Myths and Truths About Male Childhood Sexual Abuse
As long as society perceives these myths as truths male childhood sexual abuse survivors will continue to isolate themselves and struggle to seek and find the support they need. Let us all strive to reveal the truths and banish the myths of male childhood sexual abuse.
Myth: Sexual Abuse of boys is very rare.
Truth: 1 in 6 men report having had unwanted direct sexual contact with an older person by the age of 16. This figure is as high as 1 in 4 if indirect or non-contact sexual behaviour such as indecent exposure is included.
Source of statistics Breathing Space
Myth: Boys are less traumatized by sexual abuse.
Truth: Studies show that sexual abuse is extremely damaging to both sexes. For men it also can lead to a loss of identity due to stigma attached to male sexual abuse, and the reluctance men have to seek help.
Myth: Childhood sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers.
Truth: Perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse are often close family friends or extended family members e.g. father, grandfather, uncle, aunt, mother, priest, friend of the family etc.
Myth: Boys should be able to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
Truth: Perpetrators are usually older and in a position of trust or authority, they can use threats, force, bribes and other way to coerce their victims into complying. The fear of not being believed or being somehow held responsible all contribute to maintaining the silence about the abuse.
Myth: If you get stimulated physically during your sexual abuse you must have enjoyed it.
Truth: It is an natural reaction for the body to respond to arousal. This is outwith a person’s control but can cause confusion and psychological problems.
Myth: All perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse are male.
Truth: Men and women abuse children.
Myth: Not remembering the abuse clearly means it may never have happened.
Truth: Many men cannot remember all the details of their childhood sexual abuse, they lock it away, deep in their subconscious to protect themselves from the horrors inflicted on them.
Myth: It is alright for a woman to initiate sex with a boy.
Truth: Sexual contact between any adult and child is sexual abuse, the inequality between the two means the adult has all the power and control.
Myth: Perpetrators of male childhood sexual abuse are gay men.
Truth: Perpetrators of male childhood sexual abuse are from all sexual orientations, social classes and ethnic groups.
Myth: Boys sexually abused by adult men are or will become gay or bisexual.
Truth: Sexual orientation is a complex matter there is no scientific reason to explain homosexuality, bisexuality or heterosexuality. Surviving sexual abuse by a male can cause confusion about sexual identity with some survivors. However there is no evidence to suggest that male survivors are of any particular sexual orientation.