With all the talk about male sexual abuse going on, especially with the Penn State scandal, I thought it would be a good time to re-run an article I did back in 2007 for the now defunct Defending Truth website. It was one of my best received articles at the time.
For some reason there seems to be a foregone conclusion in our society that women cannot and are not abusive in the same way men are. People believe women are incapable of sexually or physically abusing anyone, especially children or males. As such women who do molest boys or beat their spouses are least likely to get help for it. I can hear the laughter now at such a preposterous and absolutely ludicrous suggestion that females could be child molesters or “husband beaters”. However, men are starting to come out and talk about their hidden shame. For far too long, males, especially young boys, have been made to feel that if a female had sex with them, then he did something right not that she did something wrong. He had become ‘a man.’ He was to be congratulated. They have also been told if a woman hits and you take it then you are not a man, however if he does raise his hand to her he liable to be hit with a domestic violence charge, even if it was purely self defense. This leaves a lot of men not knowing what to do.
I don’t pretend to be completely objective about sexual abuse particularly, as something that I have experienced, (of course in my case, it was the usual male perpetrators.) I have a kinship for anyone who has gone through this. So I readily identify with the victims and hold no allegiance to perpetrators, even female ones. A woman should not get a free pass because of her gender when it comes to victimizing a young boy. I see her role in sexual abuse no different that I do a male victimizer. Not to mention, the male victim’s pain is just as real as mine is. Probably even more so, since no one even believes he is in pain to begin with. As far as the physical abuse goes, more needs to be done to insure all parties; men and women both have resources available to them when in such a dangerous situation. No one should have to take abuse, man, woman, or child.
Statistics show that women abusers are not the rarity that many people believe it is. ‘Sexual assault of boys by females – whether they be mothers, sisters, grandmothers, or other women – is grossly underreported. In his book “Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse,” psychologist and therapist Mic Hunter stated that “women account for 20% of the [sexual] abuse of boys.” http://www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/abusedboys.htm
Many reading this article may feel I am betraying my gender by bringing such things to light. However, it is the ones keeping it hidden and secret that are doing the real harm. To deny the violent streak in women does not make it go away. Not only does bringing the information out help men get on with their lives, it helps women by forcing them to deal with issues that may not want to. Violence in people is not gender-based as society would have you believe. Men are no more prone to violence than women are. In fact, most violent people tend to have a psychological disorder, the most prevalent being Borderline Personality Disorder. [Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) was first introduced in 1984, so it is a relatively new psychiatric disorder] In fact, women by and large suffer more from BPD than men do. According to most studies, seventy-five percent of people with BPD are women. This does not mean everyone with BPD is going to end up abusing their spouse or children. Only that it is contributable factor and one that must be considered when it does occur. (Note: Studies show men with BPD tend to have a proclivity for violence against women they are in a relationship with, but no studies have been done to confirm the BPD connection and violence in women even though women suffer from it more than men.)
Whether it is physical, emotional or sexual abuse more must be done to protect everyone. As a true feminist (ugh I hate that word), I believe in true equality for women, that means women must be held accountable for their actions. It does not mean we put women in a position of superiority as the chauvinists did in the past with male supremacy. That is only trading patriarchy for matriarchy and both devalue the opposite sex. As a real feminist, I believe we should live in a complementary society, where men and women work together to build a more solid future for future generations. Not a competitive or combative society.
I am ashamed to say when I saw a report on 20/20 about this very subject a few years back I actually laughed at them, I actually thought to myself, ‘Good for them it is about time women started abusing men after all the times we had to take it.’ If a male had laughed at female domestic violence victims and said good for them, I would’ve been livid but here I was laughing at them. And as ashamed as I am about admitting that, my reaction is pretty much the normal one among society. Men are laughed at when they have the courage to report domestic violence at the hands of women. They are not taken seriously. Not only that resources for them are non-existent, ever hear of a Battered Shelter for Men’ I don’t think so. Domestic violence and child molestation needs to stop being so gender biased, we need to start seeing the perpetrators for who they are and not assume the word perpetrator automatically means male. National Violence Against Women survey shows 37.5% of victims each year are men. Men are at real risk of serious physical injury.
Here are a few of the comments I got from a website called batteredmen.com. These are some of the injuries and mental anguish these men have endured;
“As I put away the shopping she stabbed me in the back with a 7″ knife. I was put on life support. It was several days before my family knew whether I would survive.”
‘She said “You realise I could kill you and get away with it”. She slept with the knife under the pillow.’
“I am 80 years old come Christmas. I am blind. I obtained a protection order against her. She laughed at it and the beatings have increased.”
These are real men who have had to endure a life of hell because feminists want to claim domestic violence and sexual abuse as solely their own. However, we know this is not the case. In fact, ‘when the perpetrator is female, boys are 10 times more likely to be abused than girls. Some studies even go so far as to report 1 in 3 incidents of sexual abuse against boys are done by female abusers.’ http://ct.essortment.com/sexualabusebo_rhpm.htm. On the other hand, male perpetrators don’t seem to be too picky, they seem to abuse both boys and girls in equal numbers. Before I go further I want to say one thing, I am not here to disparage my gender, to vilify them and make them out to be monsters. But I am here to hold up a light and say, ‘Stop putting us on a pedestal. Take us down, we don’t want to be up there. Start looking at us, really looking at us. See who we are and not what you want us to be. Not what you are comfortable with. See the darkness in us, it exist and it doesn’t simply vanish because you wish it so. Help us overcome our sins, our real sins, not your perceived ones. Not the ones you are comfortable helping us with. But the sins that wreck our lives and yours.’ In the 70’s it was I am woman, hear me roar. Today it is I am woman, hear me scream. Women who abuse are screaming for help while the men’s screams are being silenced. We must hear their screams.
Most of this article deals with physical violence against men and some sexual abuse of boys, so let’s get a profile of who we are talking about here. What kind of female has sex with young boys
My research showed the female offender committed their first deviant sexual crimes during their mid teens. However, most of the other studies I have seen, has shown the female offender committing her first crime between the ages of 18 and 27. http://www.breakingthesilence.com/female.html. According to this same site most female perpetrators don’t actively seek out their victims in the same predatory way that men do. She tends to take fewer risks overall and tends to have fewer victims as well in comparison to males who abuse. The report goes on to say most of the females had some type of relationship with the victim whether it was babysitting, parenting, sibling, teacher, etc it was far more common for the female perpetrator to wait for the victim to come to her than to go out and find one. The motivation for the abuse is also different than the males. For instance, a woman will deny it was sexual and say she did it as a form of punishment, whereas males will say they were only showing their love or the child came onto them. The article further describes the female abuser but I don’t have enough space to list everything, but it is something you check out and read for yourself.
The time has come to break down the barriers surrounding domestic violence and sexual abuse. The time has come for men to make their voices heard. The good news is more and more websites and support groups are popping up in order to give men a voice. If we are to become a truly equal society then we should not censor the pain of these courageous men because we are uncomfortable with the concept of women being violators. It will be a glorious day indeed when men have the same resources availed to them that women have. It will be a jubilant day when men are no longer ridiculed or faced with scorn for being abused by their significant other. For when such a day comes, it will truly be a day of equality for all.
- Male abuse victims find few support networks (canada.com)
- 10 Ways Men Can Prevent Gender-Based Violence (masculinityu.wordpress.com)
- Does Society Train Boys to Be Victimized? (abcnews.go.com)