Information provided by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape BR-02-26(03/07)
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence violates a person’s trust and feelings safety. It occurs anytime a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity. The continuum of sexual violence includes rape, incest, child sexual assault, ritual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, statutory rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.
An estimated 92,748 men are raped each year in the United States.
Most sexual assaults of males are perpetrated by other males. However, male rape has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of either the victim or the offender. Rape is not an expression of sexuality; it is a crime that is motivated by a need to control, humiliate, and harm. Therefore, male rape does not mean that a heterosexual victim will become gay, or that a homosexual victim caused the assault.
Rape is never the victim’s fault!
The Facts of Male Sexual Violence.
Sexual violence can and does happen to males. Men and boys are sexually assaulted and molested every day in the United States. However, false assumptions, popular stereotypes, and the belief that men are immune from sexual assault help us ignore the fact of male rape. This ignorance adds to the shame and isolation of male victims.
Statistics on Adult Male Sexual Violence
One out of every 33 men has been the victims of attempted or completed rape.
11%-12% of all rape and attempted victimizations occur to men.
Statistics on Male Sexually Assaulted as Children
It is believed that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before age 18.
21% of Pennsylvania’s child sexual abuse victims are males.
Who Sexually Abuses Boys?
A sex offender is most likely to be someone the boy knows and trusts. Sexual abusers can be fathers, mothers, stepparents, uncles, neighbors, spiritual leaders, and camp counselors.
90% of the time, the boy knows his abuser.
Some offenders are sexually attracted to children, some were victims of abuse as children themselves, and some abuse children so they can feel the power and control they do not feel in relationships with adults. Whatever the reason for abuse, it is never the victim’s fault.
Most men who abuse boys define their sexual orientation as heterosexual.
Who Sexually Assaults Men?
Adult men can be assaulted by friends, significant others, strangers and gangs.
Sexual assaults of men are frequently violent and involve weapons. Often, men reporting muggings or robberies have also been sexually assaulted. Emergency room doctors and police, however, do not typically look for behavioral signs of sexual assault in men.
Dealing with Your Emotions
Male victims of sexual violence are less likely to use support systems and are more apt to exhibit violent behavior toward others as a result of prolonged periods of non-reporting. Many sexual assault survivors experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Counseling can help you work through the crisis.
Male survivors may experience fear and anger over the loss of control over their bodies and themselves. This is especially strong if you have been raised to believe that showing emotion is wrong or weak. You may also feel dirty, ashamed, and guilty that you weren’t “strong enough” to protect yourself.
Sexual identity often becomes an important issue for males after a sexual assault. A heterosexual survivor may believe the assault means he is gay because of the way his body reacted during the assault. It is important to remember that sexual response is automatic and not within your control – just because your body reacted sexually, does not mean you enjoyed the abuse. A homosexual or bi-sexual man may feel that he is to blame for the assault because of his sexual orientation. No one asked to be raped!
This publication was funded, in part, by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Department of Public Welfare, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents to not necessarily represent the official views of these agencies.
This information can be triggering to some people. If you begin feeling stressed and overwhelmed, feel free to call the Support line for free confidential support from a trained and experienced Advocate. 1-800-871-7741