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MALE SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE:

 IN CHURCHES, SPORTS FIELDS AND THEIR HOMES

 By: Don Wright (Executive Director, RCC)

 

Until 1989 sexual abuse of boys and men in Canada was virtually unheard of. There were no programs for male survivors, virtually no research and no significant literature. The only whisperings of sexual abuse of men were disclosures by male sex offenders of their own histories of being abused. For the most part, these disclosure were and still are dismissed as an attempt the by accused to garner sympathy. Surely some of those disclosure were true, although that truth does not excuse sexual offending. The bottom line was that there was nowhere for non-offending male victims to become visible, let alone get any help.

 

Now nearly 25 years later, there are less than a half dozen programs across the country for male survivors. Only two of those are programs of substantial size and scope. The rest are fledgling organizations struggling to formulate programs to address this issue with thin financial means, in the face of public apathy and limited, precarious government support.

 

It is time for this to change. Violence perpetrated against men and boys must be recognized. They too are victims of sexual harassment in the work place, In churches, sports fields, on the streets and in their homes. There are no sexual assault programs for men in most major Canadian cities, and those that exist in any smaller communities are branch offices of the few organizations that exist in bigger cities. It is imperative to expand the view of sexual and domestic violence to include all victims, male as well as female and to broaden our view of whom the perpetrators are. To not do so is like attempting to eradicate an infectious disease by treating only half of those afflicted with it. If we ever hope to eradicate violence in our homes and communities, we have to be comprehensive in our approach. Time for change – time for inclusion.

 

-April 2014

If I Was Aroused Does That Mean. . .?

By: Don Wright (Executive Director, RCC)

It is not uncommon for someone who is being sexually abused to have an arousal response. Even in a violent or aggressive sexual assault, this can occur. In fact, many offenders intentionally arouse their victims. It may add to their own excitement, but more significantly they can use the arousal response to make their victims feel responsible and a willing partner. By manipulating their victims into feeling guilty, they increase the likelihood that the abuse will be kept secret.

Male survivors who do become aroused, become confused about why that happened. Many question their own sexual orientation when it is a same gender perpetrator. Socialized homophobia, for heterosexual survivors, adds to their fear of negative judgements if they disclose. Gay survivors of sexual assault are left wondering if it was the abuse that resulted in their sexual orientation. Or they fear that, since they are gay, that they somehow invited the abuse.

Becoming aroused when being sexually abuse or assaulted does not mean any of the above. You are not responsible! Although confusion around sexual orientation as a result of being sexually victimized is a common response, there is nothing in the research that indicates that the abuse will result in any particular sexual orientation. Straight male survivors need not question their sexual orientation. Gay male survivors were not “turned” by the abuse, nor did they invite the victimization. The arousal is merely a natural neurological response to physical stimulation. If you were touched with a lite cigaret, it would burn whether you want it to or not. Likewise if/when your body responses to the manipulations of your offender, it is merely biological functionality – not desire.

 

The following articles are available for viewing:

Title Author
1991, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Don Wright
1993, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Don Wright
1995, Acknowledging the Continuum from Childhood Abuse to Male Prostitution Don Wright
1997, Male Survivors and the Need for Training Don Wright
2000, Illusions of Intimacy – Sexual Abuse and Gay Men Don Wright