The figure usually given for the magnitude of childhood sexual abuse of males is one in six. That is, in a country the size of the United States there are 12.5 million boys who are abused before they reach the age of eighteen; in the UK, the figure is 5.5 million; in Australia, 2 million. And we can humanize those figures a bit:
What this means, for all of us, is that yes indeed, we all know numerous male survivors, most of whom have remained silent, some of them for decades. All of them would benefit enormously from our awareness. All of them deserve our encouragement to seek out the support they need.
That’s where outreach can help.
Outreach can emphasize the truths of sexual abuse and help to break down the many harmful myths. It can provide the much-needed constant reminder us that sexual abuse affects all of us, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, or social status. Survivors are our fathers, husbands, sons, grandsons, grandfathers, friends, boyfriends, partners, spouses, teammates, co-workers, and service-providers.
Effective outreach can let them know that they matter, that we care, and that we are part of an effort demanding meaningful positive change.
So what can be done? Many things, of course. Here we want to highlight just a few possible options.