FACT #4 – Boys and men can be significantly traumatized by sexual abuse.
Although some researchers assert males are be less negatively affected than females by sexual abuse, more studies show that long term effects of sexual abuse are often quite damaging for either sex.
Male survivors can also be damaged by society’s refusal or reluctance to accept their victimization. Male victims of sexual misconduct by teachers and other authority figures often find their attempts to report abuse discounted and minimized and outright disbelieved, especially if the perpetrator is female. Many male survivors also report that their initial attempts to report being a victim of abuse are discounted or look upon skeptically by law enforcement, doctors, and even social services personnel.
Further toxic masculine stereotypes that men who are injured and/or victimizaed must “tough it out” in silence, often create additional burdens upon a survivor and can make it less likely he will report abuse or reach out for support.
These experiences lead many survivors to determine that the safer thing to do is to remain silent. This only serves to keep a survivor from getting the help and support he deserves and keeps a perpetrator from being held accountable.
It is important for men and boys to know that no matter what may have been done to them, they are worthy of seeking help and support. Talking about what was done to us is an act of strength and courage, not of cowardice and weakness.