Boys and men can be victims of sexual abuse and rape.
According to research, at least 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused in childhood and 1 out of every 4 males will experience some form of sexual trauma in their lives.
Sexual abuse happens whenever anyone is forced, pressured or persuaded to engage in sexual activity. When this sexual activity happens to a child, it may not even occur to the child that they have been sexually abused.
A Relationship of Trust
If the child is in a relationship of trust with their abuser, feelings and thoughts can become very confused.
Sometimes the physical act of sexual abuse happens at the tail end of more obvious physical and emotional violence. In the mind of a child, boundaries can very easily become blurred.
If the abuser - male or female - has already established a trust relationship with the child, it is common for that child not to recognise sexual activity as abuse.
It Is Not Always Obvious
It's true. Men who have experienced sexual abuse at some point in their lives, may not actually be aware they were actually sexually abused.
Men will often attend counselling to deal with the physical and emotional abuse they have experienced much earlier in their lives, only to discover that the abuse had a distinct sexual component they were previously not aware of.
This is often true of sexual abuse that happens when you are a child or adolescent.
It has nothing to do with the controversial topic of 'repressed memories' either. It has everything to do with being 'groomed' by your abuser.
What is 'Grooming'?
Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexually abusing that child. Children and young people can be groomed online or face-to-face, by a stranger or by someone they know - for example a family member, friend or professional.
Groomers may be male or female. They could be any age. Groomers will hide their true intentions and may spend a long time gaining a child's trust.
Groomers may try to gain the trust of a whole family to allow them to be left alone with a child and if they work with children they may use similar tactics with their colleagues.
Many children and young men don't understand that they have been groomed or that what has happened is abuse. Decades may pass and the abused boy, now a man, may still be unaware that the abuse they experienced as a child was actually sexual too.
How Do You Define Male Child Sexual Abuse?
There are two distinct types of male childhood sexual abuse: contact and non-contact.
Contact Sexual Abuse
Contact abuse involves touching activities where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, including penetration. It includes:
Sexual touching of any part of the body whether the child's wearing clothes or not
Rape or penetration by putting an object or body part inside a child's mouth or anus
Forcing or encouraging a child to take part in sexual activity
Making a child take their clothes off, touch someone else's genitals or masturbate.
Non-Contact Sexual Abuse
Non-contact abuse involves non-touching activities, such as grooming, persuading children to perform sexual acts over the internet and flashing. It includes:
Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts
Not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activities by others
Meeting a child following sexual grooming with the intent of abusing them
Online abuse including making, viewing or distributing child abuse images
Allowing someone else to make, view or distribute child abuse images
Showing pornography to a child
Sexually exploiting a child for money, power or status.