Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Four-country study sheds light on sexual abuse of boys



Four-country study sheds light on sexual abuse of boys

Four-country study sheds light on sexual abuse of boys

A four-country study on sexual violence inflicted on boys indicates that socio-cultural pressures play a role in how people differentiate sexual abuse between girls and boys and prevent male victims from seeking help as well.

Around 400 male respondents from Cambodia, the Philippines, India and Nepal participated in key informant interviews and focus group discussions for the country reports to discuss what it means to be boys in the context of violence and sexual abuse.

The reports show broad similarities in the underlying causes of the sexual abuse of boys and the broad consequences of the interventions to prevent it, said Lois Engelbrecht, an expert in preventing child sexual abuse and one of the study’s proponents.

“Patriarchy, in some forms, appears to be the overarching mechanism that guides gender roles in all country reports,” Engelbrecht said during the presentation of the reports at the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development on Tuesday.

“All reports confirmed that male respondents embraced this definition and the expectations in its forms,” she said.

In all four countries, she said, the major themes revolve around the demand for boys to maintain physical and emotional strength to the point that they are not allowed to show emotion.

The report on Cambodia said men are treated as “golden”, and because boys are more capable than girls, they are more valued and are supposed to be powerful.

In the Philippines, boys can be physically punished more than their sisters, and this could have an impact on their notions of strength, due to the country’s strong patriarchy, its report said.

India’s report highlights the need for men to care for their families and thus maintain strength in all aspects.

In Nepal, according to its report, men are meant to be the family protectors and income-earners – responsibilities that are also linked to community power.

All these dominant notions of masculinity and sexuality also prevent boys from seeking help for their own abuse, the reports show.

A deeper look into the report on the Philippines, for which there were 79 respondents, shows the prevalence of the belief that the sexual abuse of boys is not of much importance and is certainly not as big a problem as for girls.

The report said there appears to be recognition that when a boy is sexually abused, both the victim and his parents will find it hard to deal with the matter.

For service providers, not being able to report or believing that the sexual abuse of boys is no big deal – a concern in some communities – does present a problem for male victims.

Notions that people will ridicule a male victim of sexual abuse and will blame him for “failing to protect himself” are apparent in some communities, the report added.

“In the context of sexual abuse, it is really rare for men or boys to admit that they have been sexually abused because of what our culture says – that they should be strong, that they should keep it to themselves,” it said.

The reports were published by Family for Every Child, an international alliance of civil society organisations working to mobilise knowledge, skills and resources involving the care of children.

The member-organisations that have worked on the reports since 2017 are First Step Cambodia (Cambodia), the Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (Philippines), Butterflies (India) and Voice of Children (Nepal).

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • ACLEDA, WU to enable global money transfers

    Cambodia's largest commercial bank by total assets ACLEDA Bank Plc and global money transfer firm Western Union (WU) have partnered to offer customers cross-border money transfers to 200 countries via “ACLEDA mobile” app. In Channy, president and group managing director of ACLEDA, said the June 22 agreement

  • Walmart plans to diversify stock of Cambodia goods

    Walmart Inc, the world’s biggest retailer, on June 22 reiterated recent plans to scale up and greatly diversify its purchases of Cambodian products, according to the labour ministry. This came during a virtual working meeting between Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Cotton club growing in Battambang

    The global market for “vegan leather” – materials that act as alternatives to traditional leather that can be synthesised from cork, apple peels, cactus, recycled plastic, grape pomace and pineapple leaves, among other things, and supposedly require no chemicals or water to produce – is expected to