If your partner was sexually abused, you undoubtedly have many unanswered questions. Here at Living Well we receive a large number of questions and requests for advice from partners, family members and loved ones of men who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault. These are people who are deeply concerned about the men in their lives, and at a bit of a loss for how to best support them. See the comments and questions asked on our page Maklumat untuk rakan-rakan lelaki, sebagai contoh.
Often a partner is the first person that a man will ever disclose a history of sexual abuse to. We want to acknowledge that this can be challenging and confusing for partners, dan bahawa, regardless of the closeness of your relationship, this information can be difficult to process and respond to. Not only do you want to support your loved one, you also need to deal with your own thoughts and feelings about it all.
Often there is a lot of worry around how to respond appropriately, and also worry about what this may mean for you as individuals, as a couple, or as a family.
Sometimes the man discloses the abuse, or you deduce it has happened and he acknowledges it, but he then is not ready to discuss it further, let alone seek help or tell anyone else. This can be a really uncomfortable place for you to be in, as now you have this information but are unsure what to do with it.
Jika, as we know, there is not a lot of support out there for men who have experienced sexual abuse or assault, then neither is there much information for the people who care about and wish to support these men.
Below are some of the most common questions we get. We acknowledge that every situation is different, dan meminta anda sila menyimpan bahawa dalam fikiran sambil membaca lebih ini. Please also take care of yourself in reading through, as these topics can be confronting.
Kami biasanya digunakan perkataan “rakan kongsi” to refer to the man in your life, but these words can apply to any man — friend, son, bapa, saudara, client, or any other man you care about.
Oleh kerana kelakuannya, I think my partner may have been sexually abused, but he denies it. Is he just hiding it from me?
Some of the behaviours that people have described to us include:
- Infidelity, sexual addiction.
- Complete disinterest in sex.
- Unusual sexual or sexualised behaviours.
- Porn addiction.
- Consuming gay or same-sex porn.
- Strong emotional reactions to the mention of sexual abuse of others.
- Kemurungan, kebimbangan, mencederakan diri sendiri.
- Abuse of alcohol or other drugs.
- Very protective behaviours towards children.
While it may seem as though there is a lot going on for him, benar-benar ada cara untuk mengetahui, daripada tingkah laku semasa seseorang, whether he has been sexually abused in the past.
Kesukaran adalah, even if your partner demonstrates every single behaviour on a list of masalah biasa kepada lelaki didera secara seksual, it still does not necessarily mean he was sexually abused. There are a great many reasons that could potentially explain why people might engage in different behaviours or have different reactions. Ia adalah semata-mata tidak mungkin untuk meramalkan tindak balas mana-mana satu individu, sehingga tidak ada senarai semak gejala yang akan memberitahu kita dengan pasti.
It may indeed be that your suspicions regarding past abuse are right. However unless he is open to talking about it, there is no way for you to be certain. We can only work with what we know for sure.
This question is made more difficult by the fact that, when a man has been abused, it is something that can feel almost impossible for him to talk about. Ramai lelaki tidak mendedahkan penderaan seksual atau serangan seksual untuk dekad after the fact, if ever. Semak halaman kami di Lelaki dan pendedahan, yang menggariskan beberapa menghadapi halangan lelaki.
Apakah yang perlu saya lakukan jika dia tidak memberitahu saya?
Jadi katakan anda mengesyaki pasangan anda atau yang tersayang telah didera atau diserang secara seksual, tetapi anda tidak tahu dengan pasti. Anda mungkin telah meminta beliau sudah, tetapi dia tidak akan bercakap mengenainya. If you are in this situation, there may be things that sadden or concern you about some of his experiences or his responses. You might not know how best to help, atau bagaimana untuk meneroka keperluan masing-masing dalam keadaan ini, tanpa menyebabkan lebih kecewa.
Jika dia belum sudah memberitahu anda bahawa dia telah didera secara seksual, it is generally recommended to not pressure him to talk about it until he is ready. Ingat, anda tidak tahu pasti jika ini berlaku, tetapi walaupun ia adalah, ideally it is his decision to tell or not to tell. Adalah penting anda meninggalkan kuasa keputusan itu kepadanya. Tahu bahawa ia adalah amat sukar bagi lelaki untuk mendedahkan. If he is not ready to do so, ia tidak mencerminkan pada anda, or on your relationship with each other.
We have heard from some men that they do not mind being asked, but they do not find it helpful to be pressed about it if they are not yet ready to talk.
It can be very difficult to want to support someone but to feel unable to do so. Walaupun ia tidak terpulang kepada anda untuk 'memperbaiki’ dia, there are ways you can support your partner if he ever does feel ready to broach the subject.
