Presentation on theme: "CHANGES IN FOCUS: WORKING WITH MEN Les Whittle : SASS Protective Behaviours National Conference July 2007."— Presentation transcript:
CHANGES IN FOCUS: WORKING WITH MEN Les Whittle : SASS Protective Behaviours National Conference July 2007
We will explore Implications in service delivery Social constraints The wisdom that informs us of the impact of sexual assault on men How popular social constraints “of being a male” impact on practice
Who might you talk with if you want to? What helps you know your limits? What would you like to learn today? It’s ok to take a break; it’s ok to talk to someone. SELF CARE
WHAT’S YOUR POISON? What is your framework? Functionalist Conflictual Structuralist Social constructionist
One remark led to another, and the bar suddenly polarized into two angry, confrontational factions: those espousing the virtues of the double- humped camel on the one side, single- humpers on the other.
Self Care and Frameworks Stats Definitions Social constructs Myths SASS Barriers Impacts Things you can do Social action Today’s agenda:
Who generates them? –ABS – only survey people who own their own home (i.e. not renting, homeless or in institutions). –Agencies like CASA or SAAP services. Variations due to Different definitions (legal, social, cultural) Who asks what questions are asked; the order, context, format, etc. affected the answers given Most cases of (C)SA goes unreported (just because you told one person doesn’t equal being reported). Historically(?) many agencies, departments, individuals, etc did not keep reports or records – indeed denied the significance of the reports. Reports may occur at any time, over a long period of time Limited focus of agency, limited survey population The Politics Of Stats:
Some key professions and governments and the media present adult and child sexual abuse is a rare phenomena. eg: 1975 Handbook of American Psychiatry Association estimates that ‘incest’ occurs at 1 case per ONE MILLION. By the early 1980’s estimates at prevalence had increased to 1 in 100. –Current estimates are as high as 1 in 10 and 1 in 4. Incidence
Prevalence Statistics vary –Over 30% of confirmed reports of child sexual abuse involve male victims (Fergusson and Mullen, 1999) –Forced Exit, a 1989 profile of 200 homeless youth in Melbourne, indicated that 43% of females and 16% of males left home as a result of sexual abuse
Frequency –Supported Accommodation Assistance Programs (SAAP), 1990-1991, recorded sexual assault and/or incest as the cause of homelessness in only 3 per cent of all referrals. –Alder’s interview survey of 51 homeless young people (28 males and 23 females aged 14-18) recorded that 23% of the participants left home because of sexual violence
Estimates Research presents a range of figures 2.5% to 36% of males Many conservative estimates put the prevalence at about 1 in 6 males have been sexually abused whilst under the age of 18 years.
Dr Quadrio (UNSW – 1996) 38 cases of sexual abuse by professionals –15% offences against men Figures
Definitions Victim of sexual assault Survivor of aggravated sexual assault Young boy who was sexually harmed A person who was sexually abused as a child A child who was raped “… where he is wanted for child molestation” Victim –survivor – striver – thriver.
Definitions Phrases used to describe sexual assault, abuse and harassment: It was just an affair Something just got out of hand – just mucking around A momentary lapse of judgment Giving into temptation ‘Sexual misconduct’ by (clergy/teacher) A midlife crisis or a reaction to stress Adultery Therapy for the client A sexual addiction
Definitions grooming : is the manipulative cultivation of a relationship in order to initiate or hide sexual abuse of an adult or a child. In the case of child sexual abuse, an offender may groom not only the child, but also the child’s parents or guardians, and clergy and church workers. “Faithfulness in Service” Anglican Church of Australia 2007
Definitions sexual abuse (of an adult) means sexual assault, sexual exploitation or sexual harassment of an adult. sexual assault means any intentional or reckless act, use of force or threat to use force involving some form of sexual activity against an adult without their consent “Faithfulness in Service” Anglican Church of Australia 2007
Definitions Breach of any law, rule, code or policy Fitness to hold office
HOW WOULD WE DEFINE THE:- PERFECT MALE? –AVERAGE MALE? PREFERRED MALE? WHAT DO WE THINK OF A MALE WHO HAS LIVED THROUGH A SEXUAL TRAUMA?
WHAT DOES THE IDEAL MALE/FATHER LOOK LIKE? He must control his family He can make the final decisions He should be physically strong … be the provider and protector … …tough … …… non-emotional … … …… can show anger – physically and emotionally Responses of women in a study program (Bringing up Boys Jo Howard 1998 ACER)
Some DOMINANT myths about blokes Fathers can easily live without their children Men can’t change Men are violent All men (sexually) abuse children.
