Sexual Abuse of Males: Statistics, Possible Lasting Effects, & Resources
By Jim Hopper, Ph.D.
(last revised 3/28/2012)
keywords: men; sexually abused men; sexual abuse of boys; sexually abused boys; male survivors of sexual abuse; male survivors of child sexual abuse

.
Approximately one in six boys is sexually abused before age 16.

(Conservative estimate of incidents involving physical contact in U.S. and Canada. See below.)


I am a researcher and therapist with a doctorate (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology. I have studied the lasting effects of child abuse and have expertise in several related areas, including the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse in men.

I am an independent consultant in several areas (e.g., forensic, see Professional Services), and a Clinical Instructor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry of Harvard Medical School.

I was a founding board member of 1in6, Inc., a nonprofit devoted to helping men who've had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences as boys live happier, healthier lives; I authored the pages of 1in6.org from 2008 through 2011. I am also on the board of directors of Stop It Now!, a nonprofit that prevents the sexual abuse of children by mobilizing adults, families and communities to take actions that protect children before they are harmed.

Note to journalists and producers: You can email me with 'consult' in the subject line (or I won't get it) at jhopper@jimhopper99.com (and remove the 99 from the address).


Table of Contents

  • Preface - Author Information & Messages of this Page
  • Words of Caution - Unavoidable Controversies & Biases
  • Prevalence: Methods - Tools for Critically Understanding Research
  • Prevalence: Studies - Review to July 1996

  • Possible Lasting Effects - Basic Information & Outline
  • Recommended Books and Articles - Including Citations List
  • Female Perpetrators - Information on Long-Neglected Topic

  • Additional Resources - Hotline, Resources for Partners, Friends, etc., Links
  • Giving and Receiving Guidance and Hope - Men's Stories of Recovery
  • Feature: Males Sexually Assaulted in the Military - Relevant to war trauma too

  • Announcements - Including Research Studies
  • Related Pages At This Site


  • 1in6.org is a comprehensive website for men with histories of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood – and for people who care about them.

    Through 2011 I wrote the site's content and helped design the site with 1in6 staff, graphic designers and technology partners. 1in6.org has great information and resources, including lots not found here, though this page still has info and resources not there too.



    Preface
    Contents

    Here are the reasons I have published this page:

    1. To help those looking for resources on the sexual abuse of boys and the lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse in the lives of men.

    2. To provide resources for men who were sexually abused in childhood and want to know what professional researchers and therapists have learned, without having to read scholarly journals and books.

    3. To provide resources for girlfriends, spouses, partners, friends and family members of men who were (or may have been) sexually abused in childhood.

    Here are some key messages for men who were sexually abused in childhood:

    • You are not alone.

    • You can educate yourself.

    • Other guys struggle with their masculinity too.

    • There are people who understand what you're dealing with and can help.


    Words of Caution
    Contents

    • Statistics on rates of child abuse and neglect are controversial.

    • All statistics on the incidence and prevalence of child abuse and neglect are disputed by some experts. (Incidence refers to the number of new cases each year, and prevalence to the percentage of people in some population who have had such experiences.)

    • Complex and subtle scientific issues are involved, including various criticisms of the methods used in the studies that generate these statistics.

    • The most controversial issues are how to define abuse, especially sexual abuse, and which definitions are applied to research data.

    • Strong emotions and moral commitments influence everyone's reasoning and judgement to some extent.

    • Any experts who claim to be without bias are fooling themselves or trying to fool you.

    • The presentation of statistics and research on this page is influenced by my values, my informed opinions, and my experiences as a therapist and researcher over many years.


    Prevalence: Methodology - Tools for Critically Understanding Research
    Contents

    This is a long section (4 printed pages). But please consider reading it before reading (or reading about) studies of child abuse prevalence. It will take some time, but reading this will help you to understand this kind of research, and to think more critically about opinions you encounter in the popular media.

    For a quick overview of the 1 in 6 prevalence statistic and studies supporting it, see The 1in6 Statistic at 1in6.org>.

    When it comes to measuring prevalence - that is, how many children are sexually abused in childhood? - the methods used by researchers are absolutely crucial.

    Five important methodological issues are covered below:

    1. Population from which the research sample is drawn.
    2. Whether or not "gate questions" are used.
    3. Wording of questions or items, especially whether or not the word "abuse" is used.
    4. Definitions of abuse used to categorize research data.
    5. Number of questions or items.

    Please note:

    I do not attempt or claim to address the definitional issue completely or authoritatively. Indeed, this is a complex and controversial (methodological) issue, not only among researchers but in society as a whole, and not only in terms of sexual abuse but physical and emotional abuse as well. Thus I will only touch on a few important points, though certainly the definitions of "sexual abuse" applied by researchers to study data have decisive effects on estimates of its prevalence.

    1. An important methodological issue has to do with the population (group of people) from which a sample, or selected group of a population actually researched, is drawn. Different prevalence rates have been found in samples of: college students; clinical populations or people receiving psychological treatment; and community populations or whoever lives in some area (e.g., a city, state, or country). Other methods being equivalent, compared to samples of people receiving mental health treatment, broad community samples will yield lower prevalence rates and provide more accurate data about the rate of child sexual abuse in a society.

    2. Whatever the population and sample, researchers have to ask questions. They can ask questions by interviewing research subjects, over the phone or face-to-face. They can also ask questions by giving people questionnaires, typically anonymous ones. Some have argued that anonymous questionnaires are better for research on men, who may be less willing to acknowledge unwanted sexual experiences in the presence of another person. Some who conduct interview studies disagree, and there is not yet sufficient evidence to make this judgement. Whichever of these methods is employed, there are other methodological issues related to the nature of the questioning; for example, whether or not a subject must answer "yes" to an initial "gate question" in order to be asked more questions, the wording of the questions, and the number of questions asked. These are important methodological parameters that have had significant effects on the prevalence rates researchers have found.

    For some studies researchers have used gate questions, in which a subject is only asked a series of questions about possible abuse experiences if he or she answers "yes" to an initial question. Not surprisingly, these studies have tended to find lower rates of sexual abuse in their samples. For example, someone may answer "no" to this question: "Before the age of 16, did you ever experience unwanted sexual contact with someone more than 10 years older than you?" But one minute later this same person may reply "yes" to this question: "Before age 16, did anyone more than 10 years older than you use threats or force to get you to fondle his or her genitals?" If subjects in a research study are not asked further questions after answering "no" to a general question about unwanted sexual experiences in childhood, many of those who were in fact sexually abused will be categorized as never sexually abused.

    3. The wording of research questions is extremely important, and can dramatically skew prevalence rates. Imagine that an interviewer or even an anonymous questionnaire begins by asking, "Were you ever sexually abused before age 16?" This question requires subjects to scan their memories, and to decide whether or not to label any memories that come up as "abuse," which would be to accept the identity of "sexual abuse victim." Obviously most people, especially men, will automatically resist doing these things, even if they have experienced unwanted and emotionally harmful sexual experiences in childhood. So any study that uses the words "sexual abuse" will wrongly categorize some people who have been sexually abused--but don't label their experience that way--as not having been sexually abused.

    This methodological issue, the wording of questions, touches on the issue of definition, and all the attendant controversy. Some people given attention by the popular media have focused on the wording of questions in ways that misrepresent research on sexual abuse and rape. Major publications like The New York Times Magazine have given cover-story treatment to people who have minimal understanding of social science methodology, and apparently even less interest in the truth about rates of abuse and assault in our country. These people have claimed that researchers "make up" abuse that never happened by labeling subjects' experiences as abusive even though the subjects might not.

    This charge has been made against Mary Koss, an accomplished researcher who has conducted studies on prevalence rates of rape among college women (and has found that one in four have experienced rape or attempted rape since age 14). In constructing her questionnaire items, Koss made a good faith effort to use language that fit the legal definition of rape in the state where she lived when she conducted the research. Yet she has been accused of irresponsibly mislabeling her subjects' experiences and exaggerating rates of rape. (Decide for yourself: read Koss, M., Gidicz, C., & Wisniewski, N. [1987]. The scope of rape: Incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of higher education students. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55, 162-170.) One way that Koss has answered this critique is by referring to an analogous situation. I will paraphrase her argument. Imagine yourself questioning an alcoholic: Do you have more than six alcoholic drinks in one sitting several times a week? Yes. Do you often wake up with such a hangover that you can't go to work? Yes. Have friends and family members repeatedly tried to help you stop drinking? Yes. Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking? Yes. Are you an alcoholic? No.

