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 Informações para parceiros de homens, como um exemplo.
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, e que, 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.
Se, 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, e pedimos que você por favor, mantenha isso em mente ao ler sobre estes. Please also take care of yourself in reading through, as these topics can be confronting.
Nós geralmente têm usado a palavra “parceiro” to refer to the man in your life, but these words can apply to any man — friend, son, pai, irmão, client, or any other man you care about.
Devido ao seu comportamento, 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.
- Depressão, ansiedade, self harm.
- 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, não há realmente nenhuma maneira de saber, do atual comportamento de uma pessoa, whether he has been sexually abused in the past.
A dificuldade é, even if your partner demonstrates every single behaviour on a list of problemas comuns a homens vítimas de abuso sexual, 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. Simplesmente não é possível prever a reação de qualquer um indivíduo, então não há nenhuma lista de sintomas que vai nos dizer com certeza.
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. Muitos homens não revelar o abuso sexual ou agressão sexual para décadas after the fact, if ever. Confira nossa página no Homens e divulgação, que descreve algumas das enfrentam barreiras homens.
O que devo fazer se ele não vai me dizer?
Então, digamos que você suspeita que seu parceiro ou um ente querido foi abusada sexualmente ou agredidas, mas você não sabe ao certo. Você pode ter perguntou-lhe já, mas ele não vai falar sobre isso. 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, ou a forma de explorar as suas respectivas necessidades nesta situação, sem causar mais chateado.
Se ele não tiver já lhe disse que ele foi abusado sexualmente, it is generally recommended to not pressure him to talk about it until he is ready. Lembrar, você não sabe ao certo se este for o caso, mas mesmo que seja, ideally it is his decision to tell or not to tell. É importante você deixar o poder de decisão que lhe. Saibam que é extremamente difícil para os homens para divulgar. If he is not ready to do so, não é nenhuma reflexão sobre você, 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. Embora não seja até você para 'fix’ ele, there are ways you can support your partner if he ever does feel ready to broach the subject.
Deixe seu parceiro saber que você está sempre aberto a ouvir os seus sentimentos, experiências, pensamentos e histórias. Esteja pronto para ouvir, de forma aberta, non-judgmental manner.
Se você sente que ele pode revelar o abuso para você, take a look at our page Homens e divulgação: Como você pode ajudar 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 bem-estar 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.
Seu comportamento está me afetando negativamente, embora. De que outra forma eu posso fazê-lo mudar?
Independentemente de estarem ou não o seu parceiro ou um ente querido sofreu abuso sexual ou agressão no passado, you both always have a right to have your wishes, boundaries and desires respected.
Se possível, deixá-lo saber que há aspectos do relacionamento que você quer falar sobre. Foco sobre o que está acontecendo no presente, e discutir em conjunto as suas esperanças de como você quer que o relacionamento seja. This avoids pressuring him into disclosing (ou negar) qualquer história de abuso sexual. Pode ser útil para manter as questões separada até (e se) ele está pronto para falar sobre seu passado - isso se o seu passado é, na verdade, relevante. Usando essa abordagem ajuda a manter de vista o fato de que você tem o direito de expressar como você acha que o relacionamento está indo, deixando a questão da divulgação de qualquer história de vitimização sexual em seu controle.
É útil se você é claro sobre o tipo de relacionamento que você quer, e que expectativas, necessidades, 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, e como você mostrar o amor, cuidado e respeito um pelo outro. 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. Não tenha pressa. Make it an ongoing process.
Isto significa trabalhar fora e ser claro sobre o que é eo que não é um comportamento aceitável. É importante em qualquer relacionamento para fornecer uma mensagem clara sobre quais são suas expectativas e limites são, para ouvir as do seu parceiro, e tentar para atender no meio. 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.
É possível que ele tenha bloqueado o abuso, ou não se lembrar dela?
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.
