Male Sexual Assault Survivors
“It’s like, men aren’t abused? You know, who ever heard of that? Who talks about that? If men aren’t abused how could I have been abused?”
– anonymous male survivor
The #MeToo Movement has made history, giving sexual assault survivors of all backgrounds, races and ages a voice. People are finally listening, but for the most part, male survivors have yet to be heard. Men and boys suffer from sexual assault, too.
The numbers show that one in every six males has been sexually assaulted1. This does not include unreported incidents, which is believed to be a much higher number than unreported assaults for women.
If you were sexually abused as a young boy or adult – we believe you and it’s not your fault. You are not alone, even if you have never told anyone what happened to you.
No matter your gender or sexual orientation, no one should go through the trauma of sexual assault without an advocate. We have yet to hear your story, but we are ready to help you heal, process and understand your options.
We are sexual assault attorneys who have been helping survivors find the closure, peace and justice they deserve for over ten years. When you are ready to reach out, you can speak privately with a compassionate attorney at The Pride Law Firm, free of charge. Simply call us anytime at (619) 516-8166 . All consultations are complimentary.
Why Male Survivors of Sexual Assault Don’t Report It
The truth is, male sexual assault survivors face their own unique set of challenges, especially when it comes to reporting their assault. The following are a few main reasons why men don’t often share when they’ve been assaulted.
Cultural Views on Men & Masculinity
Male survivors may be doubly hesitant to come forward because sexual assault often contradicts societal views about masculinity and libido. There is tremendous pressure on them to meet cultural expectations of what it means to be a “real man.” Some of these widely-held beliefs assert that men and boys:
- Have an insatiable desire for sex
- Are always in control of their sexual encounters
- Shouldn’t display emotions, such as fear or vulnerability
When a male is sexually assaulted, one of the first things he might do is question his own masculinity. This is because he:
- Did not want the sexual attention
- Became subject to another partner, whether male or female
- Now feels intense emotions he cannot express, such as fear, humiliation, confusion, pain and anger
“If they knew what I thought, they wouldn’t let me in society. No way. There’s an incredible amount of violence and stuff that runs through my mind. And I’m real scared of it.”
– anonymous male survivor
Though these reactions don’t align with male stereotypes, they are extremely common and normal. However, because most male survivors suffer in silence, many feel alone in their anguish. When one courageously opens up about his experience, he helps dismantle these unrealistic expectations.
Fear of Being Perceived as Gay
In the case of male-to-male sexual assault, the majority of survivors struggle with confusion about their sexual orientation. There are multiple reasons for this, many of which are misconceptions. While these doubts and fears are understandable, they lack real supporting evidence. Men who have suffered abuse often believe:
- Sexual abuse “makes you gay”
- Only homosexual boys or men are victimized
- They unknowingly attracted a male predator and might continue to
- Something was/is wrong with them and provoked another male’s attention
- People will “find them out,” even if they identify as heterosexual
- Their sexual preference was influenced by their abuse
Gay, bisexual and transgender survivors also struggle with self-blame and a fear of being discredited over their sexual preference. Despite popular belief, the majority of male perpetrators identify as heterosexual. This explains how sexual abuse is less about physical attraction and more about violence, power and control. Linking male-to-male abuse with homosexuality is a misleading fear that keeps many people from reporting the abuse.
Experiencing Erection or Arousal
“I didn’t feel like everyone else. I felt different. I was different. I was different because I had done this weird thing with this man…and definitely no ordinary person would do that.”
– anonymous male survivor
Male survivors might also feel unbearable guilt if they experienced an erection or ejaculation during an assault. When this happens, perpetrators will often accuse survivors of enjoying the attack, which only compounds their shame and self-blame.
It’s important to note that being physically aroused during an assault is a normal, involuntary physiological response. A boy or man can still orgasm in an unwanted or traumatic situation, and physical stimulation does not equate with enjoyment or consent.
Tragically, many abusers use this as a way to further control their survivors, threatening to reveal their arousal as proof that they “wanted it.”
Lack of Resources for Male Survivors
There is a severe lack of resources to support male sexual assault survivors, especially those for men-only. Many hotlines and rape crisis centers focus on sheltering women and do not have established procedures for men who need immediate assistance. This fact alone can discourage males from reaching out for help.
As one survivor put it, “For women, you just call your local 800 rape line and you’ve got everything from a place to stay, food, money. They take care of your bills and your kids and everything else. I can call up and plead all I want, I can’t get a cup of coffee. And that is like one of the biggest, most frustrating things in the world for me.”
Some men who have been abused prefer to speak with a member of the same sex, yet many helplines are staffed with only women. The Pride Law Firm is a diverse and empathetic staff comprised of both men and women. If you prefer to speak to a male about your experience, founding partner Dante Pride is available for free consultations to help you make sense of your legal options.
How Sexual Assault Affects Men & Boys
“I learned how to do sex when I was five. I knew sex. I wanted to be a sex machine because that’s all I was good for. I didn’t think my insides were worth paying attention to.”
