What About the Boys? The Importance of Including Boys and Young Men in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research

Females are taught to prepare themselves against dangers like harassment and abuse in the workplace, at home, and in all other public realms. The hidden dimension is that males are also victims in such harassment and abuse cases that are often touted as female problems. Generally male abuse may be underreported because of cultural stigmas in regards to male vulnerability as well as masculinity in sexual relationships.

Many studies often link behavioral ramifications of sexual abuse and maltreatment focused on females, and the studies’ results often spur policy and regulations serviced to that half of the population. There is often the failure to address the gender divide and the services the male victims should be provided.

Recent research concluded that childhood and adolescent sexual abuse could substantially influence sexual behavior in adolescence among male victims.

The study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health and was conducted by researchers from the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia through meta-analysis of existing research studies. Yuko Homma, Naren Wang, Elizabeth Saewyc, and Nand Kishor evaluated ten samples from nine studies published between 1990 and 2011.

The research was conducted through searches on literature focused on findings pertaining to male subjects specifically. The researchers computed the weighted mean odds ratio for the three outcomes considered risky sexual behavior (1) unprotected sexual intercourse, (2) multiple sexual partners, and (3) pregnancy involvement.

The results show that risky sexual behavior is more likely to occur when the child was abused, and that the exposure to sexual abuse as a child or adolescent created higher odds of unprotected sexual intercourse, multiple sexual partners, and pregnancy involvement.

“Those males who do not disclose their abuse experience are not likely to receive social or professional support,” the report said, “perhaps having more profound influences on neurobiological, cognitive, and emotional development and subsequent sexual practices.”

Click here to read the report.

-Ellen Yau

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John Kelly
About John Kelly 1164 Articles
John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.