Sexual assault is often considered to be a “women’s problem.” However, men are also sexually assaulted. Men are assaulted by other men, and they sometimes are assaulted by women. Research suggests that approximately one out of every five males will be sexually abused as a child and some estimates suggest that as many as 16% of men will be sexually assaulted as an adult. Men can also experience interpersonal violence such as, dating/domestic violence and stalking.
Sometimes when a man is assaulted, he may be reluctant to report it or to talk about the assault due to fears that his “manhood” will be questioned. Our culture teaches men to be tough, aggressive, and “in control.” When a man is sexually assaulted by another man, he may be reluctant to come forward for fear of being questioned about his sexual orientation or for fear of assumptions being made about his sexual orientation. This may be an even greater concern for survivors who experience a physical response. This physical response can happen automatically and can happen even if the survivor is afraid, unwilling, or even unconscious. However, some still may worry about being perceived as a willing participant. It is important to remember that no matter where you were or what you did, or did not do, you are not to blame. You are not responsible for the actions of another person.
Talking with someone about your experiences can help your healing process. There are free and confidential services both on campus at the EIU Counseling Clinic and in the Charleston community that survivors are encouraged to use.
(Information adapted from: Male Survivors: Help for Victims, Family and Friends Published by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, September 2000)