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RAINN: 1-800-656-HOPE

"One year ago, I locked my door and went to sleep; like we all do on any given night. Unfortunately, this night was like no other before and was one I will never be able to forget. I woke up that night to a co-worker who had undressed himself, crawled into my bed and raped me. "
Kathleen, rape survivor

Rape is a crime, talking about it isn't. SPEAK.

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Male Survivors

       Rapes on males are underreported by a very large margin as compared to sexual assaults on females. Even so, as many as 1 in 6 young males will be raped or somehow abused before they reach the age of 18 years old. No less than 1 in 10 males on average will become a sexual assault or abuse victim in the United States (RAINN, 2003). Male survivors of rape and sexual assault are less likely to report the crime and seek help largely because of society's emphasis on the role of men and boys. Men are encouraged to concentrate on competition, physical strength, and leadership. Male victims of sexual assault may feel ashamed because they were overpowered or dominated, and shame may contribute to feeling of isolation and a hesitation to seek professional help.

         Male survivors can experience a wide array of emotions following a sexual assault including powerlessness, depression, anxiety, shame, and fear. They may also feel that they are "less of a man" and no longer have control over their own body. Male survivors may feel a particular sense of disturbance from the notion that they could not protect themselves from an attack and were somehow conquered, even if the attack consisted of numerous rapists. This can lead male victims to question their ability to be what they perceive as a "man" and question their masculinity as a whole. This can be especially true if the victim involuntary experiences an erection or ejaculation during the rape. However, those reactions can be the result of extreme amounts of fear and stress as well as the stimulation of the assault. Male rape survivors should always be reminded that the assault was an act of violence and not one of a sexual nature, and that their reaction was not different than the involuntary response of a sneeze or a yawn.

       Sexual assaults on men may involve touching, penetration, genital-to-genital contact, or even a physical attack that is sexualized in some form or another. These attacks may be performed by more than one perpetrator and can result in severe injuries and physical pain for the victim.

       Post-sexual assault treatments for men may initially result in feelings of discomfort and humiliation due to the procedures involved. Male survivors may have to undergo a rectal examination to check for injuries and evidence of the attackers. The genitals may also be examined, as well as the mouth and throat if oral penetration occurred.

       No matter whether the victim is gay, bisexual, or heterosexual, sexual assault can be extremely traumatic and difficult to work through. Heterosexual males may begin to think that the sexual assault makes them gay or that they will eventually turn homosexual. While men may feel the need to withdraw from any and all sexual relationships for some time following the assault, they should be reassured that the assault does not change their personality or their sexual preference in any way.

       Bisexual and gay victims are often targeted because of their sexual orientation. Because of its nature, this type of assault is considered a hate crime. While bisexual and gay men suffer through the same types of mental and physical trauma, they may also experience a few variations. For instance, gay male victims may blame their sexual orientation or themselves for the assault. Furthermore, gay, bisexual and transgender assault victims commonly feel that they will receive disrespectful or hostile treatment from hospitals or other trauma treatment centers as a result of their orientation or lifestyle choice. Any rape victim, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, should be reassured and reminded that the rape was in no way, shape or form their fault.

Helpful Reading for Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

Online Resources for Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

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This site is offered for support of other rape and sexual abuse survivors. It is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help.
If you are in a crisis situation we urge to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.

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