U need not worry is a sentence I get to hear from people a lot, U need not worry for many things ask why? Why because I have a son for a child and not a daughter. When I have a son why should I worry, now the worries could be a whole lot of things, but today I am here to talk to you about worries about Child Sexual Abuse.
Its a common misconception (along with many other gender myths) that boys are not vulnerable to Child Sexual Abuse. According to National Study on Child Sexual Abuse (its a downloadable pdf) boys and girls are vulnerable to Child Sexual Abuse. It also goes on to say that boys find it more difficult to disclose about abuse than girls and we still go ahead and hardly pay any attention to the boys when we are talking about CSA. Why? In sheer numbers it states
An estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 have experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence involving physical contact. (across the globe, its quotes a UN study for that)
73 million and we still say you don’t have to worry because you have a son. Infact among the sample that they interviewed the result is
Among respondents, 48% of boys and 39% of the girls faced sexual abuse
U wanna still say I don’t have to worry? I think its a inherit part of our culture which makes us believe that boys are above all this. We as a society don’t want to handle the CSA issue because for us the issue is not about invading the child’s privacy, is not about the hurt that the child goes through. Its about the SHAME that the incident will bring to the family and traditionally its only a girl who can bring shame to the family.
Also I think the term vulnerable and boys really don’t go hand in hand at all, boys are always portrayed and taught to be the macho ones, ones who can handle anything infact I will go far to say ones that will inflict pain rather be a victim to it, thats the role we have difficulty accepting our sons in but victims naah,I never believed in it but since I have had a son and one who is a gentle soul I know how untrue this thinking is. Girls or boys, both can be aggressive, both can be soft… Both can be victims.
Tulir shared this link on the CSA FB wall sometime back. The site contains some excellent posters which talk of the specific challenges men can face in relation to speaking about sexual abuse
One of the them says
If I tell you I was sexually abused, will you..
…see me as less of a man?
…question my sexuality?
…think I will abuse?
There is another one which says
If a man is meant to
…always appear strong
…control his emotions
….be self reliant
… not be a victim
How can he tell you
…he is struggling
…he is scared of losing control
…he feels alone
…he was sexually abused
There is a comment by arun in madmomma’s post which asks
Why is that this comment section so dominated by females? I always thought that it is easy to get boys then girls.. coz of typical indian mentality
I think the above is what directly answers that and that is also something I strongly believe in, this is what I had replied to him
boys (now men) are even more ashamed to accept that they have been abused. We always teach boys to be macho, to be strong… nothing can hurt them yet someone came and abused them? now how can they share this with the world.
According to me its high time we start accepting the fact that boys can we abused too, boys can be tarnished too and stop being so careless with them. I have a 3 yr old son and I get a lot of slack from people that I am raising him to be too shielded, that I am a paranoid mother, that I guard him too much. Me I have just one thing to say better be paranoid than sorry.
Guard your daughter but please don’t forget to guard your son too, at a young age they are both clueless both need the love and the protection
PS: My post on how I deal with my paranoia and teach my son about private parts coming up soon, but read this informative post by Sue on how to protect your boys
Chirag Chamoli said:
images link is broken.
thanks chirag fixed it
Pingback: Guard your sons too says Monika « CSA Awareness Month
You are absolutely right. Having brought up two sons, I have also heard the same, ‘You needn’t worry. You have sons!” Utterly foolish way of looking at things, sort of denial. I agree men will find it more difficult to talk about childhood abuse due to the way we are as a society.
Parents must be vigilant about both sons and daughters when it comes to CSA.
Heh! I get this jaw-drop from several moms who think I’m a crazy mom, when I ask them if they’ve talked with their sons (or daughters) about anything about their bodies, forget abt safety or maturing. “It’s too soon”, they said, with 7 and 8 year old kids. Maybe it’s too late, already.
Good that you’ve taught your son, and are ready to stand up for him. Hugs.
Absolutely, Monika. Boys and girls can be victims and anybody who thinks otherwise is just deluding themselves. and both men and women can be abusers too. I have heard horrfic accounts of little boys being abused 😦 As a parent, I would much rather be safe than sorry.
Kids are just that….kids…be it a boy or girl…..they are both vulnerable. There is nothing more important than spreading awareness and reinforcing the concept…. that both need to be protected….
“Kids are just kids…” A very true statement….
…. and this is what is forgotten many times!
