Sunday, April 30, 2017

7 Myths and 7 Facts about the sexual abuse of boys continued:. .

Continued:  7 Myths and 7 Facts About the sexual abuse of Boys recently published on Not the Life I Chose and on Wind Harp Tree:

7 Myths and 7 Facts about the sexual abuse of boys and the men they become

The following is adapted and expanded from an online piece by Kenneth Singer M.S.W. The list of myths and facts along with many more resources may be also be found online. 

I have, before, focused on the 1 in 4 women who have been routinely abused and silenced because I am female and was researching and writing about my own personal story before I realized I was included  in America's gender Apartheid. Although as forbidden as it is to talk about the incesting of females it is infinitely harder for males to speak out about their own experiences as molested children. While mothers reluctantly recognize that males molest female children society focuses on stranger danger.

As a society and as mothers we are far more reluctant to acknowledge that the present male power structure encourages bullying and protects bullies almost as a "male child raising" practice which in which mothers participate. Mothers too believe the myths of "masculinity" and are afraid their son might be made into a homosexual if raised wrong or if over-powered and molested.   We see boys-will-be-boys behavior as the proving ground of male power, fitting victorious males to be Kings of the Hill, Titans of Industry, rich members eligible for membership in the 1%:   venture/vulture/hedge-fund Capitalist and perhaps, like Mitt, even run for president of the ruling white classes, certainly a good catch for a submissive wife.

(Hence the cat calls of sissy-boy, the runs-like-a-girl taunts heard but ignored on every Junior High sports field. Hence the pressure to keep secret  the long run of  sexually molested males bullied, even gang-raped into submission to "masculine" opponents. Or more subtly, the devastating grooming of children by priests in power positions  free to molest and then draw the cloak of secrecy over  themselves while we still teach the sanctity of "Traditional Marriage," preaching submission as the only role for women and nuns. Such behavior is as endemic in "polite" society as in the church or Mitt's prep school. Since 2006, the archdiocese of Los Angeles has paid more than $700 million to settle clergy abuse law suits by hundreds of victims. A victim might sue a church but what male or female child victim can hope to successfully force change by suing the entire Patriarchal system?)

It is abundantly clear that 1 in 6 boys are routinely molested by adults. They are abused and silenced by Societal norms that deny that a "real" boy could be molested in the first place. To be molested a boy must already have been not "actually" masculine at all, must have been in need of a "Hair Cut" all along. Yet the perpetrators in my life were also molested as children. In the blog Not the Life I Chose  which I now co-blog with Evie Pruett, Evie reveals that her ex-husband too reported being molested as a child after his arrest. But is being molested a free pass to sympathy or merely an inevitable destiny to secretly molest others? Traditional wisdom says: Once molested always a child molester? Once a child molester inevitably a child molester...and for always, cast with your family from membership in the "middle class" indelibly cast down into the fringes of society forever: an inevitable degression. Why would anyone ever dare report, ever ask for help? Ever speak truth aloud?

The great myth of inevitable digression persists: every male molested as a child shall grow up a perpetrator. Every woman married to a child molester, every family, every parent of a molested child shall be cast out if the truth be comes known. But the real truth is revealed in even a simple survey of the males in my family, reveals that the majority of  those molested do not in turn molest others although they live with the fear others may reject them because they were molested. Women too molest children, I was molested. I do not molest children. But the fear persists and silences many male and female. While some children are so harmed by being molested that they make the choice to molest others, prejudice and punishment and silence, being unalterably tarred, is not an adequate response to rampant epidemic.

First the 7 Facts: 

Fact #1) Boys and men can be used or abused and it has nothing to do with how masculine they are. (Just as my father claimed that it was my fault that as a 7 year old I "sexually attracted" his terrifying attentions, male children are told they somehow sexually attracted the "masculine men" who abused them.)

Fact # 2) If a boy liked the attention he was getting or got sexually aroused during grooming behaviors (grooming is termed "teaching her about sex"when focused on females) or even sometimes wanted the attention or sexual contact this does not mean that he wanted or liked being manipulated or abused.

Fact # 3) Sexual abuse harms boys and girls in ways that are similar and different, but is equally harmful.

Fact # 4) The sexual abuse of boys has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the abuser. (Evies husband's psychiatric evaluation (Not the Life I Chose) revealed tellingly that he was sexually attracted to no particular gender. My own father does not seem to have been focused in his abusing.  He was a sexual omnivore focused not upon any other human being but upon himself and finding victims to gratify his own sexualurgencies.)

Fact # 5) A boy abused by a male is not necessarily gay nor has he been abused because he is gay, nor can the abuse make him gay. (although there are books and articles written by "experts" that persist in referring to male on male sexual abuse as "Homosexual." referring for example to the sexual abuse of  alter boys in the catholic Church as "Homosexual" abuse.  see Belief,   What's Really Behind the Catholic Church's Sexual Abuse Problem? by Harriet Fraad who says since the sexual abuse of males makes then homosexual it "engenders a  homoerotic internal culture that attracts homosexual men to the priesthood."  .....

