Healthcare Training Institute - Quality Education since 1979
CE for Psychologist, Social Worker, Counselor, & MFT!!
In the last section, we discussed the ways in which social pressures affect a sexually abused boy's development in the areas of gender role identity, double standard, and age-disparate heterosexual abuse.
As you know, an ideal environment for sexual information for a child would be one in which accurate and an efficient amount of information is given at an appropriate age. The boy is given the opportunity to learn about and experience their growing sexuality within a supportive, nurturing and informative environment. However, as you are well aware, this is most commonly not the case.
In this section, we will examine the way that four types of environments can affect sexually abused boys: the evasive environment; the environmental vacuum; the seductive environment; and the overtly sexual environment.
♦ #1 The Sexually Evasive
Robbie, a twelve year old sexual abuse client of one of my colleagues Frank, had been brought up in an evasive environment. Robbie related to Frank, "One time, one of the girls sat down next to me at lunch and eventually began to talk about sexual stuff. I never believed girls talked like that. I didn't know what to say because I don't know anything about sex-that's for people who are married and are going to have babies. When she asked me something about 'home base' I thought she was talking about softball."
Frank then asked Robbie what and how his parents had taught him about sex. Robbie stated, "My dad used to get so nervous when I asked where my baby brother came from, I quit asking. He would usually say something about being able to understand someday when I was older. My mom was no help either. When I asked her questions, she would tell me to ask my dad. She still uses words like 'pee-pee' or 'tinkle' when talking about going to the bathroom." As you can see, Robbie had no understanding about his own sexuality.
♦ #2 The Environmental Vacuum
As you can see from Pete's account, had his parents been more informative about sex and what sex is appropriate and what is a violation of boundaries, he might have revealed the abuse much earlier than he did.
♦ #3 The Negative Environment
Joseph, a seventeen year old sexual abuse client
of mine who was raised in this negative environment, was abused by his 32 year
old neighbor, Laura, at the age of 13. Ashamed and horrified that some of the
things he experienced were pleasurable, Joseph punished himself by becoming anorexic.
Terrified of telling his parents, Joseph did not report his abuse until his high
school counselor asked him to go to therapy for his anorexia. There, he revealed
The overtly sexual environment, however, involves actual intercourse between an adult and a child. In these cases, it does not necessarily mean a parent is abusing the client, but an influential adult in the child's life. Craig, age 18, was referred to a colleague of mine because he was having problems getting along with his classmates and teachers. He was anxious around female teachers especially and became explosively angry when asked by a female teacher about his grades. Craig couldn't seem to understand or control his anxiety around women.
In one session, Craig asked his therapist, "I don't think this has anything to do with anything, but I wonder if having sex before you are supposed to can help or hurt your sex life?" When asked to go further, Craig revealed that his housekeeper of his childhood repeatedly committed sexual acts with him since the age of nine until he was 13. As you can see, Craig had grown up in the most common environment for sexual abuse clients.
♦ Technique: Assertive vs. Aggressive
Step # 3 - Next, give examples of situations that are either assertive or aggressive. For instance, "One teenager sees a second teenager bothering his girlfriend and approaches him about it" would be an example of an assertive behavior. On the other hand, the scenario "Your dad tells you he does not like your friend John and restricts you from seeing him" would be an example of aggressive behavior.
Step # 4 - Then, ask the client whether he thought the example was one of aggression or assertion.
Step # 5 - Next, brainstorm with the client about ways in which to make an aggressive situation and assertive ones. By completing this exercise, Craig could better control his behavior around women.
In this section, we discussed the way that four types of environments can negatively affect sexually abused boys: the evasive environment; the environmental vacuum; the seductive environment; and the overtly sexual environment.
In the next section, we will
examine additional ways to address sexually abused boys who are experiencing anger