Misconceptions encountered by men who have been sexually assaulted: 'Well, for males the most common belief is that you are going to end up being a perpetrator’
More Misconceptions: A myth fostered by many abusers to justify their actions is to blame the victim - ‘they asked for it’, ‘they were willing or enjoyed it’. Feelings of pleasure or arousal doesn't necessarily mean that a sexual experience is enjoyable. These feelings are natural reactions to sexual stimulation.
Even More Myth-conceptions: 'That children make up stories, that it's a fabrication -. Fantasising to attract attention.' 'The abuse of males is about homosexuality, it isn't…. What generally occurs is heterosexual males abuse heterosexual males.'
More Misconceptions: 'If you have been abused, you must be weak, the reverse is true, you must be strong to have survived.' 'All males (are seen) as the aggressor. So to some people it's laughable that a male could be the victim.' 'If it's a one-off incident, it does not have a big impact, which is not true.'
Misconceptions: The misconception that “there would be physical signs that would show that abuse had occurred.” The misconception “The abuse experience is thought to have less impact because there had been no physical penetration.”
Misconceptions: 'My mother has this thing about it, she went "phew" when she realised I hadn't been penetrated because somehow that made it all right, but it doesn't.' 'You can be sexually abused, not because they touch you but because you have to touch them…. so there are all those issues, it's not about bruising, it's not physical signs but it is still sexual assault.'
The Sexual Assault Support Service provides three main services to our community. 1 : The Sexual Assault Crisis Service Crisis counselling, support with police statements, and coordinates medical and/or forensic examinations if required by victims of recent sexual assault. 24 hours 7 days a week (03) 6231 1817.
2: The Adult Counselling and Support Service - individual counselling and group programs for any survivors of sexual assault 18 years and older, also family members and support people. 95–97 Campbell St Hobart; Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. (03) 6231 1811. Another SASS service to our community.
3: Galileo House Child/Youth Trauma Centre - counselling and support for survivors of sexual assault under 18 years, family members and support people. It also provides a service for problem sexual behaviour issues. 73 Federal St, North Hobart; Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. (03) 6231 0044 The 3 rd SASS service to our community.
Email: email@example.com Website: www.sass.org.au SASS is a free service funded through the Department of Health and Human Services and SAAP Contact details for SASS
LOOKING AT SEVERAL BARRIERS LOOKING AT SEVERAL BARRIERS
Barriers To Reporting Pressure from perpetrator Life being under scrutiny and judgement Made to feel like offender Not wanting anyone (friends/family/partner) to know they have been sexually assaulted Fear they will be identified in the media Shame Fear of disbelief Being disbelieved Fear of retribution by offender Fear of being blamed Fear of having to give evidence, cross examination, etc Fear for family and friends
Barriers to Reporting Little probability that offender will be charged & appropriately sentenced Judge’s comments in sentencing Lack of trust of the legal system Financial cost Not wanting to see the offender again or be in same room Perpetrator being a member of the justice system, having social status Invasive forensic procedure Living in a rural community where perpetrator has high community profile Religious/cultural barriers to reporting
Barriers to Reporting In Alder’s study, 58 per cent of males and 47 per cent of females reported being physically assaulted by police; the Forced Exit report found 68 per cent of males and 47 per cent of females charged with criminal offences claimed to have been physically assaulted while in police custody
“the respondent claims he had “apparently misread the signs” which the boy “had been sending” and as a consequence he had touched the boy in an “inappropriate manner”. The respondent was to leave the area and would receive counselling.” No counselling was offered or provided No supervision. Barriers to Reporting
SELF RELIANCE – COUNSELLING IS THE LAST THING A BLOKE MIGHT THINK OF “If there is a confrontation or someone gets too close then I would move away from the problem – I won’t talk to someone if I feel bad, I get the same bizarre numb feeling. I go and I never look back. I moved more than 30 times in one year”
EGO - SEEING A COUNSELLOR MEANS I AM A FAILURE “the psych told me that I was suffering from a personality disorder with antisocial and paranoid traits, complicated by substance abuse”
FEAR – OTHERS MIGHT SEE MY PERSONAL STUFF AS WEAKNESSES “From time to time I experience bouts of dizziness, nausea and insomnia. The irritable bowel syndrome has continued to the present day but seems to be diminishing in severity.”
