Boys and Girls Are Abused Every day – So Why The Controversy As To What Gender Is More Abused?
With Child Abuse Awareness Month coming up in April, there seems to be a peak in conversation about who is the more abused sex. Why are the statistics lower for boys than girls?
I did a little bit of research and spoke to several men who were abused as children. There were a variety of reasons that they disclosed to me about not stepping up and reporting the abuse. The reasons were very similar to the women I spoke to, but the difference in response via the boys was this.
As young boys growing up, we are taught to be tough and told repeatedly that there will be no tears that is for “sissy’s” or “girls.” Your masculinity is everything you are supposed to embrace as a young boy growing up into manhood. Your sexuality should be applauded if you lose your virginity at a young age, and if your partner (a women) is older, a prize should be given for this achievement! If you are touched by a man, you are automatically “Gay.” This is a total game changer in the mind of a young boy trying to understand his role in life. These are the STIGMAS placed upon them, and when abuse occurs, all of these thoughts come rushing forward. These powerful statements and expectations ultimately stop them dead in their tracks when it comes to speaking up! Who wants to be viewed less than manly?
That is a lot to take in when you think about abuse from a gender perspective.
When girls are abused, it is viewed a bit differently because again society has placed all these STIGMAS upon each gender and the role they are supposed to play out in our society. If you go back in history all the way to the biblical times, women are viewed as the weaker sex and the man is supposed to protect them every step of the way.
The reality is that when a child is abused, it does not matter the gender—they are children. Innocent children caught up in a world of dysfunction and mayhem that was never supposed to be. So, when we advocate for child abuse, it is about the proper term “children,” not boy or girl.
With that being said, how do we bring the statistics up to reality?
How do we make it a safe place for young boys and men to be able to step into the light and speak about their abuse without being ridiculed?
How do we break the STIGMA?
We begin by talking about it. We embrace the idea that child abuse is happening all over the world, and if we stay silent, nothing changes.
We need to be kinder and more aware of what is happening in our own community and create a safe space for men to finally step forward and say the words out loud. We all need validation to the harsh reality of what happened to us as children and young adults.
These men are not weak. They are strong, vigilant soldiers that continue to march in the battle of unspoken truths, stigmas, and bitter silence.
With more men slowly coming forward passionately proclaiming their rightful place, they are paving the way for young boys to be able to raise their voices. Men have an opportunity here to mentor our youth in a way that women cannot. They can show them that the strength of a man can be measured with courage to speak the truth without the wrath of society. Man can finally be accepted and not looked down upon for things that they had no control over. Lastly, they can show them that you can still move forward in life with pride and dignity, as they offer love and kindness to others. Violence is not the way.
It all starts with sharing your story!
The more men step forward, we will see a shift in static numbers, and you will find that it will be a more balanced percentage.
As for young girls and women who have been abused, they do not get off easy either! Again, the stigma of name calling “slut” or “whore” are often used by people who do not know the “dirty secrets” that have been held so deeply out of shame and embarrassment.
Abuse does not let anyone off the hook easy and the fact that there are people out there who view abuse as “not that bad for some” or “get over it, as it could have been worse” is not the responses that we should ever hear.
We need to shift our focus on change, education, and raising our next generation of children with a new mindset of gender equality, acceptance, and diversity. There is a lot of work to be done, but it is possible to save many young lives, change perspectives, and draw more awareness to these difficult subjects.
Let us create change together instead of battling about the more abused sex because the bottom line to all of what is happening in the word needs to change point blank!
Our children deserve better. They deserve a strong foundation to build upon, and a safe place to do it.
The abused adult deserves a strong support system, and a safe place to disclose the abuse that they were subjected to. This is where the healing journey can finally begin.
If we are going to help anyone, education and awareness is a must. We need to continue to speak up and break the silence once and for all.
I understand that we all have different views about what has happened in our world, and what should happen next.
I believe the most important thing that we should all agree upon is that our children deserve to be safe and we need to stop child abuse once and for all.
We can make a difference if we step up, and step in.
Embrace the Journey.
Written by: Lisa Zarcone
Check out www.jimhopper.com
Child Abuse – Facts about Sexual Abuse of Boys
Prevent Child Abuse.org – Talking about Sexual Abuse of boys and the lack of reporting
How much do we know about it?
Sexual abuse of boys is common, underreported, under-recognized, and under-treated. Sexual abuse of girls has been widely studied, leading to awareness of the risk factors and prevalence. Unfortunately, there have been relatively fewer studies done on sexual abuse of boys, leading to inadequate knowledge about the facts related to this topic. Some of the studies that are available have a high degree of subjectivity, poor sampling techniques, and poor designs with few control elements.1 Underreporting is a result of many issues.4 Boys are less likely than girls to report sexual abuse because of fear, the social stigma against homosexual behavior, the desire to appear self-reliant (boys grow up believing that they should not allow themselves to be harmed or talk about painful experiences)4, and the concern for loss of independence.1 Furthermore, evidence suggests that one in every three incidents of child sexual abuse are not remembered by the adults who experienced them, and that the younger the child was at the time of the abuse, and the closer the relationship to the abuser, the more likely one is that the child will not be able to recall the event.2
Do Something.org – Statistics – 11 Facts About Child Abuse
- Approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse.
- 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.
- 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68% are abused by a family member.
- In 2012, 82.2% of child abuse perpetrators were found to be between the ages of 18-44, of which 39.6% were recorded to be between the ages of 25-34.
- In the United States, more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are below the age of 3.
- Boys (48.5%) and girls (51.2%) become victims at nearly the same rate.
- 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the United States.
- Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violence crime.
- About 80% of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
- 14% of all men and 36% of all women in prison were abused as children.
- Abused children are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. They’re also 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.