Recovery Resources: Male Survivors

We live in a world with immense pressure that defines so-called "appropriate" behaviors. For men and boys there is often a focus on physical strength, competition, initiative, and rejection of emotions. As a result, there is a great deal of stigma and shame regarding the sexual assault and abuse of men and boys. These factors make seeking help or talking about the rape difficult for male survivors.

Male-on-male sexual assault may involve genital contact, acts of penetration or may be a physical attack that is somehow sexualized. Some men experience an involuntary erection and/or ejaculation during the assault; both of these responses occur as involuntary reactions to extreme stress, fear, or stimulation. An erection alone never equals consent. When helping a male survivor, emphasize that the attack was one of power and control, not sex or sexuality.

Although most attackers are male, men can be assaulted by women. As with all sexual violence, power dynamics play an equally large role to physical aggression.

If you are a male survivor of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or incest, you may experience a range of emotions and reactions including embarrassment, fear, anger, powerlessness, shame, depression, guilt, or sadness. Like all survivors of sexual assault, you may also experience an overwhelming sense of loss of control over your body and self. The fact that you were sexually violated is not indicative of your masculinity or your ability to protect yourself.