    The point here is that good prevalence research must use behavioral descriptions to which definitions like "alcoholic" or "sexual abuse" may be applied. Researchers should not rely on people defining themselves as alcoholics or defining their sexual experiences as abusive. Such definitions can only be uninterpretable and unreliable. Again, for many people who have been sexually exploited and hurt by others in childhood--especially men, who aren't supposed to be victims--it's very painful to acknowledge what has happened. Researchers must not ignore the effects this can have on subjects' responses to questions about childhood experiences that may have been abusive.

    For these reasons, researchers seeking to determine prevalence rates should not use the word "abuse" in their interviews or questionnaire items. Instead, they should provide clear behavioral descriptions of experiences to which subjects can answer "yes" or "no". When an answer is yes, further information should be elicited, including: the age of the subject and the other person involved; the nature of the relationship (parent, sibling, friend, priest, etc.); the level of coercion or violence; the number of times and period of time over which the experience happened; and the person's emotional appraisal of the event when it occurred and at the time of the research.

    Here are two examples of questionnaire items employing behavioral descriptions and follow-up questions. Both are from research on the sexual abuse of males conducted by David Lisak and his colleagues (Lisak & Luster, 1994; Lisak, Hopper, & Song, 1996; see Recommended Books and Articles section of Sexual Abuse of Males for complete citations):

    1. Someone fondled you (i.e., touched your genitals or other parts of your body) in a sexual way. YES____ NO____

      If yes...
                Who was the person?___________________
                Was the person male or female?__________
                How old were you at the time?____________
                About how old was the other person?______
                How many times did it happen?___________
                For how long did it happen (i.e., days,
                weeks, months, years)?_________________
                How do you now feel about the experience
                (i.e., negative, neutral or positive)_________
                How distressing did you find this at the time:
                Not at all distressing - A . . . . . B . . . . . C . . . . . D . . . . . E - Very distressing

                How much force or persuasion did the person use?
                (Please check off the appropriate categories below.)
                Activity was voluntary____
                They took advantage of your trust____
                They used bribes or enticements____
                They used sexual seduction____
                They used intimidation or adult authority____
                They used threats against you or someone else____
                They used physical force____
                Other (please explain)_______________________

    2. A woman had you perform vaginal intercourse on her. YES____ NO____

      If yes...
                Who was the person?___________________
                . . . . [see above]

    4. With this kind of information researchers are in a better position to evaluate whether or not an experience fits a reasonable and understandable definition of sexual abuse.

    As noted already, the definition of child sexual abuse employed in a prevalence study may be the most important methodological parameter. I will only make a few points here, to suggest some of the definitional issues in prevalence research. For example, it's easy to imagine the differences in prevalence rates the very same data will yield when categorized with each of these definitional criteria:

    • A child is a person under age 16, and a sexual experience is abusive if verbal threats were used and the person feels negatively about the experience.
    • A child is a person under 14 years old, and sexual abuse must involve physical force.
    Besides the age of the subject at the time and the level of coercion involved, any age difference between the subject and the other person is an important factor. If a twenty year old woman has sexual intercourse with a ten year old boy, this is clearly abusive even if no physical force is used or no threats are made. Because large age differences may constitute vast discrepancies of power, especially with younger children, reasonable definitions of child sexual abuse must address the issue of age difference.

    Of course, there are no clear-cut answers when it comes to definitions of child sexual abuse employed in research studies--or, for that matter, definitions used by all of us in conversation and debate. There will always be disagreements about what constitutes "sexual abuse," even among experts in this area. Some will ground their definitions in the exploitive intention of the person having the sexual experience with the child, no matter how the child or remembering adult feels about the experience. Others will believe this dilutes the meaning of the words and trivializes the suffering of people who, for example, have been raped by a parent repeatedly for years. These people will advocate for very conservative definitions.

    Though they will never all agree, researchers have become increasingly sensitive to the need for carefully considered, and clearly articulated, definitions of child sexual abuse. Unfortunately, this has not been the case for most commentators and critics given attention by the popular media.

    5. Finally, the number of questions asked of subjects in a research study can have a large effect on prevalence rate findings. Sadly, there are many ways to sexually abuse a child. Thus only a number of specifically worded behavioral descriptions of possible experiences (probably at least 10 to 15), will suffice for researchers trying to determine whether a person was sexually abused in childhood. Having subjects answer a number of questions also increases the likelihood that some memory of an abusive experience will be accessed. For example, a subject may read several questions before remembering and reporting an experience of sexual abuse, even though earlier questions described aspects of the same experience. Thus only by using multiple questions consisting of clear behavioral descriptions can researchers generate sufficient data to which definitions of abuse may be applied. Obviously, studies that ask fewer questions will yield lower prevalence rates for childhood sexual abuse.

    These are some of the most important methodological issues in research conducted on adults to estimate prevalence rates of child sexual abuse. Keeping these issues in mind, and the built-in biases of certain methods, will help you to understand the research below or any other studies you read about, and to think more critically about what you encounter in the popular media--especially from people who claim abuse rates are exaggerated and base their claims on uninformed or misleading critiques of research conducted by social scientists.

    And there is one more very important point to keep in mind:

    Any research study, even one with the most effective methodology, is likely to underestimate the actual prevalence of sexual abuse in the population being investigated.
    Why?
    There is evidence emerging that as many as one in three incidents of child sexual abuse are not remembered by adults who experienced them, and that the younger the child was at the time of the abuse, and the closer the relationship to the abuser, the more likely one is not to remember. Please see the section on Linda Williams' research on my Web page, Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse: Scientific Research & Scholarly Resources.


    Prevalence: Studies - Review to July 1996
    Contents

    Approximately one in six boys is sexually abused before age 16.

    Why only to 1996? That's when I conducted a comprehensive review for my masters thesis, and since then I've been much less focused on rates of sexual abuse among males than on how all kinds of abuse can affect men and women. This section will still be useful to people who want to understand how different research methods yield different prevalence statistics. (Full citations for all articles referenced in this section can be found in the following section, "Lasting Effects.")

    For the most recent and authoritative evidence supporting the 1 in 6 prevalence estimate, read the study of 17,000 California residents, Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim, published in 2005 by Shanta Dube and colleagues in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

    The following review is grouped into three sections, according to the sample studied:

    1. Male college students.
    2. Men from an identified community.
    3. Men receiving mental health services.


    As noted above, please keep in mind: All of the rates below are likely to be underestimates of the actual prevalence of the sexual abuse of boys in our society. This is so because:

    There is evidence emerging that as many as one in three incidents of child sexual abuse are not remembered by adults who experienced them, and that the younger the child was at the time of the abuse, and the closer the relationship to the abuser, the more likely one is not to remember. Please see the section on Linda Williams' research on my Web page, Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse: Scientific Research & Scholarly Resources.

    1. Studies of male college students have found prevalence rates from 4.8% to 28%. At the lower extreme of 4.8% is a study by Fritz, Stoll and Wagner (1981) in which 412 students responded to a self-report questionnaire that required them to label their experiences as "abusive"--a method guaranteed to cause under-reporting (see discussion in section above). Risin and Koss (1987) obtained a rate of 7.3% in a national sample of 2,972 male college students. They used eight self-report behavioral descriptions about sexual behaviors before age 14. As pure behavioral descriptions, none of the items included the word "abuse." Finkelhor (1979) used a similar list of behavioral self-report items in a study of 266 college students and found an 8.3% prevalence rate; he included non-contact experiences and used specific age criteria (if under 14 there had to be a 5 year age difference with the perpetrator, if 14-15, a 10 year difference).

    Higher prevalence rates of 20% and 24% came from Fromuth and Burkhart's (1987) study of students in two separate schools. They compared the effect of different definitions of sexual abuse on prevalence rates. However, their questionnaire utilized a gate question. The highest rates of 20% and 24% came from the most inclusive definition: the same as Finkelhor's 1979 study (including non-contact and age differential criteria), but with the addition that sexual contact between peers involving force or threat was categorized as abuse.

