10 ways to prevent sexual abuse of boys

In our previous blog, we discussed how society views boys and men, and the stereotypes and myths about sexual abuse of boys. Here, we present to you the common experiences that male survivors go through, the long-term effects of sexual abuse of boys and how we can prevent this and protect our boys.

Common experiences shared by men and boys

Some common experiences of child sexual abuse of boys shared by men include:

  • “When I read rape victim posts, I feel angry and sad.”
  • “I isolated myself as I thought everyone was going to think less of me.”
  • “I try to stay attentive due to the fear of someone touching me.”
  • “I got confused about my sexual orientation.”
  • “I remember the past, and it fills me with fear of the possibility of it happening again.”
  • “I feel deep remorse for the entire act; I wish I could have found the strength to resist.”
  • “I was unaware of everything but gradually I realized that I was addicted to all the sexual stuff.”
  • “I could not tell my family as everyone would have blamed me as I am the male.”
  • “I suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks as a teenager.”
  • “When I shared my story with my girlfriend, she broke up with me because she believed I was lying to gain sympathy.”
  • “I was overwhelmed by fear of judgment, as society often unfairly blames guys for such situations.”
  • “A guy convinced me to touch my genitals.”
  • “I couldn’t comprehend what had happened. The incident has changed me forever, I never felt normal after that.”
  • “For 13 years I didn’t speak against it. Even after years of medical help, I have to relive the incident. I wish to heal someday.”
  • “I try to avoid that place as it reminds me of the incident.”
  • “I still feel uncomfortable if someone touches me even for a handshake.”

Bachpan Save The Innocence provides a platform for the survivors of child sexual abuse to open up and share their stories. These words are stated by survivors of sexual abuse of boys in our I Believe You (IBY) box where survivors share their stories and we make sure they feel heard and empowered.

Long-term Effects of Sexual Abuse of Boys

Men and boys who have been sexually abused may experience the same effects of sexual assault as other survivors, and they may face other challenges that are more unique to their experience. The physical and mental health consequences of sexual abuse of boys are far-reaching and can last for many years.

  • Physical health consequences: Men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse are more likely to suffer from long-term physical health problems such as chronic pain, digestive issues, and problems with sleep. They may also be more vulnerable to developing substance abuse issues.
  • Mental health consequences: Men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse may suffer from a range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They may also have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Cognitive consequences: Men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse may experience cognitive issues such as difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, and impaired judgment.
  • Emotional consequences: Men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse may have difficulty managing their emotions and may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and fear. They may also have difficulty trusting others and forming meaningful connections.

Many men who have been impacted by sexual abuse have reported changes in their sexual orientation, sexual identity, and sexual problems. Here are the gender-specific long-term effects that are often observed in male survivors of sexual abuse:

  1. Sexual identity and orientation: Many men who have been sexually abused as children struggle with their sexual identity and orientation. This can lead to confusion, anxiety, and feelings of disconnection from their peers.
  1. Sexual problems: Male survivors of sexual abuse often experience issues with sexual performance, including difficulty with arousal and ejaculation, as well as an increased risk of developing sexual dysfunctions.

These gender-specific impacts demonstrate the significant toll that sexual abuse of boys can take on a man’s mental and physical health.

How to prevent the sexual abuse of boys?

  1. Be the barrier: Children pick up little things very easily. Treat both girls and boys equally so that boys don’t feel hesitant to share their emotions and stand far away from societal stereotypes. Normalise boys being vulnerable.
  1. Teach your child about boundaries: Let your child know that no one has the right to touch them or make them feel uncomfortable — this includes hugs from relatives or even tickling from mom or dad.
  1. From an early age, teach your child the names of their body parts: Teaching a child these words gives them the ability to come to you when something is wrong. Learn more about talking to children about sexual assault
  1. It is important to let your child know that their body is their own: Just as importantly, remind your child that they do not have the right to touch someone else if that person does not want to be touched. Teach your child how to talk about their bodies. 
  1. Let them know they won’t get in trouble: Many perpetrators use secret-keeping or threats as a way of keeping children quiet about abuse. Remind your child frequently that they will not get in trouble for talking to you, no matter what they need to say. When they do come to you, follow through on this promise and avoid punishing them for speaking up.
  1. Get to know the people in your child’s life: Know who your child is spending time with, including other children and adults. Ask your child about the kids they go to school with, the parents of their friends, and other people they may encounter, such as teammates or coaches. Talk about these people openly and ask questions so your child can feel comfortable doing the same. Choose caregivers carefully. Whether it’s a babysitter, a new school, or an after-school activity, be diligent about screening caregivers for your child.
  1. Talk about the media: incidents of sexual violence are frequently covered by the news and portrayed in television shows. Ask your child questions about this coverage to start a conversation. Questions like, “Have you ever heard of this happening before?” or “What would you do if you were in this situation?” can signal to your child that these are important issues that they can talk about with you.
  1. Learn more about talking to your kids about sexual abuse: Know the warning signs. Become familiar with the warning signs of child sexual abuse, and notice any changes with your child, no matter how small. Whether it’s happening to your child or a child you know, you have the potential to make a big difference in that person’s life by stepping in.
  1. Be available: Set time aside to spend with your child where they have your undivided attention. Let your child know that they can come to you if they have questions or if someone is talking to them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. If they do come to you with questions or concerns, follow through on your word and make the time to talk.
  2. Give them the chance to raise new topics:  Sometimes asking direct questions like, “Did you have fun?” and “Was it a good time?” won’t give you the answers you need. Give your child a chance to bring up their concerns or ideas by asking open-ended questions like “Is there anything else you want to discuss?

Bachpan Save the Innocence relentlessly works on child sexual abuse prevention by providing workshops in schools and institutes for children, parents, teachers, lawyers, police officials, etc. Let’s make this world a safe place for our children – girls and boys – together!
Know more about us here!

3 thoughts on “10 ways to prevent sexual abuse of boys”

  1. Great blog!
    I liked how proper flow was maintained throughout the the blog, one topic after the other.
    It was so effortless to read it, felt like a small story!

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