***This topic may elicit uncomfortable feelings***
Today Charles discusses some of his own professional and personal experiences with sexual abuse, other victims and offenders along with myths surrounding it and how assault of boys and men can be serious obstacles to understanding and healing. It’s important to learn how wrong they are. Here are several myths surrounding male sexual abuse that many of us, victims and non-victims, have absorbed in our thinking: Men and boys can’t be sexually used or abused, and if you have been, you’re not or won’t be a “real man.” If you experienced sexual arousal during abuse, you must have wanted and/or enjoyed it, and if you ever partly wanted the sexual experiences, then it was your fault. Sexual abuse is less harmful to boys and men than it is to girls and women. Most men who sexually abuse boys are gay. Boys and men who were abused by males must have attracted the abuse because they are gay or they become gay as a result. If a female used or abused a boy, he was “lucky,” and if he doesn’t feel that way there’s something wrong with him. The myth that boys who are sexually abused will go on to abuse others.
For any man harmed by unwanted or abusive sexual experiences – and anyone who wants to support him – becoming free of these myths is necessary to overcoming the effects of the abuse, and to achieving the life he wants and deserves.
Researchers have found that at least 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults. And this is probably a low estimate since it doesn’t include noncontact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects. If you’ve had such an experience, or think you might have, you are not alone.