NO SISSY STUFF “I have big outbursts or a flashes of temper. I regret it and become apologetic. I can see this is a repetition of my dad’s flashes of anger which caused fear in our family.”
THE TOWERING GUM TREE “I would get into fights at school to protect my brother or some other kid who was getting dacked – in front of everyone!”
it must be my fault; in fact everything is my fault “He sees himself as having no friends and blames himself for the adverse effects which his destructive self absorption, social nervousness and substance abuse have had upon his family.”
GIVE THEM HELL!!!+*! “I felt as if I was past being hurt by anyone or anything again”
I WILL SHOW ‘EM, I AM SIMPLY THE BEST “Some people, and not just kids, would bully my family by throwing rocks on our roof, calling names. I had to learn to fight or get a beating. I learnt to box and got known as a “bluer”.”
NEVER LET ON THAT YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL (EVEN TO YOURSELF) “I don’t sleep well, and get scared; I want to stay in control, nights – esp. alone - can be scary. I have ODed several times, & seriously attempted suicide a couple of times.”
BLOKES ARE ALL PRETTY MUCH THE SAME. IT’S THE OTHERS WHO ARE A PROBLEM 'Men do bad things to you, I don't trust men, I really don't trust men, and I think most men are bastards. I have very little respect for most men.'
Men's reactions to rape / sexual assault. You may: Worry that the offender thought you were gay (unless you are). Worry the world will now assume you are gay. Be adamant you should have been able to handle yourself. Feel numb, dirty, and/or afraid afterwards. Blame yourself. Feel outraged at the violation of your body. Be very angry. Not know how to feel or have a lot of confused emotions.
Other reactions Cry a lot – alternatively – feel dry on the inside. Want to forget all about the rape. Have intense feelings of dislike or hatred for the person who raped you or for people in general, or even for yourself. Not be able to get the rape out of your mind, have trouble sleeping and have nightmares.
Feel too afraid or ashamed to go out. Make a point of going out to prove to yourself that you can. Have trouble eating or feel sick. Not want to have sex or to be touched even by people you are close to, or may feel a great need for physical contact and comfort. Other reactions
impact Many men do not have a strong sense of being a male; their experiences equating 'maleness' with abuse and aggression. 'I am at a loss in one sense with the concept of masculinity which is all skewed and how do I place it in my life, because I move in a social circle where there is a great emphasis put on masculinity, and I am never quite sure what I am supposed to do.'
impact 'I'm learning to relate to males because it means half of my life is missing, means I am not relating to me. That's absolutely essential because if I can't accept males, I can't accept myself as a male or as a person really.' 'I would try to prove I was alright with the women. I have heaps and heaps of women friends whereas not a lot of male friends.'
'I want a concept of what it is to be human, what it is to be a person but I don't want to get into masculinity, I think we can waste a lot of time defining and putting ourselves into categories, based on our genitals.'
impact 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. Source unknown
Once boys have been abused, many become overly interested in sex; hence they are recognised and further abused by multiple perpetrators. Boys/men are often slow at connecting abuse to its impact. Prof F Briggs impact
Unique Issues Faced By Male Survivors There is still a great societal denial of the fact that men get sexually assaulted. Chances are - except for the occasional bad prison joke - most of us don't ever hear about the topic of male sexual assault. The need to deny the existence of male sexual assault is partly rooted in the mistaken belief that men are immune to being victimised, that they should be able to fight off any attacker if they are truly a "real man." A closely related belief is that men can't be forced into sex - either they want it or they don't.
impact These mistaken beliefs allow lots of men to feel safe and invulnerable, and to think of sexual assault as something that only happens to women. Unfortunately, these beliefs ran also increase the pain that is felt by a male survivor of sexual assault. These beliefs leave the male survivor feeling isolated, ashamed, and "less of a man." No wonder so few men actually get help after being sexually assaulted. The fact is that only 5 to 20% of all victims of sexual assault actually report the crime - the percentage for male victims is probably lower. Feelings of shame, confusion and self-blame leave many men suffering in silence after being sexually assaulted.
impact IMPACT ON MY MASCULINITY 'It was a downward spiral where it became almost impossible to function socially or to feel any pride in myself as a male. There was nothing about being a male that seemed respectful - my abusers were disgusting and I hated myself for being a male also.' Many of the survivors struggle with community expectations of them as men. Their uncertainty and confusion which perhaps reflects what many men feel, was exacerbated by their abuse experience. Relating to other men when they had been abused by a male was difficult and threatening.
