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We have created a society around various myths involving the molestation of young men by male pedophiles, so much so that it is ingrained into the male psyche, especially in this age of fear of being an outcast from what we believe is the norm. Boys believe they cannot be “real men,” or they too will become a pedophile because of a traumatic event that was not their fault. These illusions, coupled with today’s macho culture, place fear in a victim’s mind that could create lifelong social and personal problems.

Male rape survivors can feel there is no help for them; that no one would be able or willing to understand their suffering. They bottle up their emotions until a healthy expression of them is almost impossible. Sadly, many eventually succumb to temporary, harmful escape methods to dull their world, attempting to make it tolerable, such as heavy alcohol use, drugs, and violence against others or themselves.

Survivors become so ashamed that they do not seek assistance to recognize their problem to receive the help they need. Boys must have an environment to speak freely about what is on their mind without the fear of punishment or chastisement for “being less than a man” or “not being man enough” to manage his own problems. Conveying this message early teaches them that asking for help is not an indication of weakness, but strength. They go through life feeling confused, ashamed, ugly, and angry. Molesters know how to manipulate their victims into believing these falsehoods; thereby using this wicked power to their advantage. If we had more open and frank conversations about rape, our young males would not be such easy prey to the manipulations of a sexual predator. If others spoke out about their own experiences, then these survivors would not feel so isolated, they would understand help is here.

There is hope though, and it starts with education. Educating not only young men but also their parents, teachers, and other authority figures will help highlight the signs associated with sexual assault. Male survivors need to be made aware of the agencies available to help them, both emotionally and physically, with discretion and respect without judgment.

As with any type of sexual abuse, whether it is rape, molestation, or forced advances, assault on boys and young men knows no racial, economic, or social boundaries. We are well into the 21st Century, but Americans still refuse to accept that anyone can be a victim of a sexual predator, even their big and strong boy. No one is exempt. This needs to change. These young men will continue to suffer if those they depend on cannot recognize the signs and symptoms of a possible abuse situation.