C. Allen Ruyle is a Psychotherapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (California License LCS26809) focusing on the treatment and support of men who have experienced non-consensual sex or sexual abuse. He also works with individuals dealing with other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. He is a US Navy veteran.
Q: I notice you use the phrase “men who have experienced non-consensual sex”. Why?
A: The terms “victim” and “survivor” can be difficult for men to identify with. As men, we reject seeing ourselves as victims, so my language applies to all men who have experienced non-consensual sex, whether as children or adults. Also, boys who have their first sexual experience when they are very young sometimes see themselves as lucky or “early developers” and tend to reject the fact that they were victimized; however, someone that young is simply unable to give true consent to sexual activity because they are not emotionally mature enough to do so. Non-consensual sexual activity can have long-lasting negative repercussions on the way we view ourselves and the world.
Q: Why focus on the military?
A: The military culture, while building and celebrating enormous strengths, presents special challenges. We are taught to be strong, powerful, reliable leaders and inter-dependent team members. Dealing with sexual abuse can make us question our masculinity, our sexuality and our power. It can prevent us from building strong relationships and trusting others as well as ourselves. The self-doubt and guilt that often follow such encounters can be paralyzing, even decades later. We try to hide our history. Carrying such a secret can be incredibly corrosive and destructive.
Q: How can you help?
A: By giving my clients a detailed understanding of how men experience these events, providing proper support and guidance and, most importantly, a safe space to do the emotional work needed to overcome the past. This leaves the corrosive secrecy and negative self-image behind and replaces it with a better understanding of earlier experiences, a clearer conscience, a stronger sense of self and a more positive, healthy future.