MEN SEXUAL ASSAULT
People often assume that females are the primary victims of sexual assault, but males also experience sexual assault.
Gender, age, and ethnicity do not determine when or if a person is the victim of sexual abuse. Only the actions or behavior of the perpetrator upon the victim indicate when sexual assault has occurred.
Men who experience sexual assault will often suffer the same long-term mental health effects that women do due to the experience.
However, while women are encouraged to share their stories and often find a sense of validation in support groups, men may feel more ashamed to come forward with what happened to them. An unfortunate social stigma in society indicates men should be strong enough to stop sexual abuse when it occurs.
Men may also experience physiological reactions during an unwanted sexual assault, such as an erection or ejaculation. They may be uncomfortable with this and wonder if it means that they encouraged the sexual assault to occur.
No matter how it happens, sexual assault is never okay. If you’ve suffered sexual assault, contact sexual assault attorney Melissa Hague. She can ensure that you regain your voice and move forward from a traumatizing experience.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault refers to unwanted sexual contact, including contact against your will and without your consent. It may also include certain behaviors. Common examples of sexual assault include:
- Rape or attempted rape
- Date rape
- Inappropriate touching or fondling
- Child sexual abuse
- Unwanted sexual messages via text or social media
- Obscene phone calls
Any time you feel uncomfortable with sexual contact, you have the right to say no. If someone forces you to participate in sexual activity, it is sexual assault.
Who Initiates Sexual Assault Against Men or Boys?
Anyone may initiate sexual assault against a man or boy—a female, another male, or someone who identifies as non-binary. The assault can occur by those of any age or sexual orientation, and they may or may not have a relationship with the victim.
What Are the Common Reactions Experienced by Men Who Are Victims of Sexual Assault?
Males who are victims of sexual assault experience many of the same effects that other individuals do. They may feel ashamed or self-conscious and have issues with self-esteem. There is a pervasive feeling in society that men should have control of their fate and could easily avoid unwanted sexual activity.
Feelings of machoism—where the man is “in charge”—are also quite common. This can lead to an avoidance of reporting a sexual assault injury when it occurs.
Men may be more likely to take it upon themselves to work through their problems on their own. This can be a mistake, as long-term mental health problems can be hard to overcome without therapy.
Typical reactions of males who have experienced a sexual assault injury include any of the following:
- Anxiety, depression, PTSD, flashbacks, and eating disorders
- Avoiding people or places that remind you of the assault or abuse
- Feeling like “less of a man”
- Being on edge or unable to relax
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Withdrawal from relationships and increased isolation
- Worrying about disclosing for fear of judgment
- Uncalled for episodes of anger or exasperation
Over the long term, men who have experienced sexual assault may have difficulty forming relationships. They may keep them to a superficial level and be unable to communicate in a healthy way.
How Can I Support a Male Who Has Experienced Sexual Assault?
Males who have experienced sexual assault are often unwilling to report what happened or even disclose it to a trusted friend. They may react to the incident as if it never occurred. This can cause problems down the road, especially if the assault was severe or caused significant internal trauma.
If you know a male who indicates that he has been sexually assaulted, it’s important to listen to him and believe him. The fact that he has shared this with you is a big deal. He has allowed you to enter his circle of trust. Follow these steps to help him discuss the incident.
Listen to Him
Give the individual your full and undivided attention. Let him direct the conversation, and don’t interrupt. If he pauses and you feel comfortable asking a question, feel free to do so.
It’s difficult for many survivors to discuss assault or abuse, so if they are doing so with you, they respect you enough to value your opinion and want your assistance.
Validate His Feelings
Don’t make blanket or generic statements when a man is trying to talk with you about sexual assault. It’s better to say nothing than blow him off by ignoring what he has said or being overly positive. Encourage him to explain what happened and express an appropriate level of concern for him.
Ask Him to Reach out for Support
While men may be less willing to reach out for therapy, doing so can help. You can encourage him to contact a mental health professional, law enforcement, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE. You can also encourage him to contact a sexual assault attorney to determine his legal options.
How Can a Sexual Assault Lawyer Help?
Males who have been subjected to sexual assault can seek legal advice from a qualified sexual assault attorney. Sexual assault lawyers are trained to give confidential and supportive advice. They are also knowledgeable of the local laws governing sexual assault and can show you how to navigate them.
If you choose to file a criminal or civil petition against a perpetrator, you can obtain justice against the person who harmed you. A criminal case of sexual assault requires sufficient evidence and must be proved without reasonable doubt.
A civil case of sexual assault can result in monetary compensation for the victim. Sexual assault victims may be able to receive damages for medical expenses they have incurred—as well as expected future expenses.
If they have missed time from work or accepted a reduced level of income, they may be able to ask for reimbursement for their losses. It’s also possible to recover damages for emotional pain and suffering.
Time is an important factor for those who decide to pursue legal consequences after an assault. All states have different rules for statute of limitations, and those who decide to pursue a legal case must do so within the prescribed time frame.
Contact a Dedicated and Compassionate Men Sexual Assault Lawyer
Melissa Hague is a qualified sexual assault attorney who believes in obtaining justice for sexual assault victims. Her practice focuses on all areas of sexual assault, including male sexual abuse. Contact her for a free, completely confidential consultation today.