    Research on college students also has been conducted by David Lisak and his colleagues, including myself (Lisak & Luster, 1994; Lisak, Hopper, & Song, 1996). The college samples in these studies were not typical, but consisted of men who commuted to an urban university, were an average of 25 years old, and from socioeconomic background more typical of the surrounding community than many college student populations used in this research. This work yielded prevalence rates of:

    • Approximately 17% for child sexual abuse of males involving physical contact.
    • Over 25% when non-contact forms of abuse were included.

    Non-contact experiences (e.g., a relative exposing her or his genitals to a child) were investigated because such acts are sexually exploitive and can have negative long-term psychological and interpersonal effects. However, this definition also includes experiences, like a single "flashing" episode involving a stranger, that many would argue are not abusive because the subject suffered no significant or lasting harm, if any at all. As clarified below, Lisak and his colleagues (1994, 1996) deliberately chose to weight their definition of sexual abuse in terms of the power differential accompanying significant age differences and the older person's presumed deliberate sexual use and exploitation of the younger subject. So long as significant differences in age and power existed, Lisak and his colleagues defined incidents as abusive, regardless of subjects' emotional appraisal or lasting effects (the latter were not measured).

    Lisak and his colleagues (1994, 1996) used an anonymous questionnaire which has 17 behavioral descriptions of possible experiences and an 18th item for "other" experiences subjects describe. If subjects endorsed an item, they were then directed to provide further information about the experience, which was used to categorize the experience as abusive or not. If the subject was age 13 or younger when the incident occurred and the other person was at least 5 years older, the incident was classified as sexually abusive. If the subject was age 13 or younger when the incident occurred and the other person was less than 5 years older, two criteria had to be met for the incident to be classified as abusive: the subject reported feeling "negative" about it and reported that some degree of coercion was used by the other person. Similar principles apply to incidents occurring when the subject was age 14-15: the incident was classified as abusive if the other person was at least 10 years older; if the other person was less than 10 years older, the abuse classification was assigned only if the subject reported feeling negative about it and reported some level of coercion by the other person.

    Though the definitional criteria in Lisak and his colleagues' studies are complex, they address two important issues.

    • The reality of the power differential which characterizes relationships between adults and children, and between young children and adolescents, because whether or not a sexual experience is abusive can depend on this dynamic.
    • The fact that whether or not a sexual experience is abusive can also depend on one's subjective appraisal and emotional response to the incident.

    Lisak and his colleagues argue that the criteria they employed to assess sexual abuse are clear and relatively conservative in their treatment of the issues of power and subjects' responses.

    A prevalence rate similar to the Lisak et al. studies was found in another study of college males. Collings (1995) used an anonymous questionnaire and defined sexual abuse as "unwanted" sexual experiences taking place before the age of 18. The term "unwanted" is likely to bias rates downward, as noted above, but the inclusion of subjects aged 16 and 17 is likely to increase the found prevalence rate. Not surprisingly, Collings found that 29% of the 284 male respondents had been sexually abused, with 20% reporting non-contact abuse and 6% reporting abuse experiences involving physical contact.

    2. Studies with community samples have ranged in their prevalence rates from 2.8% to 16%. Again, methodology has been crucial. Kercher and McShane (1984) mailed a single self-report question including the word "abuse" to a random sample of Texas drivers. They found a prevalence rate of 3%. Given the wording of their single question, this rate is not surprising.

    Two random-sample telephone interview studies by Murphy (1987, 1989, cited in Urquiza & Keating, 1990) also demonstrate the profound effects of single questions including the word "abuse" rather than instruments with multiple behavioral descriptions. In one of the studies (1987) the former method was employed, and it produced a rate of 2.8% with a sample of 357; in the other study (1989) the latter method yielded a prevalence rate of 11% with a sample of 777.

    Bagley, Wood and Young (1994) conducted a community study of men aged 18 to 27 in the Canadian city of Calgary. They first contacted subjects by phone, then administered anonymous questionnaires in their homes via programs on portable computers. Their questionnaire asked about "unwanted" experiences before the age of 17. This wording is likely to result in under-reporting because people who have been sexually abused, but especially males, are sometimes convinced that they wanted and were responsible for the sexual contact. Bagley and his colleagues found a prevalence rate of 15.5%, and that 6.9% of their subjects had experienced multiple episodes of sexual abuse. Interestingly, this rate for multiple episodes was identical to that found for women in a previous study that employed the same methodology, despite the fact that the prevalence rate for any unwanted sexual experiences in that study was 32%, or double that found for males (Bagley, 1991).

    The highest community-sample prevalence rate of 16% was found in a random telephone survey of 2,626 men, known as the "L.A. Times survey" (Finkelhor, 1990). However, these findings are very difficult to interpret, since the wording of the questions would be expected to produce contradictory effects: each question used the word "abuse," but ended with the phrase, "or anything like that?"

    In contrast to studies with women, published studies using face-to-face interviews with men have yielded very low prevalence rates, perhaps due to subjects' adherence to stereotypes about males not being victims (Urquiza & Keating, 1990). Finkelhor's (1984) face-to-face interview with Boston-area fathers yielded a rate of 6%. Siegel and colleagues (1987), using gate-question interviews with 1,480 Los Angeles-area men, found a prevalence rate of 3.8%. Baker and Duncan (1985) used a single question that described various sexual acts and found the highest face-to-face prevalence rate of 8% in their random sample of 970 men in Great Britain.

    3. Studies with clinical samples have obtained prevalence rates from 3% to 23%. The lowest rate was reported from a study that used psychological records of 954 male and female patients of a large regional medical center (Belkin, Greene, Rodrique, & Boggs, 1994). In a chart review of emergency room records of a Buffalo, New York hospital, Ellerstein and Canavan (1980) found an 11% prevalence rate. DeJong and colleagues (DeJong, Emmett, & Hervada, 1982) reviewed several clinical studies and found rates from 11% to 17%, and in their own hospital population found a rate of just under 14% (1982). Metcalfe and his associates (1990) found a prevalence of 23% in their survey of 100 male psychiatric inpatients.

    However, it is important to note here that assessment for sexual abuse histories in hospitals has traditionally been extremely poor, and remains so in many settings. Thus these rates, based on reviews of records, are likely to be vast underestimates. For example, Briere and Zaidi (1989) reviewed intake reports on women presenting to an urban psychiatric emergency room. They randomly reviewed 50 charts before and 50 after the intake staff were instructed to question clients about previous sexual victimization. The first 50 charts had recorded rates of 6%, and the second set, 70%.


    Possible Lasting Effects - Basic Information & Outline
    Contents

    This section provides some basic information on the complexity of this issue, then reviews research on long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse in men's lives. At the end of this section, several articles and books are listed along with the symptoms and other effects. The complete citations for these articles and books, which you can get from libraries and bookstores, are in the next section of this page (Recommended Books and Articles).

    Of course the sexual abuse of male children can lead to a variety of problems and suffering. But it's not that simple. My aim in this section is to provide some basic information that, while conveying the possible effects of the sexual abuse of males, helps people appreciate the complexity of this issue and avoid unnecessarily pessimistic beliefs.

    Therefore, I will start with four basic points:

    1. Being sexually abused is one of many painful and potentially damaging experiences that a human being may suffer in childhood.
    2. Whether and to what extent child abuse and neglect (or other painful experiences) have negative effects depends on a variety of factors - related to the abuse itself, but also to relationships, in which the abuse and the child's responses occur.
    3. Child abuse, in itself, does not "doom" people to lives of horrible suffering.
    4. If a person has been sexually abused and experiences some of the problems or symptoms listed below, the abuse is not necessarily the primary (let alone only) reason for such suffering.


    Child Abuse and the Human Condition

    It is important to consider these issues in relation to what some people refer to as "the human condition." By this I mean:

    • All human beings suffer painful experiences, and some of these occur in childhood.
    • All caregivers of children are sometimes unable to protect them from painful experiences.
    • We all need love and support to deal with the effects of painful experiences.
    • Everyone must find ways to cope with the emotions generated by painful experiences - whether or not we get love and support from others.
    • Many coping or self-regulation strategies work in some ways, but also limit people in other ways. For example:
      • Ignoring painful feelings may reduce one's conscious experience of them. But it also prevents one from learning how to manage them in smaller doses, let alone larger ones - which makes one vulnerable to alternating between feeling little or no emotions and being overwhelmed and unable to cope with them.
      • Avoiding getting close to people and trying to hide all of one's pain and vulnerabilities may create a sense of safety. But this approach to relationships leads to a great deal of loneliness, prevents experiences and learning about developing true intimacy and trust, and makes one vulnerable to desperately and naively putting trust in the wrong people and being betrayed again.
      • At the extreme, getting really drunk can block out painful memories and feelings, including the feeling of being disconnected from others - but cause lots of other problems and disconnections from people.

