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#43101 - 06/20/03 05:11 PM Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
"It is important to define sexual abuse clearly because what we call something determines how we react to it. As Finkelhor says, 'What people think
sexual abuse is and how seriously they take it affects how they behave'." ("Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse," by Mic Hunter, p 5).

In other words slowly but surely & to some extent
non-male survivors are going to think sexual abuse
is what we say it is as more & more of us continue
to share our stories (even anonymously). Thus the more seriously non-survivors, especially those of power & influence, will take sexual victimization of males, and the more they will behave in ways that will be of benefit to male survivors and to other men before they can be abused.

Right now if you look up or try to find legal definitions of sexual abuse, especially of males, well lots of luck! Definitions often don't include
males at all; even when they do, they are usually way too narrow & limited, i.e. to "rape" or "sexual assault" perhaps.

What is sexual abuse? Mic Hunter writes, "But I am
not writing about data or evidence in the legal sense. I am writing about people and their pain. My definition is based on what people have told me
hurt them." (Abused Boys, pp 4 & 5).

Bottom line: If someone has been hurt & says they have been hurt by the sexual behaviors of others, they have by definition been sexually abused. Period.

So here is a somewhat lengthy & specific tho not complete definition of sexual abuse. There are other good & similar ones out there. Hopefully this will help to clarify for us that for certain we were sexually abused, and help us to speak with clarity & certainty about just what happened to us, how it affected us, and what we think should be done about it.

Quote:
Sexual abuse involves any contact or interaction whereby a vulnerable person (usually a child or adolescent) is used for the sexual stimulation of an older, stronger, or more influential person.

Sexual abuse is much broader than forced, unforced, or simulated intercourse. It includes any touching, rubbing, or patting that is meant to arouse sexual pleasure in the offender. It may also involve visual, verbal, or psychological interaction where there is no physical contact.

Visual sexual abuse may involve exposing a victim
to pornography or to any other sexually provocative scene (including exposure to showering, intercourse, or various states of undress).

Verbal sexual abuse involves an attempt to seduce or shame a child by the use of sexual or suggestive words.

Psychological sexual abuse includes interactions where a child is regularly used to play the role of an adult spouse, confidant, or counselor. For example, a mother who tells her 12-year-old son her sexual frustrations with his father, and shares her deep thoughts and feelings with him in a way that invites him to a level of adult intimacy, has violated the young man's sexual identity.
(from "When Trust Is Lost: Healing for Victims of Sexual Abuse" by Dan Allendar, available free at http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/cb922/intro (Yes it does have a Christian orientation but there is a lot of good info here for anyone.)

This is not a complete list and the examples could
be virtually endless. You might add something from
your own experience.

A good question to contemplate:
Quote:
In what ways has your definition helped you not to have to
feel the full impact of your (your loved one's) abuse?
Naming the pain is an important first step in facing & dealing with the pain.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#43102 - 06/20/03 05:46 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
i think i had a pretty poor definition for years...

mostly because i was determined not to judge another harshly...

rape is rape...that one was easy to put my finger on, but the others were so gray, particularly the last, that it was four years before i said: okay wait a minute, something is seriously wrong here.

since then, i have been more realistic about the level of "victimization" i was under....

i still, however, accept my responsibility for my part in it as an adult. as a child and a teenager i was mostly baffled and frightened, but there was little excuse for my fear as an adult.

i bargained for something i wanted and i used my body as currency...i knew it was wrong and i did it anyway...it was wrong of him and it was wrong of me.

i used to take all the blame on myself, but with a more realistic definition of abuse, i know that this is a shared failure to do the right thing (in this instance)....


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#43103 - 06/20/03 07:53 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Godsrabbit
I get the feeling that your almost there, you're nearly putting the blame exactly where it lies.

You realise fully that your abuse when younger was wrong, you were "frightened and baffled" - I bet we all were.

Carry that on until you were an adult, what changed ?
Did anyone tell you that what happened was wrong and would affect you deeply ? I don't know, but I suspect there was nobody there to tell you.

So why on earth would you think any different when somebody else took advantage of you ?
You were programmed by your childhood experiences into accepting what happened.

