The Code of Silence

Originally posed on May 21, 2013

Over the last week, sexual violence in the military received much media attention. This partly came out of two people in charge of handling sexual assault investigations facing their own charges of sexual assault. It also came from President Obama speaking about the issue during a press conference.

Yet one aspect of this scandal remains unspoken: men make up the majority of the victims. Look at the coverage of this topic, and one sees numerous discussions about protecting women, but little mention of protecting men. One hears from women who survived assaults, but not from men. Yes, occasionally someone will remember that “men can be victims too.” Yet that afterthought does not linger long, and soon the conversation goes back to women.

This is not to say that women do not face legitimate risks. It is absurd to think that servicewomen in the field will refrain from eating and drinking at night so they will not need to use the latrine and risk assault. Yet it is equally absurd to think that the majority of the victims of these assaults would go unmentioned because they are male.

Nevertheless:

More military men than women are sexually abused in the ranks each year, a Pentagon survey shows, highlighting the underreporting of male-on-male assaults.

When the Defense Department released the results of its anonymous sexual abuse survey this month and concluded that 26,000 service members were victims in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, an automatic assumption was that most were women. But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon.

The statistics show that, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel begins a campaign to stamp out “unwanted sexual contact,” there are two sets of victims that must be addressed.

“It appears that the DOD has serious problems with male-on-male sexual assaults that men are not reporting and the Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about,” Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness.

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Athens event aims to raise awareness of male childhood sexual abuse — To help spread awareness about childhood sexual abuse suffered by men, The Cottage Sexual Assault and Children’s Advocacy Center will host its inaugural 1BlueString event Friday at Nuci’s Space. During the awareness event, guests will here acoustic sets from local musicians and guitarists who have switched out the low E string on their guitars with a blue string as a show of solidarity with the victims.

Barbara Kay: ‘Rape culture’ fanatics don’t know what a culture is — In today’s edition of the Post, there is a very thoughtful and serious discussion of whether the phenomena of “rape culture” even exists. It will no doubt receive the usual stream of invective — accusations of trivializing rape, denying that sexual assaults occur, implying that women who drank too much deserved to be raped. Hardly real criticisms in any intellectual sense, but they will come.

College Men Aren’t Closet Rapists — I don’t know which talking point from this administration is more insulting: the myth that discrimination keeps women from achieving parity with men, or the claim that male rapists lurk on every campus corner waiting to pounce on innocent, unsuspecting young women. The latter assertion is particularly dangerous. Not only does it lack substance, it serves to broaden the chasm that already exists between women and men. Continue reading

Stop The Abuse: The Men’s Project

Often times people want to help others but do not know how. This cannot be any truer than when it comes to helping abused men and boys. The resources sometimes are not apparent and are often difficult to find. Sometimes the resources are hidden or even barred by other groups who wish to polarize the issue. The intent here is to provide those who wish to help male victims with the opportunity to do so. Every month I will post a new link to an organization that provides services for male victims. As the list grows, I will create a page where all the links can be found.

Please remember that you do no have to empty your wallets to help. Even a small donation can go a long way. And for those on the other side of the issue, it would go a long way to demonstrating real concern for all victims if you donated as well.

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The Men’s Project

The Men’s Project is a non-profit charitable men’s counselling agency that has been providing services to men and their families since 1997.

We provide individual and couple counselling, as well as a specialized healing program for men who have experienced sexual or physical abuse as children, anger management, emotional intelligence and fathering.

Our services are specifically designed for men and professionally facilitated by accredited psychotherapists. We tailor our individual programs to specifically meet men’s needs in a way that speaks to men.

All of our programs are open to straight, gay and bisexual men.

For more information click on a link on the right, call us at (613) 230-6179, toll free in Ontario at 1-877-677-6532, or email us at counsellingservices@themensproject.ca.

Please donate and help make a difference.

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29 Boys Killed as Boko Haram Attacks Boarding School in Nigeria — Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram stormed a boarding school in Nigeria overnight and killed 29 pupils, police and the military said on Tuesday. Many of the victims died as the school was burned to the ground. “Some of the students’ bodies were burned to ashes,” Police Commissioner Sanusi Rufai said of the attack on the Federal Government college of Buni Yadi, a secondary school in Yobe state in the country’s northeast.

