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Sexual Abuse
Military Sexual Trauma
Same-sex Marriage

Sexual Abuse

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I recently received this question-"Dear Dr Mic Hunter, what advise can you give me for a female friend who blames herself from being sexually abused as a child whom is now an adult?? Pls advise! Thanks!!" Rather than just write back to this one person I thought I would answer it here since it is a common problem. People have this belief for two reasons. First because the perpetrator of the crime tells the victim it is his or her fault the abuse is taking place. Second because if one believes abuse is one's own fault then one can change one's behavior and thereby prevent future abuse. When I have a client that suffers under the mistaken belief that the abuse was the result of his or her's own actions I ask if the client knows anyone the age at which the abuse first took place, and what that child would have to do, or not do, that would cause someone to abuse that child. Usually the answer is, "There is nothing that child could do that would justify or require someone to abuse." Exactly.

By definition abuse is something not justifiable. The criminal justice system is empowered to punish criminals, but is not supposed to abuse them. The abuse of anyone is unjustified.

If at all possible people who have been abused who accept blame for it ought to find a support group or therapy group for people who have been abused. In a very short time, the compassion they have for the other members of the group will positively affected their own self-image. Those who do not have access to these groups can still get support by going bulletin boards or other websites such as MaleSurvivor.org.

Military Sexual Trauma

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Therapist Ought To Be Alert For Sexual Abuse With Veterans By Mic Hunter, Psy.D., L.M.F.T., L.P.

Most therapist know when taking a history if the client served in the military it is a good idea to find out if that included combat experience. However, few therapists think to inquire if sexual assault by one's comrades was a part of military service. Unfortunately over 30% of women and 10% of men returning from the Middle East are disclosing that their comrades in arms betrayed their trust and sexually assaulted them. Some experienced multiple assaults, and even gang rapes. The Pentagon quietly acknowledges that most sexual assaults go unreported because military personnel fear they will be blamed for what happened or punished. Women who report sexual assault run the risk of her superior determining that contact was consensual and being charged with fraternization. Men who dare report being assault by another male risk being label as homosexuals and being dishonorably discharged.

In my experience few veterans, particularly males, disclose their experience to their partner. The first time it is spoken of may well be in a therapy session. Therapists can make the disclosure easier for both the victim and the family member by acknowledging that sexual abuse does occur in military settings, that most personnel do not immediately disclose it, and that having such a painful secret can severely affect a couple's ability to be intimate emotionally and sexually.

In doing research for Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse In America's Military I discovered that even though many of those who told me their stories had obtained therapy they did not disclose the abuse. When asked the reason the two most common reasons given were, "I thought I was the only one," and "Nobody asked." As therapists supporting the troops means asking about abuse and responding appropriately when it is revealed.

Same-sex Marriage

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Could Voters Forgive Gingrich If He Were Gay?

Supporters of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage claim it is an attempt to preserve the sanctity of marriage. Yet these same people are supporters of Newt Gingrich a man who has had (so far) three wives. Furthermore, during his first marriage to Jacqueline Battle he carried on a long-term affair. He asked Marianne his first mistress to marry him after they had known each other only a few weeks. He divorced the mother of his children in order to marry his first mistress. When it came time to discuss the terms of the divorce with his first wife he met with her while she was still in hospital recovering from her third surgery related to uterine cancer. Six months after that divorce was final, he married his second wife. He proposed to his second wife that they have an "open marriage," meaning he could have sex with whomever he wished. During this same time he was championing the Personal Responsibility Act. While married to his second wife Marianne, he conducted a six-year affair with Callista the woman who would become his third wife. He asked his third wife to marry him before he bothered to tell his second wife he was divorcing her. A mere 48 hours later, he lectured on, "The Demise of American Culture," with multiple references to "God, families and values."i Mr. Gingrich met Callista the woman who would become his second mistress and third wife when she was a Congressional staffer. At that time she was twenty-three years younger than he, and coincidently the same age as his daughter. While conducting this affair he was decrying Bill Clinton for disgracing the office of the presidency by having an affair with Monica Lewinsky a White House intern. One would think that such a man not appeal to the family values voter, but South Carolina Republicans gave him a standing ovation when he railed against "despicable" ABC News for airing an interview with his second ex-wife. Often, when supporters are asked about Gingrich's serial adultery, they respond that it is an issue between him and God. Speaking of God, Gingrich shown the same level of commitment to his religion as he has to his wives. He was raised Lutheran, but rarely attended services, In college he became a Baptist, and then later converted to Catholicism when he married a woman of that faith. If ever there was a man for whom the labels flip-flop and hypocrite apply, it is Newt Gingrich, yet he is a serious contender for the office of President of the United States. So if voters can not only forgive Gingrich for his many sins, but actually admire him, how is it that two women or two men who want to marry are met with such vial resistance, particularly by people who claim to be followers of Jesus? Gingrich has made it clear that he would "vigorously enforce" the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage. When turning to the Bible for guidance on this matter, one finds that nowhere is there any indication that Jesus said anything about gay marriage, but he did say quite a bit about divorce. According to the author of the Bible Jesus said approximately 328 words on the topic of divorce (Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9, Mark 10:2-12, Luke 16:18). That might not sound like a lot, but the entire Bible contains about 2000 words reported to have been spoken by Jesus. So 16.4% of everything Jesus is quoted as having said is related to divorce. Given this Biblical foundation, how can Evangelical Christians and Catholics actively support a man who has repeatedly violated the teachings of Jesus and yet expend so much of their energy, money, and prayer on trying to keep their fellow Christians from marrying?