Should I see a psychologist?

Being a victim of abuse is not a disease. Many are getting good help to handle their everyday lives from psychologists and psychiatrist in a period of time. It’s not abnormal that complications may occur for a long time after the abuse. There’s help to be found with your friends and your family doctor, it is by your choice if you would want psychological help. It might be scary to open up for a total stranger. Many also have prejudices against therapy that often turns out not to be true. Psychologists are just humans and different as you and me. They’re usually good at crating safe environments and will tolerate whatever you have to say. In example; tell them you easily feel patronized and come to an agreement on how to set up the plan.

Many will experience a small change after seeing a psychologist. Many will have a better insight on how to take care of themselves and how they should relate to other people. In short; they’ll understand themselves and their struggles better. Very few will experience that they’re free of trouble after some sessions with a psychologist, but most of them will say they’ve found better ways to handle themselves. Another alternative would be going to discussion groups or individual counseling services for abused. At ADAM (where I work) or a support center in your area. There’s a lot of options. The best advice I can give you is that you experiment.

By Lennart Presson, vicar at the ADAM support- and counselling service for men.

How do you proceed to get psychological help?

A good place to start asking for psychological help is at your family doctor. They can refer you to a psychiatric outpatient department, where it will be assessed whether there is an offer that is suitable. It’s important that the doctor gives a thorough description of your requirements. The doctor is depending on you telling them you’ve been a victim of abuse and be clear about what late effects you’re struggling with. Outpatient department offers are often limited and in many cases one must be in a quite severe condition to get an offer. If one needs a prolonged systemic therapy, one will in general be referred to contact a private psychologist or psychiatrist. Some private practitioners have a municipal agreement, meaning you’ll only pay the deductible up to ordinary “free card”.

At others you’ll have to pay yourself which could cost 750-900kr per hour. You’ll also have to contact them to see if they’re available. Your family doctor should have a list over private practitioners who are available, you’ll also find this list on the internet. If you’re in luck, your doctor might know some on the list who has special experience with sexual abuse. You must assume that you’ll be put on a waiting list.

Many people who have been subjected to abuse have benefited greatly from trauma care where you’re admitted to a hospital for a number of weeks. The treatment varies from place to place and is usually a combination of group- and individual terapy. You must apply through a psychologist or a doctor for this offer.

By Lennart Presson, vicar at the ADAM support- and counselling service for men.

Should I bring this up with my family doctor?

To bring up abuse with your doctor should be one of the most natural things. Many people are stalling and wonder a long time to find the courage asking for help. You don’t know what could happen, but you know it takes a great amount of trust and conversation to feel safe about telling. Doctors can also be unsure about the matter, not everyone is prepared for a male patient to tell them he is struggling because he’s been subject to sexual abuse.

Some doctors do not know enough about the subject and will be unsure for that reason. It would be ideal if the doctor could bring up sexual abuse as a theme to converse about. My experience is that it rarely happens. It’s uncomfortable for a patient taking the initiative, but if one is prepared for that the doctor might need some help, it might make it easier. Maybe you could even tell the doctor “it’s important that you show respect, listen well and help me so we can speak clearly together”.

Remember you’re the one knowing your situation. If you’re lucky, your GP already possess enough knowledge and interest and is able to discuss this with you. A doctor like this could be good support and it would be worth the try to make it work. Doctors have a duty of confidentiality, to begin with your GP may be the only one you manage to talk to. Just the act of carrying something you don’t want to talk about can cause great stress. Your GP can also help you with finding someone else if needed. Keep in mind consultations at the doctors’ office can be very short, it would be wise mentioning that you would like some extra time when arranging an appointment.

By Lennart Presson, vicar at the ADAM support- and counselling service for men.

Chances I become an abuser myself?

Those who have been subjected to abuse to become an abuser themselves is a myth, which is mostly about uncertainty and fear. It’s normal to feel oneself “marked” by the abuse you’ve been subjected to. One could feel oneself as broken. It’s important to see that this is equally about the exterior and the interior. Many people are afraid that there’s an “automatic follow-up” from perpetrator to victim. Some call this “the vampire syndrome”. There’s a notion that being subjected to “the vampire” and the “bitten” will start assaulting others as a consequence and part of the damage. One can be scared of their limits and/or afraid of what someone else will think about them.

It can make one experience discomfort by raising their own children, or to be seen with someone else’s child. It can also be a hinder for some to seek help with the late effects related to the abuse, because they’re afraid of being seen as a potential abuser. It’s imperative to conclude that this is just a myth.

There’s no “automatic follow-up” which makes you an abused by being a victim for the abuse. There are figures showing that many aggressors have been subject to aggression themselves. But it is not possible to use this logic opposite way to say that there is an imminent risk that the person has been exposed would lead assaults against others. The majority of victims do not violate others, on the contrary, you’ll often find that the difficulties make one more committed to support and help others.

The fear and feelings can be an annoyance, though they’re just myths. If you still find it difficult to set aside these thuoghts, it might help to talk with someone. There’s absolutely no reason to stay away from children, they need good adult figures around who have an eye for children’s vulnerability and can be there for them.

By Lennart Presson, vicar at the ADAM support- and counselling service for men.

Should I file a report?

It’s a good advice to consult with a lawyer whether the matter should be reported or not. Someone’s who has been a victim of sexual abuse is entitled to three hours of free legal aid, which is recommended to use this assessment.

How do I proceed for a report?

You can file a report at any police station or sheriff’s office of your choice. Having a lawyer present for guidance while making the assessment of whether the matter should be reported or not, is highly recommended. The lawyer will be able to offer the victim assistance, meaning you can be accompanied by a person of the lawyers’ office when making the report. Or you can ask someone else you trust to accompany you.

When is the case obsolete?

