General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Why don't the men of fluther talk about childhood sexual abuse?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) November 5th, 2010

According to Howard Fradkin, research shows that “one in six men has been sexually abused by age 18. The estimates go up to one in four when you add in victims of covert non-contact abuse.

Women on fluther share their experiences with sexual abuse with notable frequency. I don’t believe I’ve seen more than one or two men share it, if even that. What’s going on? Is it possible that fluther is a special place that bucks the trends—with no sexually abused men? I would expect just the opposite. This place is a haven for the hurt.

We know there’s a culture of shame out there in the rest of the world where men don’t reveal their hurts. But fluther? Shouldn’t this place be more open? Safe?

Please don’t mistake me. I’m not asking anyone to talk about it if they aren’t comfortable. I just want to hear your views about social pressures males feel, and how those pressures might or might not be felt differently on fluther.


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41 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I feel that sexual abuse is more difficult for men to talk about.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Probably because there are many male jellies who have repeatedly stated that they don’t think a man can be raped. Fluther is safer, but not safe enough.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The men of Fluther aren’t any different from men off Fluther who grew up in a culture where that kind of thing is shameful to talk about.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I might have had a story to tell, but the older boy’s mother heard him invite me up to his room and told me to go home. Apparently there was a history there. When I told my mother about “the mean mother” who wouldn’t let me visit her son, we had a visit from the police to ensure that nothing had, in fact, happened.

I guess that “mean mother” saved me from a lot of grief.

iamthemob's avatar

I think it’s a profoundly shameful thing for men to talk about. In many ways, it mirrors male fear of homosexuality – men are ashamed when they’re objectified in a manner that women aren’t (that sounds horrible to say – I’d like to note that women aren’t excited to be objectified to try to defray the disturbing elements of the statement). And in many cases, when boys are sexually abused by men this gets compounded.

Men are supposed to be strong, culturally. Victimization in any case is disturbing for them. Sexual victimization is an even deeper injury.

wundayatta's avatar

redacted by me

Joybird's avatar

I don’t think it has been made socially acceptable for men to disclose about this topic. We are dismissive about women who exploit young males and we are a society rife with homophobia. Women don’t have to deal with this kind of stimatization when they disclose about their abusers who are predominantely men in male on female abuse.
I have had men who were my lovers disclose about their abuse to me and they have always demonstrated extremes in shame in their body language when they have done so. And women DO sexual abuse young males with much more frequency than I think anyone recognizes. And of course it is pretty fully recognized that men are the predominant offenders in this crime.

iamthemob's avatar

@wundayatta – I think that the point though is that significantly less people generally talk about it. That you get more women talking about it more doesn’t mean that a much higher percentage of them are talking about it, by necessity.

So yes – it’s surely difficult. It’s just more shameful, I think, for men.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iamthemob you think it isn’t profoundly shameful for women to talk about? I beg to differ. It may be more socially acceptable, or perceived as such, but if you believe there is less shame.. I think you are mistaken.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
iamthemob's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie – not at all. I think that my previous posts showed that I both understand (1) the difficulty for women to talk about it, and (2) the fact that they don’t appreciate objectification either.

Come on – I was trying to be really careful about that. You know that’s not what I meant. ;-)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@iamthemob sorry, I didn’t mean for that to sound so accusatory. I know you a little better than to think that is actually what you meant. I was more or less attacking the societal mindset, not so much you. It is profoundly shameful for anyone to talk about. It took me 28 years.

Plucky's avatar

Sexual abuse is difficult talk about in general.

I believe the shame one feels depends on the person. I also believe that more females than males have been sexually abused ..therefore, if it seems more women talk about it, part of that is because there are more women victims. And, well, it’s more acceptable to see a female in this regard than it is a male. Sad ..but true.

In saying that ..I do think men, in general, have a more difficult time talking about such things (as with any other emotional event). That is the fault of the society we live in. Society has raised males to be “strong leaders” not let anything bother them or bring them down (as that would be a sign of weakness) ..etc.

