Welcome back to the Better Blokes You Tube channel.
We give male survivors of sexual abuse, tools that will help improve quality of life.
In these videos we looks at a key issues that impact survivors throughout their life journey.
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Today we talk about the issue that is crucial to moving forward with your life; Breaking the Silence.
The trauma of childhood sexual abuse is unique. It creates a the veil of silence that enables the abuser to continue the abuse. Victims remain confused and traumatised throughout adult life unless a safe way is found to disclose the trauma.
So: why might you find it difficult, and uncomfortable, to talk about your sexual abuse ?
Childhood sexual abuse is generally seen as the most despicable of crimes. In some countries offenders are executed. In prison sexual abusers are considered the lowest of the low. They are always excluded from wider society.
This highly motivates the abuser to silence the survivor. And the survivor takes on significant and undeserved shame.
We look at why silence is maintained by:
- The sexually abusive predator
- The wider unconsciously enabling society, and
- The victims of the abuse
Sexual predators are imagined to be strangers: danger as children that will randomly attempt to abduct us or attack us.
Reality is very different. Most sexual abuse is committed by people known and trusted by child.
• Family members,
• sports coaches,
• and other people in the childs circle.
Sexual predators are successful when they hide in plain sight.
Sexual predators are experts at grooming victims for abuse. This includes encouragement and belief that silence, and secrecy are vital.
Sexual abuse of children is not necessarily sudden or violent. It is usually a carefully planned strategy that often includes grooming the family as well as the child.
Grooming makes people feel comfortable with a behavior, that would be viewed with suspicion if it happened suddenly. Grooming involves creating situations where the victim is isolated. Such as:
• Positive social outings often involving treats and escalating from safe comforting touching to sexual behaviour.
• Building the cage of secrecy and silence with the victim evolves through the life stages of the young child.
• Often encouraged by treats and special favours and constant affirmations that they are special.
Once trust has been established with the child and family, silence is enforced with coercive threats:
• Threatening of physical harm to or social exposure of the child.
• Creating guilt in the child if the abuser is exposed.
• Shame or financial damage to the childs family. Children want to avoid disruption or harm.
Abusers in powerful positions use that to prevent exposure. High-profile prosecutions come as a shock. The predator has created a shield of credibility that covers their of abuse children. Status makes it difficult for victims to come forward. They fear not being believed.
• sport stars,
• religious figures
• well -respected community members.
Survivors can be abused from infancy through early childhood and teenage years. Sexual abusers often target a particular age of child.
As the survivor ages the abuser abandons the victim. Leaving them with debilitating unresolved trauma that impacts the rest of their life.
For the family and community, the sexual abuse is often occurring in plain sight:
• Most of us are trusting by nature.
• We see support or encouragement for children as a positive thing.
• Mostly true but exploited by the sexual predator to access vulnerable children.
• Families can want to protect financial and social status
We can suspect something is wrong but the social conspiracy makes it hard for us to challenge the suspected abuser. We don’t know what to do. It can be hard to believe a single victim, especially if the victim is very young.
Victims feel that there is no one they can turn to. No one who would believe thier story. Ironically once one victim has come forward there can be a flood of other survivors wanting to tell their story.
Why do victim maintain silence ?
Young victims are made to feel special important and the secrecy was part of maintaining that sense of importance. They are given treats or special treatment that separates them from other children. No matter how young they were they had a sense that what was happening to them wasn’t good or something they wanted to have happen.
At the early stages of gaining trust with the child were reasonably benign, often positive and pleasurable for the child.
Silence has different motives as the survivor ages and progresses through life.
Male survivors sometimes say they have a desire to protect their family and sometimes the predator from persecution as a reason for the early silence. It is easier to maintain silence and secrecy.
It is a sad reality that survivors can takes 30 years feel safe enough to disclose. For 75% of men disclosure never occurs.
Unresolved trauma frequently exhibits through feelings of:
and anger management issues. (slides)
In further videos we will explore each of these issues in more detail and suggest tools methods and support systems to help people deal with unresolved trauma.