This is a complicated question for an unskilled person to answer. Here are some general rules and then there are quite a few exceptions. It is recommended that this is part of the first visit from a lawyer when you get the evaluation whether to report or not.
What do I do when my case is obsolete?

It’s recommended that you get assessment and advice from you lawyer. There are several options that should be made a legal assessment of what is best served with in terms of what you want to achieve.
How to find a good lawyer?

Access this website; when you need counsel. There you’ll find a lot of information. Another option is to contact a support center against incest and sexual abuse that are close to where you are going to report. Ask there if they have had some members who have included the names of legal aid lawyers they have been happy with. For more general legal information about sexual abuse and compensation for sexual abuse visit; . There you will find an article compiled and edited by: lawyer Thomas Benestad, law firm Salomon Johansen AS. Here you will find lots of useful information and relevant links.

By Endre Førland, professor at SSMM, center for sexually abused men.

Who do I tell?

There can be a lot of complicated feelings around daring to tell someone about being subjected to violent sexual abuse. Different victims got different needs to be able to tell their story. Many have said that what qualities the listener has. Gaining trust and confidence for someone, is very important for the majority of them. To find someone who is being welcoming and listens, who also show a presence while listening, can be of support. Many victims have experienced that it’s been safe while telling someone about their traumatic experiences. It shouldn’t be a new experience by being wrong and ashamed, when you choose to confide in someone. It’s stressful and tension-filled to be in a process, when to share that you’ve been subjected to sexual abuse. You should be able to talk with someone and not carry the experiences by yourself.

Having said this, it is of course in many situations, important to follow the experience of knowing familiarity to anyone. In this sense of community, it’s easier for many to decide to tell about their story. It’s possible to have this familiarity with different people who could be friends, family, spouses or partners or any other person who might not be so close. Many experience that it’s difficult to tell about the abuse to their family members. It may be easier to tell close friends, spouses or partners. It is possible to have a talk with someone of similar experience at a help center against sexual abuse. This could help in starting their own self-help strategy to adapt and taking better care of their lives. Different solutions for different people. Some victims have told that when they found out they’ve been victims of sexual abuse, they got a strong urge to tell many people around them, such as their workplace and in the community. Some have been happy with this choice. Others have thought about in terms of what they eventually want to be open about. They then decided to tell selected individuals.

Some people have been using a support center where everything will be treated confidentially and is not registered in any journals. No information about you as a victim will be stored. When the person is finished working with the past as a victim, he can terminate the time at the center. Some haven’t had the need to bring up their past again. They can move on and live their lives like all other men.

What will happen if I tell my family?

This is not the easiest subject to communicate about. There are a lot of different family relationships with different structures and values. There’s also a big difference between one’s affiliations with parents and siblings. Or, if one as an adult established a new family with someone else. It’s difficult to bring up in a family that you’ve been to sexual abuse. What would happen next is uncertain. There can be a lot of different outcomes by telling that you were subjected to sexual abuse as a child or youth. In that context, it matters who the abuser is and it may influence the victim and his family.

Many cases become a process. A family could go from being in disbelief and despair, working to find new clues to have an affinity and understanding for each other again. It’s difficult if the attacker also has been a caregiver. It differs what kind of emotions the victim have for their guardians. Some are very fond of their parents, while they’ve been subjected to abuse by the same person. Some victims lose their trust to the parent and may be afraid that their own children will be subjected to further abuse.

Some break all contact. Others keep a more distant contact. When the abuser it outside the family, it can be easier to support and stand together during the processing of the violations. It’s wise to have in mind that it’s difficult to have control over what happens to others in the chain of events.

There are a lot of different reactions users have told us about. In some families it’s a shock to know their son have been molested. It’s only natural for a family to experience difficulties in relation to each other. It’s not easy to know how a family should respond to this new situation. This will take time to sort out.

People will have different reactions. It’s crucial daring to stand in your own feelings and follow the need to talk about that you’ve been subjected to sexual abuse. It’ll feel safe to get a good response from others. It can be difficult when others will be affected by the event that happened.

It can be important to have a physical closeness and support each other during difficult moments. If conflicts should occur, it’s important to be able to separate your own and others feelings and reactions. It’s important to keep a supportive network around you who can be available when needed.

Easing the pressure on something that’s been enclosed for so long is good.

What am I putting myself into when I start doing something about it?

If you’re alone, it’s important to seek contact and support. Having someone to share this with have a healing effect in the difficult phases of life. Carrying the pain and shame without anyone seeing or hearing you in a traumatic experience, is to carry the offense alone. It is painful. It happens a lot when someone lifted his veil of shame through sharing and reworking old and hidden images and feelings. It’s important to create your own safety and rebuild a positive self-esteem when you’ve been subjected to sexual abuse. Tackling the difficulties you’re experiencing after the abuse, gives you the opportunity to find new strategies taking care of yourself in relation to others and gives a sense of equality with other people. The shame and fault then have the possibility to disappear like dew in the sun.

It’s important to remember the fault is none other than the perpetrator, not with you, regarding the events that took place. These days it’s important as a victim to take responsibilities for the problems you’re struggling with and owning them, so you can resolve and find new ways covering your needs here and now. It’s fundamental to articulate and convey traumatic experiences with another person. It’s a beginning of the healing process. This applies when you participate in a self-help principle at a support center or choosing a therapeutic method. Trusting your own familiarities, confidence and be able to help yourself to sort out situations in the moment should be a right. We all have a need to experience mastering and a positive value of self. It shouldn’t be dangerous to put your thoughts and feelings into words when you’ve been subjected to sexual abuse. It’s important to know that someone wants the best for you. You should be able to talk and get support and feel safe, finding new strategies which allow you to lead a better life.

By Anders Bellemann at SSMM, center for sexually abused men.