Male Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

Men who were sexually abused as children, a helpful publication.


A subject that has been often ignored in the “Me Too” movement has been sexual abuse committed against boys and the after-effects such treatment has on them when they become men. Below is a link to a publication published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) called “Helping Yourself Heal: A Recovering Man’s Guide to Coping with the Effects of Childhood Abuse”. The publication was written in 2004, but is still extremely relative today. If you would like a copy, follow the link and download the PDF.

I’ve added the Introduction below to give you a taste of what the publication covers.


Men who are in treatment for substance abuse experience many different feelings. Because of the way most men were brought up, it may be difficult for them to experience, express, understand, and cope with their feelings—or even admit to having them. Now that you are in treatment, you may feel relieved, optimistic, and proud of yourself for taking the first step toward recovery. Yet, at times, you also may feel:

■ Ashamed

■ Embarrassed

■ Depressed

■ Angry

■ Guilty

■ Bad about yourself

■ That you can’t connect with family or friends

■ That you’re crazy

■ Numbness or nothing at all

■ Fearful

■ Helpless

Believe it or not, some of these feelings are common for any man who starts treatment for a substance use disorder, but for a man who also was abused in childhood these feelings can be even stronger. The feelings can be so painful or overwhelming that he may do many things to avoid them, including using drugs or alcohol or both.

men in treatment for substance abuse don’t clearly remember being abused (or don’t realize that the way they were treated as children was abusive), but they have some of the feelings mentioned here. Some men push their memories of abuse so far away that they can’t explain why they have intense anger or fear, feel embarrassed around a particular person, have nightmares, or always feel as if something bad is about to happen. Sometimes, after people stop drinking or using drugs and are in treatment, memories may surface that had been too painful to think about before or that were blocked from memory by drugs or alcohol.

Working through the bad memories and experiences from childhood you’ve tried to forget can help you when you’re in substance abuse treatment because facing old feelings can help you focus on your present life.