Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse

It is estimated that one in six adult males report to have been sexually molested as a child. It is believed that as many as one in five boys are actually sexually abused. Due to a sense of shame and fear, many victims do not report their abuse or their abusers. Male victims report less often than female.

See Ten Facts about Sexual Abuse of Boys and its Aftermath for more facts about male sexual abuse as well as Myths About Male Sexual Victimization which will help to dispel many of the misconceptions surrounding sexual abuse against boys.

In his book, Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse, Mike Lew hits the nail on the head when he says, "Seeing children as property is where the problem starts and is crucial to the whole question of abuse."

He says so many profound things. Another quote of his is, "Abuse is never deserved, nor is the child ever responsible. It is only when we recognize as a living reality that children require protection from all forms of abuse–when we incorporate this recognition into the depths of our beings and reflect it throughout our social institutions–will we become a truly healthy society."

One of the things that hit me the hardest was the definition of incest he uses. Basically, he defines incest as sexual abuse in which the perpetrator is in a protective ("parental") role to the victim. A "caretaker". This definition encompasses parent, stepparent, older sibling, neighbor, family friend, teacher, pastor, therapist, counselor, etc etc. Sexual abuse by a caretaker is said to be incestuous as it destroys the natural trust that a child has for a person in that role. Strangers, we are taught, we cannot trust. This differentiates incestuous sexual abuse as it is done by someone the child is taught to believe they can trust. In turn, the exploitation perpetrated by someone close to the child destroys the child as well as their ability to trust. Not only that, but often the family is not there to comfort (especially when they *are* the perpetrators) or help repair the damage from incest…whereas in a sexual attack by a stranger, the victim can often turn to family for support.

For those men recovering from sexual child abuse, I would encourage you to read Mike Lew's book. In Mike's words, "The wounds of boyhood sexual abuse must be healed so you can move on to enjoyment of a full and satisfying adult life."


Online resources: – Includes a discussion forum for support as well as chat (and many other resources for male survivors of sexual abuse. for statistics, research, and resources.

a boy's story The Spirit of Innocence The Gift of Sight

A listing of resources courtesy of

Additional recommended reading:

Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse
Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse
Broken Boys / Mending Men: Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse
The Male Survivor: The Impact of Sexual Abuse
Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men
Wounded Boys Heroic Men: A Man's Guide to Recovering from Child Abuse

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