Healing of adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse

Claire Burke Draucker, Kathleen Petrovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Objective: To generate a framework of healing by male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Design: Qualitative using grounded theory methodology. Population, Sample, Setting, Years: Population was American men living in the community who have experienced some healing from childhood sexual abuse. Sample was 19 men who were recommended by area therapists or who had publicly identified themselves as survivors. Participants were interviewed in 1993 and 1994. Method: Formal, unstructured interviews using open-ended questions. Findings: The core variable that emerged was "Escaping the dungeon: The journey to freedom." The metaphor of "dungeon" reflects the men's experiences of powerlessness, isolation, silence and darkness, shame, and pain from their abuse. Healing was described as breaking free, living free, and freeing those left behind. Conclusions: Healing involves a struggle against an internal force, emotional pain, and against an external force, the sociocultural prescription that men should not be victims. Clinical implications: Clinicians working with adult male survivors should consider the pervasive effects of some childhood sexual abuse experiences. Therapists can address the intrapsychic wounds of male survivors while acknowledging the context of their healing, a society where the victimization of men is often invalidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-330
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Grounded theory
  • Male survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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