Men Are Also Victims of Sexual Abuse

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

“Boys don’t cry!”“Boys are strong.”“You have to grow up to be the man of the house!”“Boys aren’t afraid of anything.”“Girls are weak.”“Boys who cry are weak.”

Does this sound familiar? Can you relate to this? We commonly hear this and understand.

From your mother’s womb, you are assigned a sex; female or male. The moment you are born, your parents know more or less how to raise you depending on your sex. For the most part, if you are male, you are raised with a firm hand and less patience than with females.

People always speak about how difficult it is to be a female but forget about how difficult it is for males too. Growing up with so much pressure and suppressing vulnerable emotions (normal human feelings) can be overwhelming.

It is also said that women are more susceptible to sexual abuse, but what about those strong boys that were faced with such trauma. It must be very devastating especially when the predator is male and on top of that, a man in power.

1 in 6 males have been victims of sexual abuse. Many have been abused by men in power such as; priests, bishops, teachers, coaches, Boy Scout leaders and more. According to USAToday, as of Nov. 11, 2019, Bishop Accountability, a website that tracks accusations, has named 6,433 priests, brothers and Catholic school officials accused of abuse. Additionally, 154 archdioceses and dioceses have released the names of 4,771 credibly accused clerics, according to Jeff Anderson & Associates, a Minnesota-based law firm that specializes in representing sex abuse survivors (Schnell, 2019). Unfortunately, that is a large amount.

As a victim of this traumatic event, what do you feel? Do you feel disgust, sadness, confusion, guilt, have to learn how to dissociate the traumatic event or you simply can’t explain your feelings? Do you think that being male meant that you should’ve been strong enough to defeat your abuser? It’s all completely normal and more common than you can imagine. Our minds go into battle, in a constant tug of war between our pride because of how we were raised or what we learned and what we really feel.

What you think if you tell others about your trauma:

“What a relief it’ll be, but will they believe me?” They will see me as weak, fragile and less of a man. What would my family think of me? Maybe my parents will be sad and/or feel guilty for not protecting me enough or maybe they won’t believe me or even blame me! I should just keep it to myself and continue being the strong man everybody sees. Besides, as a strong man, I should be able to suppress my weak feelings. If I’ve done it for this long, I could continue to. I rather cry in the darkness than for someone to see”.

What me and others think if you speak up:

“Wow! I did not know that men are also victims of sexual abuse! I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for him but I admire his strength. I don’t understand why anyone will want to hurt someone in that way. What an inspiration. I think that more men (or us) should speak up too. He needs to know he’s not the only one!”

Sometimes, we let fear get the best of us and I understand. If I could hold your hand to show my compassion and understanding, I will. Close your eyes and imagine me there with you. Show your strength and power by defeating the fear of speaking up. Thought like, “now they will think I am homosexual, feel pity for me or see me differently”; I understand that it takes a lot from you but I as well as many others, will show our empathy (not pity). I must warn you, it is not easy! It will be a process that will take time. Remember though, dignity can also be when you feel that everyone deserves to be respected and valued no matter their experiences.

Edison Gallardo who was sexually abused by an archbishop, Francisco Jose Cox Huneeus, posted on twitter, “I will face him one more time on December 19, 2019. After three decades and a half, I will face my abuser, Francisco Jose Cox. It was not my fault (6 ½ years old) nor where I was (Chile’s National Youth Service) nor how I was dressed”. On that day, Edison told his story in court with many details about his abuse. This inspired more victims to come forward against Francisco Jose Cox and others.

It does not matter how old you were at the time of the abuse, your religion, the sex of the predator, or your sexual orientation; we are here to offer you compassion and guidance. Many victims have begun to speak with law firms to discuss their options concerning filing sex abuse lawsuits. If you have experienced any act of sexual abuse, now is the best time to speak with an experienced attorney who has experience in representing victims suffering from sexual abuse trauma. Our abuse attorneys have successfully represented victims in many sex abuse cases. Consider calling our office at 212-684-1880 or using our contact form online. Alongside, we will protect your rights, seek healing, and find justice.

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