Bang on. Children and children and as much protection a girl needs, boys are equally vulnerable.
Mamma Mia! Me a Mamma?!? said:
As a mother to two boys, I hear the same things all the time too, “Well, you’ve got boys. You’re lucky that way and can relax.”
I feel like telling these people to go jump. Often, I’ve even quoted statistics and reports that have shown that paedophiles prey on young boys more than they do on young girls. It’s like talking to a pile of bricks; they snigger and look at me with disbelief!
And I absolutely agree with you — better a paranoid mom now, than a sorry mom later!
I believe – children are children and if some “bas#@&$” has wrong intentions – he wont care the gender. We need to protect our children and make them strong human beings – be it son or daughter!
Children need protection and parents need to be aware. Period. Doesnt matter whether its a boy or a girl. U r right Monu – ppl perceive its no prob at all, if u have a son.
Waiting for that post of urs.
Totally agree with you, Monika. Its not just girls, but boys are as much susceptible to the dangers of sexual abuse. they are as vulnerable. Every child, be it a boy or a girl needs to be protected from those monsters.
“Me I have just one thing to say better be paranoid than sorry.” Absolutely with you on this!
OMG! To put it mildly, Mon, that scared the sh!t out of me. What sort of society do we live in? And WTF are we boasting about when we talk of ‘Indian culture’!!!!
the mad momma said:
I love the line about girls traditionally bringing shame to families. That explains so much about that attitude. Great post, Mon
Well written, Monica, I too hear this all the time, and it irritates me no end… waiting eagerly for your next post!
Thank you for bringing this up. I am reading all these posts Mon, and the ones at the CSA blog, though I may not comment coz. I’m at a loss of words. Thank You Once Again.
Goofy Mumma said:
A child male or female is vulnerable, to a lot of issues, sexual abuse being one of the many. Its foolish to believe otherwise, and I really feel disgusted by people who think that way. Even bullying can be tremendously scarring for a sensitive child, boy or girl. So there is no way we can believe a child of one sex is safer than another!
B o o. said:
Wonderful post, Monika. Theres another angle to teaching boys about safe and unsafe touch. If every mom of the older generation had the talk with her son, may be we would have all been spared by these so-called-uncles! Because when we think about it – in another 30 to 40 years, if the future generation is still talking about perverts who prey on kids, those abusers will be our sons and daughters, right? *shudder*
Child experts often estimate that perhaps more boys are abused than the studies reveal, perhaps their numbers cross those of girls, but because of the social conditioning, it is impossible to get them to frequently even acknowledge abuse.
Thank you for your post!
You are right… and I agree with the comments above – kids are kids – boys or girls.. they need to be told, made aware and parents need to be supportive, they also need to be aware…
Cud nt agree more Mons!
Pingback: CSA Awareness : My two cents . | Krishnaleela
And in this very world, in UAE which boasts of being a modern country, things like this happen:
Indian in NZ said:
Abslutely agree with you Monika. I have talked about it with both my children. They both know about good and bad touch. My son is a bit older and probably knows more but they both know that they can come to me and talk to me about such situations, what to do etc. My son is 13 and you wont believe what kind of thoughts run through my mind when he is a bit late biking back from school. After it happened a few times and some unexplained injuries, the other day I asked him all the usual questions – if he is getting bullied after school, or if he is smoking after school or if he is getting sexually abused. When he replied ‘NO’ I even asked him if someone is pressurising him to say ‘no’ when asked. And I told him that I am asking all that because I get worried and he shouldn’t be embarrased to tell me if there’s anything happening. He assured me that’s not the case and he will try to be home in time. Its just that sometimes his science teacher longer to finish lesson.
I get more worried about him than my daughter because of the reason you mentioned. We drum so much about safety in our daughter’s minds that I know that she will come to me and let me know but its son I worry about cos he might think that I am not worried about his safety bcos he is a boy or that I am not aware of the risks he may face.
I feel very uncomfortable talking to him about stuff related to ‘sex’ but since he already has had ‘sexuality’ lesson at school, I try to overcome my discomfort and talk to him about how this is not the time to get involved sexually( here they start really early and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of his mates are already sexually active) but at the same time I make sure that he knows about the risks like STDs, pregnancy etc. All this stuff is not just for girls.
Sorry for the long comment, I got a bit carried away. I had to write this to insist on the point you made about boys so that the parents who think that “boys will be alright” know that not only girls, boys are at risk too.