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Think Men Are Not Sexually Abused? Hear Out This Survivor

Speaking about male sexual abuse is the only way to break the taboo around it.

Published
Videos
3 min read

Producer: Zijah Sherwani Editor & Illustrator: Puneet Bhatia

Yes, Men Are Also Sexually Abused. Why Does Nobody Speak Out?

On 16 November 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested 40-years-old engineer Ram Bhavan Singh from Uttar Pradesh's (UP's) Chitrakoot for sexually abusing at least 50 children, majority of them boys between five and 16 years of age. He was also charged with filming and selling child sexual abuse material on the dark web.

Ram Bhavan had been doing this from the past 12 years.

This is by far the biggest child sexual abuse scandal in UP but the lack of coverage of this incident reveals how India doesn't take child sexual abuse seriously.

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The statistics on male sexual abuse indicate that it's high time we start looking at child sexual abuse from a gender-neutral lens.

The Minister of Women and Child Development said in the Parliament that only 467 male child abuse cases were lodged with the police out of 36,321 reported incidents in 2016.

But we didn’t want to just delve into data, but give a face to it – which in this case happens to be the narrator of our video, Lokesh Pawar, a writer and survivor of child sexual abuse.

He told us that most men never share their trauma and those who do, are scared to talk about it openly. They can’t open up to their families and most of them are living a life of fear and confusion. They stay silent fearing stigma and lack of acceptance of the fact that boys can be abused too.

Lokesh Pawar, writer and child sexual abuse survivor.

(Photo: The Quint)

"Till the time we don't see child sexual abuse from a gender-neutral lens, we will continue to be part of a patriarchal society which cages women in the name of protection and lets boys continue to be abused."
Lokesh Pawar

Insia Dariwala's Hands of Hope Foundation conducted an online survey of 160 Indian men in 2018. According to the survey, 71% men said they were abused and 84.9% did not tell anyone about the abuse.

Primary reasons for staying silent were:

  • Shame: 55.6%

  • Confusion: 50.9%

  • Fear: 43.5%

  • Guilt: 28.7%

Lokesh was six years old when he was abused for the first time by a relative and his abuse continued for the next 10 years.

Lokesh says, predators target boys because they know boys are less watched than girls and they truly understand the mindset of shame attached to it.

(Photo Courtesy: Lokesh Pawar)

"I was burdened with confusion, self-doubt, hate, anger & so much more. I did not understand what to do but because I lived with the trauma for such a long time. I did not want to let it ruin me anymore. I finally broke my silence and I spoke about my truth."
Lokesh Pawar

What Is the Mindset of an Abuser?

Desires

Sexual enjoyment can be a motive for abusing a child but it is not the only one:
● Control someone and feel powerful
● Hurt someone for pleasure

Delusions
Abusers find it easier to act on their desires if they are convinced that what they want to do is ok.
● That they are more important than the children they abuse
● That the abuse isn't harmful
● That they deserve or are entitled to it
● That part of being a man is being sexually dominant
● Or that the child consented

The Quint reached out to at least 10 male survivors of sexual abuse, they all shared their stories privately but refused to go on record.

Lokesh was courageous enough to speak out: this video wouldn’t have been possible without him.

Hope our video strikes a chord and leads to more conversations around the sexual abuse of young boys.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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