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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Male survivors of sexual abuse : shame and the healing quest Slakov, Paul

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the experience of shame for male survivors of sexual abuse. Five male survivors gave voice to their experience of shame. Using a phenomenological method, semi-structured interviews were tape recorded, transcribed and analysed for themes. From this rich source of data six essential shared themes were determined. The results showed that male survivors experience strong feelings of low self-worth, as would be expected. However, the male survivors in the study also saw themselves as "abnormal", "freaks", "perverts" or "monsters". This self-characterisation points to the great isolation and stigmatisation male survivors face in their social environment. Themes included shame related to the survivor's male identity, sexual arousal at the time of abuse, and feelings of responsibility for the abuse. A l l six themes were discussed, as were implications for counselling.

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