Male victims of sexual abuse…

After my last post, this post on Subterfuge struck a chord.

In most cultures, male victims of abuse dare not speak about their abuse – because it shows them as vulnerable – something men are not expected to be.

In homophobic cultures the abuser would be severely dealt with, not for the abuse as much, as because the victim he chose was male. Maybe also because it clashes with the deep rooted concept (across cultures) that sexual abuse is something that women invite on themselves… how do these cultures deal with men as sexual victims? By pretending male abuse never happens.

And then there is the thinking that somehow one does not make ‘such things’ public. We ignore that making a crime look shameful for the victim silences the victim and encourages the abuser.

Take a look at this example on Subterfuge.

I don’t understand the assumption that it will be better for men to go *public* with stories of their abuse. Telling a therapist, sure — the benefits to that are pretty obvious. Telling an intimate partner also could be a good idea. But telling the world? Why is this *assumed* to be a good idea?

Click to read why is it a good idea to ‘go public’.

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21 thoughts on “Male victims of sexual abuse…

  1. It is all about the burden of masculinities.

    A man can be an abuser but not an abused. When a man is abused he is assumed to be emasculated and reduced to the status of female. What a shame a man is made into a bitch (apologies to the actual mamal)and what a shame a man could not find a woman so he had to impose himself on another man. Poor guys they loose either way. OH, The burden of being men…

    Yes, it is a good idea to go public because abuse thrives in isolation. The shame and lack of name for the abuse keeps victims isolated that serves the abuser. Naming the unnamed is reclaiming one’s power.

    Sexual abusers do not do it one time. Research has shown they strike atleast 17 time before they are caught.

    http://www.aolnews.com/crime/article/finding-butch-molester-confesses-on-youtube-video/19641149

    Yeh, there will be few on this blog rushing to point that men are sexually abused by women. To all those: Abuse by anyone is bad but the numbers still point fingures at men as abusers.

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

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  2. Also acknowledging that males are victims of sexual abuse, it can no longer be said that it’s about sex. It makes it much harder to blame the victim when the victim is male.

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  3. By the way, this brings to mind an important point which a lot of people don’t seem to get.

    Rape and sexual abuse is a crime against not only the person, but the state. What this means is that even if the victim doesn’t or choose not to complain, a crime has still been committed. So not “bringing it into the public” is illegal.

    I read earlier that the court allowed a woman to marry her rapist. Well and good. I have no objection if an adult victim wishes to marry her adult abuser. But that doesn’t mean the abuser gets to escape punishment. Let the abuser get married while they serve their 7 year jail sentence thank you very much!

    Because the crime was not just against the victim but against the state. Whether or not the victim “forgives and forgets” is completely irrelevant.

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  4. True…support frmo people who KNOW can actually work wonders…
    The amount of suffering these people go through in silence is unbelieveable…and saddening… for no fault of theirs… 😦

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  6. oh yes It is true and sometimes when a male goes to police etc for help they dont beleive him at first time, maybe during the investigation they start to beleive bu the first impressions is always otherwise …

    attacks on men are getting more common or maybe More men are coming out to tell about it , they probably happened earlier toooo

    Bikram’s Question time

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  7. IHM, recently, there was a survey on sexual harassment in the workplace. Read about it here:
    http://www.gautamblogs.com/2010/11/sexual-harassment-in-knowledge.html

    I reproduce exactly, my comment on that post (its even more relevant here) :
    ********************
    i also read the ET report on this subject, and honestly, am totally lost. However, one aspect of the study surprises me. it only uses m>f harassment. Why were men not asked the same questions? If we did, we would perhaps find that the problem is more holistic, and then, we will stop looking at gender specific solutions.