Dito isto, sim, há algumas pessoas que foram abusadas sexualmente cujas memórias não são claros, ou estão ausentes, por longos períodos de tempo. These people may remember and piece together fragments of memories later on in life. Na verdade, 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.
Nesse caso, 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.
A dificuldade aqui é que você só pode trabalhar com o que está disponível. Procura memórias de abuso sexual na infância pode levar a mais aflição, confusão e incerteza. Memória em geral é muito falível. 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, tal como:
- Flashbacks and invasive thoughts.
- Nightmares and insomnia.
- Raiva, and thoughts of revenge.
- Auto culpa, vergonha, and low self esteem.
- Os pensamentos suicidas.
- Intimacy issues.
- Difficulty trusting others.
A more complete list can be found on the page dealing with sexual violence, along with some further information.
In addition to the above, 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.
- Comportamentos de risco.
- Relações de controlo.
- Avoiding relationships.
More on these types of unhelpful strategies can be found on the page Lidar com os efeitos do abuso sexual na infância.
Claro, not all of these issues, even if a man has experienced sexual abuse, are necessarily related to the abuse. Similarmente, it is important to recognise men’s capacity to lead full and rewarding lives. Depois de uma experiência de abuso sexual infantil ou agressão sexual, it is not unusual for people’s understanding of their lives to become closely inter-connected with problems related to that experience. Contudo, 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 em 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,” ou “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. O foco é geralmente mais sobre as estratégias de enfrentamento no presente, até ao momento em que o homem quer abordar experiências passadas (se a todos).
Contudo, 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, experiências, pensamentos e histórias – however he feels comfortable sharing them, and whenever he feels ready.
Contudo, 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, também. 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.
Meu parceiro foi abusada sexualmente quando criança. Eu deveria estar preocupado que ele poderia abusar nossas / os meus filhos?
Não há nenhuma evidência para sugerir que os homens que foram abusadas sexualmente irá automaticamente a cometer crimes sexuais. Na verdade, na verdade, a investigação sugere que, ao longo 95% não vai. It is an unhelpful myth that men who were sexually abused in childhood are the ones who then abuse children. Confira nossa página no abordando a vítima a agressor ciclo para mais informações.
O que sabemos é que os homens que foram abusados sexualmente quando crianças estão preocupadas com o bem-estar das crianças, e se alguma coisa pode ser superprotetor. Normalmente eles não querem que lhes aconteceu a acontecer com outra criança.
If you are a parent, Tenho certeza que você vai querer continuar falando e construir o relacionamento com seus filhos, so that if there is anything worrying them at home, na escola ou na vizinhança eles podem vir e falar com você sobre isso. Esta é a melhor coisa que você pode fazer.
Meu parceiro foi abusada sexualmente quando criança. 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.
Para alguns homens, memories of the abuse, including flashbacks, pode ser física e emocionalmente carregada. Como tal, 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. Confusion about sexuality and sexual orientation is an unfortunate consequence of sexual abuse for many men.
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, amor e carinho. A fim de resolver isso e não se tornar lado seguido (a questão gay pode ser seguimento lado), talvez útil para convidá-lo a considerar o que ele está fazendo em termos de compromisso com o relacionamento e para você.
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, ele não está mostrando amor e respeito a você e seu relacionamento. Ele é um adulto que tem escolhas sobre como ele se comporta e onde ele coloca a sua energia. Ele pode optar por passar o tempo com você fazendo coisas que você gosta em conjunto, para nutrir e construir uma sociedade mais íntimo, cuidar, relacionamento sexy. Relacionamentos que ter empenho e pode ser reconstruída.
O que é importante é que cada um dos parceiros assume a responsabilidade para si e não há um entendimento comum e compromisso em tornar este um suporte, cuidar, relação respeitosa que funciona para ambos.
Where can we find help?
A ajuda está disponível.
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 face a face aconselhamento from Strathpine, Woolloongabba/Buranda, Booval and Southport.
If you live elsewhere in the world, take a look at our list of worldwide services online.
Por favor entrar em contato.