"Was I Abused?"

just me

I'm new here, I found the site yesterday and it has been amazing and confusing.

I told my story, for the first time in detail, to a brother (thanks- I feel adopted) in the chat room. His empathy and understanding was truly remarkable, and helpful. I will share my story but I wanted to get feedback on what I'm most confused about. Feedback is greatly appreciated and I would also love to hear from anyone with similar experiences. (I don't have triggers related to discussing it, so no worries).

I always struggled with how to look at the touching I experienced at 12 years old. A pediatrician touched me but it was different, at least to me it was.

I was at a summer camp and they needed to bring me to the local Dr. my parents weren't there. My confusion was always based on Well he is a Dr. It was only a little touching (fondling??). That is his job to examine kids I was there for a sore throat and an ear infection so why is he touching me? Why did he unbuckle my belt, without saying anything? Why did he pull down my zipper, without saying anything? Why did he lower my pants, without saying anything? Why did he pull down my white briefs, without saying anything? Why did he touch me, without saying anything?

I had many visits to my regular pediatrician, but this was different.

I never discussed it.

I began to ask friends, So how does your doctor do check-ups? How much can you wear? "What does he/she do?"

I ask myself.Was I abused?

I ask myself, compared to the real abuses out there and those experienced by brothers here -Whats the big deal? Stop making it more than it was

Maybe its my issue?

I felt validation yesterday when, in the chat room, he said You were abused but I I'm still confused. After all there are brothers here who were treated thousands of times worse and experienced horrors beyond the imagination why does this affect me?

Its been almost 30 years since then and I haven't stopped wondering about it.

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Just me,

Welcome to the site. I'm new here myself and have experienced mixed emotions about this site too. My sexual abuse experience pales in comparison to most of the stories I've read here, and I wonder sometimes do I actually belong here. I know for a fact I was sexually abused but just how much did it affect me isn't an easy question to answer, but then again I'm only new to the site so perhaps questions will be answered the more I participate in my own and others recovery.

According to what you wrote about what happened to you it really does qualify as sexual abuse. He had no right to do that to you and it definitely was not your fault it happened. He was an adult authority figure who abused his authority over you as your doctor. There is no doubt about that from what you described, and I'm sure you're telling the truth.

I'm 42 myself and it seems that midlife is the time when our past catches up with us. That's why I'm on this site trying to deal/process what happened to me and it's after effects. The way I look at it: abuse is abuse and pain is pain. We all share in these profound feelings that come along with what happened to us. That's why it is so easy to relate to what people say here. It's like we finally found a home where we have a right to break the silence and fight back against the effects of CSA/SA. Some will have to work harder than others, and some men will probably have other issues besides CSA/SA to overcome in their life. It is confusing and scary to sort all these things out in our lives, but we are provided with a safe place to do that here, if we so choose. Because it is our choice.

What was really helpful for me also was reading books on the subject of "Male Sexual Abuse". There are a number of these books available, and the one that I've read describes me perfectly in it's case examples of men who were sexually abused either in childhood or later on in life. Trauma is trauma and our particular trauma brings us together. Dr. Richard Gartner Ph.D/Psychoanalyst, the past president of this site, wrote two books specifically for us (Betrayed As Boys and Beyond Betrayal). There are also other books written that have been very helpful to men here and you'll see them referred to in other people's posts here and there.

Again, welcome to the site,




Hi, and welcome to the site. I'm so glad you have had a positive experience here so far, and it doesn't surprise me. I know I felt the same way when I was new and really confused and uncertain about so many things.

Were you abused? Well, as you yourself say, you were at the doctor's office to be checked for a sore throat and ear infection, so what's up with the inspection further south???? And without a word of reassurance or explanation to you? That certainly doesn't sound right to me. Even way back when I was a boy I think any legitimate doctor would have been trying to comfort me and keep me from feeling alarmed and afraid if he was going to touch me in a private way.

Please don't feel you need to assess the importance or impact of your own experience in abuse based on what happened to others. We are all different, after all, and what is important in your case is that this happened to YOU. If it upset you or has caused you problems that is already reason enough to ask for help. How it compares to what happened to others is really beside the point.

Again, welcome.

Much love,


Hey guy,

So glad you posted your experience on here and got some feedback. I hope you will take the time to get as much from the site as you can not only for you personally but professionally as well.

Take care and keep in touch.



I wanted you to know that just because your abuse was not as as bad as mine doesn't make it any less traumatic.
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Hi justme.

Welcome aboard. Welcome home. Here you will receive compassion, understanding and love. We do not judge you. We want you to take our hand and join us together on this rocky road to recovery.

Were you abused? Sure sounds like it to me. An uninvited violation of your body. Forget about it being as bad as mine or any one else. We all were sexually abused, no matter how often, nor for how many years, nor in what way.

So welcome aboard.

Heal well my brother/friend, just me.

Pete (Irishmoose)
just me

Welcome aboard. i would have to say I tend to agree with the other brothers who have posted.

