Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Some male sexual abuse survivors struggle with self-perception, while others are afraid of how society will perceive them. One major misconception is the belief that men who were abused will grow up to become abusers. An audience member explains that this is why many men don't report their abuse. "They don't want people to think they're going to be one of them," he says. "One of the bad guys."
Dr. Fradkin agrees. "We do know that many molesters have been perpetrated themselves, but men who are perpetrated, very few of them go [on to become abusers]," Dr. Fradkin says. "Most men who are abused, and I'm sure I speak for all of you, abhor that kind of violence and would never do that to another person."
Many male survivors, however, are terrified to be around children. "A lot of times, men get triggers—like they're changing diapers—because of something that was done to them, and so they get triggered and they feel afraid," Dr. Fradkin says. "Even though they know inside their heads, 'There's nothing I would ever do to this child.'"