Please note: Although Ms Fraad does says that one quarter of those victimized are female, she does not go on to extrapolate from the myth that sexual abuse makes them females attracted to nunneries!)

Fact # 6) Girls and women can sexually abuse boys. These boys are not "lucky" but are exploited and harmed. (Mic Hunter's book Abused boys, the Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse  is one of the few books I came across in my research that discusses the affects of a mothers abusing sons and females abusing boys.)

Fact # 7) Although nearly 16% of all boys are sexually abused most do not go on to sexually abuse others. (Just as although nearly 25% of all girls are sexually abused, most do not not go on to sexually abuse as adults.)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

7 Myths and 7 facts about the sexual abuse of boys because we seem to forget that boys/ our sons (sometimes our husbands) are/ were molested too

I have adapted the following from a post on my own blog after I spoke to my son who asked me, "Doesn't it matter what happens to the boys who are molested." Evie asked if I would republish this blog on Not the Life I Chose. You can find the original here

Many of us in this blog's community have three challenging roles to fill simultaneously: 1) as spouses and ex-spouses of sex offenders; 2) as women; and 3) as mothers of molested children. And before "the knock on the door" came, we knew almost nothing about the facts of the situation we are now facing.

But I'll bet the issues around getting our children back and about dealing with their therapy and their issues as survivors of child sex abuse are really our #1 issue for a long time. At least it is the  #1 issue I grieve over in the middle of the night, even after all these years.

When I read that Chandra's son tried to hang himself and very narrowly succeeded (several days in ICU) I felt like crying with her.  I hope this information about the sexual abuse of boys is of some help.


As usual, myths before facts:

Myth # 1) Boys can't be sexually used or abused and if one is he can never be a "real" man. (Males aren't victims is central to masculine gender socialization. Successful males are depicted as never being vulnerable, either physically or emotionally. Hence the male mantra, "Never complain. Never explain.")

Myth #2) If a boy experienced sexual arousal during abuse, he wanted and/or enjoyed it. (When I was young they used to say if a woman survived rape, she just hadn't fought her attacker (or her date-rape hard enough. Ergo she had "wanted it." Her rapists had just been giving her what she had implicitly or explicitly asked for.)

This myth continues that if a boy ever did even partly want the sexual experience which he had been groomed into then the boy not his attacker was at fault.

(As an aside...Isn't it interesting how society allows the attacker to turn responsibility on it's head? No matter that a boy is groomed into arousal, he not his molester is at fault. No matter that a young girl is raped, the attack is still about a young child betrayed by a more powerful person who has selfishly exploited the child for their own adult sexual gratification.

The gender myth is that the girl sexually attracted her male abuser. (For did not the blameless Mary, Mother of "God" somehow attract attention, was visited which she did immaculately submit sometime in the night. And the young girl who was thus impregnated was only "saved" from an inevitable stoning by irate neighbors when a very old man, the much venerated Saint Joseph, agreed to take her as his child bride. Once married, child brides cannot be victims if a  wedding ensues.  Wed they are respectable mothers submissively grateful to the husbands who saved them and their child from a scarlet letter, a life of shame... It is indeed confusing because on the flip side of this gender myth, patriarchal wisdom maintains that young boys cannot but be to blame for submitting and thereby causing their forever destruction as :Masculine" men now fit only to live on the fringes.)

Myth #3) Sexual abuse is less harmful to boys than to girls.

Yet the real and lasting harm caused by sexual abuse of children, male and female mostly depends on things not determined by victim gender. The harm flows from a) the abusers identity, b) the duration of the abuse and c) whether the child told anyone at the time and if so, whether the child was believed and helped.

Many boys suffer because adults who could believe them and help are reluctant or refuse to even acknowledge that boys can be harmed by what happened. This increases the harm, especially the shame felt by boys and men and leads many males to believe that the "masculine" thing is to tough it out on their own.

Myth #4) Most sexual abuse of boys is committed by homosexual males.

People who sexually abuse or exploit boys are not expressing homosexuality any more than people who use and abuse girls are engaging in heterosexual behavior. They are deeply confused individuals, who for various reasons, desire to sexually use and abuse children (among others) and have seen or created opportunity and then acted upon their desire.

Myth #5) Boys abused by males must be gay or will become gay.

Some males fear that due to their experiences as boys, they must "really" be homosexual, or that they can't be "real men." Also many boys abused by men believe (or are told by their abusers) that something about them attracted their abuser and will attract other males.

On the flip side of gender, my father told me something about me attracted him (therefore "it" was obviously my fault) but sick as it was, my molest fell into a more socially acceptable male-female context. I don't know if he told the males he molested that something about them had attracted the abuse he heaped upon them. I don't know if he was told something about him attracted his molesters either.)

