Resources Male Survivors

Many people believe that sexual assault is only committed by men against women. The majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by men, but the fact is that 1 out of every 10 men is sexually assaulted. Victimization can also include childhood sexual abuse. Because our society fails to see that men can be sexually assaulted, men often have a difficult time accepting their own victimization and delay seeking help and support.

The Realities Male Sexual Assault Victims Face

Who can be a perpetrator of male sexual assault?

Anyone, regardless of gender or gender identity, can sexually assault a man. However, most sexual assaults against men are committed by other men, who actually identify themselves as heterosexual. It's important not to jump to the conclusion that man-against-man sexual assault only happens between men who are gay. Sexual assault is not about sexual desire or sexual orientation; it's about violence, control, and humiliation.

What should you do if you are assaulted?

Remember:

  • It was not your fault that you were assaulted.

  • You are not alone.

  • There are resources available to you.

 

Collecting physical evidence must occur within 96 hours (4 days). Medications to prevent the development of some sexually transmitted infections and HIV can be provided by Health Services.  HIV prophylaxis treatment needs to be started within 72 hours. Screening for date rape drugs can be done up to 72 hours after the incident but is optimally done within 12 hours. Since many of these drugs clear the system quickly, a negative test result does not necessarily mean that no drug was involved.

Resources

  • The Men's Program @ WOAR (woar.org/ 215.985.3333)

  • Male Survivor (malesurvivor.org)

  • 1 in 6 (1in6.org)

  • Male Survivor Section - Pandora’s Project (pandys.org/malesurvivors.html)

  • Male Survivor Section - After Silence (aftersilence.org/male-survivors.php)

  • Male Survivor Section – Brown University (brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/sexual_assault_&_dating_violence/male_survivors.php)

What are some of the feelings a male survivor may experience?

Any survivor of sexual assault may experience the following feelings, but male survivors may experience these feelings in a different way:

 

  • Guilt -- as though he is somehow at fault for not preventing the assault because our society promotes the misconception that men should be able to protect themselves at all times.

  • Shame -- as though being assaulted makes him "dirty," "weak," or less of a "real man."

  • Fear -- that he may be blamed, judged, laughed at, or not believed.

  • Denial -- because it is upsetting, he may try not to think about it or talk about it; he may try to hide from his feelings behind alcohol, drugs, and other self-destructive habits.

  • Anger -- about what happened; this anger may sometimes be misdirected and generalized to target people who remind him of the perpetrator.

  • Sadness -- feeling depressed, worthless, powerless; withdrawing from friends, family, and usual activities; some victims even consider suicide.

 

If a man became sexually aroused, had an erection, or ejaculated during the sexual assault, he may not believe that he was raped. These are involuntary physiological reactions. They do not mean that the person wanted to be sexually assaulted, or that they enjoyed the traumatic experience. Just as with women, a sexual response does not mean there was consent.

 

The experience of sexual assault may affect gay and heterosexual men differently. Rape counselors have found that gay men have difficulties in their sexual and emotional relationships with other men and think that the assault occurred because they are gay. Heterosexual men often begin to question their sexual identity and are more disturbed by the sexual aspect of the assault than any violence involved.