National Organization works for Perspective on Male Sexual Abuse

By Mary Barker
Herald Staff Writer
September 22, 1998
Monterey, CA

There is still a prevailing assumption that sexual abuse simply doesn’t happen to men. The National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization would like to change that. If it’s statistics you need, they have them.

One out of six boys nationwide is molested by the time he’s 18 years old. Approximately 50 percent of all incidents are never reported and only 10 percent of those come from boys. Of those, an estimated 15 percent involve a female perpetrator.

Mom, grandma, a distant aunt, an older sister, the babysitter, as unbelievable as it might sound. “It’s hard enough to admit molestation, but it’s really hard to admit molestation by a woman,” said Stephen Braveman, a Monterey Marriage and Family Therapist, who conducts a support group for men on Tuesday evenings and said more and more of the attendees have been victimized by females. “There’s a stigma that you’re some kind of wimp,” he continued. “Or boys who are molested by women get told that they got lucky.”

There are enough occurrences of all forms of male molestation that the first annual NOMSV West Coast Retreat — “Healing from Sexual Abuse: For the Victim, the Partner and the Therapist” — will be held Sept. 24-27, 1998 at Mt. Madonna Center in Watsonville. “It’s going to be four days of healing and education,” said Braveman, a co-chair of the retreat. “They’re going to learn how to renegotiate their current relationship and how to find the right partner. Their partners will learn how to live with a survivor. There will be a good mixture of healing and sharing of stories.”

The first professional conference on Male Sexual Victimization was held in Minneapolis MN, a decade ago. NOMSV was incorporated as a non-profit seven years later. “The NOMSV is a group of men who, in a nutshell, said, ‘How about something for the guys?’ ” Braveman said. “These are not only men who were molested in childhood, but men who were molested as adults.” And women are welcome to join, too.

“It’s a group for people who want to help men heal,” Braveman explained, “and to help stop rape and molestation.”

HOW BOYS SHOW THEY’VE BEEN ABUSED:

“I’m hurt…”

Headaches, stomach aches
Difficulty walking or sitting
Bedwetting
Soreness or bruising of genitals
Soreness or bleeding from rectum
Discharge from penis
Oral herpes/gonorrhea
“I feel…”

Angry
Ashamed
Anxious
Distrustful
Afraid and sad
Confused and alone
“I don’t know why I act this way…”

Frequent bad dreams/nightmares
Aggressive, fighting
Trouble with friends
Eating, sleeping too much/not enough
Hurtful to others/self
Change in school performance
Withdrawing or clinging
Excessive masturbation
Repetitive sex play
Sophisticated knowledge of sexual language/activities
(Information provided by the Merced County Department of Mental Health)

Sources For Help:

National Child Abuse Hotline – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, (800) 422-4453

Survivors of Childhood Abuse Program – contact this program through the National Child Abuse Hotline

Support Group for Men – Monterey Rape Crisis Center, Tuesday evenings from 6-7:30 p.m., fees based on sliding scale, (831) 373-3955 or (831) 633-2953

Stephen L. Braveman, LMFT, DST, Sex and Sexual Abuse Related Therapies:

Phone: (831) 375-7553
Web:   www.bravemantherapy.com
Email:  stephen@bravemantherapy.com