma issues and breaking masculinity stereotypes.
Holtmeyer is a leading speaker, trainer, educator, advocate and survivor of child sexual abuse.
"My why," said Holtmeyer. "Is because I decided eight years ago, that I needed to share my story to help others. I had decided that God, the universe, whatever you want to call it, laid this path before me. I was to use my challenge to help shine light into the dark corners so then others may be able to begin their healing journey."
He had members think of six different men in their lives. And then shared that 1 in 6 boys are the victims of sexual abuse by the time they are 18. The problem is, most men don't disclose their abuse. Society has played a major role in this because its establish what a man should be, and that's "strong."
"We are taught from birth on that males don't cry," said Holtmeyer. "We don't talk about our pain. We're told to walk it off, suck it up and be a real man."
Men are allowed to show anger and aggression, but any other emotion is seen as not masculine. Females on the other hand, are always encouraged to share their feelings. That's why male victims of trauma experience emotional turmoil. The shame they are taught towards their emotions creates a hard shell suppressing their self-expression making it difficult for them to come forward.
Holtmeyer wants to change that. His goal is to get people talking.
"I know my why" said Holtmeyer." Please take a moment to think of yours. Find your passion, find your passion that will change the world one person at a time. My why resulted in me creating the Phoenix Project to help create awareness of male trauma."
He has found that over the years and speech after speech, a lot of the time he is the first person that some share their stories with. He's the one who opens others eyes to see that there is something that they can do. That he is making a difference, that we all can.
For more information on Holtmeyer and his movement, visit https://gregholtmeyer.com/.