When we talk about child abuse, we invariably end up gender stereotyping it, by always imagining a young girl. Even if, women still form the major chunk of abuse victims- men are often at the receiving end of such heinous crimes as well. Young boys are often repeatedly sodomized and either they are too traumatized or their internal defense mechanism stops them from ever speaking about it or even voicing their anguish.

Even if a child or man was initially thankful for the attention, many situations qualify as “unwanted sexual encounters.” It might involve an event that a guy isn’t ready to describe as “sexual abuse” or “sexual assault,” or even comprehend how it happened. According to statistics, an encounter of sexual abuse and assault of men is experienced by every 1 in 6 men. 

And this is likely an underestimate, as it excludes non-contact events, which might potentially have long-term consequences. You are not alone if you’ve experienced or suspect you’ve had such an event. You are not the only one if you wonder if such an event may be linked to current issues or obstacles in your life. 

It’s also necessary to understand what sexual abuse and assault of men mean to grasp the depth of this unwanted experience that some men have to go through. 

Meaning of sexual abuse and assault of men according to researchers:

When children are subjected to unwanted sexual intercourse including force, threats, or a wide age gap between the kid and the other person, it is referred to as “sexual abuse” (which involves a big power differential and exploitation). 

Having such an encounter does not always guarantee life-long trauma. That depends on several circumstances, including how many times it happened, how long it went on, who else was involved, if the child informed anybody, and if so, what kind of response he got.

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When a man opens up about his sexual assault experience, it is important to note that this experience is perhaps just a drop in the ocean. A lot of male victims hide their assault fearing the same patriarchal judgment that holds women at stake. When the so-called “abuser” becomes the victim, it becomes very difficult to speak about it or even get the desired support. 

It is so because males who have had such experiences are less likely than females to talk about them. In the same study, just 16 percent of males with documented histories of sexual abuse (by social service agencies, which indicates it was very serious) believed they had been sexually assaulted, compared to 64 percent of women with documented experiences.

In conclusion, the 1 in 6 figure is backed up by good scientific evidence, including a study done by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and is likely an underestimate of the true prevalence. Furthermore, many men’s mental health, emotional, and professional issues are exacerbated by sexual abuse and assault of men. 

Read more on mental health at Are Stress and Anxiety Taking Over Your Life? 4 Methods to Deal with Panic Attacks

Few people realize, however, that males who were sexually abused as children are just as likely to acquire prostate cancer, the most prevalent disease in men and one of the main causes of cancer mortality. Many websites have come up in recent times that act as confidential support for men. Men can reach out to the people associated with these websites and get involved in therapy groups and/or personal counselors. 

Talking about male survivors of sexual assault

The list of male survivors of sexual assault is long and men from all over the world have been vocal about their experiences and how they dealt with the grief and shock. One of the many stories was shared by a man named Alan from the United Kingdom. 

Alan had struggled for years with anxiety, despair, and addiction, just like so many other male survivors. He had also fostered a career as a professional stylist, offering high-end consulting to individual customers, at the same time. His interior difficulties and exterior accomplishments coexisted, as they did for many male survivors, in a dichotomy that few others understood. Being a victim of male sexual abuse and assault can also lead to developing attachment issues. 

Read more on relationship anxiety at Is the Idea of Dating Making you Anxious? 5 Tips to Deal with Dating Anxiety

Myths revolving around sexual abuse and assault of men that need to be busted are mentioned below

The illusion that boys cannot be sexually exploited or mistreated, and that if they are, they will never be able to be a “true man.” 

 To some level, everyone accepts the notion that men aren’t victims. It’s an important part of male gender indoctrination, and boys pick it up early on. This myth suggests that a kid or man who has been sexually exploited or mistreated will never be a “true man.” 

 Boys are not men, whether you agree with that concept of masculinity or not. They are kids, after all. They are weaker and more susceptible than those who sexually abuse or exploit them, who use their height, power, and expertise to influence or compel boys into having unpleasant sexual encounters and remaining silent. 

In general, this is obtained from the authority of a person (e.g., coach, teacher, religious leader) or status (e.g., older cousin, admired athlete, social leader), and it involves the use of whatever means are available to reduce resistance. 

Read more about emotional fitness on A Man’s Guide to Emotional Fitness: 4 Steps to Happiness

 The idea that if a kid had sexual desire during abuse, he wanted and/or liked it, and that if he did partly want the sexual encounters, he was to blame. 

    Many adolescents and men believe this myth and are filled with guilt and shame as a result of becoming physically aroused while being abused. It’s crucial to realize that even in traumatic or unpleasant sexual settings, guys can respond to sexual stimulation with an erection or even an orgasm. 

That’s how masculine bodies and minds operate. Those that sexually exploit and abuse boys are well aware of this. They frequently convince the youngster that his sexual response proves he was a willing participant and involved in the abuse, to preserve concealment and keep the abuse going. “You desired it. They say, “You enjoyed it.”

For any guy who has been hurt by unwanted or abusive sexual experiences – and anybody who wants to help him – overcoming the effects of the abuse and attaining the life he wants and deserves requires dispelling these misconceptions. Sexual abuse and assault of men can be scarring for a lifetime and the survivors have to be dealt with care and love.