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MEN SUBJECTED TO CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT: Training, Education and Seminar Series Project.

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Presentation on theme: "MEN SUBJECTED TO CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT: Training, Education and Seminar Series Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 MEN SUBJECTED TO CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT: Training, Education and Seminar Series Project

2 Partnership Representatives: Tracey Sloan, Women’s Health Statewide David Tully, Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide, Side Street Counselling Dr Donna Chung & Dr Patrick O’Leary, Research and Education Unit on Gendered Violence, University of South Australia Chair of Launch: Michelle Hogan, Acting Director Women’s Health Statewide

3 MEN SUBJECTED TO CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT: Training, Education and Seminar Series Project Launched by: Hon. Jay Weatherill Minister for: Urban Development and Planning Administrative Services Gambling

4 Men who were sexually abused as children: Research and Practice Perspectives Susanne Baylis, Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide, Counselling Services Patrick O’Leary, University of South Australia, School of Social Work and Social Policy, Research and Education Unit on Gendered Violence David Tully, Uniting Care Wesley Adelaide, Side Street Counselling Service

5 Prevalence Statistics Vary –Over 30% of confirmed reports of child sexual abuse involve male victims (Fergusson and Mullen, 1999) –2.5% to 36% of males –6% to 62% of females Variance due to different definitions and the fact that most cases of Child Sexual Abuse goes unreported. Most conservative estimates put the prevalence at about 1 in 6 males have been sexually abused whilst under the age of 18 years.

6 Relationship to Perpetrator

7 Disclosure Males are less likely to disclose child sexual abuse at the time. This consistent across a wide range of studies

8 Responding to Disclosure A community responsibility: The need for an appropriate response The overwhelming majority of men and women who disclosed at the time of the abuse reported an inadequate or negative response. Preferred confidants were normally family or friends. 68% of men recalled that they would have liked to of told someone at the time of the abuse, but felt unable to do so. Both disclosure and an unmet need to disclose at the time were associated with increased adverse effects in later life. This leaves children in an invidious position.

9 “I was so embarrassed that couldn’t find the words to say exactly what he was doing but hell I tried often enough. Now I wonder why they didn’t guess something was wrong” “If I could have found sexual abuse in the white pages I would have come forward earlier.. I’ve had to tell so many people just to get here to the group, social security, community support workers, doctors and counsellors.”

10 Later Disclosure and Discussion about Childhood Sexual Abuse Men take significantly longer than women to discuss experiences of childhood sexual abuse, in many cases more than 10 years.

11 What makes it difficult for males to disclose experiences of childhood sexual abuse? Many common reasons for both women and men –Fear, manipulation, threats, confusion, not being believed etc… More specific to men –Dominant stereotypes of masculinity –Homophobia –Myths about males and sexual victimisation

12 Later Disclosure and Discussion about Childhood Sexual Abuse 'Well, it’s just keeping a secret, not letting anybody into your past. Your so frightened basically of what your family might say against you, or scared of reliving the past, that you don’t want to bring it up. I had what happened in the back of my mind all of the time, but it felt like if I don’t say anything to anybody, well one day I might just end it. And if I went to my grave no one else would ever know what happened to me'.

13 Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Men Men who were sexually abused as children were 10 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). 17.2% of community men qualified for a clinical diagnosis compared to 65.8% of men who were sexually abused as children.

14 “You know it’s really hard to talk about because I just rolled over and took it and didn’t do anything about it. So every day I think about I feel like a piece of crap. That’s why I don’t like thinking about it.”

15 Recurring Themes For Males ‘Feeling like things won’t ever get better.’ ‘Feeling different to other people.’ ‘Thinking I must have asked for the abuse.’ ‘Confusion about things generally.’ ‘Feeling that people will not believe me if I tell them about the abuse.’ ‘Using alcohol and drugs to cope.’ ‘Not feeling worthy to be a man.’ ‘Thinking I need to prove myself sexually.’ ‘Confusion about my sexual identity.’ ‘Feeling depressed.’ ‘Nagging thoughts of suicide.’ ‘Intense Anger.’

16 More specific effects and considerations Fears and confusion concerning masculinity and identity The influence of homophobia Media and societal myths concerning victims becoming perpetrators, and the resulting fears Coping often involves suppression –Self medication (i.e.: drug use) –Denial –Isolation The influence of gender and power relations between men and women Excusing abusive or violent behaviour

17 Masculinity and Identity Dominant ideas about masculinity don’t leave space for being seen as a ‘victim’. “I would always remember the abuse, always remember the abuse, but never acknowledged it’s effects. I’m a man and don’t want to be seen as anything else.”

18 Influence of Homophobia “I was only just starting to understand about sex. That it was something that only a male and female participated in and anything else was not natural. I thought that because I hadn’t tried to fight him off or died trying, that meant I encouraged it and must have wanted to happen and was queer myself.”

