Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

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Just because it is talked about less does not mean that the sexual abuse of boys is uncommon or that it has fewer harmful or lasting effects.

The Men’s Project, a not-for-profit organization based in Ottawa, Ontario, shares some important facts about the sexual abuse of boys and its aftermath.

On their website, The Men’s Project offers a brochure  that shares important information about the sexual abuse of boys:

For example, did you know that sexual abuse:

  • happens to one out of five boys and youth.
  • includes unwanted acts such as exposure to pornography, sexual touching, sexual exposure, sexual harassment, child prostitution, sexual assault, and rape.
  • occurs when sexual activity is used as a means to control, dominate or humiliate another person.
  • is a misuse of power, which may involve physical force or coercion.
  • can occur in families, in trusting relationships with adults, in dating relationships, and in institutions (e.g., training schools).

The brochure also shares things for a male survivor of abuse to remember, including:

  • You are not alone.
  • You are not to blame.
  • Healing and recovery is possible.
  • Your thoughts and feelings are normal reactions to sexual trauma.
  • It may be helpful to see a counsellor.
  • Many men benefit from joining a counseling group for survivors.

Finally, the brochure offers suggestions for how to support a male survivor of abuse, including:

  • Believe and listen to him.
  • Reassure him that he is not to blame for being sexually abused.
  • Help him find a safe place to go.
  • Support him in making his own decisions.
  • Learn about healing and recovery from sexual abuse.
  • Believe that healing is possible and let him know that.
  • Reflect on your attitudes toward men who have been sexually abused.
  • Seek your own support for your feelings and reactions.
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In their 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada**, The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that family members, including relatives, constituted the vast majority (93%) of alleged perpetrators. Another statistical study conducted in 2001 by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics**** found that:

  • among family assaults parents were the perpetrators in 56% of physical assaults against youths and 43% of sexual assaults against youth victims 12 to 17 years of age;
  • siblings were responsible for approximately 25% of physical and 26% of sexual assaults in the family that were perpetrated against youth
  • extended family members committed 8% of physical, and 28% of sexual assaults against youth

RESULTS from Dube et al.: Contact Childhood Sex Aabuse was reported by 16% of males and 25% of females. Men reported female perpetration of CSA nearly 40% of the time, and women reported female perpetration of CSA 6% of the time. CSA significantly increased the risk of the outcomes. The magnitude of the increase was similar for men and women. For example, compared to reporting no sexual abuse, a history of suicide attempt was more than twice as likely among both men and women who experienced CSA (p < 0.05). Compared with those who did not report CSA, men and women exposed to CSA were at a 40% increased risk of marrying an alcoholic, and a 40% to 50% increased risk of reporting current problems with their marriage (p < 0.05). (Dube, S. R., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430-438)