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#43121 - 06/24/03 01:55 AM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
dwf Offline
Moderator/BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/24/03
Posts: 1223
Loc: Austin, Texas USA
One common element in all the discussion so far

IMHO, is that the definition of sexual abuse must

come from the experience of those who have

suffered from it.

Imagine a triangle--wide at the base, narrow at

top.

The base is the support, the foundation.

In matters of defining sexual abuse, the means of

supplying meaning comes from the bottom up to

the top.

It is very atypical of most common hierarchies.

This definition should not and must not be imposed

from the top, experts, saints, preachers, well

meaning do-gooders. It must flow upwards from the

strong base of survivor experience, strength and

hope.

This is the repudiation of the abuse of power

where the higher up, the older and more powerful

dominate and control those below and beneath.

If our experience as survivors is contradicted by

expert opinion or authoritarian edict, then it is

our responsibility as survivors to refuse such

limits and claim our right to our own lives.

With time and effort, the Survivors definition

will come to be the most widely held, accepted

standard of judgement. Consider the example of

alcoholism. Today it is the definition of the

alcoholic himself that informs most modern

thinking and policy regarding that social problem.
(esp. in the US.)

We can create the atmosphere for this type of

change in the way sexual abuse is seen only if we

are willing to speak out and demand justice for

ourselves and for all those who have

suffered and continue to suffer in silence.

THIS IS NOT A THEORY FOR US! Others may have

the luxury of debating fine points of circumstance

or variations on degrees of respective culpability

but these will be of little solace to those

seeking relief or like me who have reached the

end and do not know where to turn.

Joe, you are so right on the money, sex abuse is

about the use of sex as a weapon of

domination. We must resist any attempt, however,

well-meaning to diminish the truth of our own

lives. We've all tried that strategy before....

Thanks for a stimulating and very real thread...

With much affection for my fellows,

_________________________
"Poke salad Annie, 'gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang"

-Tony Joe White

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#43122 - 06/24/03 11:39 AM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
the problem is most people do not have the capability to discern for themselves...

though there has been much abuse in my life, i am better now discerning what was abuse and what was circumstantial or growing up sort of knocks.

i am NOT minimizing for ANYONE ELSE. i am saying we can all fall easily into a trap of self-victimization if we listen too much to the wrong sort of influences.


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#43123 - 06/24/03 03:08 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
Victor - Isn't it interesting that of the 15 items you listed, only 3 (as I count) engage the perp physically touching the victim sexually? So many victims feel if the perp didn't touch me nor I him/her, did sexual abuse occur? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Howard, I hadn't noticed that specifically. You make a very good point.

As painful as the physical incest was for me the visual incest was worse becuz it went on almost constantly. As did the psychological aka
"emotional-sexual incest" which was perhaps the worst of all, being made a surrogate husband, and father as well. \:\( Many other survivors have said the same kind of thing right here.

Oh yes, it was abuse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Borrowed some of you exclamation points Howard!)
:p \:D

Ron:

Thanks for the dead link tip. This one seems to be working:

http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/ds/cb922/intro

Quote:
In my faith, I am taught that justice is more important than forgiveness.

What do you think? Is justice or the lack thereof a part of the definition of abuse?
No doubt in my mind, Danny: abuse by definition includes a lack of justice, or injustice. So our advocacy & activism is vital, if justice is to be served as part of our healing, whatever that means
for each of us.

Quote:
Your brother refusing to be defined by but willing to contribute to a definition of abuse,
Amen to that Danny!

Quote:
I want to see the effects of abuse publicized to all the world, so that unhealthy shame around this issue might begin to subside. It will not be until we become vocal, and let out the BIG secrets, that we will begin to establish credibility, initiate a new consciouness around the whole subject of sex, and create new legislation that will cause people to think twice before thinking that they can get away with these and other types of behaviors. Once others begin to understand how they have been sexually abused then true healing can begin.
Ron you are so right, and putting Mic's list (which anyone can add to as needed) in a separate thread for us to make personal responses to as you have is a good idea. So I'm going to copy Mic's list and your response to a separate thread where I'll post a response of my own & encourage others to do likewise.

