Don't Tell: The Sexual Abuse of Boys


205 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-2261-1
DDC 362.76'083'41




Translated by Isabel Denholm Meyer
Reviewed by Susan Thomas

Susan Thomas is a middle-school guidance counselor, teacher, and social
worker in Milton, Ontario.


In the 1970s and 1980s, Michel Dorais spent many years working in a
clinical setting with male victims of sexual abuse. This book is based
on qualitative research utilizing a sample of 30 male victims, half
between the ages of 17 and 25 and half in the 25–44 age group.

The author provides a thoughtful and accessible analysis of the data
acquired over the course of the research. Special emphasis is placed on
the personal accounts of 12 males in the sample. The contrast between
the personal accounts of the adolescents and those of the adult
participants sheds considerable light the dynamics of male sexual abuse.

One of the flaws of small-sample qualitative research is the difficulty
of generalizing findings to the population at large. In the case of the
sample described in this book, such generalization would imply that all
male victims will experience serious sexual dysfunction, undergo
significant issues regarding their sexual identify, victimize others,
and develop a sexual preference for other men. There are many therapists
and male survivors of sexual abuse who would disagree with these
conclusions. That said, Don’t Tell makes a valuable contribution to
the current body of work on male victimization.


Dorais, Michel., “Don't Tell: The Sexual Abuse of Boys,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 19, 2024,