“More research needed to break stigma of boys abused by mothers”

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Sexual abuse of boys by their mothers goes largely unreported and more research is needed, victim support organisation Fier has said.

Of the 381 men and boys who turned to the organisation for help between 2018 and 2020, over 50 said they had been abused by their mother, stepmother or foster mother.

“This is cause for concern,” Fier spokesman Johannes Dijkstra told broadcaster NOS. “We know that parents play a part in the abuse of their children, for instance by allowing them to be sexually abused by others for money, but little is known about the role of the mother as an abuser.”

He said the findings have come as a surprise to professionals in the field, mainly because men and boys who have been sexually abused find it hard to talk about the abuse. “If the abuse takes place by a woman and that woman their mother the shame is even bigger.”

Another reason why abuse by mothers remains under the radar is the perception that women and mothers can abuse their children. “It’s too painful to contemplate,” Dijkstra said.

The boys and men who reported the abuse did so using the anonymous chat function on the Fier website.

“That shows that there is a way to reach this group. We see too few of them in the regular care circuit but we know that they’re there,” Dijkstra said.

The organisation hopes for more research into the abuse of men and boys by their mothers. “An anonymous chat is a good start. But these victims deserve to be heard and society as a whole must play its part,” he said.

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