Issues for Men Affected by Childhood Sexual Abuse

Men and women have many common effects resulting from childhood sexual abuse, but there are differences in how they experience and interpret that abuse, and how they and others see themselves in the world.

It is difficult to know how widespread male sexual abuse is because it often goes unreported. In our society, men are portrayed as strong, unemotional, tough and heroic, and there is great pressure on them to maintain this image, even at the risk of neglecting their own emotional needs. Our culture also supports and romanticizes male sexuality as being connected to how young and how often they participate in sexual activities. This can lead to minimizing the impact of childhood sexual abuse for men. For men who have experienced sexual abuse, getting help is difficult and often avoided for fear of appearing weak.

It is important to differentiate the effects of sexual abuse on men because they are more likely to be overlooked. Men also tend to bottle emotions, which leads to high-risk behaviours, including more suicides and violent behaviour. 

There are many myths in our society about men being victims of abuse. If service providers believe these myths, this will prevent them from providing knowledgeable and sensitive services to male survivors of sexual abuse. These myths hold a lot of power and may create obstacles for men to talk about their experiences.

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