For us in Speak Out Africa, June is our Gender-Based Violence month. And although a lot of awareness has been created towards childhood sexual abuse generally, not much is said about the men who suffered from sexual abuse as children or the boys that are still experiencing it presently.
Studies show that one out of every six boys in America has experienced childhood sexual abuse. The cases are getting more prevalent owing to the fact that most victims of child sexual abuse never report it. This is not surprising due to the shame and stigma associated with it. And of course, in a continent like Africa where reports like this are hardly made, the cases would definitely be a lot higher.
In fact, one of the biggest myths surrounding the boy child sexual abuse is that boys can’t be victims of sexual abuse.
There are many reasons for this erroneous belief.
- For some people, the fact that the boy liked the attention he was getting, or got sexually aroused during the process, meant he liked the abuse.
- Masculine gender expectations opine that a male can never be a victim since he is masculine, and could have fought the abuser off if he didn’t want it.
This further leaves the victim in a confused state.
- Some people, on the other hand, think that if the boy was abused by a female he should consider himself “lucky.”
For most victims, they end up:
2. Believing it is not really an abuse since they had an erection or got a form of sexual gratification.
- Blaming themselves for the abuse.
3. Never reporting the abuse nor seeking help.
4.Questioning their sexual orientation especially if the abuser was an older male.
The effect of the boy child sexual abuse on the man
Just like the girl child, the boy child sexual abuse victim also has a lot of effects to deal with. Although these effects may differ between males and females, the effect is not less harmful to the boy child.
These consequences include the fact that boys who were abused and never sought healing end up struggling with addictions to drugs and/or alcohol, anxiety, sexual disorientation, an inability to maintain relationships, depression, and sometimes, suicidal thoughts.
As uncomfortable as this topic is, we must either choose to talk about it or deny the reality and live with these and more consequences.
The purpose of this article is not to deal with sexual abuse in its entirety but to create awareness for the boy child, and more importantly to offer a spectrum of hope for the victims who have become men in today’s world.
The good news for you if you were a victim of sexual abuse as a boy, is that you can find healing.
The first step to your healing is to acknowledge the fact that abuse occurred. This is a very difficult step for many men, but most who have gone through it admit that it is very freeing.
With the help of a loved one, a confidant, or a therapist, you can try to put your ordeal into words. This can be verbally done or written down. And in addition to that, you can also seek therapy or get help in anonymous internet forums that deal with this.
But most importantly, know that you are not alone, and you can be healed.
Written By Toby Nwazor
Toby is a member of the Speakout Africa team and the founder of Millionaire Writers.