Sign Up Now for a FREE Enrollment Consultation!

We respect your family's privacy.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Day: Mothers who sexually abuse their sons

September 20, 2017 0 Comments

“She had this big bedroom and if we were ever sick or anything like that we’d stay in her bed. One day she just initiated it, she just started touching me and it just went from there. She preyed on the fact I was coming into puberty and made me feel important and special.” These are the disturbing recollections of an adult, now in his 50s, who was 12 when his mother initiated him into a sexual relationship. As a child he was incapable of consenting to sex with “an adult in a position of power” – he thought he was enjoying it and felt grown up.

Although there is sufficient evidence of girls being sexually abused by adult male family members including their fathers, it is limited with regard to women who sexually abuse boys or sons. The mother’s traditional role as the caregiver and nurturer makes this an almost taboo topic for discussion, even for experienced therapists. Hani G. Miletski, a certified sex therapist and author of the book “Mother-Son Incest: The Unthinkable Broken Taboo Persists” confirms: “Nobody wants to think about it, nobody wants to deal with it, nobody wants to research it, nobody wants to study, nobody wants to read about it.” Her book is full of personal stories of survivors of mother-son incest.

Every year, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) observes RAINN Day on the third Thursday of September. It is an annual day of action to raise awareness about sexual assault, particularly of minors at the hands of an adult. The day also highlights that survivors of child sexual abuse are at risk of severe mental health disorders including drug abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“A gendered no-go area for society”

Lucetta Thomas, researcher and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Canberra in Australia, has been extensively examining the issue of mother-son abuse to challenge what she terms “a gendered no-go area for society.” Describing the case of an individual who had been abused by his mother during childhood and who ultimately committed suicide, she says that the child was so young that he didn’t have any knowledge about what was happening as he continued to be forced and manipulated into performing sexual acts. She adds that instances of mother-son abuse are under-represented since victims find it extremely difficult to open up. The emotional impact and trauma, instead of receding over time, becomes worse. Majority of participants in Thomas’ research have felt trapped, afraid and isolated as adults, not knowing how to seek help to cope with the abuse they have endured.

As opposed to overt (direct) sexual abuse, many men experience covert (indirect) maternal abuse during childhood. Covert abuse includes sexually-provocative gestures and strokes, inappropriate comments regarding sexual organs, and violation of the youngster’s privacy in the bedroom or bathroom. As adults, the silent victims are consumed by shame, self-loathing, anger, helplessness, betrayal and emptiness. They also doubt their sexuality or masculinity. Victims consider the experience to be the “most shameful and damaging form of childhood victimization.”

Being believed important for recovery

There is a fear among survivors that they will not be taken seriously or be believed. While some health professionals understand the complexities of the issue, others don’t. Thomas explains that for victims to get adequate help, health care professionals need to accept the reality of mother-son sexual abuse. They also need to comprehend the long-term trauma associated with such abuse as well as the difficulty experienced by male survivors in accessing necessary services.

Many survivors of child sexual abuse develop symptoms of PTSD such as behaving anxiously or experiencing nightmares. They may exhibit unusual sexual conduct not typically expected from adolescents. Children, particularly boys, may “act out” aspects of abuse in their interactions with other children. This could impact their relationships as they never trust anyone again. Older children or teens may also engage in self-harm and substance abuse, or try to commit suicide.

The development of post traumatic stress disorder in adolescence is a significant outcome of child sexual abuse. White River Academy, one of the leading therapeutic residential schools, aims to assist teenage boys aged 12 to 17 years. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our experts to know about evidence-based treatment programs to help teens with PTSD recover in time.

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

*

View More

Reviews

We would like to thank all the wonderful staff at WRA for the great parent weekend. We enjoyed it and felt that we learned valuable insights on Positive Peer Culture and the values we must have and the importance of family commitment to each other...