*************** TRIGGER ALERT ***************
Thank you for opening this discussion again.
Another thread in this forum Can I Understand?
addresses the questions and the issues about which you ask.
For far too long I have observed a "CSA / ASA" divide, as if one group felt that what had been done to them was "worse" than what had been done to the other.
Nothing is further from the truth.
It is all horrific, and each person who has been sexually abused or assauted, regardless of age, and regardless of the frequency or the level of physical violence experienced, has been harmed in a way no person should ever expereince.
Is this to say there are not differences?
Referring back to the post linked above regarding adult males who have been sexually assaulted/ raped (I am temporarily omitting adult males who have been abused for the moment, or those in prison), society does not want to hear about it.
The automatic reaction is to blame that male for having been assaulted, except in some very narrow situations. Adult males who are hospitalized or in some other institutions (convalescent centers, psychiatric hospitals, etc.) are generally not blamed for having been assaulted.
However, their ASSAULTER blames them for being too "sick, weak, unmanly," etc. Basically, as most rapists, the rapist blames their victim. A victim they chose for the very reasons they use to denegrate and degrade the person they chose to assualt.
Outside of those settings (and, again, omitting prisons for the moment) adults males who are sexually assaulted/ raped are automatically blamed. They are told things like "you must have wanted it," "you weren't man enough to fight them off," "I would NEVER have LET it happen to me
If the assault was committed by a female, the denegration of the man who was assualted is even worse, espeically by other males. Unfortunately, if a man tells a therapist he was raped by a date, girlfriend or wife, he is usually accused of having wanted to sexually experiment, but since things didn't "feel as good as he thought they would," he is now "remorseful" and is "crying rape." Some of those ignorant therapists compound the problem by telling the client that "men cannot be raped.
For the man who took a chance at seeking help for the assault, after hearing such blaming, shaming and terrible things, he will probably never go back to therapy. Instead, he will carry those hurtful words and continue to blame himself rather than take the chance with a qualified therapist who will help him see that he was never wrong. What was done to him was wrong.
Society views males who have been assaulted as weak, ineffective, lacking masculinity, and as men unworthy of consideration as mates. Afterall, if he couldn't protect himself, what good is he?
There is a double standard when it comes to rape.
Women are told to do anything that assures your survival. If that means being raped, let it happen. The goal is to survive.
Males aren't given that message. In fact, the message is quite the opposite.
Rather than being told the goal is survival, men are told to never "let" it happen, at any cost. If you have to lose your life in the procces to make sure you don't get raped, do it.
If you happen to be the male who chose to live, you are scorned and ridiculed, by males, females, and far too many therapists.
Males who have dangerous and "macho" positions, such as the military, law enforcement, fire fighters, etc. receive an extra heap of that shame and ridicule.
Society wants to close their eyes to the reality that adult males get raped. And when adult males get raped, it is usually combined with a very high level of violence.
But instead of giving adult males who were raped a chance to talk about the experience, the message is that this is a taboo subject and NEVER talk about it. Afterall, you don't want others to know you couldn't "take care of yourself."
Men are blamed for being raped. They are accused of "letting it happen."
The other segment of adult males who are shamed into silence are the adult males who are being abused.
I differentially use the terms abuse and assualted/ raped.
Assault (the term currently in use regarding the rape of males) and rape (the term slowly coming into use) are one in the same. It it usually (but not always) a single, violent act, that might be done by a known or unknown person (or group). It is no uncommon for a man to be raped by the same person/ group over time (especially those in hospitals and other care facilities). For the moment, I am not discussing prisons.
The definition of rape starting to be used is: a penis or object insterted into the vagina or the anus, or a penis inserted into the mouth.
Abuse occurs on a frequent basis, at the hands of the same person or people. While there might be violence involved, it is usually less violent (but necessarily so) than the rapes mentioned above.
Some abusers are the very people that are supposed to be the caretakers of people with medical or physical difficulties. Daily bathing becomes an abusers opportunity to abuse. The abuser may hold their charge "hostage" -- withholding cleaning or changing, physical activiity, food, water or medication until their "ransom" is paid. Whether the abuser is hired help, live-in help, friend, former lover, or a room mate or housemate, they use their role of "caring" as an excuse to repeatedly abuse.
This type of sexual abuse also includes a lot of emotional abuse -- "head games." Telling the adult male over and over that it is his "fault" for "letting it happen." And that no one will believe him.
If it happened once and he told, then perhaps he would be believed. But since he "let" it "happen" repeatedly, the only thing people will believe is that he "wanted it." And if you "wanted it" it couldn't be "abuse."
Abusers are master manipulators. They know how to take from others what they want, and assure the silence of their victims by instilling such a deep sense of shame and blame in them that the victims remain quiet.
