Research has shown males do experience sexual assault. Research has found as many as 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse/assault in their lifetime (1in6.org, 2020). CMSAC strives to provide free, non-judgmental, accessible, and confidential services for all victims/survivors of sexual violence.
Some males experience feelings and barriers that prevent them from disclosing a sexual violation. Many males have the feeling that they cannot be victims and should deal with their emotions and trauma on their own due to societal stereotypes about masculinity.
Common Feelings and Barriers:
Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, economic status, lifestyle, religion, culture, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Males who have experienced sexual assault or abuse may experience the same psychological and physical effects as other survivors. However, our cultural norms about masculinity provides many male victims/survivors with additional challenges when recovering from the sexual trauma they experienced.
Recovering from a sexual assault or abuse is a process, and this process looks different for everyone. There is no exact time frame for healing. Many male survivors may experience:
- Betrayal and loss of trust.
- Self-doubt and self-blame.
- Difficulty developing and maintaining relationships/intimacy.
- Issues with sexuality.
Myths and Facts About Male Sexual Abuse and Assault:
There are many cultural myths surrounding masculinity and sexual violations against males. This may provide many male victims/survivors with additional challenges when recovering from the sexual trauma they experienced. Below are some myths and facts to explore:
- Myth: Males cannot be sexually assault or abused, and if one is, he is not a “real man.”
- Fact: Males experience many forms of sexual assault which can include (childhood sexual abuse, date/acquaintance sexual assault, same gender assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation/human trafficking).
- Fact: Males can be sexually assaulted and abused, being a victim/survivor of a sexual violation has nothing to do with how masculine they are.
- Myth: Sexual assault/abuse is less harmful to males than female victims/survivors.
- Fact: Males who have experienced sexual assault or abuse experience the same psychological and physical effects as other survivors. However, due to cultural norms on masculinity and views on male sexual violence leave many male survivors/victims feeling alone and less likely to disclose the violation they endured.
- Myth: Males are the only perpetrators of sexual assault/abuse against boys and men.
- Fact: Perpetrators can be any gender identity, sexual orientation, or age, and they can have any relationship to the victim. Women and other gender identities can also be sex offenders.
- Fact: Most sex offenders that offend against males identify as heterosexual.
- Myth: Males who experience sexually assault or abuse are or will end up identifying as gay/homosexual.
- Fact: Sexual identity/orientation is neither the cause nor the result of sexual assault. Some male survivors may have questions about their sexuality after surviving an assault or abuse and this is a normal response.
- Fact: It is NEVER the victim’s fault.
- Myth: Males who are sexually assaulted/abused will go on to sexual abuse/assault others.
- Fact: Being a victim of sexual assault/abuse is neither the cause nor the result of perpetrating an act of sexual violence. This myth is very harmful to survivors and their family, as it instills fear in themselves and leaves them feeling like they can not come forward for fear of being judged or feared by the ones they love.
If you would like to discuss myths and realities about male sexual violence and abuse, please reach out to an advocate by calling: (320) 251-4357.
Reporting a Sexual Assault or Abuse:
If you are a survivor/victim, you may be nervous around the thought of reporting a sexual assault/abuse. It is important to remember you have the right to make a report to law enforcement where the sexual assault happened. You may reference reporting options and local law enforcement information and other reporting resources here: https://cmsac.org/reporting-a-sexual-assault/
If you are a survivor/victim, you may be nervous in seeking medical attention for a sexual assault. However, health care is often the first step to healing for many survivors. If you are interested in seeking medical attention, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. You may reference local hospitals and other medical resources here: https://cmsac.org/education-safety-reporting/
Effects of sexual violence:
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, and no one deserves to be sexually assaulted. Gender identity never justifies any sexual violation.
- Loss of control over your own life.
- Fear of the perpetrator.
- Loss of trust.
- Experiencing nightmares and/or flashbacks.
- Anxiety/panic attacks.
- Guilt, shame, and self-blame.
- You are not alone.
- It was not your fault.
- The experience of sexual assault does not make you “less of a man”.
- There is hope and support.
For Loved Ones of Male Victims/Survivors:
It is important to remind male survivors they are not alone, services are available to help them recover, and they have a voice. It is It is also important to take care of yourself as a support person.
Did you know…
We are so excited and honored to announce we will be receiving a grant from Otto Bremer Trust (OBT) to build community relationships, develop education, and provide direct services tailored to male and LGBTQIA+ victim/survivors of sexual abuse/assault. CMSAC is committed to providing services honoring all identities and sexual orientations within our diverse communities.
We cannot wait to see what our next year brings us!
Thank You Otto Bremer Trust!
**OTTO BREMER TRUST (OBT), BASED IN ST. PAUL, MN, IS A PRIVATE CHARITABLE TRUST ESTABLISHED IN 1944 BY FOUNDER OTTO BREMER. OBT HAS INVESTED MORE THAN $600 MILLION IN ORGANIZATIONS THROUGHOUT MINNESOTA, NORTH DAKOTA, AND WESTERN WISCONSIN. FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE VISIT OTTOBREMER.ORG**