    • Some people suffer more painful experiences than others, and abuse is one of many possible causes of extreme emotional pain (others include life-threatening illness, death of a loved one, physical disfigurement, etc.).
    • Some people get more love and support from their families and friends than others, and families in which abuse occurs tend to provide less of the love and support needed to recover from abuse. But families in which abuse does not happen can also experience significant problems, and can make it hard for family members to deal with the inevitable painful experiences in life.

    • Finally, because everyone needs caring relationships and love, emotional neglect can be more devastating than abuse, particularly in the earliest years of life.


    The Effects of Child Abuse Depend on a Variety of Factors

    We have learned from many people's experiences and a great deal of research that the effects of abuse and neglect depend on a variety of factors. Below I group these effects into those which research has shown to influence negative outcomes, and a variety of other factors that are harder to measure for research purposes and/or may be very important for some people but not others.

    Factors research has shown to influence the effects of abuse:

    • Age of the child when the abuse happened.  Younger is usually more damaging, but different effects are associated with different developmental periods.
    • Who committed the abuse.  Effects are generally worse when it was a parent, step-parent or trusted adult than a stranger.
    • Whether the child told anyone, and if so, the person's response.  Doubting, ignoring, blaming and shaming responses can be extremely damaging - in some cases even more than the abuse itself.
    • Whether or not violence was involved, and if so, how severe.
    • How long the abuse went on.
    Additional factors that are difficult to research or may differ in significance for different people:
    • Whether the abuse involved deliberately humiliating the child.
    • How "normal" such abuse was in the extended family and local culture.
    • Whether the child had loving family members, and/or knew that someone loved her or him.
    • Whether the child had some good relationships - with siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, etc.
    • Whether the child had relationships in which "negative" feelings were acceptable, and could be expressed and managed safely and constructively.
    Some of these factors are about how severe the abuse was, and some are about the relational context of the abuse and the child's reactions. Both types of factors are extremely important.

    A great deal of research has been conducted, and continues to be conducted, on how such factors determine outcomes for those abused in childhood. Factors that increase the likelihood of negative outcomes have been referred to as "risk factors," and ones that decrease the likelihood of negative outcomes as "protective factors." Every person who has experienced abuse is unique. And every person who has experienced abuse has a unique combination of risk and protective factors that have influenced, and continue to influence, the effects in his or her life.

    In summary, it is important to appreciate that these issues are very complex, and to be familiar with how abuse and neglect can - depending on a variety of other factors - affect various aspects of a person's life. Keep this in mind as you search the web for information and understanding about the effects of child abuse.


    Potential Long-Term Effects of the Sexual Abuse of Males

    This section lists potential, but not inevitable, lasting effects of the sexual abuse of male children. It should not be read as a "laundry list" of problems and symptoms that necessarily follow the sexual abuse of males, nor does the presence of any in males with sexual abuse histories necessarily mean the abuse is their primary cause. (See above.)

    Findings on the long-term effects of child sexual abuse in males have been more consistent than those on prevalence. Methodologies for detecting problems and symptoms that could be outcomes are relatively straightforward, and many studies have utilized standardized measures that are widely accepted in the field.

    First, I want to recommend a paper by David Lisak, Ph.D. This paper contains many powerful quotations from interviews with male survivors of sexual abuse. Lisak groups the quotations into themes, and discusses them with remarkable insight and compassion. The themes are:

    • Anger
    • Fear
    • Homosexuality Issues
    • Helplessness
    • Isolation and Alienation
    • Legitimacy
    • Loss
    • Masculinity Issues
    • Negative Childhood Peer Relations
    • Negative Schemas about People
    • Negative Schemas about the Self
    • Problems with Sexuality
    • Self Blame/Guilt
    • Shame/Humiliation
    One man emailed me to share this experience: "reading [Lisak's article] was the first time I realized that other people have the same issues I have. I sat in the library and cried when I read that article. Not the usual reaction to scholarly research, but I'm sure Prof. Lisak wouldn't mind" (used with permission).

    Lisak, D. (1994). The psychological impact of sexual abuse: Content analysis of interviews with male survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 525-548.

    Using standardized measures of symptoms, researchers have found that men who were sexually abused in childhood, whether or not they seek out mental health services, may suffer from:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Dissociation
    • Hostility and anger
    • Impaired relationships
    • Low self-esteem
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Suicidal ideas and behavior

    The following researchers have used standardized measures and found different combinations of the above symptoms:

    • Bagley, Wood, & Young, 1994
    • Briere, Evans, Runtz, & Wall, 1988
    • Collings, 1995
    • Fromuth & Burkhart, 1989
    • Hunter, 1991
    • Olson, 1990
    • Peters & Range, 1995

    Therapists working with men who were sexually abused in childhood have conducted clinical case studies and consistently reported findings on long-term problems including:

    • Guilt and self-blame
      Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989; Hunter, 1990.
    • Low self-esteem and negative self-image
      Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989.
    • Problems with intimacy
      Bruckner & Johnson, 1987; Dimock, 1988; Lew, 1988; Krug, 1989; Hunter, 1990.
    • Sexual problems, compulsions, or dysfunctions
      Bruckner & Johnson, 1987; Johnson & Shrier, 1987; Dimock, 1988; Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989; Hunter, 1990.
    • Substance abuse and depression
      Krug, 1989.
    • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
      Myers, 1989.

    Some of the long-term effects of sexual abuse are related to the development of gender identity. A number of clinicians' case studies indicate that male survivors of childhood sexual abuse may experience:

    • Attempts to "prove" their masculinity by having multiple female sexual partners, sexually victimizing others, and/or engaging in dangerous or violent behaviors
      Bruckner & Johnson, 1987; Lew 1988.
    • Confusion over their gender and sexual identities
      Nasjleti, 1980; Bruckner & Johnson, 1987; Johnson & Shrier, 1987; Dimock, 1988; Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989; Gilgun & Reiser, 1990.
    • Sense of being inadequate as men
      Dimock, 1988; Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989; Pierce & Pierce, 1985.
    • Sense of lost power, control, and confidence in their manhood
      Myers, 1989.

    Finally, some clinicians have noted that sexually abused males often experience confusion and distress about their sexuality:

    • Confusion about their own sexual orientation
      Nasjleti, 1980; Dimock, 1988; Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989; Gilgun & Reiser, 1990.
    • Fear that the sexual abuse has caused or will cause them to become homosexual
      Nasjleti, 1980; Finkelhor, 1984; Dimock, 1988; Gilgun & Reiser, 1990; Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989.
    • Homophobia, an irrational fear or intolerance of homosexuality
      Gilgun & Reiser, 1990; Lew, 1988; Myers, 1989.


    Recommended Books and Articles
    Contents

    Below is a lengthy but not completely comprehensive listing of books and articles on the sexual abuse of males, including books written to help men recover from sexual abuse. All of the articles and books cited on this page are listed below, and many others as well.

    You can purchase books listed below from an online bookseller. The titles of those that I personally recommend are links to the books' pages at Amazon.com, which will give me 5-15% of the price on some purchases (all pages will open in a new browser window or one already open in the background). I have entered into this arrangement in association with Amazon.com to cover some costs of running this website.
         If you live somewhere bookstores do not stock these books, or are not comfortable buying them in a store, ordering them over the web may make the most sense.

    The two books that I most highly recommend for men who have experienced sexual abuse are Mike Lew's Victims No Longer, the classic book on the topic, and Richard Gartner's recently published Beyond Betrayal, which is sure to become a classic as well. Lew's book has recently come out in a new edition, which has been extensively revised and updated, including an expanded resources section. Another book that many men have found helpful, though some describe it as overly intense for guys who are early in the process of recovery, is Mic Hunter's Abused Boys.

