Study: Most Self-Abuse Goes Unreported

In This Section

Vol 40 Issue 04

College Football Scout Has Eye On High-School Cheerleader

SYLACAUGA, AL—His eyes trained on the Sylacauga East High School football field during after-school practice, University of Alabama football scout Calvin Weaver announced Monday that he sees "great promise" in head cheerleader Cindy Ann Kohlner. "With that flexibility, [Kohlner] would clearly dominate the league in the sack," Weaver said. "You can't look at someone like her without thinking 'tight end.' But really, she would be outstanding in any position." Weaver also said that, given the opportunity, he would "love to fuck her."

Area Priest To Get Out Of Priesthood As Soon As Parents Die

BROCKTON, MA—Father Sean Lonergan, 36, a priest at St. Veronica Catholic Church, told reporters Tuesday that he plans to give up the collar when his parents die. "I've come to the realization that the priesthood is not for me, but it would crush Mom and Dad to see me abandon my faith," Lonergan said. "They've always been so good to me and my four brothers, so I can wait." Lonergan said both his parents have lived hard lives and couldn't possibly have more than 20-odd years left in them.

Rumsfeld Only One Who Can Change Toner In White House Printer

WASHINGTON, DC—White House sources reported Monday that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is the only cabinet member who can figure out how to change the toner in the White House printer. "Let me walk you through it again," Rumsfeld said. "You lift the toner-cartridge lid, then you move this switch back and remove the old cartridge. That goes in el garbage. Next, you remove this tape here from the new cartridge—now, that's important. If you forget that, you'll be printing blank pages all day long. Okay, so you just slide it on in, and you're good to go." When reached for comment, Rumsfeld said he doesn't mind changing the toner, but doesn't see what's so hard about it.

Atkins-Friendly Fast Food

Many fast-food restaurants have introduced low-carb menu items intended to lure Atkins dieters. Among the most popular:

Enter Tha Office

Check it out, G's: Lotta shit in this column ain't foe tha eyes a' amateurs. If you a pussy, you best skip ovah this thang an' tune in tha ladiez' channel or somethin', cuz what I about 2 lay down deserve its own parental-advisory stickah, know what I'm sayin'? This straight-up, non-stop, hardcore shit, y'all, an' tol' wit' mad suspense, too, tha kind that make yo' shit evacuate, know what I'm sayin'? It like a haiku a' violence.
End Of Section
  • More News
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Comedy

Originality

  • Restaurant Gives Totally Unwanted Twist To Mexican Cuisine

    BERKELEY, CA—Claiming that the eatery was already generating a buzz among locals with its “East Meets Mex” flavors, owners of the Bento Burrito location on Shattuck Avenue explained to reporters Tuesday how their new restaurant offers a ...

Study: Most Self-Abuse Goes Unreported

BOULDER—According to a study released Tuesday by the University of Colorado sociology department, approximately 95 percent of self-abuse cases in the U.S. go unreported.

Our Health

"As shocking as it may seem, unreported incidents of self-abuse number in the billions," said Dr. Henry Cracklin, director of the study. "This isn't just the plight of teenage boys and truck drivers. Self-abuse affects both genders and all ages. Nevertheless, a great majority of victims suffer the abuse in silence."

The study's results, obtained through five years of surveys and interviews, indicate that millions of Americans have publicly acknowledged involvement in a self-abusive relationship. Yet the study finds that unreported abuse victims comprise an alarming 87 percent of the female population and 99.6 percent of males.

"In many cases, the self-abuse occurs repeatedly over the course of a lifetime, with the victims believing themselves powerless to break the cycle of shame, embarrassment, and self-loving," Cracklin said. "The sad reality is that, if you know a man or woman between the ages of 12 and 80, you know a self-abuse victim."

Just as alarming as the high incidence of abuse, Cracklin said, is the fact that it's impossible to predict where it will occur.

"Our surveys indicate that self-abuse incidents are unpredictable," Cracklin said. "They can occur at any time and in any place. Study participants were abused in their own beds, in showers, in the bathroom stalls of college dorms. It's happened in the parking lot during lunch hour, at the beach, in library basements, and even in vehicles moving along the highway at night."

Cracklin added: "It may be happening to someone you love, right at this very moment."

According to Janet Linstrom, founder of Mothers Against Self Touch-Abuse, family members and friends who suspect that a minor is being self-abused often do nothing, because they believe the child's claim that he simply enjoys being left alone.

"The self-abuse victim will often withdraw from the family. He'll forgo group activities, opting instead to spend hours locked in his bedroom, surfing the Internet," Linstrom said. "Unfortunately, I am all too aware of the danger signs. You see, both my husband and I were self-abused."

Support-group leaders like Linstrom address the problem one victim at a time.

14-year-old Eric Jarrell, who reported he was self-abused four times the day this photo was taken.

"Many victims are reluctant to seek help," Linstrom said. "Their abusers have isolated them from friends and family, so there's no one for them to reach out to. For many, the abuser is the only intimate friend they have."

"Truth be told, victims sometimes report deriving some sort of satisfaction from the self-abuse," Linstrom said, "There's an intensity to abusive relationships that many self-abuse victims don't find elsewhere. Many will say, 'No one else makes me feel this way.'"

Added Linstrom: "That's why we focus on the younger ones. We've been working in the schools, but it's an uphill battle. We hear scores of second- and third-hand accounts of self-abuse, but it's not easy to get students to share stories of their own victimization."

In spite of the stranglehold self-abuse has on the population, few sources of help are available to victims, said Sister Joselda Hattchett, founder of St. Mary's Self-Abuse Shelter in Denver, a Catholic charity group dedicated to counseling self-abuse victims.

"As far as I'm aware, we're one of the few institutions specifically designed to handle the fallout from these attacks," Hattchett said. "Incredible as it may seem, those who are brave enough to report the self-abuse often find that their claims are not taken seriously. Some victims are even laughed at."

Hattchett said the shelter provides a self-abuse hotline, but the 900-number seems to do more harm than good.

"We placed ads in the back of men's magazines and newsweeklies," Hattchett said. "The sisters find that the majority of the victims who reach out to them are unable to escape their tormentors, even during a short phone call. We thought having non-threatening, soft-voiced women answer the phones would make it easier for victims to discuss the problem, but most callers only seem interested in the operators' fashion choices or whether they like to 'party.'"

Hattchett said the hardest part of her job is seeing self-abuse victims who were brave enough to come forward fall back into the hands of their abusers.

"It's difficult to get self-abuse victims to stop blaming themselves for what's happened," Hattchett said. "They think it's their fault, because they're too weak to resist. And, despite everything that has happened, they often maintain strong feelings for their abusers. I've seen it happen time and time again."

Jump to next story

Onion Video

Watch More