Boys’ lives have been affected by sexual abuse, assault, or rape. And thanks to Hollywood, many only believe this horrible crime affects women, not “manly men.”
As someone passionate about seeing sex trafficking and other types of exploitation end, this is troubling. Yes, women do suffer from such crimes, but so do men. And due to the nature of the crime, many feel as though they can’t come forward, so they silently suffer.
These statistics further prove how sexual abuse affects boys and young men:
- Nearly 1 in 38 have experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime.
- One in six men are victims and have experienced sexual abuse or assault.
- About 1 in 4 male rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11 and 17.
- About 1 in 4 male rape victims reported that it occurred before age 10.
- The reporting rate for male victims is even lower than the extremely low rate for females.
- The biggest reason for not reporting male sexual assault: fear of being perceived as homosexual.
But, after all, sexual abuse only happens to women, right?
Why is it perceived as such?
Thanks to the stigma of male abuse, many feel they weren’t “man enough” to stop the attack. They often face suicidal thoughts, suffer from PTSD and depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse. This severe issue contributes to mental health issues and personal relationships between loved ones and co-workers.
An unfortunate example
88,000. 88,500. 90,000. 92,000.
These rising numbers reflect the alleged rape, abuse, and molestation statistics in one organization that has been known for training young boys to become men for over 100 years.
The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910 and was created as a scouting group to teach the basics, give them hope, and share skills like how to build a fire. Their mission: “Prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.”
The Oath reads:
“On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.”
It is sad and horrifying that an organization with such “morality” has erupted into the most massive sexual abuse scandal in United States history. Some of those within this mainstream boy’s club have allegedly contributed to over 100,000 sexual abuse crimes. This surpasses the numbers of the Catholic Church.
Those numbers represent just the ones brave enough to come forward.
Hope for the abused
Many men are hesitant or afraid to come forward, but they shouldn’t be. Thanks to awareness and how the world is changing, there are many ways to bring hope into these individuals’ lives and help them lose their chains…and there are ways you can help.
To encourage and properly address the situation, there are a couple of ways to help these individuals.
Show love, not judgment. When someone comes forward as a victim, it can be daunting and hard to understand. However, it’s essential not to jump to conclusions or judge. Coming forward is a massive step in coming to grips with what happened, and victims need to feel as though they are in a safe space. After discussing the situation, then it is crucial to take the next steps necessary to bring healing.
Report abuse. The most critical factor of helping a victim is to report abuse, especially if the victim is a minor. As mentioned earlier, many male victims experience abuse during childhood. If a child shows signs or mentions, they have been abused, assure them they are safe and follow through with protecting them. Most perpetrators threaten their victims. It is important to reassure them that you are taking the next steps to protect them from further harm by going to authorities.
Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline. At Rainn.org, they offer help 24/7. The National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.4673) can help connect victims with confidential support, find health facilities trained to help sexual assault victims through testing, referrals for support, and much more. Online they also offer resources to help combat this evil.
Today, over 21 million men have histories of childhood sexual abuse. That is four times the number of deaths due to heart-related disease, the leading cause of American male deaths. But many do not see how dangerous and prevalent male sexual abuse is in our country.
A woman can say “Me too” and receive sympathy, help, and be believed. Men should have the same opportunity. Sexual abuse and rape are severely hurting American boys and men who have faced such terror in their own lives. May we pray for these survivors and lead them to refuge.
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble, Psalm 9:9 NIV.
This article originally appeared on the Stand.