Quote:
I have to admit that in this post I have triggered myself, so I need to slink off and lick some wounds. Thanks for the opportunity to share,
Ron one reason we survivors--and others--don't want to define, name and talk specifically about SA is that it can be so triggering. Thanks for your courage in being ready to take that risk
and I hope you get to feeling better.

Quote:
Victor, what about making a list of characteristics, traits, general impressions gathered from our own personal experiences here on this site?
Danny, another great idea. Perhaps you can get us started with this in another thread? \:\)

Quote:
I guess I'm asking "is the ignorance that allows sexual abuse, abuse in it's own right ?"
Gosh Dave ask a simple shallow question why don't you?!

My answer, in a word: YES.

Is it sexual abuse? Depends on what exactly
is done but I think often it is. Not being taught & modeled a healthy view of sexuality seems to me to be SA, an abuse of power at least by neglect.

Quote:
the problem is most people do not have the capability to discern for themselves...

though there has been much abuse in my life, i am better now discerning what was abuse and what was circumstantial or growing up sort of knocks.

i am NOT minimizing for ANYONE ELSE. i am saying we can all fall easily into a trap of self-victimization if we listen too much to the wrong sort of influences.
Good point Rabbit. My thot is that we must together learn to discern for ourselves, or we will surely continue to victimize ourselves & be victimized by others as well. For me, defining my SA specifically & clearly out of the knowledge available and my own experience is key to this.

Men thanks for your great contributions to this thread so far, and to it's "spin-offs!" ;\)

Certainly this all can contribute greatly to our cause as male survivors...

Victor

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

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#43124 - 06/24/03 05:09 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Sans Logos Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5791
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
I'd venture to say, possible >>>>TRIGGGGGERR<<<<
Superb thread,

One of the things that has encouraged and strengthened me to "conquer" the next "ism" in my chain of addictions [alcohol, drugs promiscuity, relationships, nicotine, food, etc] that were a direct effect of the abuses of my youth, resulting in me as "boy, interrupted", has been the desire to find out who I was "beyond the crutches"

It has taken many many years to climb this mountain, and each time I beat one and another showed its ugly face, the passion to "be" rose up within to overtake as surely as morning light overtakes the darkness. Funny, but it does not work the other way around. Darkness never overtakes the light, rather light submits to the darkness and always returns victorious.

What the abuse [and possibly the simple dysfunction of growing up and through the circumstances] afforded me was a very clear focus of how my life was to be designed. While the earliest years of my existence were the ones that "made" me, I have been given the will and desire to "unmake me" as i see fit. How do i see fit? I wish to be made in the likeness of my creator, with the unlimited ability to celebrate all of the components of my being, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical, all unencumbered by the extra restrains imposed by manmade codes of ethics. This is what true freedom means to me, and what true America means to me.

When our ancestors came to this country to excape religious persecution [and other persecutions], did they come here to say what freedom would NOT be? Somehow in the process of our becoming a nation a new form of persecution has arisen in the form of legislations, religious and judicial, that seek to control the rights of individuals to determine their fate [pursue happiness]. I am neither a historian nor a politician, but this seems to me to be the same thing that original settlers were trying to flee from.

How does this factor into the current thread? We have simply created mini societies [families] that subscribe to these determinations of propriety, and use whatever degrees of covert or overt technique they deem necessary to enforce their strictures. Evolutionary consciousness created a vision nearly 2 centuries ago for the fledgling government to learn how to free its subjects from the crippling effects of sanctioned control of ethical standards, but its seems we have just succeeded in learning what NOT to do. Unfortunately, of the two roads that stretched before them, material opportunism and spiritual freedom, we all know well which was chosen.

