Get help by calling Rape Crisis & Sexual Assault Services 24-hr Crisis Line at 706-724-5200 or toll-free at 1-800-HOPE(4673)
Can men be sexually assaulted? YES! Men and boys are often the victims of the crimes of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and rape. In fact, in the U.S., about 10% of all victims are male. 71% of male victims were first raped before their 18th birthday; 16.6% were 18-24 years old, and 12.3% were 25 or older (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2006).
Rape and sexual assault include any unwanted sexual acts, ranging from unwanted sexual touching to forced penetration. Even if you agree to have sex with someone, you have the right to say “no” at any time, and to say “no” to any sexual acts, whole or in part. If you are sexually assaulted, sodomized or raped, it is never your fault — you are not responsible for the actions of others.
Male survivors and others affected by sexual violence can receive free, confidential, live help through Rape Crisis & Sexual Assault Services' 24-hr Crisis Line at 706-724-5200 or 1-800-HOPE(4673).
Sometimes male survivors find it easier to first tell an anonymous advocate rather than a loved one. This allows the survivor to speak to someone who is impartial and trained to listen and help. Many male survivors find that talking to the crisis line first makes it easier to tell friends and family later.
If You Are Raped
Rape and sexual assault include any unwanted sexual acts. Even if you agree to have sex with someone, you have the right to say “no” at any time, and to say “no” to any sexual acts, whole or in part. If you are sexually assaulted, sodomized or raped, it is never your fault — you are not responsible for the actions of others.
Get Help from Rape Crisis. Seek immediate medical attention whether or not the incident is reported to the police. Even if you do not seem injured, it is important to get medical attention. Sometimes injuries that seem minor at first can get worse. Survivors can sometimes contract a sexually transmitted disease during the sexual assault, but not suffer immediate symptoms. Even if the symptoms of that disease take weeks or months to appear, it might be easily treated with an early diagnosis. (If you are concerned about HIV exposure, it is important to talk to a counselor about the possibility of exposure and the need for testing. For more information about HIV transmission and testing, contact the Centers for Disease Control National HIV/AIDS Hotline. Check the contact list at the end of this bulletin for the phone number and address information.)
Medical considerations making immediate medical attention imperative include:
•Rectal and anal tearing and abrasions which may require attention and put you at risk for bacterial infections;
•Potential HIV exposure; and
•Exposure to other sexually transmitted diseases.
If you plan to report the rape to the police, an immediate medical examination is important to the investigation and prosecution.
Remember: Try not to shower, use the bathroom, brush your teeth, or change your clothes. Critical trace evidence may be lost.
You have the right to have evidence collected and receive medical treatment without reporting to law enforcement. You have the right to decide at a later date about reporting to law enforcement.
There is no charge for evidence collection. Hospitals and licensed medical treatment centers in Indiana should never bill a victim of a sex crime for forensic evidence collection.
What concerns do male survivors have when seeking support for a sexual assault?
Often, perpetrators use force or threats to prevent a survivor from seeking help.
Sexual assault is a very personal crime. Many survivors do not wish to share what happened to them publicly and fear that disclosing or reporting the attack may require them to talk publicly about their assault. There are several ways to learn more about recovery and resources anonymously by using the Crisis Line.
Male survivors may blame themselves for the assault, believing they were not ‘strong enough’ to fight off the perpetrator. Many are confused by the fact that they became physically aroused during the attack, despite the assault or abuse they endured. However, these normal physiological responses do not in any way imply that the victim ‘wanted’ or ‘liked’ the assault.
Is it normal to feel this way?
While not every male survivor of sexual assault reacts in the same way, many reactions are quite common. If left untreated, these effects can have a long-term impact on a survivor’s well-being.
What are some possible effects of sexual assault on a male survivor?
•Sense of self and concept of "reality" are disrupted.
•Profound anxiety, depression, fearfulness.
•Concern about sexual orientation.
•Development of phobias related to the assault setting.
•Fear of the worst happening and having a sense of a shortened future.
•Withdrawal from interpersonal contact and a heightened sense of alienation.
•Stress-induced reactions (problems sleeping, increased startle response, being unable to relax).
•Psychological outcomes can be severe for men because men are socialized to believe that they are immune to sexual assault and because societal reactions to these assaults can be more isolating.
Heterosexual Male Survivors
•May experience a fear that the assault will make them gay.
•May feel that they are “less of a man.”
Homosexual Male Survivors
•May feel the crime is “punishment” for their sexual orientation.
•May worry that the assault affected their sexual orientation.
•May fear they were targeted because they are gay. This fear may lead to withdrawal from the community.
•May develop self-loathing related to their sexual orientation.
Relationships / Intimacy
•Relationships may be disrupted by the assault.
•Relationships may be disrupted by others’ reactions to the assault, such as a lack of belief/support.
•Relationships may be disrupted by the survivor’s reaction to or coping with the assault.
•Anger about the assault, leading to outward- and inward-focused hostility.
•Avoidance of emotions or emotional situations, stemming from the overwhelming feelings that come with surviving a sexual assault.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing any of the thoughts or feelings listed above, please contact Rape Crisis & Sexual Assault Services by phone at 706-724-5200 or toll-free at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673) 24/7 to speak with a trained staffer.