One of the great tragedies of childhood sexual abuse is how it robs a person's natural right to discover his or her own sexuality in his or her own time. By definition child sexual abuse is about adult power. It has nothing to do with a child's preferences or desires. It is about adult advantage and gratification.

Myth #6) If a female used or abused a boy, "He got lucky." and if he does not feel that way there is something wrong with him.

This definition of "Masculinity" says that "real" males can't be sexually abused but that sexual experiences with girls or women, especially older ones is evidence that he's "a real man."a case of preferring to focus on the sexual aspect and not on the abusive one. (and I cannot resist adding: who hasn't seen old movies in which fathers hire sex workers to "educate" young sons? Although, now, both prostitution and sex trafficking seems to be a less openly approved educational methods. Perhaps access to internet porn in the privacy of home is the new thing.) In any case the sexual exploitation and betrayal by a more powerful person, male or female, is Abuse not an educational experience.

In reality, premature, coerced or otherwise abusive or exploitative experiences are never positive whether they are imposed by an older sister, sister of a friend, babysitter, neighbor, aunt, mother or any female in a position of power over a boy. Whether the victim is a boy or a girl, to be used as a sexual object by a more powerful person, male or female, is never a good thing and can cause lasting harm.

Myth #7) Boys who are sexually abused will (inevitably) go on to abuse others. This myth is especially dangerous because it creates terrible fear in boys and men. They may not only fear becoming abusers themselves, but fear that if others find out they were abused they will believe those who were abused as children are themselves automatically a danger to children.  Boys and men who tell of being abused often are viewed more as potential perpetrators than as men in need of support.

Believing these Myths  is understandable but dangerous and harmful:

   * These are myths that everyone absorbs growing up and men (and women) who continue to believe them are harmed by them.

   * As long as societies believe these myths and continue to teach them to children, many men harmed by unwanted or abusive sexual experiences won't seek or get the recognition their abuse needs and deserves.

   * So long as boys and men harmed by unwanted or abusive sexual experiences believe these myths they will feel ashamed and be less likely to seek whatever knowledge, understanding or help they need to achieve the lives they want and deserve.

   * So long as boys, men and society as a whole believes these myths and males don't get the help they need, males are more likely to join the minority who end up hurting others.

   * So long as these myths are believed it increases the power of another devastating myth: That it was the child's fault.

It is never the fault of the child in a sexual situation... although some people are skilled at getting those they use and abuse to take on a responsibility that is always, and only, their own.

For any man harmed by unwanted or abusive sexual experiences...and for anyone who wants to support him...recognizing and becoming free of these myths is necessary to overcoming the effects of the abuse and to achieving the life he wants and deserves.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Shame, Blame, and Fear: What "Think" doesn't seem to realize about browbeating and blaming the women brave enough to post on Not the Life:

Recently "Think" posted several times on Not the Life. (commenting on the post "Elizabeth I Chose")

Think asked,"Am I missing something here?"  

Well, to answer your question, "Yes, I think you are." 

Not the Life is meant to be a safe place where all women/ sexual abuse survivors can share experience, strength, and hope. 
We share our stories (something which "Think" neglected to do) so others will know what happened to us and so we can make decisions about what choices to make next. It is a place to reach out, tell our stories, without fear. We have been browbeaten by experts. Trolls are unwelcome on Not the Life I Chose because this is a SAFE space.

Every woman's choice shared here is to be respected. Not denigrated. No browbeating no silencing anyone's story. Not allowed here on Not the Life. Maybe one person's choice is different than someone else's but it takes great courage to speak out and tell honestly what happened to us and to our loved ones. 

Until now most of us thought we were alone in this. We thought no one would understand (or even listen to us) as we made painful choices, worked through the anger and betrayal we felt and made choices we knew many would not agree with but which we on Not the Life Support because we too had to make painful decisions and we know what it takes to make such decisions (no matter which decision any one of us reached)  On not the life it's the speaking out the telling of our silenced stories that gives us all a chance to know we are not alone and frees us to move into a better future...

No one sharing their story here on Not the Life deserves to be labeled "child predator (no matter what you may think.) No one here deserves to be threatened "when you are older, your child will cut all contact with you." even if that's what someone you know did...perhaps out of past unresolved anger, fear or shame?  

No One here on Not the Life wants to continue the cycle of child sexual abuse into another generation, that's why mothers search the web to find some safe place share our stories, where we can know we are not alone and share our decisions going forward (whatever those decisions might be) without fear of condemnation.  

We are all here for each other and we are here for you if you want to share your story. We share our stories and our painful choices as a way of knowing we are not alone in this. It's a way to find healing choices for us and for our children and families going  forward. Please think before you decide to hide your own story while pointing fingers and condemning us.  

Please, also tell us your story. It's Okay. we won't judge, shame, blame or browbeat you. We are open to learning from the choices you have made.  So share your personal journey with us just as we share ours with each other and with you on Not the Life.