Sexual abuse affects boys and men too.
1 in 6 boys will be a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18. But, in part due to lingering shame and stigmas, many victims don’t disclose the abuse until years later (if at all). They suffer in silence.
Court Stroud was one of those boys. He was 6 years old the first time he was sexually assaulted. He was in third-grade the next time he was assaulted. More assaults occurred in his teenage and young adult years. And yet, he told no one.
“This is a story I wasn’t comfortable talking about, even with those closest to me, until about four years ago,” Court says.
He did1 in 6 boys will be a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18. But, in part due to lingering shame and stigmas, many victims don’t disclose the abuse until years later (if at all). n’t tell his mother (and other close relatives) about the abuse until his Newsweek essay, “After 50 Years of Sexual Assault Shame, I’m Finally Reclaiming My Voice,” won a prestigious journalism award in the Spring of 2022. He learned then “that the terror they were going to reject me” was all in his head. Sharing his story, he hopes, will help others.
“We’re only as sick as our secrets,” Court says. “The more transparently that I’m able to live, the healthier I’m able to be. The silence was worse than the incident.”
Need help or support? Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Court discuss:
- How sexual abuse harms boys
- The link between sexual assault and shame — and how shame keeps people quiet
- The last-lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse
- Fight, flight, or freeze stress response
- “Healthy adults don’t ever ask children to keep secrets”
- Why talking about tough things is so important
- When to seek mental health assistance
- Using TV shows & news stories to educate boys about sexual violence
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
“After 50 Years of Sexual Assault Shame, I’m Finally Reclaiming My Voice” — Court’s ASJA award-winning essay
The Grizzly in the Purple Pants — Court’s NYT article
Stop Sexual Abuse with These 6 Steps — BuildingBoys post
Pay Attention to Stop Sexual Abuse — BuildingBoys post
Sexual Abuse & Penn State — classic BuildingBoys post
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673
RAINN — United States’ largest anti-sexual violence organization
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