This isn’t a story from the US, and I realize that some of you might think this is just a problem in “less evolved cultures,” but this is 100% an issue everywhere. (And given recent legal changes in the US, can we honestly say we are any different?)
““Boys don’t reveal or make a disclosure even to people they trust or know. They are unable to stand up or protect themselves. And even when it comes to sexual orientation, they don’t want to be perceived as gay,” said Omar.
She further explained how cultural values and stigma also contribute to making it difficult for young males to break silence.
“Most research suggests that 10 to 20% of all males will experience some form of abuse. Cultural values, invulnerability and denial of pain are seen as essential qualities of ‘’macho’’ and masculinity. Males are not allowed to admit that they have been sexually abused and assaulted,” she said.”
I grew up in a world where having my friends and other parents think I was gay seemed worse than just continuing to be abused. Think about that for a minute. Think about what we tell boys about being a man and how society reacts to men who share that they were sexually abused as a child? Is there anything about it that screams “Tell your story. We support you!”.
There are some small pockets of that online and in certain circles, but it’s going to also come with a lot of questions about why you didn’t fight, how you’re destined to now be an abuser, that you enjoyed it, etc.
Female victims of almost all ages will get asked about what they were wearing, how much they drank, etc. That’s wrong.
Male victims will get our own set of questions, mostly about why we didn’t fight, why we were so weak, are we gay? That’s equally as wrong.
Both of these things wind up in the same place, victims continuing to be abused and afraid to tell anyone, or people continuing to suffer the long-term effects without seeking help.
That silence can be deadly.