According to Breastcancer.org, about 1:8 women will develop breast cancer and the American Cancer Society states that 1:5 people will develop colon cancer and 1:67 will develop pancreatic cancer. In contrast according to a report by the Lisa Project (2010), 1:4 boys will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. I will say in all fairness that the statistics for abused boys remains controversial and understandably so as only 10% of all cases are even reported.
When people are diagnosed with cancer, they are met with an abundance of love, sympathy and support from their doctors and family. Often they have the constant support from not only family and friends; often their community surrounds and supports them as well. For instance, a personal friend of my family has a daughter who at the age of four-years-old, was diagnosed with Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. With the efforts of my wife and many others, a Facebook page was developed and within six months almost two hundred thousand dollars was raised to help with the insurmountable medical bills her parents were receiving.
In contrast if a young boy goes to someone telling him that he has been sexually abused, more often than not, his cry for help is discarded as a fabricated story rather than truth. He is told not to say anymore about it or never to bring it up again. The reality is, most boys never say anything because they believe their family will be harmed or they will loose a variety of other emotional needs that are being met by the perpetrator. They won’t say anything to anyone for fear of looking weak or less of a man. So instead they carry the secret into their adulthood. When they get tired of feeling the pain of their past trauma, tired of failed relationships, marriages and business failures, then and only then they might speak out and seek help.
Speaking out about being sexually abused as a child takes a tremendous amount of courage. Unfortunately this courage is far to often met with the male victim being shunned and shamed for speaking up. They will be told, “That happened along time ago. It’s time to grow up, get over it, and move on with your life.” These types of comments actually do more harm than good and inevitably lead to the victim crawling back into a world of isolation and addiction.
Sexual abuse is a cancer of the soul and like any cancer; the best cure is love and understanding from family and friends. What I needed the most when I started my healing journey in 2006 was to be listened to and heard without judgment, believed, validated, supported, and not for you to fix me, but love me. When I received all of these from my counselors in treatment, I was finally able to move from a victim mentality to a courageous, healing, thriving survivor.