I can tell you that from my experience in working with my brothers in here that the stories varied greatly; from who the abuser was, the extent of the abuse; the length of the abuse; and so on. Although they varied greatly, the pain and suffering behind it were so tragically familiar.

I don't know your story behind your abuse, but I suspect that you have had issues behind it like most of us. 30 years gone and it is still on your mind? It had an impact on you to some degree because you are seeking answers.....like we all have.

Good luck my brother.



From what you have said this incident with the doctor does sound abusive. There is always the old hernia check, and I have some odd memories of trepidation before that particular check when I was a teen and before my success in recovery too. Generally that procedure would be performed after you had changed into a hospital gown in private though several times a doctor did it after he asked me to lower my pants in an exam room. An exam for your symptoms would not generally include any reason to perform a hernia check or to remove your pants.

Just a few years ago I had a very attractive female doctor 15 years my junior perform an extended hernia exam that I found kind of pleasurable. If she had done what she did to me to a 12 year old boy I would have thought of it as questionable. From what you have said my experience in recovery tells me that this doctor's actions were well outside of normal and should certainly be thought of as abusive.

Welcome to our support site.



My Brother Just me;

I am thrilled to see you found us. I read your post and I am reminded of my tendency to minimize my abuses... It wasn't that bad Dick had it worse :) Well, my brother, I have come to believe that comparing is part of my minimizing :-\ I was released fromm minimizing by my friend Dick, who's story I will not reference out of deference, who one day told me that he found my story horrifying... which floored me as I always saw his as horrifying :-\ Anyhow, any event that still takes up space in my head and I find my self wondering if it was abuse or not I now accept that it was and process it as such.

I hope you can relate. And I look forward to seeing further post from you.