The abuser also tells the person they are abusing that they are having a "relationship." The abuser might also say things like they are "teaching" their less expeirienced "partner" how to be sexual and how to "properly" please their next "partner." If the abuser is the same gender/ gender identity as the person they are abusing, the abuser says things like "I'm teaching you how to make love to both sexes. Why settle for only half of the population?"
Since their victim didn't come forward after the 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th, or 5th time it happened, he feels he cannot come forward.
How could anyone believe him since he waited so long? How can he possibly explain not coming forth after the first time?
These matters get even more complicated when the abuser is a family member or someone held in high regard by a family member.
How can the man being repeatedly abused come forth, when to do so will be to cause harm to the family member/ unit? How can you risk being blamed for either "cheating" with this person (who might be in a relationship with a family member) or accusing a family member of something so "disgusting?"
If the man being abused cannot financially afford to leave the household, he is enslaven to the abuse, physically, emotionally and sexually. Saying "no" to the sexual abuser can have violent and deadly consequences.
The abused male is also very isolated. Since he did not tell when it first happened, he abuser has just made him his property, to do with as often and what- and whenever he pleases. The abused male cannot now go to a family member and discuss this, so relationships become distant. He blames himself for "letting" the abuse happen, and he is ashamed. The abuser tells him he will be accused of "cheating" on the abuser's girlfriend or boyfriend, so there are additional layers of shame, blame, disgust, self loathing and self hatred.
Since the abuser is in close physical proximity, he has the ability to control whether or not the abused is able to have the opportunity to work, work over-time or get a second job. The abuser doesn't want their "prize" to ever have the means to leave. The grip of control over all aspects of life is a stranglehold that does not stop, and which seemingly cannot be broken.
It is also not uncommon for the abuser to take control over the finances of the abused. He learns how much money the abused has, and always seems to be in need of just that much. Mail is opened and all aspects of privacy are violated.
Other family members, who are not aware of the abuse, only see a growing tension between the two individuals. Unwittingly, they "blame" the abused for causing conflict, or not wanting to join in activities. They blame the abused for making things "uncomfortable." To maintain the secret and family harmony, the abused remins silent, and diligently does what is demanded of him.
Where the adult male who was raped is truely blamelss, the adult male who has been sexually abused for a long period of time blames himself. "I kept going back for more," even if that was only to lessen the duration each episode of abuse would last, is an expression of self blame and responsibility, and not an understanding that it was a survival strategy.
There are many more layers of complexity and difficulty regarding an adult male who endures repeated abuse, sometimes daily and lasting for years.
Joining converstations in chat are .... tricky.
There are some on both sides of the abuse expereince who do not want to discuss their experiences with someone "who cannot understand" - code for not having the same abuse experience.
There are still some here who are of the opinion the CSA is "worse" that ASA.
Some guys are just too shy to jump in, or are too afraid the self blame and recriminations they tell themselves migh be said to them by anohter, confirming their feelings of worthlessness.
Others, who have experienced both CSA and ASA feel they do not fit in. If they join a coversation about CSA, they feel unwelcome to discuss anything related to ASA.
Any ASA converstations that might be taking place are ususally hijacked into CSA-only conversations. That either forces the guys with ASA experiences to leave, or just take their conversation into another room. Most of the time they just leave, feeling once again, their experiences are not important and, by extension, neither are they.
To give you an example of the magnitude to which ASA is ignored by both society and the therapuetic community, look at this list of ASA Resources
. Pay particular attention to the book section. There are FIVE books written exclusively about, and for, men with ASA experiences.
Now, look closer at those titles. They are all about the rape of adult males (though I do not know if any of them refer to female aggressors), but NONE of them speak of the expereince of adult males who are repeatedly sexually abused.
Those of us who experienced the latter, become the educators of those who are supposed to help us.
The rape of adult males outside of prison is only now being considered important "enough" to research and about which to write.
But there are many of us who aren't even a blip on the therapeutic research screens.
Education, not only of those in the therapeutic communities, and of society at large, but here, at places like MS is going to be the key to bridge the CSA/ ASA chasm and to get rid of notions such as "one is worse than the other, etc." OUT of the conversations.
Just because a person might have been chronologically older, doens't mean they were any less naieve about sex than a four year old. And just because a person was physically taller than their aggressor, doesn't mean they were a match for that aggressor, group of aggressors or the drugs weapons involved.
In battling between ourselves as to who "had it worse," or "who was hurt more," "who has more damage to overcome," or "who has a harder time healing," etc., we are diminishing each and every one of ourselves, and our experiences.
We have all been hurt, in ways no one should ever have been hurt.
More importantly, we all need to heal, and we all have a right to heal.
It is easier for us to heal together than it is for us to heal alone. Afterall, that is why we joined this site -- to no longer be alone.