Male Survivors of Abuse
|A male survivor of childhood or adult abuse will experience the
same feelings as a female survivor. In addition he may
experience feelings around his sexuality and his 'manliness'
which can often make it even more difficult for the survivor to
open up to someone else and get the help and support he needs.
If he is from a South Asian family there may be the additional
stresses of izzat (family/biraderi honour) and haya (modesty)
that keeps you silent.
A male survivor may have feelings of weakness, he may feel as a
male he should have prevented the abuse from happening. When
fear takes over a person can freeze and if the person doesn't
actively resist the abuse they should not see co-operation as
consent to be abused, in reality anyone who is abused has to do
whatever they need to do to survive. Nobody asks to be abused.
The abuser may have been a family member, relation or family
friend. We understand that family is sacrosanct and that
disclosing the identity of the abuser means undermining so much.
We also understand the further risks this poses for you.
A male survivor may have feelings of guilt because of his
biological reaction to the abuse. This does not mean the person
enjoyed the experience and is simply an automatic response from
the body when it is stimulated in certain areas so in no way
should the survivor ever take the blame on his shoulders - the
feelings of guilt, shame and blame should be on the head of the
abuser - never the survivor's.
A male survivor may have confusion around his sexuality
believing that if another man has had sex with him it may mean
he is gay. In reality both heterosexual and gay men get abused
and it does not mean a heterosexual man becomes gay if he is
abused by another man.
A male survivor should not see asking for help as a sign of
weakness - recognising when you are not coping and need some
support and help is a sign of strength and a sign that you value
yourself enough to take care of yourself.
It is important you get your feelings out and not hold onto them
in order that you can move forward and not let the abuse impact
on your everyday life.
A powerful interview with British-Nigerian, Kevin Marshall on
his experience of child sexual abuse and sharing this in the
face of cultural taboo -
click here to hear the interview on BBC Sounds