    Three other books that I highly recommend:

    Growing Beyond Survival: A Self-Help Toolkit for Managing Traumatic Stress, by Elizabeth Vermilyea
          If you want to start learning and practicing the self-regulation skills essential to recovering from the effects of child abuse, or to build on progress you are already making, I strongly recommend that you get this book.
    To learn more about the book and/or order it directly from the publisher (for a higher price than Amazon), go to the Growing Beyond Survival page of the Sidran Press catalog.
         Consider Mike Lew's endorsement:

    "I'm impressed. This is one of the best - a clear , thoughtful workbook for trauma survivors. If some of it is hard going, stick with it - or come back to it. The effort will reward you. Elizabeth Vermilyea is a genuine ally, providing concrete explanations and specific reasons for everything she suggests. Growing Beyond Survival should be on the bookshelf of every professional who works with survivors [of child abuse]."
    Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery and Wayne Muller's Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood
         Herman's book is arguably the best yet written on interpersonal trauma and recovery, from child abuse to military combat. Though Herman largely neglects males' experiences of sexual abuse, she integrates a great deal of research with decades of clinical wisdom and historical, political and moral insights. (Follow the link to read praise from reviewers and excerpts from the Preface and Introduction.)
         Muller's book is very different from Herman's, and balances it well. That is, while Herman comes from a "war-of-the-sexes" feminism and overly simple perpetrator vs. victim formulations, Muller has a more tragic view of the causes of human violence, and a more spiritual understanding of the effects of child abuse and how to heal. His book also has practical exercises for working with particular emotional wounds, grounded in a variety of religious and spiritual traditions (though primarily Christian and Buddhist).


    In terms of articles, I highly recommend two that convey the suffering and struggles of many sexually abused men: the first, in their own language, as expressed in interviews with David Lisak; the second, in terms of factors preventing them from seeking and receiving the help they need and deserve, as described by Guy Holmes, Liz Offen and Glenn Walter. I also recommend the most comprehensive review article on definition, prevalence, correlates, and effects of the sexual abuse of boys, by William Holmes and Gail Slap, and an authoritative study of San Diego HMO members which found that childhood sexual abuse was common among both men and women and both suffered similar long-term impacts.

    I already recommended the Lisak article in the Lasting Effects section above, but will repeat myself here. Again, this paper contains many powerful quotations from interviews with male survivors of sexual abuse. Lisak groups the quotations into themes, and discusses them with remarkable insight and compassion. Here's the reference and an outline of the themes identified from the interviews:

    Lisak, D. (1994). The psychological impact of sexual abuse: Content analysis of interviews with male survivors [2 megabyte PDF]. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 525-548.
    • Anger
    • Fear
    • Homosexuality Issues
    • Helplessness
    • Isolation and Alienation
    • Legitimacy
    • Loss
    • Masculinity Issues
    • Negative Childhood Peer Relations
    • Negative Schemas about People
    • Negative Schemas about the Self
    • Problems with Sexuality
    • Self Blame/Guilt
    • Shame/Humiliation
    One man emailed me to share this experience: "reading [Lisak's article] was the first time I realized that other people have the same issues I have. I sat in the library and cried when I read that article. Not the usual reaction to scholarly research, but I'm sure Prof. Lisak wouldn't mind" (used with permission).

    The title of Holmes, Offen and Waller's paper is pretty self-explanatory, "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood?" Here's the reference and an outline of the paper:

    Holmes, G.R., Offen, L., Waller, G. (1997). See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 69-88.
    • THE EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM
    • WHY DO PROFESSIONALS IDENTIFY RELATIVELY FEW MEN WITH HISTORIES OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE?
      • Does childhood abuse have little effect on men?
      • Are men who have been childhood victims seen by services other than the "helping professions"?
      • Do adult males tend not to disclose their experiences of childhood sexual abuse?
        • Men do not define their childhood experiences as abusive, and do not think that their abuse experiences have had a negative impact.
        • The consequences of disclosure are perceived as worse than the consequences of non-disclosure.
        • There is a paucity of services for adult male victims of childhood sexual abuse.
      • Do clinicians fail to suspect or enquire about histories of sexual abuse in adult male clients?
        • Clinicians' hypothesising about childhood abuse.
        • Clinicians' enquiries about childhood abuse.
        • Clinicians' belief in male clients' disclosures of childhood sexual abuse.
        • Clinicians' responses to disclosure of childhood sexual abuse.
    • CONCLUSIONS
      • The social construction of the "problem" of male victims of childhood sexual abuse
      • Clinical implications

    Below are the reference, abstract and complete 1998 review article by William Holmes and Gail Slap. The journal it was published in, JAMA, is the official journal of the Americian Medical Association. Also, there were two published comments on this article and two author replies, and the references for those are available from the Medline reference.

    Holmes, W. C. & Slap, G. B. (1998). Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae, and management. JAMA, Dec 2, 280(21), 1855-1162.

    OBJECTIVE: To clarify the definition of sexual abuse of boys, update estimates of its prevalence, and explore critically its reported correlates, sequelae, and management.

    DATA SOURCES: Studies from 1985 to 1997 were identified using OVID-MEDLINE and OVID-CINAHL. The search terms used were sexual abuse, sexual victimization, and sexual assault. Constraints applied included English language, human male subjects, age younger than 19 years, and North American samples.

    STUDY SELECTION: Publications were included for review if they appeared in peer-reviewed journals; had clear research designs; reported results for at least 20 male subjects; and were not reviews, perspectives, theoretical treatises, editorials, or letters.

    DATA EXTRACTION: Study types and sampling methods were categorized using well-established definitions. Preference was given to studies with large samples, with case-control or cohort designs, and/or with adjustment for effect modifiers or confounders.

    DATA SYNTHESIS: We identified 166 studies representing 149 sexual abuse samples. Studies were methodologically limited and definitions of sexual abuse varied widely. Prevalence estimates varied widely (by definition used and population studied), ranging from 4% to 76%. Boys at highest risk were younger than 13 years, nonwhite, of low socioeconomic status, and not living with their fathers. Perpetrators tended to be known but unrelated males. Abuse frequently occurred outside the home, involved penetration, and occurred more than once. Sequelae included psychological distress, substance abuse, and sexually related problems. Evaluation of management strategies was limited.

    CONCLUSIONS: Sexual abuse of boys appears to be common, underreported, underrecognized, and undertreated. Future study requires clearer definitions of abuse, improved sampling, more rigorous data collection, more sophisticated data analyses, and better assessment of management and treatment strategies. Regardless, health care professionals should be more aware of and sensitive to the possibility of sexual abuse in their male patients.

    Finally, in terms of recommended articles, is the HMO study mentioned above:

    Dube, S. R., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430-438.

    BACKGROUND: Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a worldwide problem. Although most studies on the long-term consequences of CSA have focused on women, sexual abuse of both boys and girls is common. Thus, a comparison of the long-term effects of CSA by gender of the victim will provide perspective on the need for future research, prevention activities, and treatment of survivors.

    METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted from 1995 to 1997 among 17,337 adult HMO members in San Diego, California. Participants completed a survey about abuse or household dysfunction during childhood, and multiple other health-related issues. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relationships between severity of CSA (intercourse vs no intercourse) and long-term health and social problems (substance use and abuse, mental illness, and current problems with marriage and family) by gender of victim. Models controlled for exposure to other forms of adverse childhood experiences that co-occur with CSA. Among men, the relationship between the gender of the CSA perpetrator to the outcomes was also examined.

    RESULTS: Contact CSA was reported by 16% of males and 25% of females. Men reported female perpetration of CSA nearly 40% of the time, and women reported female perpetration of CSA 6% of the time. CSA significantly increased the risk of the outcomes. The magnitude of the increase was similar for men and women. For example, compared to reporting no sexual abuse, a history of suicide attempt was more than twice as likely among both men and women who experienced CSA (p < 0.05). Compared with those who did not report CSA, men and women exposed to CSA were at a 40% increased risk of marrying an alcoholic, and a 40% to 50% increased risk of reporting current problems with their marriage (p < 0.05).

    CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of adult HMO members, experiencing CSA was common among both men and women. The long-term impact of CSA on multiple health and social problems was similar for both men and women. These findings strongly indicate that boys and girls are vulnerable to this form of childhood maltreatment; the similarity in the likelihood for multiple behavioral, mental, and social outcomes among men and women suggests the need to identify and treat all adults affected by CSA.


