Child sexual abuse/incest
Sexual child abuse knows no gender
Male survivors of sexual abuse face the same emotional, mental,
physical, and spiritual trauma as do female survivors—with
two exceptions: males judge themselves more harshly and they have
difficulty recognizing/believing they have been abused.
David Finkelhor and J. Bziuba-Leatherman’s studies reveal
that 31% of boys are sexually abused by age 18. (Finkelhor, David
and J. Dziuba-Leatherman. "Victimization of Children."
American Psychologist Vol. 49:3 (1992): 173-183.)
Men's indoctrination since childhood dictates that they are to
prove their sexual prowess. Sexual activity, for boys as young
as 12, is seldom considered inappropriate. More often than not,
sexual activity is considered an early introduction to manhood.
Therefore, if an older girl initiates sex with a younger boy,
he considers it an introduction to sex, an opportunity to prove
his manliness. Additionally, men are indoctrinated to defend themselves
against all odds—to fight to the death to protect their
manliness. They are expected to risk their life or sustain severe
injury to protect their pride and self-respect. These distorted
beliefs about manliness and masculinity are deeply ingrained and
can lead to intense feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy for
the male survivor. Both male and female survivors generally question
whether they deserved or somehow wanted to be sexually abused;
they believe if they failed to defend themselves, they must have
Although, both female and male survivors frequently view their
abuse as a loss of manhood or femininity and are disgusted with
themselves for not fighting back, men judge themselves more harshly.
As a result of their guilt, shame, and anger, both men and women
punish themselves by engaging in self-destructive behavior such
as self-injury, acting out rage, and so on, or they may
use alcohol or drugs or
engage in prostitution, rape, and numerous other criminal behaviors.
For some men, self-destructive behavior means engaging in aggressiveness,
such as road rage, arguing with friends or co-workers, picking
fights with strangers, or becoming aggressors in
domestic violence as a way to
regain their honor. Both men and women pull back from intimacy
and end up feeling more and more isolated.
Society’s most devastating myth
about child sexual abuse is that boys can't be sexually abused. The
perpetuation of this myth leaves boys more vulnerable to being abused.
Masculine gender socialization instills in boys the belief that
they are to be strong; that they should learn to protect themselves.
In truth, boys are children and are as vulnerable as girls. They
cannot really fight back against the sex offender. A sex offender
generally has greater size, strength, knowledge, or a position
of authority, using such resources as money, bribes, or
outright threats—whatever advantage the sex offender can
take to get what he or she wants.
The following publications attest to the prevalence of male sexual
- Crime of rape knows no gender lines, Jennifer Hong, Columbia
Missourian, June 11, 1995.
- For the Man Who is Sexually Assaulted from the Orange County
Rape Crisis Center (North Carolina).
- For Men Only: For Male Survivors of Sexual Assault, Counseling
& Mental Health Center, University of Texas at Austin.
- Male Rape from the National Victim Center cites a few statistics,
provides a good and sensitive overview of the subject and includes
references and a bibliography, but no links to other resources
on the Web.
- Male Rape - The hidden trauma is a review by LIAM O COILEAIN
of a television program of the same name that was aired in Ireland
on February 29, 1996. It mentions the Dublin Rape Crisis Center
listed above under hotlines.
- Male Rape Victims Subject to Ridicule by Jeremy Seabrook
for the (British?) New Statesman & Society (April 27, 1990)
- "Male Sexual Assault" is a public education brochure
available from the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence
Project (AVP) (1999.09.23: Found new URL, restored link)
- Male sexual assault not uncommon, Reuters Health, March 26,
1999. According to a report published in the British Medical
Journal 1999;318:846-850, 2,500 British men were surveyed. 3%
reported they had been sexually assaulted as an adult, and nearly
half of them were assaulted by women.
- Male Survivors of Sexual Assaults from RPEP, the Rape Prevention
Education Program of the University of California at Davis,
maintained by Alexander Orland.
- Memories of Rape is a chilling and courageous first-person
account of ongoing rape, assault and abuse in prison by David
Pittman, hosted by Stop Prisoner Rape.
- Men don't get raped!, Ernest Woollett, Survivors, PO Box 2470,
London W2 INN
- Men Raped: Supporting the Male Survivor of Sexual Assault
on the College Campus, Lester J. Manzano, no date available.
- Men and sexual assault, Linda Oakleaf
- More male veterans reporting that they were sexually assaulted,
Philadelphia Inquirer, September 27, 1997 (1998.10.02: no Web
- Myths and Facts About Sexual Violence from the National Coalition
Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) includes a section headed "MYTHS
AND FACTS ABOUT MALE RAPE."
- No Safe Place: A male survivor of sexual abuse confronts his
past in a Monterey California support group, Mary Barker, Herald
Staff Writer, March 21, 1997, Monterey, CA
- Rape of Males by the late Stephen Donaldson of Stop Prisoner
Rape, from Encyclopedia of Homosexuality, Wayne R. Dynes, ed.,
1990, NY: Garland Publications. Alternate: Rape of Males, mirrored
by Ellen Spertus.
- Rape's Unnoticed Victim by Susan Wachob (1999.09.11: Updated
- Sexual abuse of men and boys by Dez Wildwood, who identifies
as a man who has been sexually assaulted in this article written
for XY magazine in Australia
- Sexual Assault, Chapter 14 in the US Department of Justice's
online National Victim Assistance Academy, is a general resource
that is largely gender-neutral, addresses issues and needs of
male survivors ("victims") as well as female, and
examines changing role of gender in defining rape and sexual
- Silent Victims: Bringing Male Rape Victims Out of the Closet
by Sue Rochman, originally published in The Advocate, Issue
582, July 30, 1991, p40.
- Survivors are ashamed by the taboo, the Rape Network
- To a Man Who Has Been Sexually Assaulted from Coordinated
Community Response for Sexual Assault of Dane County, Wisconsin,
attributed to "a man who had been sexually assaulted and
counseled at St. Vincent's Rape Crisis Program" [New York
City, listed under Hotlines].
- When the survivor is male by Linda Oakleaf, Rape Victim Advocates,
The aftereffects of sexual abuse are
no less devastating for men than woman and the healing process
is essentially the same. Talk therapy is inadequate to uncover
the emotional pain, and heal the trauma trapped in muscles and
tissue. To fully appreciate the depth of this pain, I will quote
one of my male clients, "Even my blood hurts." A multifaceted
healing process specifically focused on sexual abuse recovery
and diligent work is the most effective; wherein the survivor
can replenish their emotional and spiritual identity and empowerment.
About the Author:
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author of If
I'd Only Known... Sexual Abuse in or out of the Family: A Guide
specializes in mind-body-spirit healing and physical/sexual
abuse prevention and recovery. As an inspirational leader and
holistic healer, Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life's
challenges as an opportunity for personal/professional growth
and spiritual awakening.
Child sexual abuse/incest
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Little Warriors is a charitable organization with a national focus that
educates adults about how to help prevent, recognize, and react responsibly
to child sexual abuse. Little Warriors also provides information about the
prevalence and frequency of child sexual abuse and information about healing
and support resources.