Healing trauma with consciousness and therapy. My goal is to create awareness of male survivors of sexual abuse and shed light on this topic.
Why do boys / men seldom discuss events of abuse?
One of the most common reasons is FEAR.
Whether it’s fear of their perpetrators, or fear turned into a physiological response from a result of the trauma.
Oftentimes, men have memory loss in response to unbearable trauma. Their brain will literally block it off for years until later in life, when they’re subject to coming to terms with their trauma again, when they’re more able to deal with it. However, things can manifest in other ways such as nightmares, etc.
Sometimes, men don’t say anything about abuse because they are afraid if they report it, their life will get worse. For example, if an intervention isn’t successful, what will happen to me / my family?
If the offender was a parent, the male child thinks about losing that parent. A lot of times, a male would be abused by one parent and the other parent was not available to them emotionally.
So fear is very real.
It’s frightening to know abuse is so prevalent.
We as a society need to be aware of the reasons why boys / men may not talk about abuse. Below are just a few reasons why male survivors of sexual abuse keep it a secret.
One way of looking at it (and there’s many) is that boys act like men. Meaning, they feel the need to protect their family. So if they go through a traumatic event, they may not tell their family because they don’t want their parents to be upset / mad / etc. Thinking, oh I can’t tell my parents, they wouldn’t be able to handle that..
Or my father is a pastor in my community. What would happen to him if I said that one of the people in his parish abused me? What would happen if this information was made public?
Another reason why abuse isn’t discussed is the feeling of hopelessness. Having the feeling that no one is going to believe me or help me anyways.
Shame. Feeling, how could I let this happen to me?
Confusion. A lot of boys / men don’t even recognize the forms of abuse since their bodies may respond favorably to it. Children don’t have the mental capacity to consent to sexual activity, since they don’t realize the consequences.
My goal here is to get the conversation started and support male survivors of sexual abuse.
People need to start thinking along these lines to protect their own children, to recognize males as victims, and to learn about the grooming techniques used by abusers. We need to consider that there’s reasons why a boy in your life isn’t excelling in school, or is falling asleep in the daytime, or is agitated. This boy may be going through things that are distracting to his school work. Or a man in your life may have turned to alcohol or a drug addiction or even became a workaholic as a coping mechanism to his trauma.
Contact Nancy Hilsenrath, LCSW, CASAC, SAP for info. about counseling near you.
EMAIL NANCY or call (718) 551-2777
3 COUNSELING LOCATIONS: West Hempstead, NY, Douglaston, NY, Hewlett, NY