Matthew Parynik Mendel
ISBN 0 8039 5441 7 (hardback)
ISBN 0 8039 5442 5 (paperback)
This book is a timely and welcome addition to literature on the
adult consequences of childhood sexual abuse.
Focusing on the effects on males, it goes some way to redress
the balance of research in this area which is predominantly based
on female research and clinical samples. At the same time it will
encourage other researchers to question more explicitly whether the
traditional distinction in findings regarding prevalence and
effects of abuse between the genders remains valid.
Matthew Mendel presents a review of recent research literature
relating to prevalence and consequences of abuse, followed by the
findings of his study of abused males – the largest so far –
involving 124 detailed questionnaires and seven interviews.
The predominant themes are that previous research has
underestimated significantly the prevalence of sexual abuse of
males and the extent of the role of females as sexual abusers. This
provides strong evidence that certain well established myths such
as ’98 per cent of sexual abusers are male’ and ‘being abused as a
child is highly predisposing to becoming an abuser’ must now be
Of particular interest is material exploring the effects of
abusing related to male or female abusers, and the effects of this
in later life, including perceived damage and its impact on sexual
preferences. Mendel develops a theoretical notion then offers
therapeutic answers relating to factors which might subsequently
lead abused males into abusing.
By including detailed case examples Mendel presents a rich
mixture of research, review and theoretical material in a way which
never loses sight of the human experiences of the subjects in his
research. This book is readable and an important contribution to
the literature in this field.
Peter Dale is a counsellor and psychotherapist and
author of Dangerous Families (Routledge) and Counselling Adults who
were Abused as Children (British Association of Counselling),