Male Survivors

Our society's prevalent images of men claim that men are always strong, invulnerable, stoic and in control. Despite these stereotypes, men of all ages, sizes, strength, looks, personalities and sexual orientation are victims of sexual assault. Males can be sexually assaulted both as children and adults in their homes and in institutional settings.

The number of assaults reported for males may be especially low because survivors fear they will be met with both homophobic reactions and disbelief.

Potential Issues Facing Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

I feel very isolated, like the only one to have experienced this type of assault.

You are not alone -1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. There are services and resources available for you. The Counseling Center of Milwaukee offers individual counseling and support groups for male survivors of sexual abuse. The Healing Center, the Sexual Assault Treatment Center, and the Latino Resource Center all work with male survivors.

I will not be believed.

Our society's prevalent images of men claim that they are always strong, invulnerable, stoic and in control. Despite these stereotypes, men of all ages, sizes, strengths, looks, personalities and sexual orientation are victims of sexual assault. Know that you have support and are courageous for coming forward.

Once I come forward I'll be seen as a homosexual.

When sexual assault involves contact between two men, this is not related to homosexuality. A sexual assault is about power and domination, while a homosexual relationship between two men is about love and attraction. Rape is about violence, not sex. An assault cannot cause an individual's sexual orientation to change.

I'm questioning my masculinity.

Societal stereotypes suggest that for a man to be masculine, he must be heterosexual. The experience of being sexually assaulted by another man may cause one to question his sexuality and, thus, his masculinity. In addition, sexual assault continues to be viewed by society as a woman's experience, furthering the assumption that a survivor is weak and powerless.

I should have stopped the assault.

Men are taught to be in control and physically powerful, but the truth is that any man can be assaulted regardless of how he appears or how strong he may be. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Because I'm a male survivor, I will one day perpetrate a sexual assault.

Survivors are not destined to become perpetrators. Perpetrators are always fully responsible for their actions regardless of their past experiences-a perpetrator chooses to perpetrate.

Common Responses to Sexual Abuse for Male Victims

While these are some issues that are common for male survivors, one should note that the following may occur:

  • Drug abuse (including alcohol)
  • Sexually acting out or avoiding sex and relationships
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-hatred, self-abusing practices
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling detached from emotions and/or body
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Exaggerating stereotypical masculine behavior
  • Excessive masturbation
  • Memory lapses
  • Low self-esteem, feeling on the brink of failure
  • Guilt and/or shame
  • Major or sudden changes in behavior and personality
  • Withdrawal
  • Aggression

´╗┐Check out this link about male survivors from Oprah's web site.