Thanks LL for the heads up about this thread. It's quite interesting.
Not to split hairs, but perhaps what Matthews' main difficulty here is that he isn't allowing himself to "get it". By that I mean his column is written in an emotionally detached fashion. This is common for abuse victims, particularly males, as a means of coping.
Donald I remember when I read "Father's Touch" and how much I identified with you when you were detached (Superman as you called yourself). I was the same way until I literally broke down emotionally and physically. I was determined to perform, to go to work, be a good husband, etc. and screw how I felt inside.
I think sexual abuse affects men and women differently. Oh certainly there are many commonalities and by no means am I suggesting that men are affected worse or react more badly. Let me speak in broad generalizations for a moment (which is always dangerous as there are always exceptions.) I have noticed that one coping mechanism men often use is to completely suppress any and all emotion regarding the experience. Men tend to "suck it up and be a man". Some of that might be society's expectations of what a man is "supposed" to be (strong, brave, etc.) but some of it is our own expectations and reactions.
Consider for a moment: at the heart of sexual abuse is the knowledge that one's body is being used against your will by someone bigger and stronger. A victim, male or female, will feel frightened, angry and even ashamed about the experience. Part of recovery is purging those emotions out (often by re-experiencing them in order to put them where they belong). No one enjoys re-living the experience, telling another how you were used, often using graphic details. But this is where I think many male victims separate from female victims in that it is very difficult for a man to admit being completely dominated and used. Most men even if they can speak about it, will often not allow themselves to feel it. My biggest problem in therapy was how disconnected I was from my feelings. My last therapist used to chide me with "stay out of your head".
I see a similar dynamic with this columnist. I would wager that if he read his column out loud, or spoke verbally about his abuse, his voice would be flat and his face expressionless. I would also wager that he hasn't told everything that happened to him, either because he doesn't want to talk about it, or because he won't allow himself to remember.
I think his "no big deal" attitude is more what he tells himself rather than any admonition to other victims. I read his column, and subsequent follow up more as his way of saying "here's what happened to me; no big deal" when inside he's hurting badly but can't (or won't) let it show. His minimizing is more about his level of shame, and his unwillingness to let himself feel than it is a commentary about others or abuse in general. In all likelihood he willl always keep those feelings deeply buried under lock and key and never realize that act of suppression creates poison and that poison affects his life. Those who do not seek help will act out often in self-destructive ways such as drinking to deaden the pain inside. He won't act out his abuse by abusing others, but he will act it out by raging at the driver who cut him off, have continual nightmares, over medicate or drink too much to relieve massive tension, find himself in one bad relationship after another and so on.
By the way, as an observation, I find it intereresting that he had 3 separate incidents at various points in his life. I can't help but wonder how much that says about his family and how little survival tools he received. I really think he's been through more than he says publically or perhaps even to himself.