How Can I Know If I Was ‘Sexually Abused’?

This can be tough to answer.
It may not even be the right question (for you, for now).

Get help

For many guys, this is not a question that’s easy to answer, especially by reading websites.

For some men, it may not even be a helpful question to ask, at least not at first.

Why? Because of what a “yes” answer could mean, or appear to mean, for you and anyone else involved in those childhood or teenage experiences.

Labels like “abuse” can, in some situations, get in the way of understanding oneself and what’s going to be helpful going forward.

That’s why we suggest a (greater) focus on:

  1. Whether an experience is having unwanted effects on you now.
  2. How to understand those effects in the most helpful ways.
  3. How to overcome those effects to achieve your goals in life.

We recommend that you start by checking out Definitions, Labels, and Sorting It Out For Yourself. See if that helps address whatever concerns are behind your question.

Then, if you still want a definition of “sexual abuse,” to our knowledge the best (but imperfect) definition on the web is here.

Ultimately, maybe no definition or label can address the needs or concerns behind your question. It may be that what’s most helpful to you is sorting it out with someone who has the experience, knowledge, and attitude to help you find your own personal answers and meanings. (See Get Help.)

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