And the men of Fluther are these same men in our society.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I think it’s also interesting that slightly under half of my boyfriends has admitted to me privately that they had been sexually assaulted at one point. But if they would admit that to their male friends??? I don’t really know.

wundayatta's avatar

@papayalily About how many of your boyfriends has admitted to it to you. It just raises so many questions—personal ones; not ones I’d expect anyone to answer. Like was it you that they felt comfortable talking to, or were guys with that kind of history attracted to you? Did it change them, compared to other men? If so, how? Did it change you? Could you relate to it? That’s the wow to me. It’s like a door opening onto space and all the stars.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@wundayatta Mmmmm…. Both. I mean, there was a while there where I choose guys who weren’t really healthy, and those kinds of guys also tend to get into relationships with women who won’t treat them well. But it’s only, like, one more guy on the “not healthy” side than the “healthy” side of my boyfriends. Since the number of total boyfriends isn’t really high enough for a proper sampling, I don’t really know how to interpret that. But I also think (for what it’s worth) that I’m really easy to confide in. People tend to tell me about their drug habits and abusive childhoods pretty soon after meeting me, even if they don’t do that with other people. I think part of it is that I don’t hide my past – my parents were abusive and while I won’t bring it up out of nowhere, I also won’t pretend like the reason we aren’t spending Thanksgiving together is because they’re out of town or dead or something. So that sorta lets them know that the door is open to talking about that stuff. But I also believe you if you tell me that you’ve been abused unless you give me some pretty significant reasons to not – and having issues isn’t one of them (but changing your story many times is). I’ve never thought that men who were abused were any less of men, but instead just as human as the rest. I’ve never thought James Bond was any less likely to be a victim of abuse than anyone else. Course, this is all my opinion of myself, so take it with a grain of salt.
Did it change me? Not really. All of them were after my first time of being sexually abused, so it was more of a “I hear that” than a “Whoa… new….” thing. How it changed them, I’m not quite sure, I only know what they volunteered. I didn’t see them any differently after it, except to be a bit more sensitive to not triggering anything in bed with them, which I should do anyway.

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flutherother's avatar

Society is obsessed with the sexual abuse of children. I can’t believe it is as common as people make out. It does happen but it is a horrible perversion and surely there can only be a very few adults who would hurt a child in any way least of all like this.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
poisonedantidote's avatar

@flutherother has got me thinking, there does seem to be a lot of it. it makes me wonder why we do it at all. Adult on adult rape has some kind of evolutionary purpose at least, as genes can spread that way, so im not too surprised that rape is still something that goes on among humans, but sex with a kid serves no such purpose. you could even argue that maybe they dont pass on their genes as well. I think it must be some kind of mental health problem.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@papayalily I have probably not explained my self too well again, all im trying to say, is 1 in 6 is not really 1 in 6 across the board. that there will be demographics where it happens more and others where it happens less. thus allowing for certain pockets to spring up where there is no abuse at all, or, very little.

In other words, just because 1 in 6 males are abused, it does not mean that there cant be a place, like a certain street, building, or fluther, where there are 100’s of men who haver never been abused. and likewise, there will be pockets where the opposite is true.

The second part of my original answer, was a lame attempt at humor.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@poisonedantidote Gotcha. I was actually confused because I didn’t see the first part of @wundayatta‘s details, and a common statistic is that 1 in 6 women will be sexually assaulted.

flutherother's avatar

@poisonedantidote I don’t think I agree about rape. It depends on the circumstances but often it isn’t so much about sex as about power and it involves individuals with psychological problems who feel desperately inadequate in other ways. Paedophilia I understand even less well. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@flutherother, personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if pedophilia is some kind of evolutionary hiccup. Historically human beings procreate at a relatively young age, if we take into consideration how much our life span has extended in recent centuries. Biologically speaking, we would all be acting on our sexual impulses as soon as we have them. Now, taking into consideration how “grown up” young children have come to look, that penchant for biologically pubescent humans might be skewed into an attraction to pre-pubescence. Obviously I can’t literally understand it, as I find it equally repulsive as most people. I just wouldn’t be surprised to hear if someday the explanation is rooted somewhere in that.
Let’s not forget that in many cases the abuser was once abused as a child, as well.

