The Wounded Warrior

My journey from victim, through survivor to Warrior.

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  http://www.healthpsychologyconsultancy.co.uk/
 
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.

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July 30, 2014 Posted by | Medical, WELCOME TO MY GUEST, Writing | 2 Comments

The ABC’s Of Abuse

                              Abnormal body awareness, numbing, detachment
                              (depersonalization and/or derealization)
                              Abrasions or cuts appearing on the body which have
                              no apparent reasonable explanation
                              Ambidexterity; evidence of different writing styles,
                              widely fluctuating drawing abilities
                              Asthma
                              Auditory hallucinations (hearing voices, usually “inside”
                              head)
                              Behaviour that does not appear “normal” e.g. severe
                              anxiety around other children or adults, antisocial
                              behaviour in the form of hostile aggression or
                              withdrawal behaviour accompanied by depression.
                              Belief that his/her soul is “lost”, “sold” or “possessed”
                              Behaviour which indicates apathy or depression
                              Behaviour which is antisocial and hostile in nature
                              Bruises or welts appearing on the body, especially
                              those which reveal the shape of some object which
                              was used to produce them. e.g. sticks, belts, buckles,
                              electric cords, a hair brush, etc.
                              Bruises which are unexplained or located on parts of
                              the body which usually do not get bruised through the
                              bumps and falls of a child’s everyday living.
                              Burns caused by rope friction, usually found on legs,
                              arms, neck or torso as the result of having been tied
                              up.
                              High pain tolerance; lack of awareness of injury or
                              illness
                              Burns which leave a pattern outlining the object which
                              was used to make the burn such as an iron, electric
                              burner, heater or fireplace tool.
                              Burns with a “sock” or “glove-like” appearance on
                              hands, or feet and ” doughnut:” shaped burns on the
                              buttocks. These types of burns are usually caused by
                              either dipping or forcing the child to sit in scalding
                              liquid.
                              “Caretaker” tendencies with corresponding
                              self-neglect or abuse
                              Childs clothing appears to be stained, torn or bloody
                              Child continually hungry
                              Child expresses or implies sexual activity with a parent
                              or other adult
                              Child has been diagnosed with having VD of eyes,
                              mouth, genitalia or anus.
                              Child reports pain, itching, bruises, or bleeding in the
                              genital area
                              Child shows withdrawn behaviour, refusing to
                              participate or dress appropriately for physical activities
                              such as swimming
                              Child speaks of home with a lot of fear and anxiety,
                              but is fearful of intervention
                              Chronic bladder infections
                              Chronic night terrors
                              Clothing not suitable for weather conditions
                              Compulsive or obsessive thoughts; rumination
                              Confusion about family roles & relationships;
                              fluctuating knowledge of family roles and relationships,
                              occasional confusion about who is mother or father
                              Confusion and/or concern about what constitutes
                              childhood
                              Consistent lack of cleanliness/or an intense obsession
                              with cleanliness.
                              Convoluted thinking; exaggerated tendency to
                              anticipate the motives of others, especially authority
                              figures
                              Does not seem to understand play, inability to play,
                              excessively anxious to know “rules”
                              Eating disorders; food phobias, especially “red” food,
                              meat, or herbs (anxiety response rather than simple
                              dislike)
                              Epileptic-type seizures or episodes of fainting or
                              unconsciousness with no medical explanation
                              Evidence of frequent trance states (forgetfulness,
                              confused denial of witnessed behavior); high
                              vulnerability to trance state induction (for example,
                              during “storytime” or in response to poetry, music,
                              rhythmic sounds, etc), yet phobic of “formal” hypnosis
                              induction techniques
                              Evidence that the child’s physical or medical needs are
                              not being met.
                              Exaggerated startle reflex, especially followed by
                              evidence of dissociation and/or amnesia
                              Exaggerated reliance on state-dependent learning;
                              evidence of inconsistent skills and knowledge
                              Exaggerated sense of guilt and responsibility for others
                              Exaggerated tendency toward age-inappropriate
                              abstract thought or analysis with a corresponding
                              ignorance of basic instinctual knowledge, e.g.
                              abnormal ideas about eating , sleeping , elimination,
                              death, identity
                              Excessive superstition about numbers (especially 3,
                              multiples of 3, 7 & 13) and symbols (especially
                              pentagrams, crosses, circles, runes)
                              Expectation that he/she will be thought “crazy”, “bad”
                              or “evil”
                              Extreme compliance with authority figures; severe
                              alienation from peers
                              Extreme fluctuation in skills, behavior, appearance
                              “Flat” affect; confused and/or inappropriate emotional
                              responses, especially to scenes of violence or abuse
                              Fear of being photographed
                              Fear of eye contact
                              Fear of physical contact, hugging, touching
                              Frequent incidence of excema or other symptomatic
                              skin disorders and non-specific skin irritations
                              Frequent somatic symptoms or illness accompanied by
                              lack of complaint (uninitiated disclosure) or awareness
                              Frequent weeping without the ability to relate to a
                              reason, or with denial of emotion
                              Highly phobic with multiple triggers
                              Human bite sized bites, especially those that are adult
                              sized.
                              Hyperviligilance; insomnia (only able to sleep in
                              morning or during daylight)
                              Inability to differentiate fantasy from reality
                              Injuries in various stages of healing which appear in a
                              regular pattern or are grouped together
                              Lack of congruent short-term memory; confused
                              personal history
                              Lack of supervision especially in dangerous situations
                              or while participating in activities which extend over
                              long periods of time.
                              Loss of appetite, refusal to eat
                              Minimal or no ability to defend self; marked
                              inconsistency in aggressive or self-protective abilities
                              Olfactory hallucinations, especially when followed by
                              dissociative episodes
                              Precocious knowledge of metaphysics, philosophy,
                              mythology or ethics, especially with no conscious
                              memory of having studied these subjects); assumption
                              that information or knowledge can “come to you”
                              without learning
                              Rapid mood swings or “simultaneous” contradictory
                              emotions, e.g. laughing and crying, angry yet
                              submissive
                              Ritualized behavior (things must be done in a certain
                              order or in a proscribed way in order to be “safe”)
                              Self-mutilation, usually hidden
                              Sexually responsive to perceived “perpetrator” figures;
                              contradictory sexual naivete, modesty, repressed
                              sexuality with others
                              Small circular burns appearing on face, arms, hands,
                              buttocks or soles of feet which may have been inflicted
                              by a cigar or cigarette
                              Statements that imply an assumption of parallel,
                              contradictory realities, for example that there is an
                              “inside” world and an “outside” world with opposing
                              rules, or that everyone performs acts that must be kept
                              secret
                              Suicidal ideation and attempts from an early age
                              Tattoos or unusual scars (scalp, behind ear, palm of
                              hand, inside thigh, over heart, next to nipples); “box
                              scars”
                              Uncharacteristic episodes of severe, unfocused
                              anxiety, e.g. crouching on floor, rocking, nail biting,
                              compulsive scratching or biting of the self
                              Unexplained fractures to nose, face, ribs, legs or other
                              parts of the body
                              Unwanted pregnancy occurs, and child is afraid to
                              mention partners name
                              Visual hallucinations (blood, knives, animals, eyes)
                              Young Child shows knowledge or interest in adult
                              sexual behaviour, not appropriate for his age group

August 3, 2011 Posted by | Abuse, depression, Medical, Pain | Leave a comment