The Circle of Abuse

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Save the Children

70 percent of abused children turn into abusive adults, stated Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization that promotes children’s rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.

“There is help, there is healing, there is hope,” David stated as he was recalling his experience as a child (David’s Story). By its very nature, sexual abuse also entails physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual abuse.

He continued saying that “these later forms of abuse from my parents continued into my adulthood. Like all children, I sought a bond with my parents; a bond of love, trust, safety, and nurturing support.  Instead of that bond, what I received was bondage.”

“At least 10% of men in our country have suffered from trauma as a result of sexual assault.” Like women, men who experience sexual assault may suffer from depression, PTSD, and other emotional problems as a result. “However, because men and women have different life experiences due to their different gender roles, emotional symptoms following trauma can look different in men than they do in women.” (PTSD Sexual Trauma)

There is no prescribed way of how people are affected by sexual abuse or sexual assault; everyone is different. According to the Living Well website, people who have been prone to live an abusive life have had a history of alcohol or other drugs, flashbacks, invasive thoughts, depression, mood swings, mental health difficulties, self blame, humiliation, causing them to be abusive towards loved ones (Living Well).

There are numerous incidents of male rape all over the world. Men undergo as much trauma and emotional suffering as women do. Men are entitled to guard their honor as much as women are. Yet, male rape is not taken as seriously as female rape. Worst of all, male rape victims are humiliated and their “manliness” is questioned.

Boys and girls are equally likely to suffer maltreatment. In 2005, 47.3 percent of child victims were male, and 50.7 percent were female (American Humane).

The more one learns about child sexual abuse the more we come to see the multiple factors which can influence how much it impacts upon men’s lives. Research has shown that what occurred, who was involved, and how the man was responded to influences the types and degree of problems a man has to deal with (Living Well).

Hope for change often involves finding ways to acknowledge the horror and pain associated with the experience, whilst separating out and disentangling the problems from the person. If we see ourselves or the person as the problem, then we can quickly become overwhelmed and get down on ourselves as somehow damaged. If “I” am the problem, then change requires a complete overhaul of me and who I am. That seems impossible!

“My relationships with women were always sexually based and got more violent because I was taking out my frustration and anger towards all females” said David. “I needed to show the women I’ve been with that I was manly and everything they were looking for but it always turned to abusing them,” he continued saying.

There are many non-profit organizations that help and give hope to victims. Project Unbreakable, encourages rape survivors to talk about their suffering as a way to increase awareness of the issues surrounding sexual assault (Project Unbreakable).

This is a platform for victims to voice their stories, and help them bring their trauma to the fore and overcome it eventually.

Such ideas can be diminishing of us and can leave us less able to accept and manage any difficulties. They can make our skills and knowledge invisible, as well as our competency in other areas, and our capacity to live a full and rich life. But like David stated “there is help, there is healing, there is hope!”

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