Partners of Male Survivors Need Support, Too

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About 1in6

The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. 1in6′s mission also includes serving family members, friends, and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.


  1. I know only a tiny bit of what happened to my partner. It’s not something he’s ready to talk about and I make a concious effort not to pry, and to avoid the topic until he’s ready to talk. Having been in a previous relationship w/a man w/many mental health issues, I feel confident that my current partner is dealing w/this as healthfully as possible and in his own way. However, the hard thing for me has been keeping my own assumptions in check. I DO know that 1 in 6 men are sexually abused, but just the other day, I was talking about a sketchy stairway in our apartment and said “I don’t go that way, but you’re a guy, so you’ll be safe”. I felt like an idiot, but decided it was better to just change the subject than mention it again, because it didn’t seem to have triggered any reaction from him. If anyone can offer any suggestions for things I should do in the future to make him feel safe & supported to talk when he’s ready, if he’s ever ready, then please, let me know.

    • 24KAuGuy says:

      I couldn’t read your comment and not respond because your efforts deserve to be noticed and commended. I am a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse as well as rape as an adult. Thank-you for supporting your partner while he heals from his experience(s). I can’t tell you how good it feels as a survivor to know that my partner supports me and I am sure your partner feels the same, whether he says so or not. Don’t beat yourself up over the comment you made to your partner. I’m sure that since he knows you, he knows you probably didn’t mean anything by it. It IS hard not to fall back into gender stereotypes sometimes so mistakes will undoubtedly happen from time to time, even to the best intentioned of us all. As far as suggestions about things you can do to make him feel safe and supported? Everyone is different but I would think that showing you love and support him in other things not related to his past and he’ll understand you will support him with that as well. Just know that no matter how much you support and love him, he may never fully share the horrors of his past with you. Try to be okay with this and understand he may have reasons he keeps everything to himself that have nothing to do with you. Thanks so much for commenting and supporting your partner. Remember to support and take care of yourself too.

  2. 24KAuGuy says:

    As a male survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape as an adult I can’t tell you how much I agree with this article. In any relationship I have had where I’ve disclosed to my partner I have always been happiest when my partner has an outlet or source of support outside. Someone once said to me “you can’t save someone who’s drowning if you’re drowning too”. That has always stuck with me and comes to mind whenever the topic of secondary survivors comes up.

  3. My ex was abused as a child when he was about 4 or 5 years old at a religious summer camp…I think he said it was the cook who pulled down his pants (who eventually got fired)….But I always wondered if that was the only incident of sexual abuse in his life….The way he behaved toward me was abusive and weird like he was compelled to act on his darkest impulses (reading some of the stories here really makes me question whether he was just reenacting some ancient abuse in his life with me, except that he was the abuser and I was the victim)…

    Great article! Thanks for discussing such a taboo subject….

    • “But I always wondered if that was the only incident of sexual abuse in his life…”

      You have to womder, but then again maybe abuse that early forms you for a lifetime.

      “(reading some of the stories here really makes me question whether he was just reenacting some ancient abuse in his life with me, except that he was the abuser and I was the victim)…’

      You speak in the past tense. I don’t mean to pry, but how did you come to realize you had to get out? Did knowing that he’d been abused ever hold you back from leaving?

  4. Bravo for treating men like human beings and focusing on how problems affect MEN.

  5. I was in a relationship for several years with a man who revealed to me that he’d been molested by a pedophile while on vacation with his family at around age 7. He was missing for an entire day. He didn’t tell anyone what had happened, not even the police who had been searching for him. He made up a story about wandering away from the hotel and getting lost. Actually he’d been at the hotel the whole time in this guy’s room. He could have taken the cops right there. But he was so ashamed, he lied to everyone. This was in the 1960′s but it still shocks me how brazen the perpetrator was.

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