Male Victims and Survivors
Rape and sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of gender. Men can be sexually assaulted no matter their race, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance or strength. Even though male sexual assault remains vastly underreported, the U.S. Department of Justice documents more than 13,000 cases of male rape every year.
The Centers for Disease Control found, in a study released in 2011, that nearly 1 in 71 men have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration or alcohol/drug facilitated completed penetration. Additionally, 1 in 21 men reported being forced to penetrate someone else, most likely an intimate partner (44.8 percent) or acquaintance (44.7 percent). Sexual violence is devastating to all victims, regardless of gender, and many reactions are shared by both male and female victims. The fact is that only 5 to 20 percent of all survivors of sexual assault report, and the percentage for male survivors is even lower. Feelings of shame, confusion and self-blame leave many men suffering in silence after being sexually assaulted.
Many assumptions are made about sexual assault and men’s sexuality that create a harsh environment for men who have been sexually assaulted, and it’s important to distinguish the myths from the realities.
Here are the most important things to remember:
- Men can be sexually assaulted.
- Men who have been sexually assaulted experience emotional reactions to their assault.
- Men who have been assaulted are entitled to the same medical, legal and emotional support.
- Men who have been sexually assaulted are never to blame for their assault.
- It is a myth that all men are always looking for or willing to participate in sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity needs to be expressly given by men as well as women. Not wanting to engage in sexual activity does not make someone less of a “real” man.
- It is a myth that men are only sexually assaulted by other men. Women can sexually assault men. Remember that sexual assault does not always involve penetration, but includes any unwanted sexual contact.
- It is a myth that gay men are more likely to assault other men, or that all men who sexually assault other men are gay. Sexual assault is not about lust or sexual attraction, but about exerting power and control over someone else.
- It is a myth that men who get an erection or ejaculate during a sexual assault gave consent or enjoyed the assault. Erection and ejaculation are physiological responses that can’t be controlled and can even result from stress. These responses can be confusing for a man who has been sexually assaulted and can make him wonder if he really did enjoy or want the sexual contact. An erection or ejaculation does not equal consent.
- It is a myth that a “real” man can and should always be able to resist an assault. It is common for both men and women to freeze during a sexual assault, and in some cases drugs, alcohol or the presence of a weapon or the threat of other force or injury can prevent someone from fighting their assailant.
All of the reporting resources listed on this website are as available to men who have been sexually assaulted as they are to women.
If you have been the victim of sexual assault there is support
Please contact these reporting resources.
Non-K-State Resources also include
- RAINN (online hotline support)
- Male Survivor
- 1 in 6 (on-line hotline support & free counseling w/ USC interns)
- Pandora's Box, Male Survivors of Rape and Sexual Abuse
Violence Prevention and Advocacy
*Web content on this page was borrowed with permission from Purdue University.