    Here is the longer list of books and articles, which is not comprehensive or fully up to date, but provides a good start for those who are interested.

    Abraham, Scott. Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse: Book Reviews.

    Bagley, C. (1991). The prevalence and mental health sequels of child sexual abuse in a community survey of women aged 18 to 27. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 10, 103-116.

    Bagley, C., Wood, M., & Young, L. (1994). Victim to abuser: Mental health and behavioral sequels of child sexual abuse in a community survey of young adult males. Child Abuse and Neglect, 18, 683-697.

    Baker, A. W. & Duncan, S. P. (1985). Child sexual abuse: A study of prevalence in Great Britain. Child Abuse and Neglect, 9, 457-467.

    Bauserman, R. & Rind, B. (1997). Psychological correlates of male child and adolescent sexual experiences with adults: A review of the nonclinical literature. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26, 105-141.

    Belkin, D. S., Greene, A. F., Rodrique, J. R., & Boggs, S. R. (1994). Psychopathology and history of sexual abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 9, 535-547.

    Berendzen, R, & Palmer, L. (1993). Come here : A man overcomes the tragic aftermath of childhood sexual abuse. New York: Villard Books.

    Black, C. A. & DeBlassie, R. R. (1993). Sexual abuse in male children and adolescents: Indicators, effects, and treatments. Adolescence, 28, 123-133.

    Blanchard, G. (1986). Male victims of child sexual abuse: A portent of things to come. Journal of Independent Social Work, 1, 19-27.

    Bolton, F. G. (1989). Males at risk: The other side of sexual abuse. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Briere, J., & Zaidi, L. J. (1988). Sexual abuse histories and sequelae in female psychiatric emergency Room patients. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 1602-1606.

    Brannon, J. M., Larson, B., & Doggett, M. (1989). The extent and origins of sexual molestation and abuse among incarcerated adolescent males. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 33, 161-172.

    Briere, J., Evans, D., Runtz, M., & Wall, T. (1988). Symptomatology in men who were molested as children: A comparison study. American Journal of Ortho-psychiatry, 58, 457-461.

    Briggs, F. & Hawkins, R. M. F. (1996). A comparison of the childhood experiences of convicted male child molesters and men who were sexually abused in childhood and claimed to be nonoffenders. Child Abuse and Neglect, 20, 221-233.

    Bruckner, D. F. & Johnson, P. E. (1987). Treatment for adult male victims of childhood sexual abuse. Social Casework, 68, 81-87.

    Collings, S. J. (1995). The long-term effects of contact and noncontact forms of child sexual abuse in a sample of university men. Child Abuse & Neglect, 19, 1-6.

    Chandy, J. M., Blum, R. W., Resnick, M. D. (1996). Gender-specific outcomes for sexually abused adolescents. Child Abuse & Neglect, 20, 2019-1231.

    de Milly, W. (2000). In my father's arms: A true story of incest. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

    DeJong, A. R., Emmett, G. A., & Hervada, A. A. (1982). Epidemiologic factors in sexual abuse of boys. American Journal of the Diseases of Children, 136, 990-993.

    Dimock, P. T. (1988). Adult males sexually abused as children: Characteristics and implications for treatment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 3, 203-216.

    Dube, S. R., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430-438.

    Ellerstein, N. S., & Canavan, J. W. (1980). Sexual abuse of boys. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 134, 255-257.

    Estrada, H. (1994). Recovery for male victims of child sexual abuse. Santa Fe: Red Rabbit Press.

    Finkelhor, D. (1979). Sexually victimized children. New York: Free Press.

    Finkelhor, D. (1984). Child sexual abuse: New theory and research. New York: Free Press.

    Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse and Neglect, 14, 19-28.

    Freeman-Longo, R. E. (1986). The impact of sexual victimization on males. Child Abuse and Neglect, 10, 411-414.

    Friedrich, W. N., Berliner, L., Urquiza, A. J., & Beilke, R. L. (1988). Brief diagnostic group treatment of sexually abused boys. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 3, 331-343.

    Fritz, G. S., Stoll, K., & Wagner, N. A. (1981). A comparison of males and females who were sexually abused as children. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 7, 4-59.

    Fromuth, M. E. & Burkhart, B. R. (1989). Long-term psychological correlates of childhood sexual abuse in two samples of college men. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 533-542.

    Fromuth, M. E. & Burkhart, B. R. (1987). Childhood sexual victimization among college men: Definitional and methodological issues. Victims and Violence, 2, 241-253.

    Gartner, R. B. (2001). Betrayed as boys: Psychodynamic treatment of sexually abused men. New York: Guilford Press.

    Gartner, R. B. (2005). Beyond betrayal: Taking charge of your life after boyhood sexual abuse. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

    Gilgun, J. & Reiser, E. (1990). The development of sexual identity among men sexually abused as children. Families in Society, 71, 515-521.

    Gold, S. N., Elhai, J. D., Lucenko, B. A., Swingle, J. M., Hughes, D. M. (1998). Abuse characteristics among childhood sexual abuse survivors in therapy: A gender comparison. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 1005-1012.

    Harrison, D. & Sheffer, S. (2005). In a dark time: A prisoner's struggle for healing and change. Amherst, MA: Stone Lion Press. (Publisher's site, including book excerpts.)

    Haskett, M. E., Marziano, B., & Dover, E. R. (1996). Absence of males in maltreatment research: A survey of recent literature. Child Abuse & Neglect, 20, 1175-1182.

    Hepburn, J. M. (1994). The implications of contemporary feminist theories of development for the treatment of male victims of sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 3, 1-18.

    Hillary, B. E. & Schare, M. L. (1993). Sexually and physically abused adolescents: An empirical search for PTSD. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 49, 161-165.

    Holmes, G.R., Offen, L., Waller, G. (1997). See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 69-88.

    Holmes, W. C., Slap, G. B. (1998). Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae, and management. JAMA, Dec 2, 280(21), 1855-1162.

    Hunter, J. A. (1991). A comparison of the psychosocial adjustment of adult males and females sexually molested as children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 6, 205-217.

    Hunter, M. (1990). Abused boys: The neglected victims of sexual abuse. New York: Fawcett Columbine.

    Hunter, M. (Ed.) (1990). The sexually abused male: Prevalence, impact, and treatment. Vol. 1. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

    Hunter, M. (Ed.) (1996). The sexually abused male: Application of treatment strategies. Vol. 2. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

    Johnson, R. L. & Shrier, D. (1987). Past sexual victimization by females of males in an adolescent medicine clinic population. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 650-652.

    Kendall-Tackett, K. A. & Simon, A. F. (1992). A comparison of the abuse experiences of male and female adults molested as children. Journal of Family Violence, 7, 57-62.

    King, N. (1995). Speaking our truth: Voices of courage and healing for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. San Francisco: Harpercollins.

    Kinzl, J. F., Mangweth, B., Traweger, C., Biebl, W. (1996). Sexual dysfunction in males: Significance of adverse childhood experiences. Child Abuse and Neglect, 20, 759-766.

    Krug, R. S. (1989). Adult male reports of childhood sexual abuse by mothers: Case descriptions, motivations and long-term consequences. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 111-119.

    Kuhn, J. (2000). In Cabin Six: An Anthology of Poetry by Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Atascadero, CA: Impact Publishing

    Lawson, C. (1993). Mother-son sexual abuse: Rare or underreported? A critique of the research. Child Abuse and Neglect, 17, 261-269.

    Levesque, R. J. R. (1994). Sex differences in the experience of child sexual victimization. Journal of Family Violence, 9, 357-369.

    Lew, M. (1988). Victims no longer: Men recovering from incest and other child sexual abuse. New York: Nevraumont.

    Lew, M., & Hoffman, R. (2000). Leaping upon the mountains: Men proclaiming victory over sexual child abuse. Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts: Small Wonder Books.

    Lisak, D. (1994). The psychological impact of sexual abuse: Content analysis of interviews with male survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 525-548.

    Lisak, D., Hopper, J., & Song, P. (1996). Factors in the cycle of violence: Gender Rigidity and emotional constriction. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 721-743.

    Lisak, D. & Luster, L. (1994). Educational, occupational, and relationship histories of men who were sexually and/or physically abused as children. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 507-523.

    Mendel, M. P. (1990). The male survivor: The impact of sexual abuse. London: Sage.

