Doylestown Male Survivors
Peer Support Group for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Welcome

Have you ever felt like you are the only one this has ever happened to?

Welcome to the Doylestown Male Survivors Peer Support Group. Men who have been sexually abused as children often feel completely alone. Our group exists to make connections, support one another, and begin to talk about what happened, how it affected our lives, and how to develop healthy coping mechanisms as we heal and move forward with our lives.

Male survivors typically experience lasting effects and enduring emotional pain. Most of the organizations that currently serve survivors of sexual abuse have been created by women, for women. Because so few people know that large numbers of males are sexually abused, male survivors have been unseen, neglected, and therefore underserved.1

Unfortunately, adult males often get caught in this tragedy through no fault of their own. Instead of the understanding they so desperately need, they confront profound misunderstanding in a culture that values invulnerability and denial of pain as essential qualities of manliness. Men often feel they are unable to admit that they have been sexually exploited and abused.2

Men with histories of sexual abuse and their therapists have found that the support of others is essential in their recoveries. Because of society's collective denial regarding the scope of sexual abuse of males, we believe that men need added support to come forward and ask for help. That's where we come in.


1 in 6 men have survived childhood sexual abuse.

You are not alone.

You are not to blame.

Really? 1 in 6?

What the research tells us

A 2005 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, on San Diego Kaiser Permanente HMO members, reported that 16% of males were sexually abused by the age of 18.3

A 2003 national study of U.S. adults reported that 14.2% of men were sexually abused before the age of 18.4

A 1998 study reviewing research on male childhood sexual abuse concluded that the problems is “common, under-reported, under-recognized, and under-treated.”5

A 1996 study of male university students in the Boston area reported that 18% of men were sexually abused before the age of 16.6

A 1990 national study of U.S. adults reported that 16% of men were sexually abused before the age of 18. 7

Why these statistics are probably underestimates:

Males who have such experiences are less likely to disclose them than are females.8

Only 16% of men with documented histories of sexual abuse (by social service agencies, which means it was very serious) considered themselves to have been sexually abused, compared to 64% of women with documented histories in the same study.9

Common lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse:

  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Homophobia
  • Hostility and anger
  • Impaired relationships
  • Isolation and alienation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Masculinity issues
  • Self-blame / guilt
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual identity confusion
  • Shame / humiliation
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior 

Although this is an extensive list, it is by no means exhaustive. Many men can recognize the symptoms before allowing themselves to remember the actual abuse. Lost childhood memories are common among survivors.

References:

  1. Paraphrased from language found on malesurvivor.org
  2. Paraphrased from language found on malesurvivor.org 
  3. Dube, S.R., Anda, R.F., Whitfield, C.L., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430–438.
  4. Briere, J. & Elliot, D.M. (2003). Prevalence and psychological sequelae of self-reported childhood physical and sexual abuse in a general population sample of men and women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 1205–1222.
  5. Holmes, W.C., & Slap, G.B. (1998). Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae, and management. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 280, 1855–1862.
  6. Lisak, D., Hopper, J. & Song, P. (1996). Factors in the cycle of violence: Gender rigidity and emotional constriction. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 721–743.
  7. Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 19–28.
  8. Holmes, G.R., Offen, L., & Waller, G. (1997). See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 69–88.
  9. Widom, C.S. & Morris, S. (1997). Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization part 2. Childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Assessment, 9, 34–46.
   Unless otherwise indicated, statistics according to 1in6.org 


Doylestown Male Survivors
Peer Support Group
malesurvivorsgroup@comcast.net 
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