Many people believe that sexual assault is only committed by men against women. Although statistics show that the majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by men, the fact remains that 1 in 5 men have experienced a form of sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime.1 Sexual violence is about control and dominance and can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.
In our society, boys and men are raised to act strong, invulnerable, stoic, and be in control at all times. These stereotypes of male behavior contribute to many misconceptions about sexual assault that make it harder for male survivors to seek out support and begin their healing.
Some of these misconceptions include:
- Boys and men should be dominant and able to protect themselves and thus cannot be victims
- Boys and men always want sex
- Boys who are sexually abused become perpetrators or become gay
- If a male experiences physical arousal during an assault, he is a willing participant
- Males are less traumatized by sexual assault than females
All of these statements are myths that contribute to the culture of silence that surrounds male survivors of sexual assault. If you are a male-identified survivor and would like to talk to somebody more about your experience, please call our Support Line at 1-800-822-5999.
1 Black, M.C., et al. (2011). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
MaleSurvivor provides critical resources to male survivors of sexual trauma and all their partners in recovery by building communities of Hope, Healing, & Support.
1in6 is a non-profit organization that offers outreach, education and services, in person and over the web, to men with histories of unwanted or abusive childhood sexual experiences and anyone who cares about them.