Men and boys are often the victims of crimes of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape.
The Term Sexual Assault refers to a number of different crimes, ranging from unwanted sexual touching to forced penetration.
There are some similar dynamics with the impact of sexual assault on males and females. Research shows that in most reported cases of male sexual assault the perpetrator/s have been male. However we should be mindful that there are female perpetrators.
If the general society thinks sexual assault is something that happens to women and children by men then this leads to a vacuum in awareness of adult/adolescent male victims of sexual assault.
If you are a man who has been sexually abused in childhood or sexually assaulted as an adult, know that you are not alone. Sometimes men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault can struggle to express emotions having little or no language to express what has happened.
Sometimes men who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault can feel overwhelmed by emotions or feel ‘comfortably numb’. Confusion around masculinity from these types of experiences may be as follows:
From boyhood to manhood males believe they “own” or control the world. Males who believe they are not up to the mark will suffer with low self esteem, be bullied, feel isolated, suicidal, etc. A man who has been sexually assaulted predates this happening with a belief I am in control or put in simple terms “real men” are always in control. When sexual assault happens men are faced with a situation that they weigh up against their masculinity. Many questions like the ones below may torment them:
I should have fought more.
I should have been stronger.
I should not have gone there.
I should have known what would happen.
Maybe I wanted this to happen.
This type of self questioning stems from concepts of masculinity. Am I still a real man? Women are the ones who get penetrated by men not men, well at least not straight men.
Men can’t be forced to have sex.
There is a long held belief that men cannot be forced to have sex. Having said this, this statement also ignores the act of forced penetration, forced masturbation. This statement also supports the role of control in being a man. He either wanted or didn’t. He had sex so therefore he wanted it.
Understanding the physiology of the male sexual organs is important. Men can get erections without desire or arousal. Direct stimulation of the penis or direct stimulation to the prostate gland can produce an erection.
Pleasure is different to desire or arousal, a man can feel pleasure from direct stimulation of the penis or direct stimulation to the prostate gland, this doesn’t mean that he wanted or invited this action.
Men can orgasm with or without feelings of pleasure from direct stimulation of the penis or direct stimulation to the prostate gland. This can also happen from stimulation of other parts of the body.
For any male who has been abused and/or assaulted becoming free from this traumatic event/s is an essential part of the recovery process.
Sexual Health & Relationships WA provide a safe, professional and confidential setting for therapy. If you would like counselling to assist you through this passage please email Raelene firstname.lastname@example.org.