Do you think things are slowly getting better for male victims?

by Andrew Richards
(Sydney, Australia)

I recently wrote my own story on here, and in some ways I think I made the ending seem more rosy than it really is-but I also think part of it is me realising that there is a mile of difference between the tide of the war turning and the war itself being won.

But there's another problem that I'm aware of-men who are or were abused have it so much worse than women in terms of society's attitudes, in my honest opinion. Men have to deal with the fact that society is convinced that men want sex whenever an opportunity arises, which under that sick and twisted logic, makes rape and sexual abuse impossible. If a guy is sexually assaulted by another guy, then society generally assumes that he must be gay (I've been on the receiving end of whispers to that effect, so I know it happens).

If a man is/was physically abused, then society views him as just being weak and an object of ridicule as a result.

Then there's the one that really gets it-emotional abuse is the real doosy. It's bad enough that it's not really recognised, but when you're a man, in my case, suffering the after-effects of around 2 decades of child emotional abuse that really only came to a head a few months ago, so often you get people telling you that you just need to toughen up. I feel like most women out there are significantly less than sympathetic to it as well.

Even on the site here you see it. Women survivors publishing their stories get comments from other survivors and visitors alike, but I've noticed the male stories of abuse generally get ignored (Darlene, you of course have always been highly supportive of all victims regardless of age, abuse type or gender). Now I don't buy into the idea of female victims/survivors having issues with men to the point where they can't say anything, because the fact is that we all have issues with the opposite sex.

It just seems that when you're a male victim/survivor, you're just supposed to be this sexistly stereotypical visage of machismo and somehow be able to just shrug off a childhood of living hell-the moment you're not, other guys tend to view you as a loser and women avoid you in droves because they see you as weak and pathetic.

Because of my last relationship, I only ever attended one ASCA support meeting; and because of how useless I've found most counsellors (I've tried several, believe me), I've had to wade through a lot of stuff on my own. I feel like I've overcome and survived a lot; and that it's something I should be proud of. Yet I feel like with society's sexist attitudes, I'm just some pathetic loser because I'm playing catch-up on the self-image front.

I honestly worry that I'm seen as highly undesirable as I am, or that when I do finally get there and have the level of self-confidence and self-esteem, that one day I'll open up about what happened in depth and they'll never understand just how tough my journey was or that I'm pathetic et al.

Do you think that maybe I've just had some bad experiences and that society really is changing, or do you think that abuse sufferers like me will always be forced to wear a "scarlet letter" in terms of how we're viewed?

Reply from Darlene: Andrew, your post here brings up a multitude of points, as well as core issues. I have attempted to address several of them. However, the word limit on comments has forced me to provide you with an answer in 4 parts. Other than what I have written below, I will not be able to provide additional support. As you read through my reply, I trust you will understand the difficult position I am in.

The remainder of my answer to this Ask Darlene question "Do you think things are slowly getting better for male victims?" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

Email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses AND website/blog URLs in visitor comments are STRICTLY prohibited, and could result in being banned from making further comments on this site.

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stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
heard and validated with the needs of my visitors.

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