We demand that they push down their feelings in favor of appearing strong and impervious to emotions, and we punish boys for sensitivity and tears. What happens to any of us as children does not need to define us as adults or men. Whether you agree with that definition of masculinity or not, boys are not men. The myth that sexual abuse is less harmful to boys than girls.
This is patently false, as sexual abuse happens to people of every sexual orientation. One large study, conducted by the U. Sam kept quiet, but the abuse affected him profoundly. Before exploring the myths, though, here are some key facts: A man who sexually abuses or exploits boys is not engaging in a homosexual interaction — any more than men who sexually abuse or exploit girls are engaging in heterosexual behavior. He desperately wanted to tell people what was happening, but because of his declining grades and withdrawn behavior, there were few welcoming sources of support. Artist and illustrator Dean Trippe created a breathtaking comic earlier this year that helped many survivors find hope. But research is clear, and the vast majority of survivors of sexual abuse, regardless of gender, will never become abusers. Those who sexually use and abuse boys know this. Many boys suffer harm because adults who could believe them and help are reluctant, or refuse, to acknowledge what happened and the harm it caused. His abuse was his private shame, something the abuser used against him in order to keep him quiet. Boys are not seeking to be sexually abused or exploited. This culture of invincibility is far from welcoming to a boy or man who needs to talk about having been harmed. On top of that, they facilitate Weekends of Recovery, where men can make connections in person, facilitated by trained therapists and staff. Many boys and men believe this myth and feel lots of guilt and shame because they got physically aroused during the abuse. The myth that sexual abuse is less harmful to boys than girls. After all, if we can help younger men find the support they need, they can begin their healing earlier and live longer, happier lives. What happens to any of us as children does not need to define us as adults or men. If a boy liked the attention he was getting, or got sexually aroused during the abuse, or even sometimes wanted the attention or sexual contact, this does not mean he wanted or liked being manipulated or abused, or that any part of what happened, in any way, was his responsibility or fault. While there may be dozens of support groups for female survivors within any given big city, there are often less than five for men. Teachers noticed that he was struggling, but never thought to inquire as to why his behavior had gone from upbeat and enthusiastic to depressed and disengaged. To put it in context, there are likely as many American men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse as there are men who develop prostate cancer, but only one sparks national fundraising efforts and awareness campaigns. This myth is especially dangerous because it can create terrible fear in boys and men. The numbers become even more bleak as you move into less populated areas. Kabenga is one of the many men and boys who have been victims of sexual torture used as a weapon of war.
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