Also, having worked for many years selling smut rags, I’ll tell you that “teen” and “barely legal” are the most popular by a landslide. Speaks volumes, if you ask me.

flutherother's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie I think society is over sexualised and children become sexually aware sooner than is good for them. It is true that the abused, who understand the pain of abuse better than anyone, often become abusers themselves. Again, that is difficult for me to understand, but our experiences when growing up shape who we are for good or for ill. I am a bit surprised by the popularity of the ‘barely legal’ magazines. These are not my cup of tea, nor that of anyone I know to be honest. I think I grew up in a more innocent age though it didn’t seem that way at the time.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@flutherother speaking from a modern societal point of view, yes, I agree. We are living long enough, and civilized enough, that we no longer need to be exposed to sex or to begin to procreate at puberty. I do agree that children are exposed to too much to early, and that we are hypersexualized as a society. Children are also raised in gender roles, in many cases, by society.. which portray the males to be sexual aggressors, which I’m sure plays into the reluctance to speak out.
In the same respect, speaking from a biological and evolutionary standpoint.. not quite so much. The existence of our species depended on us to reproduce as soon as we were able, as there were not many guarantees we would live too much longer that that.

So when you combine the two, the primal, biological urge… with the sexualized atmosphere of society today, I can see the makings for some really messed up behavior. Not saying this is fact, I’m only speculating because I find it is comforting for me to try and have some answers to the “why” when it comes to something so horrendous as sexually assaulting a child. I do think it is a part of the equation, at least.

As for the barely legal smut, in 6 years I never had a day of work where those did not sell the fastest. The age of the customer could have varied from 18–80, and they could have bought a stack of magazines… but the barely legal was almost guaranteed to be in that stack. I really do believe it is at least partly biological. I take major issues with those magazines and films as it is, but that is way OT for general, I don’t want to push my luck.

Blondesjon's avatar

Boys don’t cry.

thekoukoureport's avatar

A difficult question, but for me I only look to broadcast my feelings to the world when I feel it is relative and can actually help someone. I don’t particuarlly mind discussing the abuses I faced throughout my childhood, but it usually has to be for theraputic purposes and I have not seen any string discussing this kind of atrosity since I arrived many months ago.

judochop's avatar

Snails and puppy dog tails. That is why. I think singling men out is not a real helpful way of getting them to share their thoughts. Also, men don’t have a habit of letting everyone else around them know their history and feelings. This is why men and women are infact much different than most care to acknowledge. If I had a story of sexual abuse the last place I would care to share it would be here, on the internet, with people who I don’t “really” know. It is not because I would not ever share it but….You get the picture.
Men have stories. We just don’t throw them out there for loads of opinions and misunderstandings. Re-lighting a fire that one has worked to put out does not always do best in the “world” society. If anything, I think most American men are probably the best at sharing their feelings. Give us some due credit however do not discredit us for being discreet.

Nullo's avatar

It is entirely possible that the men of Fluther weren’t sexually abused when they were younger. Statistics are funny that way.

Moegitto's avatar

I was sexually abused ALOT when I was a kid (From 9 to 12). I just have waaaay more problems in my life than thinking/worrying about something that happened 15 years ago. I don’t think it’s really a men dont share sexual abuse thing, more like a men don’t share ANYTHING. When a man get’s divorced, instead of crying or talking about it, we mostly become raging alcoholics. Women tend to be more emotional than us, so we oo, aah, and grunt through tough situations.

downtide's avatar

Regardless of what gender I was perceived as when I was a child, I was not sexually abused. But in general, men don’t talk to other people about anything. They don’t talk about medical issues either, because they’re taught that to do so is a show of weakness, and is a feminine trait. If there’s one thing that nearly all men are afraid of, it’s being percieved as being in any way feminine.

Paradox's avatar

Maybe because there aren’t really any on here. Compared to other Q & A websites Fluther seems relatively small as far as number of users go.

Even if the above wasn’t true most guys wouldn’t talk about this anyway because guys are expected to be strong and keep their emotions to themselves. It’s 2010 but this gender stereotyping has not changed. Fear and embarrasment, a man that admits someone was able to do something to them against their freewill may be looked down upon from his peers. It is not acceptable for a real man to be a victim. Not my own opinions but this is the normal perception when it comes to men.

anartist's avatar

why the hell should they? This is a public site, not a group therapy session!

wundayatta's avatar

Did anyone say they should? You sound awfully defensive. You sure there isn’t something you want to get off your chest? Hmmmm?

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