Half Of Young Men Sexually Coerced (Trigger Warning)

Half Of Young Men Sexually Coerced. (sorry, wordpress.com kept “snuffing” the embedded video, so I have to just put the link here. Pls. click on the link to see the video clip)

I have to issue another trigger warning with posting this one. By some happenstance I landed on this podcast of a TV interview with male victims of sexual abuse in their childhood and having developed emotional illnesses and disabilities from these experiences. The discussion addresses assumptions – or rather: misconceptions – concerning male vs. female sexuality. They also make a point about the stigma attached to certain offences, in particular with male victims, which create an atmosphere that makes it hard to almost impossible to come forward with the endured violations and speak about them. Oftentimes the victims find themselves trapped in a situation, where they don’t have anyone they can feel safe with and turn to, which makes for a number of repressed feelings that may or may not come out much later in life. In my case, it is only now, decades later that I have started to speak about these things, largely on here, because I’ve also encountered the stigma attached to the victim as – in part – having brought about this themselves or at the very least being unwilling to “just move on and get past the past” (On this note, allow me to briefly digress: When past experiences are firmly attached to the reflexes in the limbic system of the brain [i.e. that’s the ancient, “reptilian” brain which triggers most fear-based reflexes like the commonly known fight/flight/freeze/fawn reflexes], cognitive interception simply isn’t a choice to be made – as it is impossible to “choose” a different reflex than the one that’s hard wired into the human brain. This may be one reason, why CBT/DBT approaches don’t work with trauma – quite on the contrary: If trauma survivors hadn’t already found coping strategies on their own, none of us could have had an – at least partially – productive life. And in my experience and from having communicated with similarly affected individualys like myself, most of us have still achieved that in spite of the disabling trauma-related outcomes). I am still a captive of that situation and don’t really know, whom to talk to as I can’t seem to find avenues that might offer some relief – like e.g. specialized trauma therapy – that are accessible to me (only in an inpatient setting, which might act as a major potential trigger in my case, thus thwarting the very idea of finding help and potentially adding a lot more stress, where I can’t handle any more stress than I’m already dealing with).

It might be difficult to watch this, but the guest speakers make some excellent points and new insights – or at least corroboration of identified ones – might come from this. Which is why I’m sharing this.

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3 thoughts on “Half Of Young Men Sexually Coerced (Trigger Warning)

  1. Hi Late.Shift.—Thanks for posting this. As someone who loves men, including my dear son, I’ve long been aware that the so-called “perks” of male privilege often come with a horribly steep price. This report about “sexual coercion” indicates just one of those costs that few people take seriously. Males are *supposed to* feel proud of themselves for *scoring* or having “conquests”—etc—but only if they are able to repress or sacrifice their authentic feelings about much that they may experience as confusing, upsetting, unwanted, and oppressive—far from all that’s stereotyped as *exciting*. Sadly, it only makes sense, for instance, that perpetrators are not merely men. Like men (who are often still forced into narrow gender roles), women have been objectified, too, early on—while some females also seem to have been born as predators (I’m assuming.) —which for some creates an illusion of power in connection with their sexuality. It’s all tragically twisted in too many ways to discuss in a brief forum. But one thing that the report doesn’t clarify are the different kinds and degrees of wounding and harm that happens to boys as a result of coercion.

    For example, if over 40% of boys are sexually coerced at some time, that statistic may serve to trivialize the actual percentage who then suffer extreme trauma and/or severe, long-term harm as a result. Not all forms of coercion are similar or occur in similar social contexts with similar individual outcomes.You and I understand such subtleties, but there is so much that none of us really know for sure about how widespread or lasting the harm may be as a result of various kinds/conditions of coercion. The percentage of young males who suffer extreme and long-term trauma (overt or covert) perhaps remains a mystery. Some may eventually become perpetrators, for example, while others retain very different yet also very harmful types of wounds that are directed more inward (to oversimplify). It’s all very complex and socially tragic.

    Perhaps one of the saddest legacies for males in modern/post modern cultures are the lack of close older males with whom to form intimate, meaningful emotional bonds. Without such emotionally available men in their lives to identify with, bond with, and learn from, men are almost invariably abandoned early on to fend for themselves and to try to figure out where and how each fits in with the culture at large, as a boy and later as a man. This happens whether or not there is an available “father figure” or “male role model” because men are so robbed of close emotional ties with other males from early on. That leaves boys and young men overly dependent on women for most sources of emotional closeness—a set-up for boys and young men to become victimized. Socially and culturally, often it’s a sad outcome for all of us.

    • Ruby, thanks for your very insightful and compassionate comment! I agree that the account here isn’t complete – and given the forum it appeared on, I think it’s obvious, why that is: They only took the time to shine a light on more or less one specific aspect, and to me that aspect is generating awareness for the issue. While it leaves many questions unanswered, there has to be a start somewhere. And at the risk of oversimplifying this, I would like to think that they were coming from this angle with this podcast and article.

      I also agree on your statement “It’s all very complex and socially tragic.” It is, because whatever harm is done and in whatever way it manifests, I think what it does first and foremost in my opinion is limit or even destroy a lot of potential that remains bottled up inside instead or never finds a healthy way of producing good outcomes otherwise – and this just in regards to social functioning in terms of productivity, not even touching on the much wider and even more complex aspects of personal relationships, such as being a friend, a partner, a father…. etc. (see my latest post on this brutal inner conflict going on at all times and being brought back to my consciousness from an encounter last night that had a huge impact on me, the latter I never saw coming…)

      I find your take on male emotional bonds to be very interesting and how males at large suffer from a lack of bonding with good role models or personal mentors or such. And I think, you’re spot on with your last conclusion as to how this lack of healthy male bonding lends itsself to setting themselves up for …. more potential (emotional) abuse. What can I say – it happened to me over and over again and I seem to be bound to see it happen – unless I learn to become a lot more mindful with my own boundaries and learn to establish some early red flags. But when and if I do – doesn’t this automatically translate into being suspicious and untrusting all over again, thus creating a vicious cycle of closing myself up again before I’ve even opened up? And if I do the latter – open up, that is – is there really a way of saving myself from being harmed all over again?

      I haven’t found a good, healthy answer to this just yet. I guess, it boils down to understanding in the situation that new potentially harmful outcomes are different in nature from old ones. But are they really? Huh. You tell me… 😉

      • I hope you might enjoy this essay, which I ran across several months ago in a slightly different version (perhaps the version that finally landed in his published book of essays.) In any case,the essay makes me think of the struggle for all of us, but particularly for men, to find true, trustworthy, compassionate and loyal sources of intimacy and emotional support. This young man, apparently, located such a source in his OWN DREAM. I find that fascinating, for reasons I’ll discuss with the wise woman in my own consciousness. 🙂 I hope you may find something useful in it:s message:

        http://www.menweb.org/dreammas.htm

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