It is marvelous to see the whole unveiling of the BIG secret, right before our very eyes at this moment in history, what with the current scandal in the church. The very mouth that proclaims such superfluous, sanctimonious, supercilious, self-righteous platitudes ends up with a young child's di*k in it!!!!!! Huh!

At any rate, I am a subject of a government who has conditioned its members to behave against their own instincts; and in the process fostered an imposed artifically contructed morality that replaces a natural inclination toward justice, mercy and humility.

Which brings me to my point: I can't change how my immediate family responded to the mandate to "behave" or "believe" in a certain manner, which impacted the way in which they "raised" their progeny. I can't change how they bought into the silent mandate to keep the BIG secrets. But I can unpack the circumstances to see how I was affected by their unwitting attempt to build me "properly".

And I can also say, if you would have JUST LOVED ME, with all my faults and imperfections, I would not have to have taken the detour to "me" that I found it necessary to take for 40 years. I would have still made mistakes just like the rest of the human race, but I would not have made them from a fabricated sense of self. This is what I miss the most: all of the years that I lost in fostering the growth of the "naturally occuring Ron", a phenomenon that could never be duplicated. That is what I protest.

Someday I will have made peace with the fact that there is nothing that I can do to undo the damage of the past. But until that time comes I am determined to get to the point where I can begin again, with all ties to the past untied. Where I can say, okay, the playing field is level, and I am prepared to continue the next chapter as a person who is not carrying around, day after stinkin' day, moment after stinkin' moment, unresolved baggage of days, years, decades gone by.

The America that I want to see "become" must first be envisioned in my mind,

America, I know that you are somewhere
Sealed behind these walls of liberty
Ten thousand picks and chisels cannot save you
For only truth and time can set you free...........

It is breathtakingly awesome to watch it all unravel while yet becoming better still.......

Peace,

Ron

_________________________
  1. the past
  2. ReClaiming Now
  3. advocacy


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#43125 - 06/24/03 07:26 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Ron
My use of the term "peer" certainly wasn't meant to include any perpetrator, the group of people I was describing is anyone who should have, could have, protected us, or influenced and educated us, when we really needed it.

I included parents, but many of you were abused by parents I know. So maybe teachers, uncles, preachers and family friends etc could form that group.
I suppose what I meant was anyone who was in a position to unwittingly help. Did the lack of information and guidance make things worse.

I believe they did for me, very drastically.
I knew nothing about what ws being done to me by other people, but at one time my own instincts kicked in and made me back away. I was then beaten into submission and my old 'ignorance' was therefore reinforced.

And I think we agree here -
Quote:
Which brings me to my point: I can't change how my immediate family responded to the mandate to "behave" or "believe" in a certain manner, which impacted the way in which they "raised" their progeny. I can't change how they bought into the silent mandate to keep the BIG secrets. But I can unpack the circumstances to see how I was affected by their unwitting attempt to build me "properly".
We can't undo our childhood influences, and those influences did play a big part in what happened.
Talking with the founder of Axis today ( the Survivors therapy charity I work at ) she said that abused members of families who have always been open and honest with each other, talk about sex in a normal way, very rarely come forward for therapy. The incidence of abuse is no less amongst these families but they are equipped to deal with it amongst themeselves, and generally do.
I was skeptical about this, but I respect her very extensive experience and knowledge and she did convince me.

I still wonder that in the definitions and criteria that we include to define sexual abuse, should we include the failure of those who should have made us more aware of the bad guys in long coats and what they might do ?

I think I'd include it personally, although I would hate to say my parents were "abusive"

Difficult eh ?

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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#43126 - 06/25/03 09:46 AM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
To post your own definition of SA, with Mic Hunter's list to use as a guide as much as you want to, go to the thread "Defining Your Sexual Abuse" at http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002148

Again, this could be a valuable exercise for you & for your fellow survivors. We cannot allow others to tell us what SA is or isn't--we KNOW!
We can use what we know to tell others, to change things for the better for ourselves, for all survivors, and for those not yet victims whom we hope will never have to be...

