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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » My boy friend was abused as a child. How do I talk to him about it?

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Author Topic: My boy friend was abused as a child. How do I talk to him about it?
Member # 29004

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Iíve never been sexually abused. My little sister was victim of sexual abuse when she was young. Iíve learned from her how hard it is to come out, and talk about it, and how deeply it scars a person, and more over how widely misunderstood sexual abuse really is.

I have a friend who Iíve dated off and on for the last 3 years. He is a great guy and I really want to be with him but it has become very clear that he was severely abused as a child. He wonít talk about his family. He becomes very upset if I touch him in certain places. He wonít even let me see those parts of his body. Iíve learned from experience to avoid those areas, but it makes sex very awkward for me. I just want to be able to hold him and be affectionate without fearing that he is going to curl up into a ball, and start crying again.

I donít know how to talk about these things with him. Iíve tried but he just shuts down. There is almost no information on the subject (boys who are abused by their family). If there is anyone who can give me advice here. It would really mean a lot to me.

Posts: 10 | From: somewhere in Northern Virginia | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Lucky: I'm going to give you a handful of resources for both of you. But what I'd suggest most of all is that your boyfriend seek out counseling. It sounds very clear that it's something he could use.

It also sounds like you have some solid sensitivity and awareness around sexual abuse, which is great. But I want to make sure you're aware that recovery from childhood sexual abuse can often take a very long time, and that's when someone IS getting some good help. In other words, things may be as they are now with him for a while, and some of these issues may be issues he has for decades. For instance, those places that trigger him may always be triggers, so you may need to accept that you need to adapt to what works for him and construct your sex life in a way that leaves room for them, if you know what I mean. In other words, if you are partnered with a childhood sexual abuse survivor, you often may not have the same kind of sex life you'd have with someone who did not survive abuse.

Anyway, here are those resources. Not all of them are gendered: in other words, some are about childhood sexual abuse for any gender, not just for men. Others are specific for male survivors.

I am having some access issues here, so I may not be around consistently the rest of the week, but if you want to talk about this more I'm glad to come back and do that as I can.


Here are some books you/he can look into:
ē The Male Survivor: The Impact of Sexual Abuse, Matthew Parynik Mendel
ē Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse, Mike Lew
ē Broken Boys / Mending Men: Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse, Stephen D. Grubman-Black
ē The Right to Innocence: Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Therapeutic 7-Step Self-Help Program for Men and Women, Including How to Choose a Therapist and Find a Support Group, Beverly Engel and Eleanor Hamilton
ē Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life After Boyhood Sexual Abuse, Richard B. Gartner and William Pollack

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 29004

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Thank you so much! I really appreciate the resources! Iím going to order a few of the books and read through them. Realizing how difficult over coming abuse has been for my sister, and how badly people have treated her, I have to imagine that in many ways it is even worse for males.

I understand that there will be limitations on our relationship, I thoroughly enjoy his company and conversation, and I fully accept his limitations.

I know that he has been through some counseling. I donít know to what extent, and I donít know if these issues were addressed. My little sister developed Stockholm Syndrome, and it took years for her to acknowledge what happened, so I realize that counselors can only do so much if the victim is unwilling to talk about things. I want to encourage him to seek further help. The issue I am having is that I donít know how to tell him that I understand (to some extent) what happened to him, and I donít judge him for it. I donít know that that fact has ever been acknowledged by a partner of his before. I feel that I canít effectively support him in healing until the abuse is acknowledge. I am seeking away to address the obvious that is open and supportive. Again any advice would be appreciated.

Posts: 10 | From: somewhere in Northern Virginia | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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One key thing is to make it clear that you support him, and make sure that he doesn't feel like he has to tell you anything the doesn't want to.

You can start out a conversation with, "Look, I've noticed _____, _____,and _____ things about you that seem very similar to things my sister has experienced as a result of being abused when she was young. I've been wondering if the same thing happened to you. You absolutely don't have to tell me anything you don't want to, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I want you to know that I'm more than happy to help you find good resources and/or more counseling that can help address this. I'm here, I care about you, and I want to help."

You may find it's easier to write those things down in a letter if your concerned about being interrupted or anything like that.

It's entirely possible that he won't want to talk about it at all, but he may say that he wants your help. It's important to not put pressure on him either way, and just let him know that you are there for him.

Posts: 2262 | From: in transition | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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