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#247077 - 08/28/08 07:11 PM Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
I got a call from a large sexual assault counseling agency which sponsors a major training each year in NJ. Last year they had Christine Courtois (one of the pioneers in the incest/csa field) do a full day training on working with females. They want me to do a training focusing on assessment and treatment for male victims/survivors for this coming spring. (They want the focus on adolescents and adults).

This is pretty big in that there has not been (with the exception of the MS conf) any trainings on male victims/survivors in the NYC region. Their target audience is professionals who are experienced in working with females and they want to educate these people who understand csa to better help teen boys and men who have been abused.

I am putting together a proposed agenda and I'd like your input of what areas you think might be helpful for this audience. Most of these folks have little experience with males and I'd like to pick your brains for some areas you think would be helpful for them to know about.

I'd like imput from family and friends as well as parents of boys (even though the pre-teens are not focus of the training, I think there will be a number of counselors who have experience with boys who are abused and might benefit from some input from parents-- what works, what doesn't).

It might be helpful to discuss some of the problems that couples having relationship difficulties sometimes have that could be clues for csa. So, if you're part of a couple who later discovered the abuse was part of the relationship problems that brought you there, let me know so I can pass that on.

Thanks for your input.

Ken Singer

Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#247089 - 08/28/08 07:34 PM Re: Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
Junefriday Offline

Registered: 06/06/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
Hi Ken,

I think this is wonderful! I agree that it is so important that these people be in a position to educate the boys on the impacts that CSA has on men later in life...relationships being one of them. I think some of the key things I've noted with my survivor husband include:
-Trust: I am finding out little things here and there that he should have told me. He doesn't think they are relevant to our relationship. I don't mean disclosure of the CSA, but previous relationships with same sex partners, irresponsible sex, etc.
-Self-esteem: It is only natural to wonder why such a thing would happen to you. But, when it begins to affect your self-image, that affects your partner as well. My husband doesn't think he has self-esteem issues. He believes all the problems are with me. But, when I listen to his complaints about me, it is clear he is complaining about himself. It just hurts less when he directs the pain on me.
-Irresponsibility: Sometimes I find that my husband acts like a little kid when it comes to behaviour around the house. I once thought that he was the most logical man I had ever met, but now he is regressing to the point where sometimes he can't remember things or can't get a sentence out.
-Depression: Depression has huge impacts on a relationship. It is so hard to be that partner who doesn't know what to do-shake him out of his funk or give him time and space. Either way, the depression creates a canyon between the couple and it is so hard to bridge.
-Sexuality: I don't know if my husband questions his sexuality. But, it wouldn't surprise me if he did.

I think that is a start. Please let me know if you need more detail or specific examples. I wish someone had told my husband earlier in life how much this would impact him. He believes that because it happened so long ago and only for a short time, it can't have any lasting effects. He is dead wrong. But, he is in denial and now sees me as the enemy. So, I've lost the battle.

"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

#247092 - 08/28/08 07:40 PM Re: Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
This sounds like a good idea.

From there, if we could educate:
law enforcement
media and information sources.
political personnel

Do you want a highly specific agenda?
Right now I just have time for a quick outline.

I. The typical life agenda of a boy experiencing CSA
A. The stages of experience post-CSA
B. How does it change a boy's life?
II. Effects on personal relationships including family
include effects of rejection / disbelief of story
III. Effects on educational success and performance
IV. Effects on employment / life-success
V. What is involved in treatment/therapy? Is healing possible?
VI. Effects later on a marriage or gay relationship
VII. Recommended reading list (2 ranks: a short necessary list and a longer optional reading list)

Allen aka puffer

#247161 - 08/29/08 01:11 AM Re: Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F [Re: pufferfish]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
I would think that acting out would be a huge warning sign. Cheating, porn, drugs, alcohol, self-harm, rage, etc. These things have such a negative impact on a relationship that many do not survive long enough to identify the underlying cause.

This one might sound weird, but it is true for my relationship. Perfection. My b/f is a perfect mimic and was able to adopt and portray to the world what every woman wants and be the man every guy wants to have a beer with. No one is that perfect; in his case, it hid a very dark side.

Inability to sleep.
Always vigilant.
Uncomfortable around family, especially children, yet relates better to the kids than the adults in certain situations.
Resists attending family functions or parties.
Is sad or withdrawn after attending such gatherings.
Avoids large crowds at all costs (no concerts or ball games for us)

Good luck Ken. I'm glad to see that the need for this knowledge is being recognized and even happier that they found you!

ROCK ON........Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#247234 - 08/29/08 01:16 PM Re: Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F [Re: Trish4850]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Throw in boys being abused by their mothers too. It's a concept that is very difficult to believe and deal with.

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#247239 - 08/29/08 01:34 PM Re: Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
Jack725 Offline

Registered: 06/21/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Philadelphia PA area
May I suggest as a sixty year old survivor of childhood sexual abuse, that a topic may be dealing with issues related to one's parents. Mine are now dead; they were dear and good people, but they could not comprehend what I tried to tell them when I was 12 and 13. Even later in my mother's last year she stillhad trouble comprehending what a priest had done to me even though she knew about the physical damage etc. It is an issue that can linger in a man for a long time. I actually did not try to finally deal with my abuse and discuss it with family and a therapist until my father had dies and it came pouring out of me. I think others may deal with similar issues and even the best of therapists do not seem to have much background on this aspect of abuse. Thank you for reading my suggestion.
Jack Maher

"Finish each day and be done with it. Tomorrow is a new day. You will begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered by your own nonsense." Ralph Waldo Emerson

#247390 - 08/30/08 12:20 PM Re: Educating professionals about male abuse- F&F [Re: Jack725]
indygal Offline

Registered: 06/22/06
Posts: 439
this sounds like an incredible event and one that can initiate a sea change in the way men's issues are addressed - it's good to hear people are open to learning more about male survivors.

the very first red flags for me that signaled something was going on -

he had never been married or even in a long term relationship (no children either) and was past middle-age

his low self-esteem even tho he was a well-traveled and highly educated professional - he often stated:

I have no friends. (not true, he had many)
I'm depressed.
I'm not good looking. (not true, he is very good looking)
I'm depressed.
I don't sleep well.
I'm always tired.

my encouragement never seemed to make a difference; it was strange really because it was like he didn't even hear me.

later -

his lack of sexual libido to the point when I wondered if he was gay; he didn't even make sexually explicit jokes, comments or remarks.

this included a lack of compliments towards me but he also rarely seemed to notice other women

his extreme gentleness and sensitivity yet it was so extreme - he would get his feelings hurt so quickly and become withdrawn, sometimes hostile and completely unable to laugh at himself (in a healthy way of course)

his home - he was completely disorganized to the point of chaos, disarray, a frenetic aura that seemed to permeate everywhere. there was no stability, no coziness, no "my home is my castle" feeling.

an obsessive perfectionism as if he did anything at all wrong, something terrible would happen - his fear and dread were quite palpable to me as a bystander.

his lack of trust, inability to let anyone at all do something for him, even as he was the kind of person many people would ask for help or advice

whew - this I'm sure is enough for now - I knew him SO well - makes me tired and sad to know he's certainly still suffering so much. I guess I should put that in - an inability to attain inner joy and peace - to be really and truly happy if only for a while.

for all those who can be helped, we hope and pray.

my avatar is one of the Battle Angel characters, fighting the good fight.


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