Male Survivors of Sexual Assault
There are many people who actually believe that men cannot be sexually assaulted. This is, of course, absolute myth. Men can be and are raped everyday across the world. Heterosexual men are as likely to be victims of sexual assault as are gay and bisexual men. Aside from the occasional and distasteful “prison” joke or reference, male rape is hardly ever discussed. This societal need to deny the existence of male sexual assault might be rooted in the false presumption that men cannot be victimized. “Real men” would not allow themselves to be raped. Unfortunately, men are victims of sexual assault and child molestation and this socialized view of tough masculinity only adds to the emotional trauma faced by male victims.
For most men, the idea of being a victim of anything is hard to comprehend. Many men are raised to believe that they can and should physically protect themselves from any attack on their person or property. Men are supposed to risk their lives to protect themselves from danger. Anything else would be “unmanly”. When men are raped, they are also emasculated. These views of “manliness” and “masculinity” are deeply ingrained in our culture and can lead male victims to experience profound levels of shame, guilt, and inadequacy. Also, men are less likely to seek help because of the fear that people will expose them as weak or emasculated.
Despite these myths and gender issues, more men than ever are coming forward to ask for help. Men can be victims and should feel comfortable seeking help.