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My overwhelming sense of loneliness and isolation, that there was something particularly wrong with me, wasn’t helped when I started looking around for some information about being raped. I couldn’t find any first hand accounts from guys about what happened, what it was like for them and how they managed to survive. It just made me feel worse. [1]

This section of Living Well includes stories of men’s experiences of sexual abuse. These personal accounts have been supplied by men who have experienced child sexual abuse or sexual assault. As the above quote indicates, personal testimonies that describe the experience and learning of men who have been subjected to child sexual abuse or sexual assault can provide acknowledgement, direction and hope at a time when a man is doing it tough. It can be useful to read accounts of how sexual abuse or sexual assault has affected men along with details of what they have found helpful. Such accounts can make a man feel less alone and keep at bay thoughts that there is something particularly wrong with him (see the following quote). At Living Well, we are aware that the media and much professional literature is dominated by stories of damage and therefore are particularly interested in stories that invite hope into men’s lives.

men's experiences of sexual abuse

The media image of guys who have been abused is often that his whole life is wrecked. This doesn’t give us hope. Because basically, we need inspirational work and stories to be told, because otherwise we get the sense that we can’t deal with things, that we don’t have it within ourselves. It’s sort of like a constant underestimation of our ability to deal with things, and to find peace in the midst of it all, in the midst of the pain and suffering.

It is worth visiting Jim Hopper’s page ‘Sexually abused males: Giving and receiving guidance and hope.

Please take care

Please remember to prioritise your own well being when reading the attached personal accounts of men’s experiences of sexual abuse and assault. We invite you to take care of yourself:

  • Be aware of what your purpose is in taking time to read what is recounted
  • Be aware of how you are feeling prior to, during and after reading a man’s personal story.
  • Be aware of the choices you have in relation to the meaning and use you make of what was written.

Below are some questions that you might wish to consider whilst reading the attached material:

  • What was it that you noticed? – What caught your attention? – How come?
  • Did some element of these personal accounts connect with aspects of your own life experience?
  • Reflecting on these personal stories, what would you like to remember and keep with you?
  • How might what is written become useful for you in your life?
  • Please remember you can stop reading at any time, book mark a page or print it out and leave it to come back to later.

Articles in this section


 


 

Invitation to contribute to Living Well

As an evolving resource, Living Well is interested in stories that encourage connections within and between people. We welcome contributions from you as men, as partners, friends or family members that provide some account of the impact of experiences of sexual abuse or sexual assault on your life, along with what you have found encouraging of hope. We recognise when inviting personal contributions that you might have no interest in writing anything down, or spending any more time thinking about what has occurred. In that case, please don’t. It may be, however, that you have been considering writing something either for your self or for someone else.

When I started writing my life story it seemed to make it more real. It was tough yet it also became a way of sorting things out in my head… If, after reading some of what I have put in here, someone goes through less of the bullshit that I went through then all well and good.

If you are able to offer something for others to read there is no expectation you should provide a comprehensive life story. You may choose instead to highlight things to look out for, how a particular problem appeared at a particular time and how you dealt with it. We would encourage you to take care to only provide information that you feel okay with sharing. The following questions are intended as a possible guide only. You might want to start with where you are at now and don’t forget there is no need to provide details of the abuse or assault.

Questions to consider

  • How did you come into contact with person who committed the abuse/assault? What was your age, their age, gender?
  • In what ways has the sexual abuse/assault impacted on your life, relationships? When you were younger? Now?
  • Is there a particular problem or difficulty that you have faced that you wish to make people aware of?
  • What have you found useful when dealing with a particular problem or for getting on with your life?
  • What words of encouragement, support and hope would you like to offer to men, or to partners, friends or family?

Should you choose to contribute an account of your experience and learning to the Living Well resource we ask that you please read the ‘Practical considerations’ section below. This should ensure you are aware of the word limit (1200 words), your rights, and the legal constraints Living Well has to abide by.


Invitation to partners, friends and family

The ripple effects of sexual abuse or sexual assault are not confined to a person who has been directly victimised. Sexual abuse and sexual assault can have a profound impact on the lives of partners, friends and family members. The secrecy, shame and guilt associated with sexual violence can isolate partners, friends and family members. It can stop them from accessing support with respect to problems they are experiencing in their relationships and lives. The willingness of partner’s friends and family members to contribute accounts of their experiences is therefore very much appreciated. Again, in putting together your personal account the following questions are intended as a guide only.

Questions to consider

  • How long have you known the man who experienced abuse or assault
  • How did you come to hear about the sexual abuse or sexual assault of your partner, friend or family member?
  • What was your reaction (initially – later on)?
  • How has knowing some of what occurred influenced your relationship with the man involved and those around you? Has it produced any particular difficulties or awkwardness?
  • What have you noticed is helpful for him or for you?
  • What words of encouragement and hope can you offer to men, partners, friends or family?

The support and encouragement offered by many partners, friends and family, along with the personal struggles that can be evoked are not often spoken about publicly. It is with this in mind that we invite you to consider providing some account of your experience.


Practical considerations

If you are considering submitting material to Living Well, it is important that you are aware of your rights as well as the constraints and possible uses that can be made of material published on the internet.

  • Personal testimonies will only be published on the Living Well site if we have received your permission to do so.
  • It is your right to ask for material that relates to you to be withdrawn from the Living Well website at any time. However, you should also be aware that once text is published on the internet, Living Well is not able to prevent someone from copying the material and publishing it elsewhere.
  • As part of Living Well’s commitment to better understand men’s experiences and to improve service delivery, it is understood that published material can be made available for academic research purposes.
  • Please be aware that Living Well cannot publish all accounts sent to it and that it is particularly interested in stories that provide practical assistance and hope for men.
  • We ask that you understand that for practical reasons there is a word limit of 1200 words and that it is not possible to publish all material submitted to us. Prospective contributors should also be aware that internet users are used to information appearing in short sections or dot point form and are unlikely to read large blocks of text.
  • Please be aware that men who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault can find extensive detail about physical aspects of sexual violence unhelpful. It can spin them out, trigger flashbacks and leave them in a bad place.
  • For legal reasons we cannot publish material on the internet that would identify a person as committing a sexual offence. In addition, given that we do not have the ability to verify personal details of people submitting accounts, we do not publish material that might publicly identify someone as being subjected to sexual violence.

If you have decided to share your story, you can do so from our online form at this page.

Remember: Take care of yourself.


Acknowledgements: [1] O’Leary , P.J. (2003) ‘Men who were sexually abused as children.’ Doctoral Thesis, Flinders University: Adelaide.

 

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