Biarkan pasangan anda tahu bahawa anda sentiasa terbuka untuk mendengar perasaannya, pengalaman, pemikiran dan cerita. Bersedia untuk mendengar secara terbuka, non-judgmental manner.
Jika anda rasa dia boleh mendedahkan penyalahgunaan kepada anda, take a look at our page Lelaki dan pendedahan: Bagaimana anda boleh membantu for some more information about how loved ones can support men through disclosure.
And through all this, above all else, make sure you take care of yourself. Step back for a while and look after your own well-being in the here and now. Engaging in self care in this way serves two purposes. The first is that it builds up your resilience and your ability to manage and cope with stress. The second is that it also means you are “modelling” self care for your partner – healthy behaviour tends to be “catching.” In either case, the importance of looking after yourself cannot be overstated.
We acknowledge and appreciate that you want to support and care for your partner, no matter what has happened — but it is important to keep in mind that you cannot make everything alright. Especially if you are losing sight of your own needs.
Tingkah lakunya memberi kesan negatif saya, walaupun. Bagaimana lagi saya boleh mendapatkan dia untuk berubah?
Tidak kira sama ada atau tidak pasangan anda atau yang tersayang telah mengalami penderaan seksual atau serangan pada masa lalu, you both always have a right to have your wishes, boundaries and desires respected.
Jika boleh, biarlah dia tahu bahawa terdapat aspek hubungan yang anda mahu bercakap tentang. Fokus kepada apa yang berlaku pada masa kini, dan berbincang bersama-sama harapan anda untuk bagaimana anda mahu hubungan menjadi. This avoids pressuring him into disclosing (atau menafikan) mana-mana sejarah penderaan seksual. Ia mungkin dapat membantu untuk menjaga isu-isu yang berasingan sehingga (dan jika) dia bersedia untuk bercakap mengenai masa lalu - itu jika masa lalu adalah, sebenarnya, berkaitan. Dengan menggunakan pendekatan ini membantu mengekalkan penglihatan hakikat bahawa anda mempunyai hak untuk menyatakan bagaimana anda fikir hubungan yang sedang berlaku, manakala meninggalkan isu memberi sebarang sejarah penganiayaan seksual dalam kawalannya.
Ia membantu jika anda jelas tentang apa jenis hubungan yang anda mahu, dan apa jangkaan, keperluan, and boundaries or limits you each have. Envision this together — invite him to share his expectations and hopes with you. Talk about how you would prefer you both behave in this relationship, dan bagaimana anda menunjukkan kasih, menjaga dan menghormati antara satu sama lain. In stating your vision for your life together, and in asking him to share his, you are both making a commitment to this.
Map it out — what it will look like for both of you. Get specific. Ambil masa anda. Make it an ongoing process.
Ini bermakna bekerja di luar dan kerana jelas tentang apa yang boleh dan tidak boleh diterima tingkah laku. Ia adalah penting dalam mana-mana hubungan untuk memberikan mesej yang jelas tentang apa jangkaan dan had anda adalah, untuk mendengar orang-orang yang pasangan anda, dan cuba untuk bertemu di tengah-tengah. The main point is that both of you should feel comfortable with things. No one should feel pressured to accept something they’re not comfortable with.
Adakah mungkin bahawa dia telah disekat daripada penyalahgunaan, atau tidak ingat?
Research shows that the majority of people who have experienced sexual abuse retain very strong memories of the abuse. It also shows that there are a number of reasons that people may not wish to talk about it.
Telah berkata bahawa, ya, terdapat beberapa orang yang telah didera secara seksual yang kenangan tidak jelas, atau tidak hadir, untuk jangka masa yang lama. These people may remember and piece together fragments of memories later on in life. Malah, many people have noticed that these memories seem to come back once they have started to feel more stable, more strong, and more confident. In other words, just when you start to feel you’re really doing well, the memories start to return.
Dalam kes ini, working through it may not be about avoiding the memories, or even trying to chase them down and confront them. It’s about building yourself up to the point where your mind can handle them, and has the strength to cope with them. It’s about being ready.
Kesukaran A di sini adalah bahawa anda hanya boleh bekerja dengan apa yang ada. Mencari kenangan penderaan seksual kanak-kanak boleh membawa kepada lebih banyak kesusahan, kekeliruan dan ketidakpastian. Memori secara umum adalah sangat berbuat silap. It may be more helpful to try to work on acceptance of the uncertainty of the issue. In this case it’s about learning to be okay with not knowing for sure.
In either case the emphasis should be on developing a strong, stable and confident sense of wellbeing.
He has a few issues at the moment that I’m sure are related to the abuse. Is it common for men to…
It is common for a man who has experienced sexual abuse to experience a range of effects over the years. There are many negative impacts that are commonly known to result from a history of such trauma, such as:
- Flashbacks and invasive thoughts.
