At least 1 in 6 men experiences sexual abuse.
Sexual assault sees no color, gender, or status in life. From the richest to the poorest, from any
race or ethnicity and even gender and sexuality — anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse in women are most commonly talked about, however, this does not mean that
men and boys are exempted from being victimized by sex offenders.
The reaction to the abuse may be the same for men and boys as the reaction of women when
it comes to sexual assault. Men and boys also feel the same way as women and girls and
they may have additional emotions attached to the abuse as there are societal expectations
when it comes to being a man.
Why is it harder for men to accept that they are sexually abused?
Because of the expectations from society, most men may feel that they need to be strong.
Being a survivor of a sexual assault, men may feel ashamed and doubt if what they are
feelings are valid.
Other men would question themselves if they “liked” what happened because of the
natural bodily reactions during the assault. Some men would get stimulated and ejaculate
during the abuse and it makes men question if what has happened is indeed real.
Men must realize that consent is key. If they have not consented to the sexual act, it can be
considered as an assault regardless of the natural bodily function that occurs during the
abuse. Getting stimulated and ejaculating does not mean that you consented, liked, wanted or
even enjoyed what happened.
Sexual assault in men is real and what these men feel is valid.
What men could be feeling about the assault?
The effects and feelings over sexual assault are same among men and women. Men can also
feel depressed and anxiety because of the sexual abuse they experienced. Aside from this
normal reaction, men can also react in a way that women do not.
Some men would doubt themselves if they have not enjoyed the abuse since they experienced
ejaculation during the abuse. Others would feel like less-of-a-man since they are unable to fend
off their perpetrators.
Most would worry about disclosing their experience and would isolate themselves to the point
of even cutting ties with their relationships or friendships.
What I can I do to help men who experience sexual assault?
Due to possible stigma that can be caused by coming forward and speaking up about their
sexual assault, men and boys would often not share about their experiences. Since men are
expected to be strong and masculine by a patriarchal society, men and boys have a hard
time opening up about their abuse even with their families and friends.
It is important that when a man speaks up about their sexual assault, we listen to them
and believe them. It is already hard for them to speak up and what they are saying should
not be invalidated.
Of course, we must also respect boundaries and not ask additional questions that they are
unwilling to share. Instead we should be empathic to what they say and express our support
to these men.
Who are the abusers of men and will it affect the survivor’s sexuality?
The perpetrators do not have a specific gender, race or societal background. Men, women, and
even queer can be the abuser when it comes to sexual assault among males. Remember that
sexual assault means that consent is not given during the sexual act.
As for men and boys’ sexuality, some would question their sexuality or gender orientation
especially if the perpetrator is of the same sex. This of course is understandable as men and
boys may question if they indeed “liked” what happened due to men’s natural body reactions.
The sexual assault does not have any correlation with anyone’s sexuality or gender
What we all must remember is that sexual abuse can happen to everyone. If one of the men or
boys in your life comes to you and says that someone sexually assaulted them, believe in
them as you would believe in a woman.