Growing up, Jordan Masciangelo was a happy, extroverted child who came from a loving family. But when his parents divorced, the Ontario native felt his world shatter. Jordan became more guarded and lonely, eager to reclaim the stability that he had once known. That’s when he turned to a close family friend for comfort.
“He was there for me,” Jordan tells “Oprah: Where Are They Now — Extra” in the above video. “He was everything that I was looking for in a mentor, in a father, in a best friend. He was kind, nice, funny… I bought his trick hook, line and sinker from the very beginning.”
At the time, Jordan believed this man was simply being a supportive friend, but he now looks back on the first year of their friendship as a deliberate tactic commonly used by abusers to groom their victims. “He groomed me for a good year before anything happened,” Jordan says. “He talked to me about sex, he made me aware of sexual things, made me believe that I was gay and that what we were doing was more of a secret romance than anything else.”
Jordan says he was molested for a few years before an incident at a Christmas party put an end to the abuse.
“He came drunkenly up and attempted to molest me. I just looked him straight in the face and I said, ‘No… Stop it. I know what you’re doing,'” Jordan says. “And he stopped.”
The alleged abuse didn’t happen again. Jordan, though relieved, felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for waiting so long to speak up.
“I hated myself for years, because if that’s all that I had to do to get him to stop… why didn’t I do it any earlier?” he wonders. “That was on my shoulders for a long time.”
To cope with the pain of this experience, Jordan began using drugs and cutting himself, among other self-destructive behaviors. “I became an expert liar, a thief and, eventually, a prostitute,” he admits. “I was always angry or sad. There was nothing else.”
Once Jordan devoted himself to a path of recovery, his life began to transform. In 2010, Jordan appeared in the audience of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” for a landmark two-part episode featuring male survivors of sexual abuse. He stood alongside 200 other victims, helping others who previously suffered in silence release their shame. Yet, the experience had a healing effect on Jordan as well.
“Being a part of those two incredible episodes really had a profound effect on me,” he says. “I no longer was part of what I believed was a marginalized community of male survivors. I was now part of this huge worldwide brotherhood, and millions and millions of guys were walking in my shoes. It was really quite incredible and powerful. It really became a huge stepping stone in my recovery.”
Today, Jordan is in a much happier, healthier place in his life.
“Since the show, I came out. I met the love of my life — he’s been my partner ever since ‘The Oprah Show,'” Jordan says.
As for other men who have had experienced sexual abuse in their childhoods, there’s one thing Jordan would like them to know.
“For all the other men out there, all the other survivors and victims of sexual abuse: You can overcome this,” he says.
“Oprah: Where Are They Now — Extra” is a digital series from the OWN show “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”
Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
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