- Nightmares and insomnia.
- Kemarahan, and thoughts of revenge.
- Self blame, malu, and low self esteem.
- Fikiran untuk membunuh diri.
- Intimacy issues.
- Difficulty trusting others.
A more complete list can be found on the page dealing with sexual violence, along with some further information.
Selain di atas, there are also secondary issues that can arise. Often these are emotional and behavioural strategies that men have used to help them cope with the primary issues above. These strategies themselves, while helpful at first, can become problematic. These can include:
- Use of alcohol and other drugs.
- Use of pornography.
- Tingkah laku yang berisiko.
- Mengawal hubungan.
- Avoiding relationships.
- Mencederakan diri sendiri.
More on these types of unhelpful strategies can be found on the page Berurusan dengan kesan-kesan penderaan seksual kanak-kanak.
Sudah tentu, not all of these issues, even if a man has experienced sexual abuse, are necessarily related to the abuse. Begitu juga, it is important to recognise men’s capacity to lead full and rewarding lives. Following an experience of child sexual abuse or sexual assault, it is not unusual for people’s understanding of their lives to become closely inter-connected with problems related to that experience. Walau bagaimanapun, seeing the person as the problem, and the majority of his current difficulties as a result of sexual abuse or sexual assault, can be counter-productive.
When trying to work through any present issue, it can be more helpful to look at it dalam the present. Whether or not this issue stems from a history of abuse, it will generally be effective to deal with it in the here and now. Set goals, establish safety and support, and put strategies in place, just as we do for anything.
I really think my partner needs to get help for this, but he doesn’t want counselling. How can I convince him to get the help he needs?
Counselling can be a really useful way for someone to process and work though difficult experiences, to build up safety and stability, and to figure out goals and strategies for moving forward.
It may be that your partner or loved one has given counselling a try in the past and found it unhelpful, and now is reluctant to give counselling another go. This might involve thoughts like, “I’m beyond help,” atau “counselling doesn’t work for me.”
When it comes to sexual abuse it can be crucial that the counsellor or professional has a good background in trauma informed care, and experience in working around sexual violence. It is a quite specialised area and it can be difficult to find a good professional. In this case it can be worth suggesting you do some research together to find someone who might be able to help.
It can also be helpful to note that every professional works differently and has a different style. The first counsellor an individual engages with may not be a good match for him. If this happens it can be easy to give it up as too hard, “well I tried.” Perhaps in this instance he could be encouraged to give it another go, to find someone who does suit him and his individual style, with whom he ‘clicks.’
If he has never been to counselling for this issue before and is nervous about what to expect, it may help him to know that a good counsellor won’t pressure him to talk about traumatic memories. The focus is generally more on strategies for coping in the present, until such time as the man wants to address past experiences (if at all).
Walau bagaimanapun, if he doesn’t want to try any form of counselling, we would suggest there is not much you can do about that until he is ready. Counselling is only therapeutic if the person is ready and has made the decision for themselves. As mentioned earlier, feeling pressured to talk about sexual abuse can be counter-productive. If he feels pushed into attending a session, even if he does go, it is unlikely to be beneficial for him.
Perhaps the best thing you can do right now is to let him know that, if he does ever feel open to trying, you’ll be ready to support him through the process.
I’m the only one who knows. How can I help him?
This is a big one. We recognise the huge amount of pressure that is put on partners, and other family and loved ones, of men who have been sexually abused or sexually assaulted. Unfortunately if there is not much support out there for these men, nor is there much at all for their supporters. And you need support too, because this is a really difficult position to be in.
The very fact that you are here shows that you already are helping him. You wouldn’t be doing this reading if you weren’t wanting to be as supportive of him as you can be, which says a lot. It’s also a big step towards becoming informed and learning what’s helpful and what’s less so, for both him and yourself. The links throughout this page should be helpful with this.
As mentioned above, sometimes the best (and sometimes the only!) way you can help him is to let him know that you will always be available to listen. That you are willing to hear his feelings, pengalaman, pemikiran dan cerita – however he feels comfortable sharing them, and whenever he feels ready.
Walau bagaimanapun, as much as we want to, we can’t ‘make everything okay’ for someone else. We know that partners can often find themselves in this kind of position, with very high expectations of themselves. It’s important that you not take on too much. It’s important that you do take care of yourself.
Whether or not your partner is ready to talk it through with someone, it is always an option for you, terlalu. Counselling for yourself, as a partner, can help you to explore and process your own thoughts and feelings around this. It can help you to build up your own coping, resilience and wellbeing, and also to figure out how you can best support him.
Pasangan saya telah didera secara seksual sebagai kanak-kanak. Sekiranya saya bimbang dia mungkin menyalahgunakan kanak-kanak kami / saya?
