Hiding the Secret

Posted Jul 22nd, 2019 in Sexuality, Rhonda Wiersma, Suffering

Sexual abuse is being talked about more and more. Recently the hashtag metoo movement has come out, seemingly giving people more willingness to share their own stories of sexual assault or abuse. However, one thing haunts me particularly about the way we talk about sexual abuse. We usually only think about girls and women being sexually victimized. But did you know that many boys and men are also sexually abused?

Statistics show that 1 in 6 men have been sexually assaulted or abused (1).

That is roughly 30 men in a church of 200, to put in context.

Why don’t we hear about this more often? Because it’s not talked about. Just as a recognition of female sexual abuse started slowly and began to gain traction in the spotlight, so understanding male sexual assault is slow to gain attention and the recognition it deserves. Men also struggle to talk about this due to social and cultural norms for men to deny pain, as we often hear “big boys don’t cry.” Men are often encouraged not to show emotion, not to be weak. Often male victims are blamed for lack of masculinity or fear that they may be “gay” now.

Impact of male sexual abuse and sexual assault mirror the impact of female sexual abuse: shame, self-harm, promiscuity or aversion to sex, guilt, unworthiness to receive love, sexual dysfunctions, numbness, self-hatred, flashbacks, anxiety, depression, strained relationship with God.

The way males express their emotions of the abuse or assault however can look different from the way a female would respond. Males typically become angry and express their anger with violence. Frequently their suicidal actions prove to be more lethal. Drug and alcohol abuse are frequently used as a coping mechanism.

This is an unpleasant topic to think about and consider. God hates abuse of power and oppression. He uses strong words to accuse those who hurt others. God also gives words to the victim and the helpless so that they can receive support, comfort, and help. God calls people out of the darkness of shame and secrets and into light of honesty and freedom.

This blog is also very brief and introductory. But if you have questions about male sexual abuse, the biblical counsellors at Elisha House would be willing to talk to you more about this. If you are a male victim of sexual abuse or assault, we hope you reach out. Elisha House has trained counsellors that are willing to work with you and help you process this terrible secret and overcome the hurt of the past through Jesus Christ.

(1) http://sacha.ca/resources/statistics