Victor

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

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#43127 - 06/25/03 11:11 AM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2259
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
I still wonder that in the definitions and criteria that we include to define sexual abuse, should we include the failure of those who should have made us more aware of the bad guys in long coats and what they might do ?
Dave,

I think we have to include it. It's too dangerous to ignore it.

Quote:
I think I'd include it personally, although I would hate to say my parents were "abusive"
That has been and remains difficult for me. One man, upon seeing my face, remarked that he would have called the police if he'd seen me getting that particular beating. But I have a hard time accepting that as physical abuse, because it means I have to reconcile the notion that my parents love me with the fact that they did these things.

And I haven't even begun to consider what the perp felt.

Quote:
Difficult eh ?
Yes, it is. For me at least, and it sounds like it is for you, too.

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#43128 - 06/28/03 11:17 AM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Wuamei Offline
Member

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

Maybe you weren't raped. Maybe you were. But you've evidently read this enuf to see how varied the definitions of sexual abuse can be. You've also perhaps noticed some, including me, saying the most traumatic abuse was not necessarily actual instances of intercourse. For me it was the constant touching, exposing, and sexual overtones in the whole relationship between myself
& my mother. \:o

Why Me, you were sexually abused and that is definitely & always traumatic! Don't let anyone tell you it wasn't!

Here we are trying to define sexual abuse for ourselves: not what "experts" say it is, not what the government says it is, not what the legal system says it is. We were abused; we know what it is!

It might help you to look at the thread "Defining Your Sexual Abuse" and maybe even try doing the exercise there using the list if you can at
http://www.malesurvivor.org/cgi-local/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=002148

Quote:
I want to ask God for someone to be a friend to me. But whether I will deem myself worthy to accept that friendship is questionable.
Why Me we are all worthy of friendship & we all need it, especially from other men. This is a great place to find such friendships; I know I have. Just be careful & take your time about who you give personal info out to and do it thru private messages or private chat rather than in public areas like this one. (BTW read or re-read the Discussion Board Guidelines for more about this & other helpful stuff. \:\) )

What you've been thru is traumatic enuf you don't need anything worse. You can find & share comfort & friendship here with your fellow male survivors.

Victor

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

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#43129 - 06/28/03 02:44 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2259
Loc: Maryland USA
Quote:
There was no penetration, so I haven't been raped. So what I have is a bad experience that is classified as unfortunate, but it is not considered a traumatic experience. But I still feel traumatized by it.
WhyMe,

Don't worry at all about the "classifications" because they don't matter a whit. What matters is

Quote:
It still hurts inside.
and that is ample reason for you to work on healing yourself. You do yourself no service by trying to compare your experience to a checklist or legal definition.

You said you thought you were raped as a child. That's it. Whether you could prove that in a courtroom or not is absolutely meaningless to us here. It hurts, and we know about hurt.

Thankfully, we know about helping one another. About listening, and sharing. So, get yourself used to it, and join us as you feel ready.

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#43130 - 06/28/03 04:31 PM Re: Why Define Sexual Abuse?
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I have responded to the "define your abuse" thread, but not to this one. I realize though, reading through this, I do not define the less forceful things as abuse. Just him touching in private areas, watching us shower or change clothes, call us names, I do not define those things as the abuse. Now I realize that they also were. And in defining my own abuse, I think nothing of my mom touching me. It did not hurt, it felt some good, she is my mom, so of course, it is not abuse? But now I realize, as it makes me feel strange now, it makes me feel less comfortable now, that I think in true it could be. I guess I was of old type of people who did not feel it was 'bad' if it was not by force, if it is more the subtle thing. I am learning though more, and realizing more of what is not right. Thank you for this post, it does make me think more.

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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