Sunday, April 21, 2024

Latinos Shed Light on Male Sexual Abuse

Recent cases such as Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky are bringing to light the prominence of male sexual abuse, even in communities where such matters are considered taboo. Sandusky, who has been charged with abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period, and against whom 8 men ages 18-28 testified, was declared guilty of 45 counts related to child sex abuse and faces a maximum sentence of 442 years in prison.

“There’s a stigma in our community about confronting abuse,” says Juan Cuba, founder of Latino Men Survivors of Sexual Abuse, a program to help Latino men victims. “It’s a direct threat to masculinity and there’s the belief that if a man gets raped or abused, it’s because he’s not a real man. In essence saying to men, they deserve it. With regard to religion there’s still the antiquated attitude that if you’re gay, and you’ve been raped or abused it’s a curse from God.”

Cuba decided it would be his life’s work to help others, especially Latino men, after participating in a 52-week court-appointed program for physically violent abusers. He slowly formed two groups of men, one made up of LGBT individuals, and the second comprised of heterosexual men who have been raped or abused by men in a homosexual act.

“There’s less money in general for men in this country, but for Latino men even less,” Cuba says. “Recently the Department of Justice began to allocate money to provide more men’s programs—mentoring for young men and sexual abuse victims. Attitudes are changing, and that’s the first step, but very slowly.”

Participants of Cuba’s new program will receive multiple free sessions of traditional mental health counseling, as well as access to alternative therapies such as drumming, Santeria, and dance.

“I came to the realization that every perpetrator is a survivor and every survivor can be a perpetrator,” says Cuba. “It’s about not continuing the history of abuse.”

Fox News Latino

The Wall Street Journal