I know now that my acting out with strangers was nothing more than my teenage abuse being continued.
Ok, I was an adult - I was 45yo and reasonably educated, married, and heterosexual - but I still went looking for other men to have sex with because I was taught at a young and very impressionable time that all I was good for was being a sex object for others.

I've said here many times before that my abusers led me by the hand to the stinking toilets where I had sex with strangers, and I KNOW that is what happened.
I acted out against all my instincts and ........morals I suppose.

My self esteem was nil, I'd lost most of the normal guidlines regarding sex and relationships because I'd been taught the wrong ones by my abusers, so I knew no different.

From what I've read about you here so far I feel that the difference between us is you entered an abusive 'relationship' and I had sex with strangers.
But the differences aren't so important, it doesn't matter what we do - drink and drugs, severe depression or whatever - go back and look at the causes of what we do as adults and you'll find it's our childhood influences that made us the men we are / were.

Being a Survivor is all about finding our way as adults once again, and to do that we must go back and put right the damage done to us as kids.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#43104 - 06/20/03 10:22 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks Lloydy.. ;\)

WELL PUT!! Plain...simple...accurate...true! \:D

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#43105 - 06/20/03 10:34 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
thank you lloydy...

i think the blame is precisely where it belongs...


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#43106 - 06/21/03 10:00 AM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Rabbit:

Quote:
You were programmed by your childhood experiences into accepting what happened.
Also, many of us got stuck at the emotional age of our abuse. So tho we are physically adults we may still be emotionally children, acting & dealing with things accordingly. We know no other way.

Which means it's not our fault.

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#43107 - 06/21/03 01:58 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Guys - Just a quick jumpin here about "Why define sexual abuse?" IMHO most people don't realize that only one-third of sexual abuse is really hands on. They believe if no one touched me, then nothing happened :rolleyes: ...on the contrary!!! In order for these folk to understand, acknowledge and accept their abuse, there needs to be a somewhat standard/universal definition of sexual abuse. BTW did you know those who were physically abused demonstrate about the same symptoms as those sexually abused?

Good thread!!!

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#43108 - 06/21/03 02:09 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
i appreciate what you all are trying to say and i really am not trying to be difficult, i apologize...

but right and wrong are black and white...

i knew it was wrong. that is what i accept responsibility for...even if i was trapped emotionally at the age of eight, i still knew it was wrong.

i do not think there is anything wrong with understanding one's part in cooperating with their own abuse...how else do you prevent it from happening again?


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#43109 - 06/21/03 06:46 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
TRIGGER WARNING

Godsrabbit
when I was at boarding school and the abuse was happening ( 11 to 16 yo ) I was 'trained' by my abusers to initiate sex sessions with them.

They did this by initially engaging me in some mutual masturbation, which on a scale of 1 to 10 is pretty low ( but still abusive )
When I showed resistance at going further I was forcibly raped by the gang of about 5 or 6 older boys. From then on resistance was futile, especially as the headmaster discovered what had happened and did nothing about it.

From then on all the two ringleaders had to do was catch my attention across the dining room and I would wait outside for them and ask "what do you want to do, can I suck you off or do you want to fuck me ?" ( hell, that's still hard to write ! ) but that's what I did, If there was just one of them I'd ask if the other one was going to join us.

Was I cooperating ? did I really want to do those things ? was I responsible ?

Well, for over 30 years I believed the answer was "yes" - I was convinced I was just as perverted as they were. Actually I didn't even think "we" were perverted - I thought it was just something I did.

And it's no surprise to me now that I acted out with other men as an adult. And it's less surprise that I asked the same kind of questions to the strangers I met either.

It's taken therapy, hard work, and a renewed belief in myself to finally put those lies to rest.

I had NO RESPONSIBILITY for what happened, I was persuaded, bribed, pushed, coerced and finally beaten into doing what they wanted.
They made me ask them for sex to ease their conscience at the time.

They were liars.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#43110 - 06/21/03 07:44 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
dave,

i know you mean well and i understand what you are saying, truly...

but if you know it is wrong to kill someone and you do it anyway, you are still a murderer. all i am saying is that i chose (for whatever reasons) to do this thing.

i think what you are saying is important and i think it applies to many people here and in the world. and i am going to stop pushing this issue because i do not expect anyone to understand what i mean when i say i accept responsibility for cooperating with an abusive situation....


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