Impact on Male Victims
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It is a common misconception that only women can be the victims of domestic and sexual violence. Statistics show this is not the case:
According to the New Hampshire Violence Against Men Survey:
- One in 20 New Hampshire men reported being sexually assaulted; over two thirds (68%) of those assaults occurred before the victim’s 18th birthday.
- Nearly one in four men (24%) reported being physically assaulted by an intimate partner.
There is help available for male victims in New Hampshire. For support you can speak with an advocate any time day or night. The call is free and you do not have to give your name.
Domestic Violence 1-866-644-3574
Sexual Assault 1-800-277-5570
Male Victims of Sexual Assault
When sexual assault occurs it is devastating to the victim regardless of gender. Male victims have the same rights under the law as women. Men are entitled to the same services and support following a sexual assault. Whether or not a victim chooses to report or prosecute a sexual assault his local crisis center can provide referrals for counselors and/or support groups that can help victims deal with their experiences.
Male victims may face unique hurdles to reporting the crime and to getting the medical assistance and emotional support they need and deserve. Male sexual assault survivors may believe that the police, medical professionals, and even sexual assault support center advocates will be insensitive to their experience because they are men.
Survivors of sexual assault often blame themselves for the attack (s). Men, in particular may feel that they should have been strong enough to defend themselves against the assault. They may feel that a “real man” could have avoided the sexual assault.
Male rape victims suffer a similar fear that female rape victims face -- that people will believe the myth that they may have enjoyed being raped. Some men may believe they were not raped or that they gave consent because they became sexually aroused, had an erection, or ejaculated during the sexual assault. These are normal, involuntary physiological reactions. It does not mean that the victim wanted to be raped or sexually assaulted, or that the survivor enjoyed the traumatic experience. Sexual arousal does not necessarily mean there was consent.
There are many reasons that male victims do not come forward and report being raped, but perhaps the biggest reason for many males is the fear of being perceived as homosexual. However, male sexual assault has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the attacker or the victim, just as a sexual assault does not make the victim survivor gay, bisexual or heterosexual. It is a violent crime that affects heterosexual men as much as gay men. The phrase "homosexual rape," for instance, which is often used by uninformed persons to designate male-male rape, camouflages the fact that the majority of the rapists are not generally homosexual (Donaldson, 1990).
It is important to help victims understand that they are not to blame. Sexual assault is a crime of power and control and perpetrators use many methods to control their victims, including fear, shame, threats, and debilitating substances like alcohol and drugs.
Sexual assault, regardless of gender, is a crime and is NEVER the victims fault.
Men as well as women are victimized by violence. The abuse can be physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, verbal, emotional, mental/psychological, and economic abuse. The warning signs and barriers that keep victims from leaving their batterers are similar in both genders. To learn more go to the “What is Domestic Violence” page of this website.
However men are less likely to report the intimate partner violence and seek services due to several factors:
- The stigma of being a male victim
- The perceived failure to conform to the macho stereotype
- The fear of not being believed
- The denial of victim status
- For gay male victims the fear of being outed (see About LGBT Victims for more information)
- And the lack of support from society, family members, friends.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime men experience many of the same psychological reactions to violence as women. These include:
- Guilt, shame, humiliation
- Anger and anxiety
- Withdrawal from relationships.
Because men are more likely to be financially independent and less likely to experience fear upon leaving a violent relationship, men are less likely to seek support from an advocate and therefore do not take advantage of other domestic violence services available to them.
If you or someone you know is an abusive relationship help is available. Get connected to the crisis center nearest you by calling our statewide toll-free domestic violence hotline 1-866-644-3574; you do not have to give them your name. Trained advocates are ready to answer your questions, offer support, and provide referrals anytime day or night.
You do not have to be in crisis to call!