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Male victims of sexual violence

It is estimated that around four in 20 men have been sexually assaulted at least once in their lifetime.

Men can be victims of sexual attack regardless of their sexual orientation. And while the attacker is more often male, men can be and are sexually assaulted by women.

Effects vary from individual to individual, but common effects include:

  • feelings of isolation, depression, anger, anxiety, issues about sexuality and gender
  • substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, negative body image, fears about abusing, hyperconsciousness of body and appearance, and even split or multiple personalities
  • difficulty in forming healthy relationships

All rape and serious sexual assault victims suffer in many different ways, some responses are gender specific, and some are not.

Few people even realise that male rape exists. A man who is trying to come to terms with a sexual assault can feel like there is nowhere to turn.

Society itself places certain expectations on men - they are supposed to be 'strong' and 'able to take care of themselves'. This only heightens the sense of confusion and self-doubt felt by survivors of male rape and sexual abuse.

Many of them end up blaming themselves specifically when the sexual abuse happened when the victim was a child. As an adult they will question themselves as to why they did not try to stop the abuser, but this is because they are now reflecting on the memory as an adult.

Because there is less awareness of males as victims of sexual assault, they may not come forward to report the assault to the police through fear that they will not be believed. Other fears include how they will be viewed by friends and family.

The police know how difficult it is for victims to come forward and will be sensitive to the situation and treat the case with consideration.

It is important that men report cases of sexual assault and to seek the help and support they need.

Find out more about support for victims of sexual violence in Derbyshire and Derby.