Tidak ada bukti yang menunjukkan bahawa lelaki yang telah didera secara seksual secara automatik akan pergi untuk melakukan kesalahan seksual. Malah, penyelidikan sebenarnya menunjukkan bahawa lebih 95% tidak akan. It is an unhelpful myth that men who were sexually abused in childhood are the ones who then abuse children. Semak halaman kami di menangani mangsa kepada kitaran pesalah for more information.
Apa yang kita tahu ialah lelaki yang telah didera secara seksual sebagai kanak-kanak prihatin untuk kesejahteraan kanak-kanak, dan jika apa-apa yang boleh menjadi terlalu pelindung. Biasanya mereka tidak mahu apa yang berlaku kepada mereka untuk berlaku kepada kanak-kanak lain.
If you are a parent, Saya pasti anda akan mahu untuk terus bercakap dan membina hubungan dengan anak-anak anda, so that if there is anything worrying them at home, di sekolah atau di kawasan kejiranan yang mereka boleh datang dan bercakap dengan anda mengenainya. Ini adalah perkara yang terbaik yang anda boleh lakukan.
Pasangan saya telah didera secara seksual sebagai kanak-kanak. I found gay porn on his computer, but he says that he isn’t gay. Why does he look at gay porn then, or chat with other men online?
This is an issue that can be really confusing, embarrassing and hurtful to partners of men. It can also be embarrassing and confusing for the man involved, who may not understand it himself. The fact is, it’s not unusual for men who were sexually abused or assaulted by another male to feel the urge to watch same-sex porn, or to visit male sex websites or chat sites.
Using same-sex porn can add to the already existing sense of shame, given the taboos in some communities about same sex attraction. It gets very mixed up with the experience of abuse and trying to work out ‘who I am.’
When a man was sexually abused as a boy by another man, it is usually the case that this was his first experience with any form of sexual contact. This can influence the way a person thinks about sex for the rest of his life. It does not mean he is gay, just that his first sexual experience was a very confusing one.
Bagi sesetengah lelaki, memories of the abuse, including flashbacks, can be physically and emotionally charged. Oleh itu, they can be drawn to look at same-sex porn as a way to try and understand what is happening. It can be a way to seek answers about the trauma of the abuse, and also about questions of sexuality. Kekeliruan tentang seksualiti dan orientasi seksual adalah satu akibat yang malang penderaan seksual untuk ramai manusia.
But questions around sexuality are dead-end questions – they don’t go anywhere. It can be more useful to think in terms of where he is choosing to put his emotional energy, love and affection. Dalam usaha untuk menyelesaikan ini dan tidak menjadi pasukan dikesan (isu gay boleh menjadi pengesanan sisi), ia mungkin berguna untuk menjemput beliau untuk mempertimbangkan apa yang dia lakukan dari segi komitmen kepada hubungan dan kepada anda.
I asked my partner to stop using porn. He said he would, but I’ve learned he’s still been doing it in secret. What can I do?
Porn use in general can be an issue. Where there has been sexual abuse, porn can feel like a relatively safe space to explore and work through confusing and unsafe thoughts and experiences related to sex. This can be difficult to make sense of, and can cause problems in relationships when the man struggles to stop.
One of the added difficulties in this instance is that the sense of secrecy and shame around accessing porn can increase distress for men who have been sexually abused. Secrecy around things that are considered shameful can be a legacy of sexual abuse; it can almost be considered a coping strategy — a way to deal with the effects. However it can be quite unhelpful in developing a healthy, supportive relationship.
If this is something that is coming between you, it can be important to be clear that his accessing porn or chat rooms is something that pushes you apart. It will be important to be clear to him that if he chooses to access porn and lie to you, dia tidak menunjukkan kasih sayang dan hormat kepada anda dan hubungan anda. Beliau adalah seorang dewasa yang mempunyai pilihan tentang bagaimana dia berkelakuan dan di mana dia meletakkan tenaga beliau. Dia boleh memilih untuk menghabiskan masa dengan anda melakukan perkara-perkara yang anda menikmati bersama-sama, untuk memupuk dan membina yang lebih intim, menjaga, hubungan seksi. Hubungan ambil komitmen dan boleh dibina semula.
What is important is that each partner takes responsibility for themselves and there is a shared understanding and commitment to making this a supportive, menjaga, respectful relationship that works for both of you.
Where can we find help?
Bantuan boleh didapati.
Living Well offers counselling to men who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault, and also to partners, families and loved ones.
If you live in South East Queensland, we provide bersemuka kaunseling from Strathpine, Woolloongabba/Buranda, Booval and Southport.
If you live elsewhere in the world, take a look at our list of worldwide services online.
Sila get in touch.