A Wake-Up Call: Boyhood Sexual Assault and Its Impacts on Men’s Mental Health

Sexual abuse of little boys is a taboo subject. This topic has historically been kept hidden in the closet by people around the world.

It is subject that no one wants to believe. Yet, the mental health consequences of boyhood maltreatment last a lifetime as the little boys often grow up to become troubled men.


The Definition of Sexual Abuse

The definition of sexual abuse is as follows:

“unwanted sexual contact involving force, threats, or a large age difference between the perpetrator and the child.”

This definition does not cover all the sexual encounters that a little boy may have that are abusive.

Sometimes the abuse feels good, and the boy’s body responds. Even though the boy responds, he is still just a child. He is in no way responsible for the abuse perpetrated against him.

There exists an even harder subject for society to speak about.

The fact that one in six boys suffer sexual violence before turning the age of eighteen.

Most of these victims, 34% will be victimized by a family member.

The Sobering Facts of Boyhood Sexual Abuse

Sadly, the statistics of the ages at which the victimizations take place are very disheartening. They show that 27.8% of these innocent little boys become victims before the age of ten.

The above statistics are even more mind-boggling when you consider something else. They were only speaking of male victims of child sexual assault in the United States.

Although many believe that these figures hold up in all society across the globe.

The Effects Go Far Beyond Numbers

Far beyond the numbers shown in the statistics above is the human toll.

Boys who are sexually abused suffer physical and emotional harm.

However, the effects of that maltreatment also carry over into their adult lives as well.

Like females, male victims are more prone to being raped as adults.

While some question how assault against a is possible, it is an undeniable fact that it happens.

The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Men

The National Sex Violence Center, reports that one in sixteen men survive sexual assault while attending college.

Also, 35% of male survivors report long-term effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Men who survived sexual abuse as children are far more likely to have problems holding jobs.

They also have problems maintaining meaningful relationships and are at high risk for suicide.

Also, they are left open by their childhood experiences to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Below you’ll find only a partial list of some of the most common effects on male survivor’s lives.

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Flashbacks
  • Eating disorders
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Having a sense of blame
  • Feeling shame
  • Isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideations

The sad reality of this list of the effects experienced by boy sexual abuse survivors shows is that this list is endless.

Common Myths about Male Survivors

There are several myths concerning men who experienced sexual abuse. And these are very important to address.

First, the fact that a man survived abuse as a child has nothing to do with how masculine they are.

Sexual abuse is an act of violence perpetrated against a child, not an act of sex.

Second, if the boy liked the attention he was receiving or was sexually aroused, it was still violence.

The child did not like or want to the sex abuse. They were victims.

In no way was what happened to them their fault then or now.

More Harmful Myths About Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

Third, little boys face abuse at the hands of an assortment of people. This list includes straight and gay men and women.

Abusers take advantage of a child’s helplessness to feel powerful.  What they do has nothing to do with the sexual orientation or gender.

Fourth, sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.

There are global myths concerning this myth.

They hold as true that the child or man who has been a victim was gay in childhood or will turn gay.

This myth about victims of childhood assault forces many to remain in hiding. They may never to seek treatment or speak about what happened to them.

To make matters worse, homosexuality is against the law in some countries. These laws bring with them steep penalties from imprisonment to death.

Fifth and perhaps most horrendous myth is as follows. The thought that most male victims become molesters themselves.

However, this myth is patently false.

It may be true that many sexually abused children will grow to abuse others. However, the majority do NOT become sexually violent with children.

To believe this myth sets the victims of childhood assault up for undeserved fear and uncertainty.

The Extreme Difficulties of Finding Help

Women who are survivors of sexual violence have their choice of therapists and support groups.

There are even large movements today that focus on female sexual assault and harassment.

However, the landscape is radically different for men who have experienced sexual violence.

Societal Expectations Harm Survivors

The societal views on how men should behave limits the abilities of them to seek out help.

Males are taught from a young age to be tough, always put on a strong front and never to weep.

However, there is a huge problem of finding outside sources for help.

Support groups dedicated to male survivors are hard to find even in large metropolitan areas.

They may exist in a city, they are usually well-hidden and have a small number of members.

Unfortunately, if a man lives in a rural area and needs help dealing with his childhood assault, it is even harder.

The Harmful Lack of Knowledge of Mental Health Professionals

Therapists and other mental health professionals are undertrained in dealing with the issues surrounding male childhood assault.

There remains much misunderstanding among well-meaning mental health professionals about surviving boyhood sexual assault.

These may include the fact that some victims experience pleasure or their confusion about their sexuality.

The misunderstandings by professionals can further reinforce a man’s sense of shame. Also, a male’s questioning of his manliness can grow.

Unfortunately, these misunderstandings often send men back into the world feeling helpless once more.

What Can We Do to Help?

There are many things society can do.

First, we must not only prevent little boys from falling prey to sexual violence but help the survivors of these crimes.

Bringing the sexual abuse of little boys out of the closet is paramount.

Yes, it is agreed that the conversations that must take place will be uncomfortable.

However, we must face the fact that sexual predation of children is not a problem of race, religion or country. It is a human tragedy that affects all people everywhere.

We Must Start to Have That Uncomfortable Conversation

If we are to end this crime against humanity we must open our mouths and begin the conversation.

The main way we can do this is by having conversations at our dinner tables, in our churches and our schools. Also, we can begin with the truth and dispel the myths about sexual violence.

We can begin a #metoo movement for both sexes. Adding their anguishing stories to those already being told by woman all globally will be powerful.

Banding together the human race can eradicate the reality of sexual assault. The crimes perpetrated against innocent little boys girls in our world.

There is help available to you if you are a male survivor of sexual violence.

An organization known as 1 in 6 is available online to help you help yourself or someone you love.

Don’t hesitate to look them up and find peace in your life. Their site is full of helpful information and will help you begin your healing journey.

Don’t forget to download and utilize our free Patient Next Door app onto your smartphone.

With it, you can share the healthcare journey of you and your child with people who are facing similar conditions.

Also, keep us with you and utilize the easy to use Patient Next Door app as a handy resource to find articles and information about any healthcare subjects. The topics covered include autism, women’s health concerns and many, many more.

As always, we here at Patient Next Door love serving you.

Together we can band together to aid others in finding resources and hope.

We care about you.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of PatientNextDoor. Any omissions or errors are the author’s and PatientNextDoor does not assume any liability or responsibility for them.

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