Love and hugs, Wes

~~~ Ok I started this yesterday and was promptly distracted, work will do that ;-) ~~~


Just Me,

While I am here as a supporter, I have been abused as well. In answer to your question, yes you were abused.

Just because something that happened was not as bad as others' experiences does not make it something other than abuse. This is one question I have asked as well. It is normal to diminish the abuse. Though finding help here and maybe on a person to person level (AKA a therapist) will help in deciding what to do next.

Good luck.

just me

Thanks for the responses! They are appreciated and I hope to be a regular here. More thoughts are welcome if you have them.

Thanks for taking the time to be helpful...I'm still here...just thinking......

What do you think of the following point that was made to me in the chat room.

"Abuse is different from molestation. Abuse includes humiliation and or rape...but this situation is "only" molestation because thats all the Dr. did. To say it's abuse is to insult those who were humiliated and raped"

I know this sound like more minimizing from me...but I think this point may have some merit and is worth discussing. I think this point is what made me ask my question in the first place.

Thanks all,
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I have already told you my opinion so I will not press the point. But we have to be careful not to compare. I liked what, I believe roadrunner, said about that. I am not at all sure about the above definitions. Who made those judgment points? What is humiliation?

Anyway, you know how I feel. I hope the wiser-ones-than-me will answer this. I will be curious about responses.

Take good care.


Member, Male
just me said:
What do you think of the following point that was made to me in the chat room.

"Abuse is different from molestation. Abuse includes humiliation and or rape...but this situation is "only" molestation because thats all the Dr. did. To say it's abuse is to insult those who were humiliated and raped"
I won't tell you waht I think of this quote because I don't want to call a fellow user an ass...That being said, read the quote that follows (sorry I can't remember the source I got this from) and ask yourself if you identify. Admittedly we don't all have each and every one of the symptoms described therein - count how many apply to you and then make your own assessment.

Common symptoms for sexually abused men include: guilt, anxiety, depression, interpersonal isolation, shame, low self-esteem, self-destructive behaviour, post-traumatic stress reactions, poor body imagery, sleep disturbance, nightmares, anorexia or bulimia, relational and/or sexual dysfunction, and compulsive behaviour like alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, overeating, overspending, and sexual obsession or compulsion.

Webster's definition of abuse is as follows:
1: a corrupt practice or custom
2: improper or excessive use or treatment : misuse
3: obsolete : a deceitful act : deception
4: language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily
5: physical maltreatment

I was raped repeatedly as a boy and I feel no insult whatever over the fact that you feel a need to be here and to work through what happened to you.
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Welcome to MS,

I agree with pretty much what everyone else is saying that what happened was abusive. I personally disagree with that statement you heard in the chat room. I also think almost all forms of molestation/abuse have an aspect of humiliation. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think a reason for not talking about it until now, may have to do with humiliation.

I also don't think its fair to start ranking whose CSA is worse. It kind of sounds like a lose-lose situation.

PM me anytime,
just me said:
What do you think of the following point that was made to me in the chat room.

"Abuse is different from molestation. Abuse includes humiliation and or rape...but this situation is "only" molestation because thats all the Dr. did. To say it's abuse is to insult those who were humiliated and raped"

I think that whoever said this has their definitions confused somewhat. The word abuse speaks to the relationship that exisited between the person doing the assault and the person being assaulted. Abuse usually indicates a care giving capacity of some sort, eg, parent, teacher, adult in a position of authority over a child or some other dependant person eg senior citizen. I do not believe that abuse has to include the elements contained within the quote to be abuse. To require these elements would marginalize a huge number of people already marginalized by a society that doesn't think we exist.

Just my two cents. (Canadian cents that is. roughly equal to 1.25 U.S. cents) :D



There are various degrees of abuse, with rape or torture being at the upper end of the spectrum, and something like being exposed to pornography at an early age being at the other end. Would you say that being exposed to your parents having sex at the age of 12 would be abusive? How about being forced to shower with your dad at the age of 12? Both of these instances could be assumed to have the potential for abuse. Molestation more often has lesser immediate consequence for its victims than violent rape or torture, but many guys struggle for many years afterward with various other effects. Often, but not in your case, guys were molested by abusers who claimed to love or care for their victims, who sometimes replaced a lack of parental care at home.

If you will read through Mic Hunter's book ABUSED BOYS, he gives several paragraphs talking about what constitutes abuse. Mic Hunter is a highly-experienced therapist that has dealt with these issues for more than 20 years. Your molestation was definitely abusive and you could still be suffering from its aftereffects.



I'll second Truckers suggestion of ABUSED BOYS. In particular, I would pay attention to the couple paragraphs on covert sexual abuse. aka the perp acts as though he doing something non-sexual. He gives the example of a patient whose parents gave the child overly thorough "bug exams."

just me

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses, they resonate with me on a number of levels and I greatly appreciate the thoughtfulness of all of you.

I have been doing a lot of thinking (too much) and I am so confused about the motivation to minimize in situations like mine.

Why minimize? What does it accomplish?

What was written about "covert sexual abuse" hits home with me. I think what makes me so confused is... on the one hand, what happened to me sounds like abuse/molestation to most here. On the other hand...I wonder- inside- if the only way to know if it was abuse is to be inside the doctors head...to know if he had inappropriate motivation.

Yes, on th face of it, it sure looks, like exactly that- covert sexual abuse. But if the doctor didn't have "evil" thoughts (surely he would say it was a normal exam either way)then I would be the one with the problem...

Maybe I just answered my own question....maybe we minimize to be normal...to hope that it wasn't such a big deal...to hope that we don't have to feel guilty for the feelings...for the confusion.

But then we wake-up, and we're still confused.

You know what would help me let go, and not blame me for all the confusion: If I could somehow find out that that doctor was guilty for similar abuses and they were verified by a number of victims...then I would feel like I was ready to accept and deal with it.

Believe it or not- I called the doctor last year (I had to first track down which doctor the camp used in the late 70's, but I remembered where the office was -and it is still there- it even looks the same on google street view) He is a prominent and respected doctor and he spoke with me on the phone. He said he had no way of knowing if he was the doctor or if it was a summer intern. He often had summer interns due to the vacation area increase in patients. And he no longer has records from almost 30 years ago. I asked about genital exams for ear/throat infections...he said it is possible that in those day he would have done them even in this case...but he said now he only examines genitals if the child gives permission- he acknowledge how times have changed. He also said he would be glad to meet with me if I'm in the area. I may be there in a few months...so I haven't decided yet what to do.

So I am back at the drawing board...If it was a summer intern that examined me...I don't even have a name to google and hopefully see that he was locked up for similar behavior. And if it was the doctor who owns the practice he would deny it even if it was him... medically necessary...the feelings of a 12 year old against a respected doctor.

Still confused.....but working it!

Thanks all!!!


just me said:
I was at a summer camp and they needed to bring me to the local Dr. my parents werent there. My confusion was always based on Well he is a Dr. It was only a little touching (fondling??). That is his jobto examine kids I was there for a sore throat and an ear infection so why is he touching me? Why did he unbuckle my belt, without saying anything? Why did he pull down my zipper, without saying anything? Why did he lower my pants, without saying anything? Why did he pull down my white briefs, without saying anything? Why did he touch me, without saying anything?



You were remarkably perspicacious at age 12.

I had a negative experience with a physician also at a boy scout camp. I was also 12. In this case the Dr. examined all the boys coming into the camp. Even though the boys had already been examined by their own Dr. with a signed bill of health, this Dr. had to test all boys for a "rupture." To do this, he had all boys remove all clothing and briefs and stand in a long line. Then he inserted his finger under the scrotum and told us to caugh. What I believe to have been the top administrator of the camp and one other person were watching.

In other words they were watching us all parade nude.



just me


Sorry about that experience you had at boy scout camp, I think I have seen well publicized military photos (in underwear) like you described.

I cant really say that I was "perspicacious";(I had to look it up-see below) I was just trying to figure out what the hell he was doing- while jumping outta my skin at the same time. I can't count the number of times I have replayed this in my head. It was almost 30 years ago, so what you read here had a lot of time to percolate.

I searched all the posts here for others with similar experiences, there are very few...some famous news articles of inappropriate Dr. exams have been in the media.

I wonder if others here on MS have experienced similar confusion at physical exams?

[pur-spi-key-shuhs]adjective 1.having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning: to exhibit perspicacious judgment.)