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Philippine Journal of Child Sexual Abuse – Volume 8, 2018
An Exploratory Study Listening to the Voices of Boys
Jenny Cueva, Matet Gulapa, & Zenaida Rosales
A recent question being asked of social workers is whether we are working to empower our girls at the expense of equal services for boys (Engelbrecht, 2017). More important is the question about how boys feel about the push for “girl power” or “girl empowerment”. Without understanding our boys, especially their perceptions and attitudes, the concern states, when we work to empower our girls we could be endangering our boys and even perhaps leading them to increased aggression unless we also revise the expectations placed on them as boys. Increased aggression from a sense of perceived or real powerlessness could further lead our young men right into prisons. This paper is a report on the focus group discussions with 5 groups of 32 boys and young men. A synthesis from these discussions indicate that all the male respondents felt the need to study in order to eventually support their families financially. In fact, all were expected to have families. All the respondents also agreed that girls are treated differently from boys, the girls are often treated better than the boys, but none of the male respondents appeared to be negatively affected by this perceived discrimination. However, no question was asked regarding their specific feelings about or how the respondents handled this apparent discrimination.
Caring for boys who have been sexually abused:
Understanding the perceptions of boys and young men who have not been abused
CPTCSA and Family For Every Child
In the context of sexual abuse, most research, advocacy and direct work has been placed on working with girls and mothers. It has become apparent that, while this work was necessary to balance our treatment of males and females, we have not been paying attention to how this might be eff ecting our boys. The Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse, together with Asian partners of Family For Every Child, has embarked on a project to gather information in order to have suffi cient context and culturally based understanding of the sexual violence affecting boys, as victims of and actors in sexual violence, as well as generating information on appropriate interventions. It is also aimed at helping raise awareness of this important issue and influence practice around the world. More boys are sexually abused than girls in the Philippines (CWC, 2016) yet little data is available about the sociocultural causes and impact on our boys in the short- and long-term. This paper is only a part of a much larger study about the care for boys who have been sexually abused. This paper reviewed only the responses from boys and young men who had not been abused in order to begin to understand the continuum of a possible learned behavior. All respondents stated that a major difference between how boys and girls are treated in general is based in the need to protect girls rooted in reproduction, with some stating that it is more difficult to be a boy than a girl. All stated that their gender and sexuality was not taught explicitly, but instead was learned from direct messages and modeling. All respondents knew that sexual abuse did occur among boys, yet stated firmly that the problem was far bigger for girls. Most felt that the cause of sexual abuse among boys was homosexuals using their power in some form. Finally, the general feeling among all the respondents was that services for sexual abuse victims was focused on girls, and what services there were for boys were difficult to access.