Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Dr Nicola Davies - In the Shadows: Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

This Wednesday I would like to introduce you to Dr Nicola Davies.  We have been online friends for a while now and whilst at first I was wary of chatting online to a Doctor, Nicola soon put me at my ease. She has taken an interest in the work I am doing in trying to raise public awareness of the truth about male childhood sexual abuse. She did say she was going to sing as well..... Still waiting for that one :-) 

All yours Nicola.

In the Shadows: Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

First of all, I would like to thank Jan for inviting me to guest blog; it is an honour.  Since meeting Jan on twitter, I have been impressed with his dedication to raising awareness of child sexual abuse and ensuring that survivors have a voice. You only have to talk to Jan or spend some time on this blog to witness his passion.

As guest blogger, I would like to expand on some of the issues highlighted in Jan’s recent blog on child sexual abuse myths. Many of the myths surrounding child sexual abuse are related to gender.  While things are slowly changing, there is still a common belief that child sexual abuse primarily happens to female victims and is perpetrated by male abusers.  This does a terrible injustice to the many males who have been the victims of child sexual abuse. In many ways, it also minimises what is a traumatic experience whatever your gender.

As a researcher, one area where this misperception has hit hard has been research on child sexual abuse.  Despite an explosion of research on the issue over the recent decades, most research reported in the literature is focused on girls. There is significantly less attention given to boys and, in fact, prior to 1980 it is difficult to find any research involving males who have been sexually abused.  Even with the clear sway towards child sexual abuse primarily being an experience endured by females, this lack of literature is shocking.  Yes, statistics would suggest that more females are sexually abused, but these statistics do not represent facts.  Far from it; they more so demonstrate the taboo and stigma associated with being a male survivor of sexual abuse – hence, under-reporting of such cases.

Whatever the research says, there is no getting away from the fact that the sexual victimization of males does occur at significant rates.  Just as with females, these survivors are at increased risk of immediate and long-term health issues, including depression, suicide, addiction, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociation. Until there is more research into male sexual abuse, it is difficult to provide the appropriate support to these men.
Some males have difficulty disclosing abuse or seeking treatment or support and this is exacerbated by the lack of attention the issue has gained in the literature.  By continuing to perpetuate the belief that females are at increased risk of sexual abuse, society is further increasing the risk of abuse happening to males – by the spotlight being on females, males are in the shadows, vulnerable, and easier prey to potential abusers.

We know more about the impact of child sexual abuse on females because there has been more research in this area.  This is, in part, due to more females coming forward because of the greater level of support afforded them in comparison to males.  Therefore, in order to gain further insight into the impact of male sexual abuse and how these survivors can be supported, effort needs to be made to raise awareness of child sexual abuse in males so that misperceptions can be rectified and stigma challenged. Once the phenomenon is more recognised and accepted, more men will be able to come forward and offer insight into their experiences.  Until this happens, the support available for them will remain flawed.

It is with the above in mind that I would like to extend my support to Jan and all other male abusers who have started to blog on this topic and who are contributing to a much-needed shift in public awareness.  People like yourselves are making a difference, even if at times it does not feel that way.
Dr Nicola Davies can be reached via

Professional Statement
My area of expertise is within the field of Health Psychology, for which I hold a Master’s with Commendation and a PhD. I am a member of the British Psychological Society and the Division of Health Psychology. I have also been a member of the Department of Health Metrics Group and am motivated towards continued professional development. I have trained in the psychometrics of patient-reported outcome measures, systematic reviews, and critical appraisal at Oxford University. I am currently working as an Evaluation and Research Coordinator for a large cancer charity, as well as providing policy-based health advice to various organisations. Much of my work is evidence-based, as guided by systematic reviews and research. Topics covered in my work include lifestyle, behaviour change, self-management, chronic conditions management, and quality of life. I regularly write for a nursing journal, with articles varying from health-related topics to continued professional development guidance.
I am in the early stages of training in counselling skills, as accredited by the BACP.
I can write for a variety of audiences in a number of formats, including academic journals and commercial magazines.  I can also assist with the use of SPSS for quantitative data analysis or provide thematic content analysis or interpretative phenomenological analysis for qualitative data.


Patricia Singleton said...

Thank you both for this article. I too am glad to finally see male survivors beginning to speak up. Because I remember what my own journey was like in the beginning when women didn't have much information available, or at least not where I lived, I reach out so that others survivors know that they are not alone. There are differences but our feelings are often the same. With men and women survivors speaking out, we can now get a more accurate picture of the epidemic of child sexual abuse.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

A very interesting post. I am sure you and Jan are raising awareness of this issue.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...