Abuse investigation: LA bishop kept altar boy list from police — When Los Angeles police were investigating allegations of child abuse by a Roman Catholic priest in 1988, they asked for a list of altar boys at the last parish where the priest worked. Archbishop Roger Mahony told a subordinate not to give the list, saying he didn’t want the boys to be scarred by the investigation and that he felt the altar boys were too old to be potential victims, according to a February 2013 deposition made public Wednesday.

The Children of Conflict — When Mohammad Qataa, a 14-year-old boy, was brutally murdered in front of his mother last year in Syria, his story went viral. Forced out of school to sell coffee on the streets of Aleppo, he refused to serve armed members of the opposition group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), for free and jokingly insulted the Prophet Mohammad. He was subsequently tortured and shot three times in public for blasphemy. Continue reading

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Archdiocese seeks to block depositions — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has asked a judge to prevent attorneys for an alleged sexual abuse victim from taking depositions from top church officials. A former teenage altar boy identified as John Doe 1 filed suit last May against the archdiocese, the Diocese of Winona and former priest Thomas Adamson, alleging sexual abuse by Adamson between 1976 and 1977 when he was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas church in St. Paul Park.

Boy ‘didn’t know what mammy meant’ — The son of an unmarried mother said he became a zombie – introverted and fearing the next beating, lying soaked in urine at night in an attempt to dissuade sexual abusers from “dropping the hand.” He lived at St Joseph’s in Termonbacca, Londonderry, run by the Sisters of Nazareth order of Catholic nuns, in the 1950s after being born in abject poverty and abandoned by his parents.

Church ‘in denial’ over sex abuse — An organisation representing male survivors of sexual abuse including some abused by priests, says the Catholic Church in New Zealand, like other countries, is still in denial. In a scathing report on the Vatican’s policies, the United Nations’ watchdog for children’s rights says Church officials imposed a code of silence on clerics and moved abusers from parish to parish in an attempt to cover up such crimes.

Civil complaint: Redlands’ boy’s life ‘forever altered’ because of Laura Whitehurst’s sexual abuse — Redlands Unified School District officials “turned a blind eye” to a year-long sexual relationship between Laura Whitehurst, a former English teacher at Citrus Valley High School, and a then-16-year-old student that resulted in the birth of a child, attorneys for the young man said Thursday. “Children in California, children in Redlands should not be sexual toys for teachers,” said John Manly, an attorney representing the young man at a news conference outside of Riverside Superior Court. Continue reading

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Brave Worcester man who was raped speaks out — A COURAGEOUS father has spoken of his rape ordeal in the hope other male survivors of sex attacks will come forward. Pete Shirley, of Bromyard Road, St John’s, Worcester, refuses to let the attack destroy him and hopes that by waiving his legal right to anonymity he will encourage other men to report rape.

CAPS offering Male Survivors therapeutic support group this spring — Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Penn State is offering a group this spring for male students who have had unwanted, abusive or confusing sexual experiences at some point in their lives, which may still be affecting them.

Editorial: The war on young boys — The Obama Administration, through Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U S. Attorney general Eric Holder, have issued new guidelines designed to end or at least restrict “zero tolerance” disciplinary policies in schools. Continue reading

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Anchorage woman accused of fondling 12-year-old pleads guilty to coercion — A 49-year-old woman pleaded guilty in Anchorage Friday to a single count of coercion after a jury couldn’t make a unanimous decision last year as to whether or not she sexually abused a minor, stemming from allegations that she inappropriately touched a 12-year-old boy when she was drunk. Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton will decide Kimberly Ann Mockta’s sentence.

Female MP abused boy in care — She is alleged to have forced a boy in care to perform a “vile” sex act at one of a series of drug-fuelled parties in Westminster in the Eighties where boys and girls as young as 13 were allegedly abused. Last night her alleged victim told the Sunday Express: “I want justice.” Andrew Ash, now 45, said he has given Scotland Yard the name of the former MP. We cannot name her for legal reasons.

Fighting for male victims for sex abuse — I have been working with and supporting male victims of childhood sexual abuse and rape as adults since 1996. Are there male victims of sexual violence in this country? Definitely. How big is the problem? We are not completely sure. There has never been any research done on the sexual victimisation of men and boys in New Zealand. There is also a lack of or no research on female offenders in New Zealand.  Continue reading