Checklist: Universal Reactions to Sexual Assault Emotional Shock: I feel numb. How can I be so calm? Why can't I cry? Why can’t I stop crying? Disbelief and/or Denial: Did it really happen? Why me? Maybe I just imagined it. It wasn't really rape. Embarrassment: What will people think? I can't tell my family or friends. Shame: I feel completely filthy, like there's something wrong with me. I can't get clean. Traumatic Sexualisation: does sex = love = what has just happened???
Checklist of Sexual Universal Reactions to Assault (cont) Guilt: I feel as if it's my fault, or I should've been able to stop it. If only I had... Depression: How am I going to get through this month? I'm so tired! I feel so hopeless. Maybe I'd be better off dead Powerlessness: Will I ever feel in control again? Disorientation: I don't even know what day it is, or what I'm supposed to be doing. I keep forgetting things. Flashbacks: I'm still re-living the assault! I see that face and feeling like it's happening all over again.
Fear: I'm scared of everything; herpes or AIDS? I can't sleep because I'll have nightmares. I'm afraid to go out. I'm afraid to be alone. Anxiety: I have panic attacks. I can't breathe! I can't stop shaking. I feel overwhelmed. Anger: I feel like killing the person who attacked me! Physical Stress: My stomach (or head or back) aches all the time. I feel jittery and don't feel like eating. Checklist of Sexual Universal Reactions to Assault (cont)
Self destructive behaviours: drugs, ODs, cutting, attempted suicide, promiscuous behaviour Family size: some male victims are afraid to have children or become hyper-vigilant PSTD: or possibly brain damage if under about 3 years. Obsessive/Compulsive behaviours impact
The person who perpetrated the abuse is 100% responsible. It is a betrayal of trust and a misuse of power Everyone has the right to feel safe all of the time People have the potential to overcome the effects of abuse THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Name the strategies of ‘silencing’, (challenge the myths) Honour what it takes to survive when silenced Acknowledge the courage it takes to speak Unmask the politics of power THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Listen for the alternative stories –Stories of protest –Stories of resistance –Stories of resilience –Stories of connection THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Note: –Often survivors of (child) sexual abuse repress some or all of their memories as a way of coping with the abuse. This helps shield the them from feeling the hurt the abuse caused. THINGS YOU CAN DO.
For some men, many years pass before they begin to recall the abuse. Often the memory slowly develops over time with a gradual recognition of what had actually happened. THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Being believed and helped when men tell their stories as an adult, is very important. Most find telling upsetting but it is also a relief. THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Assumptions you can make men are intuitive myths usually have some positive function. most fathers place a strong importance on their relationships with their children many men appreciate a clearly marked path. men value feedback. THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Always forward allegations appropriately. Past events of sexual assault still require justice Work in teams – esp. with other people’s children. Use your skills and sensitivity to care for children/adults who either make allegations or have allegations confirmed. THINGS YOU CAN DO.
Justice-making begins with Truth-telling. Acknowledging the violation Compassion. Protecting the vulnerable. Accountability. Restitution. Vindication.
Our concern for the “victim” & protection of children is our highest priority Avoiding secrecy – report reports Considering a person’s fitness to an office – even if there is no conviction Appling the principles of natural justice Developing systems that don’t abuse Justice-making begins with
Social action The State Government has recently decided to significantly reduce the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for victims of rape and sexual assault - regardless of the high prevalence rate and the long term damage this form of violence has on victims, their families and the whole community.
Social action Even if the ‘saved’ funds were redirected into prevention programs related to sexual assault, such as sex offender programs for adolescents; this does not give justice to victims and families.
Questions? The maximum possible payment of $50,000 will changed to $2,000 Will this compensation payment be awarded to the person or per assault? Or, will the $2,000 be split between primary and secondary victims of sexual assault?
These changes are based on claims by the government that the former system was been rorted How many cases of rorting have been confirmed? How many of the “rorted” payments granted have been recovered by the Government? What principle informs the Government that a program of compensation be scrapped on the basis of alleged rorting?
Thanks Especially to all those who helped in preparing this presentation REFERENCES SASS publications and webpage Faithfulness in Service: Anglican church of Australia Australian Institute of Family Studies Faith Trust Institute South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault Paper by Malcolm Tyler. KHL Burnside – Uniting Care Dulwich Centre Prof F Briggs Dr L Cozzolino Prof R Jones St Lukes Donovan Research
ON A LIGHT SIDE WHAT COULD HAPPEN ON A LIGHT SIDE WHAT COULD HAPPEN