A couple of weeks ago I read a review about the forthcoming television drama, 'Patrick Melrose'. It was a well written and sensitive review by a national newspaper paper that didn't shy away from the subject of intrafamilar child sexual abuse experienced by Patrick Melrose as a boy. The review also discussed the novels that the drama is based on, highlighting the novels were loosely based on the experiences of the author Edward St Aubyn. Often the media does not cover the abuse and child sexual exploitation of boys. This can lead to a false impression that child sexual abuse does not happen to boys or rarely happens to boys.
I was able to locate one of Edward St Aubyn's novels in the library. I found it wonderfully honest in expressing the intrusions and distress that result from abuse, and honest in the sometimes desperate need to avoid both the intrusions and the numb, detached meaninglessness. In Patrick Melrose's case drugs and alcohol were the character's main avoidance strategies at that stage in his life.
I hope this is a step forward in acknowledging that men and boys experience all forms of abuse and the subsequent post trauma responses. Society can depict men as either the strong protectors or perpetrators and these stereotypes can be barriers to men being able to access support.
Trauma is a difficult experience and it's tentacles reach into all areas of life. Abuse silences and we need to find spaces where that silence can be broken and experiences can be heard.
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About Jacqueline Karaca
Jacquie Karaca is a psychotherapist and author. She practices individual and relationship counselling in Alsager.