    Metcalfe, M., Oppenheimer, R., Dignon, A., & Palmer, R.L. (1990). Childhood sexual experiences reported by male psychiatric patients. Psychological Medicine, 20, 925-929.

    Mezey, G. C., & King, M. B. (Eds.) (1992). Male victims of sexual assault. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Myers, M. F. (1989). Men sexually assaulted as adults and sexually abused as boys. 13th Annual Canadian Sex Research Forum Conference (1986, Vancouver, Canada). Archives of Sexual Behavior, 18, 203-215.

    Nasjleti, M. (1980). Suffering in silence: The male incest victim. Child Welfare, 59, 269-275.

    Olson, P. E. (1990). The sexual abuse of boys: A study of the long-term psychological effects. In M. Hunter (Ed.), The sexually abused male: Vol. 1. Prevalence, impact and treatment (pp.137-152). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

    Peters, D. K. & Range, L. M. (1995). Childhood sexual abuse and current suicidality in college women and men. Child Abuse and Neglect, 19, 335-341.

    Pierce, R. & Pierce, L. H. (1985). The sexually abused child: A comparison of male and female victims. Special Issue: C. Henry Kempe memorial research issue. Child Abuse and Neglect, 9, 191-199.

    Risin, L. I. & Koss, M. P. (1987). The sexual abuse of boys: Prevalence and descriptive characteristics of childhood victimizations. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, 309-323.

    Rosen, L. N. & Martin, L. (1998). Long-term effects of childhood maltreatment history on gender-related personality characteristics. Child Abuse & Neglect, 22, 197-211.

    Schacht, A. J., Kerlinsky, D., & Carlson, C. (1990). Group therapy with sexually abused boys: Leadership, projective identification, and countertransference issues. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 40, 401-417.

    Siegel, J. M., Sorenson, S. B., Golding, J. M., Burman, M. A, & Stein, J. A. (1987). The prevalence of childhood sexual assault: The Los Angeles epidemiology catchment area project. American Journal of Epidemiology, 126, 1141-1153.

    Summit, R. C. (1983). The child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. Child Abuse and Neglect, 7, 133-146.

    Urquiza, A. & Capra, M. (1990). The impact of sexual abuse: Initial and long-term effects. In M. Hunter (Ed.) The sexually abused male: Prevalence, impact, and treatment. Vol. 1. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.

    Urquiza, A. & Keating, L. M. (1990). The prevalence of sexual victimization of males. In M. Hunter (Ed.), The sexually abused male: Prevalence, impact, and treatment. Vol. 1. Lexinton, MA: Lexington Books.

    Violato, C. & Genuis, M. (1993). Problems in research in male child sexual abuse: A review. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 2, 33-54.

    Watkins, B., & Bentovim, A. (1992). The sexual abuse of male children and adolescents: A review of current research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33, 197-248.

    Young, R. E. (1994). Comparison of the effects of sexual abuse on male and female latency-aged children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 9, 291-306.


    Female Perpetrators
    Contents

    Below is a list of books and papers. It is not comprehensive, but does include some excellent books and a PDF of a recent and very authoritative study (Dube et al., 2005). It includes one excellent book, by Michelle Elliott, that is accessible to all readers, three others written for professionals, and a number of papers.

    I also recommend Female Offenders, a website and blog on women who sexually abuse children. There are many thoughtful and well-researched articles, including one on Mother-Son Sexual Abuse.

    You can purchase books listed below directly from the publisher or from an online bookseller.

    The books:

    Davin, P., Dunbar, T., & Hilsop, J. (1999). Female Sexual Abusers: Three Views. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.

    Elliott, Michele (Ed.). (1993). Female Sexual Abuse of Children. New York: Guilford Press.
         Mike Lew, author of Victims No Longer, an excellent book for male survivors of sexual abuse, says of this book: "Michele Elliott and her colleagues guide us through denial, stereotypes, and conventional misinformation to an unflinching examination of painful realities. Theoretical, research, and clinical chapters help to forge a new understanding of the issues and set directions for further exploration. Many survivors, both male and female, will finally have their experiences validated. The powerfully moving survivors' stories will be vital tools for survivors in their healing and will aid therapists in understanding the complexities of recovery from sexual abuse by females" (from the cover).

    Hislop, Julia. (2001). Female Sex Offenders: What Therapists, Law Enforcement and Child Protective Services Need to Know. Enumclaw, Washington: Issues Press.
         This comprehensive book has received rave reviews from the professionals for whom it was written.

    Mathews, R, Matthews, J. K., & Speltz, K. (1989). Female Sexual Offenders: An Exploratory Study. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.

    Miletski, H. (2007). Mother-Son Incest: The Unthinkable Broken Taboo. Brandon, VT: Safer Society Press.

    Saradjian, J. & Hanks, H. (1996). Women Who Sexually Abuse Children: From Research to Clinical Practice (Wiley Series in Child Care and Protection) NY: John Wiley & Sons.

    The papers:

    Allen, C. M., & Pothast, H. L. (1994). Distinguishing characteristics of male and female child sex abusers. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 21, 73-88.

    Bachmann, K. M., Moggi, F., Stirnemann-Lewis, F. (1994) Mother-son incest and its long-term consequences: A neglected phenomenon in psychiatric practice. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 182, 723-725.

    Banning, A. (1989). Mother-son incest: Confronting a prejudice. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13, 563-570.

    Baron, R. S., Burgess, M. L., & Kao, C. F. (1991). Detecting and labeling prejudice: Do female perpetrators go undetected? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 115-123.

    Briere J., & Elliott D.M. (2003). Prevalence and psychological sequelae of self-reported childhood physical and sexual abuse in a general population sample of men and women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 1205-1222. [includes statistics on females' perpetrating sexual abuse against boys and girls]

    Condy, S. R., Templer, D. I., Brown, R., & Veaco, L. (1987). Parameters of sexual contact of boys with women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 16, 379-394.

    Dube, S. R., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430-438.

    Etherington, K. (1997). Maternal sexual abuse of males. Child Abuse Review. 6, 107-117

    Faller, K. C. (1987). Women who sexually abuse children. Violence and Victims, 2, 263-276.

    Fehrenbach, P. A., & Monastersky, C. (1988). Characteristics of female adolescent sexual offenders. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 58, 148-151.

    Finkelhor, D., Meyers, M. W., & Burns, N. (1988). Nursery crimes: Sexual abuse in day care. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.

    Finkelhor, D., & Russell, D. (1984). Women as perpetrators. In D. Finkelhor (Ed.), Child sexual abuse: New theory and research (pp.171-187). New York: Free Press.

    Harper, J. F. (1993). Prepuberal male victims of incest: A clinical study. Child Abuse and Neglect, 17, 419-421.

    Johnson, R. L., & Shrier, D. (1987). Past sexual victimization by females of male patients in an adolescent medicine clinic population. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 650-652.

    Johnson, T. C. (1989). Female child perpetrators: Children who molest other children. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13, 571-585.

    Krug, R. S. (1989). Adult male reports of childhood sexual abuse by mothers: Case descriptions, motivations and long-term consequences. Child Abuse and Neglect, 13, 111-119.

    Lawson, C. (1993). Mother-son sexual abuse: Rare or underreported? A critique of the research. Child Abuse and Neglect, 17, 261-269.

    Marvesti, J. (1986). Incestuous mothers: American Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 7, 63-69.

    McCarthy, L. M. (1986). Mother-child incest: Characteristics of the offender. Child Welfare, LXI, 447-459.

    O'Conner, A. (1987). Female sex offenders. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 615-620.

    Sarrel, P. M., & Masters, W. H. (1982). Sexual molestation of men by women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 11, 117-131.

    Wahl, C.W. (1960). The psychodynamics of consummated maternal incest. Archives of General Psychiatry, 3, 96/188-101/193.

    Wakefield, H., Rogers, M., and Underwager, R. (1990). Female sexual abusers: A theory of loss. Issues In Child Abuse Accusations, 2, 181-195.


    Additional Resources
    Contents

    This section includes links to other sites on the Web with resources for male survivors of sexual abuse.