    As i understand it, this is a power game play, and not really a gender game play. If we do not keep power in the equation, we will look at all the wrong solutions. We need a way to neutralise the power wielded by the abuser. The next facilitator is opportunity. We find a way to tackle these 2, and a lot of the events should get taken care of. Some others, however, are determined abusers and they will need to be tackled separately. But a lot of events happen just because it is “convenient” and there is “no risk”. – opportunity and power. Just my 2 penny.
    ******************

    Another post that might be of interest to you and the readers of this blog:
    http://www.gautamblogs.com/2008/03/sexual-harassment-claims-filed-by-men.html

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    • To your 2 cents I add my nickel 🙂
      You are right abuse is always about power and control. Power could be personal (eg. abuser is older, known and in position of power like Jija Sali/sala relationship), contextual/situational (abuser is traditionally in inferior position but had an opprotunity to dominate the subject eg. a lower caste male is traditionally oppressed but can abuse an upper caste woman if she is in isolated from her group) or conventional (eg upper caste men and women have access to the services of the lower caste people). Do not argue these are just examples and they are happening around the country in hinterlands on regular basis.

      You said: … this is a power game play, and not really a gender game play… We need a way to neutralise the power wielded by the abuser.

      That is where we lost the game. It is definitely a gender game. It is not that gender burdens only women. Even men have a gender and it bears them down too. The problem lies within the concept of masculinities and feminities within the patriarchy.

      To be a man one has to be in a position of power and be dominant. If one fails then when is considered a lesser man equated to female, emasculated. Here to dominate a woman or a man rather a human being is all about being a man.

      To be a man one must not be in a subordinate position. If he falls into a subordinate position he is considered a lesser man, read emasculated and woman like. (Mid level bureaucracy has that problems all the time: clercks bad mouth female officers regularly, have personally over heard lunch time male gossips.) To be a man and be abused by another man or in socially worse case being abused by a woman refers to inability to be a man thus not to disclose abuse again is all about being a man.

      So with these two corollaries put the dots together. Aren’t men under pressure to perform their gender only as much women are. Yes, men collectively have more power/benefits (not physical but read in Max Weber’s terms) than women but individually many men lack power as compared to other men.

      If each of these corollary is multiplied with other indicators of privilage and oppression then the resulting mix is even more lethal. Upper caste, upper class, high educated, government job, business family on and on… lower caste, lower class, minority religion, service class and so on…

      So this is where the power is coming from. From the concepts of masculinity and feminity. Be it 1947 or 1999 Kargil War it is the masculinities that are threatened. Masculinities thrive on controlling the other, read femininity or the other masculinities that pose a threat or challenge to existing masculinities.

      If we were to dismental the structures of power then we need to undo the concepts of masculinity and feminity.

      If we want peace then it is time for patriarchy to go coz’ it selectively gives power to few and oppresses so many.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

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  8. Its a coincidence that you should write about this and I’m watching the Oprah show where 200 men came forward and admitted to being sexually abused; thanks to Tyler Perry who came forward recently about the same happening to him as a child.

    The statistics are horrifying – 1 in every 6 men are sexually abused in the US! And thats just the number that has been reported. 80% of them considered suicide as a way to get over with it as, like you rightly said, it is not right for a man to come forward and talk to anyone about it.

    There is a burning need for all of us to understand and realise that even men go through horrifying things in their lives sometimes. Like women, “they did not ask for it” too and they need help too.

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  9. Just today I was sharing with my friend about how an elderly man tried to abuse me tried to take advantage of the my trust that I placed in him. Then my friend shared a similar experience.

    The thing about abuse is that the abused (the victim) feels the guilt within probably even more than the abuser ! And this is true even for children who have been sexually abused. I remember having this information that (tragically) a majority of people have gone through sexual abuse as kids regardless of gender.

    Why is abuse so common !

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  10. This happens
    but in India where is the place, young boys can say it.
    just think if young boy reports to his father or mother,
    firstly he will get punishment
    and will be told forget it.

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  11. Anyone is vulnerable to abuse.. gender not withstanding… As a culture, we are encouraged to brush any such issues under the carpet. Popular media does nothing to sensitise anyone. In fact it encourages victimisation of any vulnerabilities. Case in point, shows on TV and movies portray gay an lesbian relationships in terrible light, heavy handed and openly denigrating…. ( have blogged about a recent show). Turning a blind eye to anything just encourages such behaviour even more. I know that abuse happens in every corner of the world, but dealing with it out in the open and providing platforms to bring it up without fear is the only way to get some handle on it.

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  12. Pingback: If your boyfriend is abusing you physically… « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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