– anonymous male survivor
Contrary to popular belief, sexual assault impacts men in many of the same ways it does women. Like females, male survivors of sexual abuse can also suffer from:
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Depression, anxiety or self-blame
- Suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty bonding in relationships
- Nightmares and insomnia
- Withdrawal and isolation
Men in particular may also struggle with:
- “Proving” their manhood with multiple sex partners
- Sexually victimizing others
- A sense of loss, control or inadequacy as a man
- Sexual dysfunction
Sexual abuse is a devastating experience that shows no partiality. Sometimes, the lasting effects aren’t known until years later.
There is good news for male survivors of sexual assault; your experience does not define who you are. What was done to you has nothing to do with who you are as a person. Many of these damaging effects can be improved with counseling and therapy.
At The Pride Law Firm, we have a sincere heart for helping those dealing with the trauma of sexual assault. We do not discriminate against you based on your gender or sexual orientation. You will be heard and supported without judgment. If you are ready to talk to someone about your sexual assault, please call us at (619) 516-8166.
Help for Males Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted
It may be hard to know where to begin after you’ve been assaulted. Whether it was when you were a young boy or only hours ago, help is available now.
Please note: If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911.
If you were sexually assaulted within the last 24 hours:
- Get a medical exam right away. A sexual assault forensic exam (also known as a “rape kit”) can collect vital information even when there are no visible external injuries, such as DNA evidence. It is critical that you do not change your clothes, shower or even wash your hands following an assault and that you seek medical attention immediately. You risk losing valuable evidence to support your account of what happened, even if you choose not to take legal action.
- File a police report. If you are not in immediate danger, call the non-emergency line for your local police department or visit the station to report it in person. A police report will be referenced as key information if you decide to file a lawsuit.
- Speak to a sexual assault attorney. Your attorney will do so much more than provide you with legal guidance; he or she will connect you with helpful resources for healing and recovery, ensure you receive the best medical attention if necessary and become a trusted confidant. All information you share with your attorney is held in strict confidence and you have complete control over whether you choose to take legal action against your perpetrator.
If you were sexually assaulted as a child or minor:
When an adult is reporting past abuse as a minor, nearly every situation is unique and your course of action will depend on a number of factors. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced sexual assault attorney who can help you determine your next steps.
“It’s like where is my childhood? It feels like somebody put it in a box somewhere and I’m not allowed to look at it. Like it’s locked up. And going through recovery is like trying to get somebody to open that key for me. It’s like I want my box, I know I got one. And who took it and who had the right to steal it from me?”
– anonymous male survivor
Why Male Sexual Assault Survivors Should File a Lawsuit
Here we address a few of the top concerns male sexual assault survivors have about taking legal action against their abusers.
I don’t want anyone to know about what happened to me.
For many who have suffered from assault, the desire to remain anonymous is incredibly strong. This is especially true for male survivors. As we mentioned earlier, men and boys report sexual assault even less than female survivors because of social misconceptions surrounding the issue.
Filing a lawsuit is completely confidential and your name will not appear in public without your consent. This is a common fear many survivors have and can keep them from pursuing their perpetrators in civil court. However, we assure you that your information is safe, and all potential cases are protected by a client/attorney privilege.
What if I can’t afford to hire an attorney?
We work tirelessly to win you the justice you deserve, and if we don’t recover financial compensation for your losses – you don’t have to pay a penny. The Pride Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means that you do not need to pay any out of pocket fees. We only receive a fee for our services if we are successful in securing an award for the crimes committed against you.
What if I know the person who hurt me?
According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), two thirds of sexual assault survivors know their attacker2. Sexual assault can happen within the context of intimate relationships and even acquaintances. It can be incredibly difficult to take legal action against someone you know personally. However, sexual assault is a crime punishable by law. Your relationship with the person does not give them the right to violate you. We understand this process can be hard and we will help you through it.
I don’t want to go through a legal battle, is filing a lawsuit worth it?
As your attorneys, we are completely prepared to do the legal work for you. We provide unparalleled service to our clients, who we often refer to as our own friends and family. You don’t need to worry about sorting through paperwork, filing documents or making a ton of meetings; we will shoulder the legal burden for you and keep you abreast of your case details as you prefer.
Many of our clients share that they only want to be healed of their trauma and move on with their lives. That is why filing a lawsuit is not typically about money, but about closure. Bringing your perpetrator to justice helps ensure he or she will not hurt someone else again and holds them accountable for their actions.
It’s also important to note that the financial compensation we seek for you is what helps offset the cost of quality counseling services, therapy and anything else you may need in your journey to health and wholeness.
Sexual Assault Attorney for Male Survivors
“Talking about it really does take back power from the trauma.”
– anonymous male survivor
If you’re ready talk, we are here to listen. You will find a fierce, compassionate and professional team of sexual assault attorneys at The Pride Law Firm who are committed to helping you regain your confidence and strength. We are a versatile team of caring professionals with a combined 20 years of experience.
To learn more about your rights or simply have someone you can trust with your experience, please call us at (619) 516-8166 to start a free, 100% confidential case evaluation. You will get through this, and we will help.
Get in touch
If you’ve survived a sexual assault, Jessica Pride wants to help you once again become the strong person you are. No man or woman deserves to be treated in such a way.
The Pride Law Firm
2831 Camino Del Rio S., Suite 104
San Diego, CA 92108
1900 Powell St., Suite 6022
Emeryville, CA 94608
Hours. M-F 6:00am - 10:00pm PST
Phone. (619) 516-8166
Fax. (619) 785-3414