Yes, men are victims of sexual assault, too (does this really need the trigger warning?)

This entry is part 7 of 16 in the series Sexual-Violence-Ed-for-Pagans

Yes, the vast majority of sexual assault perpetrators are men. The majority of victims in mainstream society are women. Maybe 1 in every 100 sexual assault victims are men. It’s that rare.

But there are men that are raped, assaulted, subjected to traumatizing verbal abuse. They are often treated with the same or worse contempt and disrespect as female victims of sexual assault.

Here’s the rub for anti-abuse advocates:

If you only encounter 100 victims of sexual assault in an active working year – maybe two years – you’re (dubiously, considering what is probably going unreported) lucky.

You might work for ten years and never see a man – but that doesn’t mean that no men were victims of assault on your watch. That means that no men reported their sexual assaults. The overt, easy-to-recognize ones will garner especial silence. But if you expand the definition of sexual violence to all abusive behaviors, there is a class of men that routinely assault one another verbally and physically using misogynistic language to abuse one another as well as to abuse women in their lives.

There are not, proportionately, "that many" male victims. The problem to solve in sexual assault and rape culture is not the gender of the victims. You will, if you are choosing to take an active role in helping victims of sexual assault, get male victims in between the very large number of female and other-gendered victims.

You’ll get them because sexual violence as a go-to weapon is that common.

The first man that told me outright he was assaulted refused to acknowledge it as such. He described a penetration incident with a female babysitter at the age of 8 years old. My PTSD poker-face couldn’t even work for that one and he immediately sought to dismiss my horror. "It’s different for guys," he told me. In a rare moment of wisdom, I held my tongue. This was someone I loved and someone whom I had learned not to argue with when it came to our perceptions of the human condition. I filed it away – his amazing positive attitude was never going to make the incident anything other than what it was. But dealing with it was up to him, not to me.

When it comes to assault and its effects on the brain and body, it’s not different for guys. Sex with minors and sexual assault on men is still about power-over. Arousal is secondary – the pleasure comes in the suffering, not in the orgasm. Male or female, rape and sexual assault still does lasting neural damage.

So when it comes to assisting male victims of assault, it is important to treat them with the same courtesy and questions you would a woman. Or really, since women aren’t treated well in general and worse when they report a rape, let me put it this way: Treat ALL victims reporting rape and assault with courtesy and a listening ear.

Keep in mind:

Men are even more likely to be ridiculed and further abused when admitting to being the victim of a sexual assault.

Women get ridiculed/accused of lying during a rape report- sometimes because that’s what police procedure instructs. Men will be made out to be weak just for having something that’s not their fault happen to them. Men’s rights activists only make the reality for actual male victims that much worse. Caterwauling victimization when merely being held accountable only undermines what is needed to help those who are legitimate victims. There’s a significant difference between paying child support and rape. In the case of child support, it’s the consequence of a conscious action – and it protects the innocent, in this case the children produced who have no responsibility in any relationship fallout between parents. In the case of rape, it’s not a consequence of any person’s action by any sane definition of the word.

Transgender men and women especially suffer. Their specific assault rape is sky high – and there is next to nothing in the legal system to support them at all. What resources trans people have for when they are victims of a crime they have had to create themselves.

All victims of assault should get the exact same level of care. When a victim of any gender reports an assault, ask the same questions referred to in "Perfectly Nice People."

In all cases, the victim should bring someone with them when they report the crime. Nearly all states have victim advocates that can come in and assist and nearly all states do allow victims to have someone with them. Nearly all states will also have police officers that will try to convince victims that they do not have those rights.  Some of this is because of the officer’s attitude; the other is that we live with a legal system based on competition rather than fact-finding. This is why advocates are necessary, even if they must show police officers printed out copies of their own local and state laws.

Give all victims the same amount of care and respect, without personal comment. That is the right way to do it.

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