    If you need immediate information about and/or connection to resources in your own community in the United States, here are three 24-hour toll-free hotlines that you can call:

    Childhelp USA's National Child Abuse Hotline
    1-800-422-4453
    (1-800-4ACHILD)

    Childhelp USA is a non-profit organization "dedicated to meeting the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of abused and neglected children." Its programs and services include this hotline, which children can call with complete anonymity and confidentiality. For more information, see Help for Kids, What to Expect When Calling, and other helpful information at their web site. From the site: "The Childhelp USAź National Child Abuse Hotline is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Don't be afraid to call. No one is silly or unimportant to us. If something is bothering you or you want information, CALL!"

    Rape Abuse & Incest National Network
    1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)

    RAINN RAINN RAINN has a 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline and a National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (chat) staffed with trained volunteers and paid staff members who also have knowledge of sexual abuse issues and services. All calls are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous if they wish.

    National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline
    1-800-799-SAFE
    1-800-799-7233
    1-800-787-3224 TDD

    This is a 24-hour-a-day hotline, staffed by trained volunteers who are ready to connect people with emergency help in their own communities, including emergency services and shelters. The staff can also provide information and referrals for a variety of non-emergency services, including counseling for adults and children, and assistance in reporting abuse. They have an extensive database of domestic violence treatment providers in all US states and territories. Many staff members speak languages besides English, and they have 24-hour access to translators for approximately 150 languages. For the hearing impaired, there is a TDD number. This is a good resource for people who are experiencing or have experienced domestic violence or abuse, or who suspect that someone they know is being abused (though it is not perfect, and may not have the best number in your area). All calls to the hotline are confidential, and callers may remain anonymous if they wish.

    If you are a male with a history of sexual abuse or someone in a relationship with (and trying to help) a male with that history, two sections of my Child Abuse page have extensive information that you may find useful :

    If you are a parent, caregiver or other adult concerned about a boy who has been sexually abused, the Resources for Parents & Caregivers section of my Child Abuse page has information that you may find useful.

    If you are looking for a therapist or counselor in the United States, even if only for a couple of consultations, the Sidran Foundation has an extensive list of therapists and clinics around the country that specialize in treating people with histories of severe child abuse. See their page About the Help Desk.

    For still more web links to child abuse resources, see my page, Child Abuse: Statistics, Research, and Resources. There are great resources there that are not here.

    1in6
          Their mission: To help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. Their website is has lots of information for men with histories of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood, and for people who care about them. (Working with 1in6 staff, graphic designers and technology partners, I envisioned the site and authored its pages through 2011.)

    1in6
          A great Australian organization and website that, like 1in6.org, has lots of information for men sexually abused as boys and for people who care about them.

    MaleSurvivor: Overcoming Sexual Victimization of Boys & Men
         Their mission: "We are committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism." Their site has many helpful resources, including A Consumers Guide To Therapist Shopping, and the organization offers "Weekends of Recovery" several times a year.

    Male Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors
         Scott Abraham is the Associate Webmaster of this section of MenWeb. The site includes a collection of writings by Scott, including Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse: Book Reviews, his very helpful review of eight books.

    Stories of Silence: Recovering from Boyhood Sexual Abuse
         Web site of Ethan Delavan's powerful documentary film.

    British Columbia Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
         This non-profit society has the mission of providing "therapeutic services for males who have been sexually abused at some time in their lives." This includes direct services to men and their significant others; providing training to help establish new agencies for male survivors of sexual abuse in British Columbia; and consulting with community and government groups on prevention, treatment, therapy, and other matters relating to sexual abuse of males.

    Incest, Sexual and Ritual Abuse, Emotional Abuse: Articles for Survivors and Their Friends
         Several short, clear and informative articles by Kali Munro, a therapist with experience treating men with histories of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood.

    The Next Step Counseling and Training, and Small Wonder Books
         This is the website of Mike Lew, M.Ed. and Thom Harrigan, LICSW, and includes information about their center in Newton, Massachusetts, workshops for male survivors that they offer around the world, and Lew's new book, Leaping upon the mountains: Men proclaiming victory over child sexual abuse. Lew is also the author of Victims No Longer, considered by many to be the best book ever written about and for male survivors of sexual abuse.

    Richard Gartner, Ph.D.
         Dr. Gartner has written books and articles on the sexual abuse of males and their treatment in therapy, and is past president of MaleSurvivor. His web site has many resources, including writings and testimony by Gartner on a variety of issues relevant to males with histories of sexual abuse.

    No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons
         This excellent and ground-breaking report, published by Human Rights Watch in April 2001, provides the strongest and most accessible evidence to date of the brutality of U.S. prisons - and the urgent need for action.

    Just Detention International (JDI)
         JDI is a human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. Their site has many informative and educational documents on prison rape, including an extensive publications section.

    Effective Group Therapy With Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
         Writing from a psychodynamic systems perspective, Mikele Rauch and John W. Jones nicely describe some of the issues and challenges for therapists considering this mode of treatment.

    To find the latest research in medical and psychological journals, use the PubMed database, provided free by the National Institutes of Health. You can go to the site, or launch your search using the form below.

    Search    for  


    Giving and Receiving Guidance and Hope
    Contents

    From this section you can go to a page where men share their own brief stories of:

    1. Finding therapists, groups, and organizations that are helping or have helped them recover from sexual abuse.

    2. How these healing relationships are helping or have helped them recover and transform their lives.

    3. If applicable, how struggles with their masculinity have been related to the healing process.

    The stories are typically a few paragraphs, and are not focused on abuse experiences (beyond basic information, including who was involved and ages when it happened).

    For men considering seeking help or beginning to do such work, these stories can be sources of guidance and hope.

    For some men further along in recovery, this page has provided an opportunity to offer guidance and hope to many men around the world.

    Go to Sexually Abused Males: Giving and Receiving Guidance and Hope

    Please note: I will maintain this page as long as people can benefit from it. However, I am not currently accepting submissions.


    Feature: Males Sexually Assaulted in the Military
    Contents

    On June 21, 2006 I had the honor of giving a plenary address on male victims at a conference for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) in the US military.

    The Department of Defense opened the Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office and created the SARC role in 2005 – two years after a high profile story/scandal about sexual assault of female cadets at the Air Force Academy, one year after a special task force on sexual assault in the military had completed its work.

    My talk at the SARC training conference was Male Victims: Special Issues (PDF, opens in new window). Though focused on sexual assault, most of this talk applies to males struggling with the psychological effects of combat and other traumatic wartime experiences.

    Also on this topic, Dr. Mic Hunter, author of the classic Abused Boys, has recently published Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America's Military. In this book Dr. Hunter not only addresses the harsh realities of sexual abuse of males in the military, but examines the underlying factors that cause and even encourage it.


    Announcements
    Contents

    An Online Study for Adults Sexually Abused as Children

    You are invited to participate in a clinical research project that examines your experiences of child sexual abuse and related issues concerning that abuse. Your participation is completely voluntary, and this study will take about 30 to 40 minutes to complete. Most of the questions will be about your experiences of child sexual abuse, your memory of the events, and related issues. The results of this study should help to further our understanding of the effects of child sexual abuse on memory. This understanding will help researchers and therapists to develop more effective intervention programs to assist people who experienced sexual abuse in childhood.

    Check out the study here.

    Skype Interview Study of Men Who've Had Unwanted Sexual Experiences as Adults

    Suffolk University researchers are seeking volunteers for a research study. You may be eligible if you are a man who identifies as not heterosexual (e.g., gay, bisexual, queer) and if you have had unwanted sexual experiences as an adult and told someone else. Online screening to determine eligibility at www.surveymonkey.com/s/disclosurescreening. 60-90 minute Skype interview if eligible. $30 Amazon giftcard for interview participants.

    Retreats and Workshops for Men With Histories of Childhood Sexual Abuse


    Contents

    This page is maintained by Jim Hopper, Ph.D., as are the pages below.

    Sexually Abused Males: Giving and Receiving Guidance and Hope

    Factors in the Cycle of Violence - Abused Boys, Gender Socialization, and Violent Men

    Mindfulness and Kindness: Inner Resources for Increasing Freedom and Happiness

    Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse: Scientific Research & Scholarly Resources

    Jim Hopper's Professional Services - Therapy, Talks, Workshops & Consultation



    © 1996-2012 Jim Hopper
    www.jimhopper.com
    jhopper@jimhopper99.com [remove numbers] - Put 'consult' in subject or I won't receive it.
    Please note: Sadly, I cannot always respond to every message.