Talking about boyhood sexual abuse and its aftermath for men can be difficult, even painful. By age 16, as many as one in six boys in America has had unwanted sex with an adult or older child.Recent coverage about the sexual abuse of boys has emphasized preventing abuse, making sure sexual predators are sequestered from youthful prey, and "moving on." For example, the crises of a church that harbored predators have gotten far more air time than the harm done to the boys molested by priests.
There may be certain types of people that he stays away from, or there may be parts of his past that he avoids talking about.
The media has been of little help deepening the conversation about male sexual victimization.
Millions of men, abused as children, continue to live with the debilitating effects of shattered trust.
After a traumatic experience, some people can experience flashbacks to the event where the person relives the trauma in the here and now. Memories of sexual assault for some men can emerge without invitation at any time of the day or night – even while asleep in the form of nightmares.
This is very exhausting and can lead to long-term negative health effects.
To be fair, while these boys - and the men they become - have mostly been neglected by the media, at least those scandals brought boyhood abuse into the public discourse.
We can talk about it now, and we must do so, no matter how difficult this talk can be.
In college, one of my big motivations for sharing my story publicly at Take Back the Night was to share it with the entire universe of potential love interests all at once, so I didn’t have to tell it again and again every time I met someone new. Sometimes, the relationship fizzled out before I had a chance to share my story at all.
As the years went on, I experimented with many different tactics. On the one hand, I never felt like I wanted to hide my history of sexual violence from dates, just like I wouldn’t hide the death of a parent or a bad car accident.
Being a survivor—and the resilience that goes along with it—is such a deep part of who I am.
I knew I needed a partner with an appropriate level of spiritual depth, emotional intelligence, and empathy to join me on my lifelong journey of being a survivor.