TW: Male child sexual abuse, Male adult sexual assault
It happened to him, Chester Bennington. He was a victim of childhood sexual assault that lasted for 6 years. Ironically at that time his father was a detective who investigated child abuse.
In an interview, Bennington revealed that he had suffered sexual abuse from an older male friend … He was afraid to ask for help because he did not want people to think he was gay or lying…The abuse and situation at home affected him so much that he felt the urge to kill people and run away. To comfort himself, he drew pictures and wrote poetry and songs. He later revealed the abuser’s identity to his father, but chose not to continue the case after he realized the abuser was a victim himself. – Wikipedia
Chester Bennington no longer could fight his inner demons. Like many who are sexually assaulted, whether as an adult or not, he self-medicated with whatever worked, pushing the trauma further down, further altering his brain chemistry. Addiction was one consequence. Mental illness was another. Knowing that his friend himself had been abused denied him the healing aspect of confrontation, of justice & of taking back the power that was robbed from him.
Many men who experience sexual assault are let down by society: traditional patriarchal thinking sees male sexual assault victims as emasculated, even gay. That’s what Chester Bennington feared with good reason. Sadly there are also misandrist Feminists who don’t care if men are rendered powerless. (Thank god they are a minority). While the world can thank Feminists for enlightening successive governments around the world for the introduction of rape crisis centres, many of these centres exclude male victims of sexual assault: the main reason being that traumatised female victims of sexual assault feel extremely vulnerable & threatened by the appearance of males hence the need for women-only safe spaces, and the other being governments requirements that apply funding is to specific target groups, depending on that government-defined priorities, as anyone who has ever worked for the Public/Civil Service will agree.
HOWEVER none of that helps men in crisis. There are rape crisis services available for men but they are few and far between. There are a few men-only counselling services, but here is the other awful thing: while rates of Depression and other mental illnesses are fairly equal for men and women, suicide rates for men are significantly higher.
Please read these Insights into Men’s Suicides. You will be horrified. Suicide prevention is therefore absolutely necessary:
“…suicide prevention programs for men should draw on men’s skills and strengths, rather than on perceived failings or shortcomings. It is also valuable to introduce suicide prevention programs that target the family and friends of suicidal men who do not seek help themselves” – Susan Beaton and Dr Peter Forster.
We need safe spaces for men who are in crisis, and we need to stop belittling & shaming men for being sexually assaulted. They are not to blame. They are men who are traumatised. It is absolutely ok for men to feel angry, confused, and all their other deeply personal feelings. Men deserve to heal, to feel whole, & to feel safe to regain power to be fully themselves.
For Australian readers support is available for those who may be distressed by this post: