Ally Fogg pointed it out earlier this week, in all the reports of the abuse ring in Oxfordshire, none of the 50 boys who were included as victims were mentioned at all. Recently, I read an article about rescuing sex trafficking victims and noticed that the authors of the article used the terms “Children” and “girls” interchangeably, as if there were no such thing as a make victim of sex trafficking.
But we know that isn’t true. We just don’t care. It’s tragic when a female child is raped, assaulted, or otherwise has sex forced upon them, but for males, it just doesn’t fit the narrative so it’s easier to just ignore that.
That doesn’t do anyone, male or female, any good. It only perpetuates the myth that a girl who is forced to lose her virtue, is ruined for life, and boys aren’t really harmed by sexual activity because we all know they enjoy it anyway.
Neither one of these is true. I have known many female survivors who are anything but ruined, they are strong, loving women capable of so much. I have also seen the devastation to growing boys who are forced to endure forced sexual activity and what that does to their fragile, young, psyche.
Can we all just admit that sexual abuse of boys and girls is a horrific crime and let it be? Why do we have to draw attention to the female victims only in an effort to gain more attention and sympathy? Are male victims not worthy of it as well?
Came across this post the other day, and it reminded me of something that I probably don’t think about enough. Yes, the Internet is a great place to “meet” other survivors, and to be reminded that we are not alone is being abuse survivors, but with that, there can also be communities that are not safe for us.
Like many teens, Sarah, who shared her experience on condition that she not be identified by her real name, suffered from depression and frequented blogs where she and other teens discussed and documented their depression. They take advantage of the Internet’s power to create communities of like-minded people. But research has also found that the comfort of finding people who understand and validate depressive feelings can backfire.
“(The) Internet is like a dirt road without a sheriff,” said Daniel Bober, an assistant clinical professor at Yale Child Study Center. He said it is common to see blogs about cutting, “how-to” guides about suicide and communities where users engage in or support such behavior.
Sarah eventually found the online communities failed to meet her needs. “I don’t think it helped me completely. It was hard seeing what other people did,” she said. “The behavior was definitely normalized, but these blogs did offer a community of people who understood what I was going through.”
This is a very real problem. For survivors, we also have an additional problem, because people who know about abuse survivors, know how to ingratiate themselves and involve themselves in their lives, and may not always be doing so with good intentions. That’s why you’ll see in many survivor communities, that there are moderators and there are people who end up not being allowed to post. I’ve not approved a few people who’ve requested to join the Google Plus Community I set up, for example, because I looked at their profile and saw things that made me think they were only asking to join to engage in unhealthy activities, or marketing. The safety of the survivors comes first.
When you find yourself in a situation like Sarah’s above, I hope you’ll be able to see what she did, that a community that understands what you’re going through is great, but it should also be one that encourages you to heal, not harm.
Just wanted to share the information from this article about a conference for male child abuse victims:
This recovery effort has morphed into the annual “It Happens to Boys Conference,” which will take place on March 6-7 at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences in Rancho Mirage. We offer survivors a safe, nonjudgmental environment in which to explore their authentic selves. Through the years, our authors and speakers have worked with therapists, recovery counselors, attorneys, nurses, school counselors, and law enforcement to provide much needed information about this most overlooked epidemic.
Recovery from child abuse is much like recovering from drugs and alcohol; it must be done one day at a time. The path is not always easy. I still find myself triggered by demonic memories periodically, but now I have the proper tools to deal with those demons.
I know many survivors will relate to my story, and my hope is that they come to our conference and get help now. You don’t have to wait 60 years to tell someone what happened. My message to survivors is: it was never your fault.
If this is something that you, or someone you know, would benefit from, you can get more info at the website www.creativechangeconferences.com
In the interest of always sharing reviews and recommendations from others, I wanted to share this review I found thanks to Twitter.
Katy Sauer gave Sarah E. Olsen’s book about DID 5 stars over on her blog, even though she went in expecting to be disappointed.
Go check out Katy’s review, and her blog. She’s just started and looks like she’ll be doing lots of book reviews from what I can see!