Iyanla consults and gives her form of therapy to 5 men who were molested and raped as children. She wants these men to speak out about their trauma and deal with their pain in a healthy way.
The men are the following:
DeAndré, age 27, was molested by his brother.
Ricardo, age 28, was raped at the mall as a teen.
Eugene, age 35, was molested during his middle school years, and raped in his adult years.
Cory, age 43, is still traumatized from his rape as a 6.
Dennis, age 36, vividly remembers his neighbor repeatedly raping him.
Iyanla thanks them for coming to the session.
During their first session, Iyanla tells them that she wants to help them move on from their fear of the trauma suffered.
“I am committed to support people in living beyond their brokenness.” – Iyanla
She hands each man an envelope with a goal that she wants them to focus towards during their time together. Iyanla hand DeAndré an envelope with the word “Vulnerability.” Ricardo got the word “Tranquility.” Eugene got “Freedom.” Dennis got “Vision.” Lastly, Cory got “Courage.”
Iyanla can see that they are still walking with their baggage from the trauma suffered years ago.
During their night session, Iyanla has each one tell their stories of their molestation and rape. Dennis’ story demonstrates how his learned behavior of respecting elders, allowed him to be taken advantage of by a neighbor.
The neighbor called him into the bathroom and forced a 5 year old Dennis to give him oral s*x. During his story, Iyanla tells them she wants them to learn the difference between coping and healing . She demonstrates this by taping a brick to one of their hands. The brick is a physical representation of the pain and trauma suffered.
Eugene reveals that he was raped by a teacher in middle school, and again while in the Marines. He says he was “stupid” for getting raped as a child. However, Iyanla wants him to understand that his rapes are not his fault. He feels this way because of his beliefs instilled in him in the military.
She seems to anger Eugene when she tells him that the men and women in the military aren’t his family.
Iyanla tackles their labels of being gay black men.
Next, Iyanla wants them to confront being “black, male and gay.” She asks Eugene how it was to be gay in the Marines. He speaks about the Marine’s policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Things get a little contentious when he calls his fellow marines brothers and sisters.
Ricardo tells Iyanla that he doesn’t like labels, and Iyanla then calls him a liar. When DeAndré says he is gay, Iyanla asks him, “Are you gay because you were molested, or were you molested because you are gay?”
DeAndré says being gay has been a contentious debate with his family. He doesn’t go around them much because of this.
She asks Cory the same question, and he says he was targeted because of his s*xuality.
Iyanla talks about the need to move away from the shame they feel for themselves. She also tells them she knows about this shame because she was also s*xually violated.
Things get intense when DeAndré and Ricardo share more details of their assaults.
During their next session, Iyanla immediately notices that Eugene is frustrated. He tells Iyanla that he wasn’t pleased with how she dismissed his learned military beliefs that “pain is weakness leaving the body” and the people he served with are his family.
They then get into an argument over this point. Iyanla says that the part of him that wants to heal is being hidden.
DeAndré was molested by his older brother, and his mom didn’t believe him. His older brother also s*xually assaulted him once in front of their younger sister. After his older brother was murdered, their sister told their mother DeAndré was raped in front of her, but their mother said it doesn’t matter since their older brother is now deceased. For this reason, DeAndré no longer speaks to their mother.
Ricardo explains how he was raped in the mall. The man who did it, followed him around the mall for two weeks before attacking him. As he tells the details, he begins crying uncontrollably. Iyanla consoles him, and tells him he is not alone.
She then takes him outside to talk to him. However, he just ends up crying even more. Eventually, he calms down and tells Iyanla the details. It turns out that the man the raped him ended up being his pimp. When they come back inside, he chooses to tell the story about being involved in prostitution.
DeAndre and Dennis say they can relate to his story as they were also prostitutes.
Iyanla brings in help and seems to get the beginning of a breakthrough with most of the men.
At this point, Iyanla brings in a guest to help out. She brings in Ray Dortch. He used to work on Oprah’s talk show and even did a special, “200 Men,” which focused on helping men who were raped as children. Iyanla brings him to the session, because she wants someone who can better relate to their stories.
They bring up how they are using sex as a way to cope with their pain. Iyanla says conversation is a important way for them to reclaim themselves.
Once their session ended, the men recapped with one another their conversation with Ray. Everyone, but Eugene, seems like they are coming around. Iyanla has her partner Laura talk to Eugene. He reveals that he is still fuming about the way Iyanla is approaching him and dismissing his opinions on the military.
The episode ends with Eugene yelling at Laura about Iyanla, seeming to be unable to handle her therapy style.
What are your thoughts on the episode?