Male Abuse Awareness A campaign developed and hosted by the PLF
December 1-8, 2011 was the
4th Annual Male Abuse Awareness Week!
For more info and the highlights go to help4guys.org
The 2010 Male Abuse Awareness Week was a big success!
The report is in! Click HERE and Take a look?
Our Male Abuse Awareness PSA
11 Reasons Why Males Don't Disclose Abuse:
1) A cultural bias maintains that males cannot be victims. Males are expected to be confident, knowledgeable, and aggressive. To be a victim means one is an inadequate male.
2) If the boy's body has responded sexually, he feels he is somehow responsible for the sexual abuse.
3) Male victims of sexual abuse struggle with issues of homosexuality as most offenders are male. Their homophobia plus their confusion and fear encourage silence. Not to mention the social stigma attached to homosexuality.
4) If a boy receives money for sex, he is less likely to be perceived as a victim.
5) If a boy has a homosexual orientation, he is often blamed for the "seduction" of the older male, instead of being acknowledged as a legitimate victim of sexual abuse.
6) Molestation by an older female is often viewed positively as a kind of "initiation rite" into manhood. Cultural pressure encourages participation while denying feelings.
7) Male victims of sexual abuse, more than female victims, may fear loss of freedom and independence if the sexual abuse should be made public.
8) Fear of reprisals from the offender plays a role in under-reporting.
9) When boys are victimized, they tend to be blamed more for their abuse and are viewed as less in need of care and support.
10) Boys fear negative judgment by family and friends.
Find many more Male Abuse facts and information by clicking HERE!
Our 2011 MAAWeek Info Video
In 2011 MAAWeek launched a merchandise line!
Recovering for Men:
When I first saw this article idea posted in the MANY VOICES themes for the upcoming issues, I thought this would be something I could write about and hopefully pass on some information and awareness to others of what is different for men, and maybe start to change some long held misperceptions, distortions, and simple discrimination that most male survivors of sexual abuse are going to experience in their healing journey. Those experiences and encounters only help to perpetuate a longer period of time for healing. My own experiences and the shared collective knowledge of knowing so many other male survivors and countless articles and books I have read have brought me to my beliefs in how difficult it can be for a male recovering from sexual abuse.
As a male survivor of severe and prolonged emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of both of my parents and some of their friends, it left me with a legacy of having to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder [ptsd] and depression. I understand only too well the impact of the shame, the sorrow, and the pain one experiences because of the horrific abuse so many of us have had to endure in our lives. I am assuming the readers of Many Voices know the symptoms and the physiology of what happens to those who deal with ptsd and depression caused by sexual abuse so I don't feel it is necessary to list all of them. But what I have never understood is why men are treated differently by so many in society, whether it is the treating professionals, the general public, or sadly, from our fellow female counterparts who have also suffered from sexual abuse. I feel quite strongly that this form of discrimination and stigma a male survivor has to deal with causes more isolation and feelings of shame and helps to keep too many male survivors from speaking up and breaking the silence of their abuse. Two of my brothers have committed suicide and I have long felt their inability to speak up and unable to get the appropriate help led them onto that sad path of destruction.
When my horrors of the past came back to haunt me back in 1992 and 1993, it seemed the flashbacks would never end. Yet when trying to finally reach out to get help I remember only too well the attitudes of so many that I needed to just get over it and it was in the past, and to forget about it. Most survivors, male and female have heard those statements. But in trying to find resources and help specifically for my sexual abuse issues I seemed to run into constant roadblocks. When I would call the respective support centers that are funded and mandated to help survivors of sexual abuse I found most to be a center for females only, and it was made clear to me that there were no services for men and we were not welcomed. Some would use the excuse that they don't get enough male survivors calling for help. I would wonder why these centers designed to help survivors didn't have males on their staff as well. In my advocacy efforts and travels I have come to know many female friends who do work or have worked at these centers and shelters and they did let me know that yes, men were not welcomed or wanted. I am close to Boston, MA and there are several well-known places that treat or study trauma and they would post news of needing study subjects and with this would come treatment help. I would call and write to these as well and again only to be told, no males. I was reading as much literature and information on the effects of childhood sexual abuse to help me in my healing, yet so many books and articles laid the blame at the feet of men, that all men were guilty. Hardly a word would be spoken of male survivors let alone female perpetrators. Pretending to believe they don't exist doesn't make it so. One of my perpetrators was my mother and some other female friends [and male] of my parents. As a young teen who did a lot of babysitting, I also experienced a woman in her mid –thirties pinning me against a wall and trying to 'seduce' me. I was frightened and numb with paralysis as this took place, finally I was able to break free, yet that moment has long been etched in my mind as to how scared I was. I experienced a similar situation about a year or so later at the age of 15 when at a party my band had just performed at. That too left me numb and befuddled for several moments till finally able to get away. When those experiences happen to a female, great scorn is heaped upon the offending perpetrator, for a male it seems to be dismissed as a simple rite of passage – why? Many years later I did find a few supports groups associated with Survivors of Incest Anonymous, yet most of the literature was again on the emphasis of blaming males. That too would make me feel uncomfortable so I would stop going to meetings. Too many people assume that because I was abused as a child that I too would abuse. I have five daughters who I love and cherish dearly as a loving father; I do a fair amount of public speaking and still get the question of how did I prevent myself from abusing my daughters? Do we assume and expect that female survivors have all grown up to become abusers?
I remember attending a Speak Out against sexual abuse and a male survivor got up to share – he shared a letter sent to him from a well-known advocate against abuse towards women. This letter was full of hate towards men and she let him know in no uncertain terms that she did not care what had happened to him and she did indeed blame men. This man who had written for help was once a young boy, a child, just as I was and what are we as men supposed to feel and think when we get such responses? I know for myself it had a most profound effect upon me. I am grateful and thankful that some of my best friends are women – survivors and 'civilians', and I have found some wonderful allies in healing and advocating from my women counterparts, but even to this day I still come across walls of resistance, denial, and avoidance from too many. The women I have met who are active in trying to end this form of stigma and discrimination have received serious resistance and flack for their openness into wanting to work with male survivors. We ALL have suffered and by working together we will do much to end sexual abuse as we know it.
I will close with this thought, Mic Hunter wrote a book many years ago: "ABUSED BOYS – The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse." We have come far, but we still have a long ways to go and by opening up all of the pathways to healing it will help bring more male survivors out of the dark and into the light of hope. Think of how far we can go by working together instead of polarized into separate camps." It's been said before, but "United We Stand, Divided We Fall."
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Michael Skinner firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mskinnermusic.com
Find more amazing people like Mike, in the Male Abuse cause, at help4guys.org by clicking HERE!
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