Survivor says male sexual abuse needs more attention
JEFFERSON CITY - Male sexual abuse happens to one in six boys by the time he is 18, and a survivor says the issue needs more attention.
"I was sexually abused starting at the age of 6 by a family member," Greg Holtmeyer said.
Ninety-five percent of male sexual abuse survivors are abused by a close family member or a close family friend, according to the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA).
Holtmeyer said the abuse went on for a number of years and was traumatizing as a child.
"When you don't announce it at that point in time, when you don't disclose to someone that you're abused, after a while you decide, 'Well it's too late now, why should I?' and you keep that secret and you just bury it with the idea to just forget about it and it will go away--which it never goes away. It's always there," Holtmeyer said.
Holtmeyer didn't say anything to anyone about the abuse until he was 45. He was a teacher at the time and a woman who volunteered at the school noticed something was off.
"I texted her one day and I said, 'I need to talk to you today' and I went down to her room and within minutes, I was doing the proverbially spilling my guts and it was a two-hour session," Holtmeyer said.
The director of Childhood Advocacy for Missouri, Kelly Schultz, said most of the time there aren't any physically signs that a child has been abused.
"What we see are the behavioral concerns, hyper-vigilance, so always head on a swivel. Hyper-vigilant about their own safety and it is often mistaken for hyperactivity. We also see chronic headaches (and) chronic stomach aches, that physically sign of stress that the child is under," Schultz said.
When Holtmeyer was abused, he said it brought on a lot of distrust, insecurities and anger. But at the same time, he was trying to please everyone because he didn't want violence in his life.
In 2011, Holtmeyer decided it was time to help others who have been abused.
"At first, a lot of state agencies and organizations, legislators didn't want to talk to me. They said it's just too controversial for them to talk about. No one wanted to hear about it," Holtmeyer said.
Male sexual abuse is a taboo topic, Holtmeyer said. Males aren't supposed to be victims and abuse isn't something that is supposed to happen to them. When it is brought out to the open, they don't know what will happen.
"Part of the reason a lot of men won't come forward, it's the fear of the unknown. They would rather live a very unhappy life the way that they are versus coming out and talking about it and not knowing what friends and family would say," Holtmeyer said.
Schultz said talking to your child about sexual abuse can begin in the summer.
"You're putting swimming suits on a kid and you just pause and say the parts that are covered by the swimming suit are special. They are private," Schultz said.
Holtmeyer has had a very successful year so far, giving presentations in many different states across the country and bringing awareness to male sexual abuse.
If you or someone you know has been abuse you can contact Greg Holtmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
There has also been a GoFundMe page set up to support male sexual abuse advocacy.