19 Victim to Offender ‘I heard some statistic on the TV that 50 to 60 percent of people that are molested, can end up doing it to other children in later life. This made my worst fears come to life, because I know how what happened to me affected me, and I couldn’t bear doing that to another child. I didn’t want that.’

20 “Well I often heard them described them (offenders)as sick. But I don’t think this is right because if they are sick there must be some of medical problem and I don’t think it is. It just lets them off the hook.”

21 Excusing of abusive and violent behavior Often psychological theory draws direct connection between experience of abuse and violent behavior Dominant men’s culture sets context for justifying violent and abusive behaviour. Men who experience abuse experience this culture Many men who experience abuse do not use violence and take clear position against violence. It is argued that direct casual explanation are not helpful assumption in working with men who are using violence in relationships

22 Coping often involves suppression Strategies such as denial, self medication (alcohol and other drugs) and isolation are often mechanisms men employ These strategies all have effects on the man’s psychological and emotional well being This therefore effects the wider networks of relationships and community that they are involved in e.g. family, friends, work,education

23 “You always think people are trying to deceive you or work on you. Your always wary looking for ulterior motives. After a while you start to isolate yourself” “ I’ve noticed I become cut off, not being there on a psychological level and a physical level. Its like a way of coping, separating yourself from all that happened”

24 Social Context Of Sexual Abuse Extent of sexual abuse raised as a social issue by women’s movement over the last thirty years. Recently sexual abuse of men became more of a prominent issue and body of knowledge and service delivery models is emerging Sexual abuse of male children and adolescents occurs within a male dominated culture Sexual abuse of males(as with females) is predominately perpetrated by older men

25 Future Directions Research –Disclosure what is the experience like for children today –Community attitudes –Men’s coping Community Development –Improving knowledge/recognition and responses –Prevention and education strategies Service Provision –Professional development for all workers –Need for more specialist services across South Australia Policy and Legal –Clear position statements –Institutional review and acknowledgement of sexual abuse –Increased support for victims through process

26 Community Development Strategies to raise profile of men and sexual abuse through a range of awareness raising activities e.g. advertising, education, accessible information Organisations need to support intervention and prevention strategies that acknowledge sexual abuse occurs to both men and women. This would allow clients to more readily raise the issue if they choose to with family, friends and service providers. More awareness in general community would allow facilitate greater support for men and women subjected to abuse in social networks

27 Service Provision All workers in the human service needs to receive appropriate level of training around responding to sexual abuse. This includes entry level training, specialist/specific training and ongoing professional development The purpose of the training is to allow service providers to be more able to effectively respond to disclosure of experiences of abuse Desperate need for more specialised service to provides counselling and other service to men and women who have been subjected to childhood sexual abuse

28 “ When you do build up the courage and energy to tell someone for them to not believe you it’s devastating…. Opening up things so deep and personal is so hard, one of the worse things is that could ever happen is that you aren’t believed”

29 Hopeful quotes “Not blaming yourself helps, you were an innocent child and they were an adult. You feel bad.. I was going to do myself in..but if you do, you don’t win, your parents don’t win..he wins..they’ve broken your spirit..he thought he would always have me..he was wrong” “Shifting the blame, knowing that you weren’t responsible. Also being my own man has helped...I am what I am. I try not to conform..I don’t want to be one of the crowd, I’ve had that..and I don’t want that”

30 A Final Word ‘I would have loved to have been able to have gone to my parents and said this has happened. But it was not possible. So I think the best thing to do is to know that this situation [sexual abuse] does not define you as a person - it doesn’t dictate what’s going to happen to you... but to a certain extent it will if you let it, it can overrun your life… So I think hiding is the worst thing to do, but it’s hard because of the shame in society… especially as a man.’

31 MEN SUBJECTED TO CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT: Training, Education and Seminar Series Project A Partnership Between: Research and Education Unit on Gendered Violence, University of South Australia Women’s Health Statewide & Uniting Care Wesley, Adelaide Funded by the Department of Human Services, South Australian Government

32 Men Subjected to childhood Sexual Assault: Training, Education and Seminar Series One Day Seminar on Thursday 22 April 9.30 – 4 pm (see Registration Forms) Training in Country Regions Berri (booked out) 18 – 19 March Mount Gambier 11 &12 march Port Pirrie 1 & 2 April

33 Men Subjected to childhood Sexual Assault: Training, Education and Seminar Series Focus Group with men for the development of resources to be held April/May – Please contact Kristina for involvement. Anticipated availability of the Resource for Men at the July Forum Launch of the Report/Resource Guide for Practice with Men subjected to childhood sexual abuse – to be available at the July Forum Evaluation forms to assist in the further development of the forums (please complete at the conclusion of the presentation)


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