- 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime (1in6.org, 2020)
- 1 out of every 10 sexual assault victims identify as male (RAINN.org, 2020)
- Many male survivors of child sexual abuse delay disclosure an average of 20 years after the assault occurred (Malesurvivor.org, 2020)
- 1 in 9 men experience intimate partner physical violence.
Cultural myths surrounding the sexual abuse and assault of boys and men can be serious obstacles to understanding and healing, so it’s important to learn just how wrong they are. Before exploring the myths, though, here are some key facts:
- Boys and men can be sexually used or abused, and it has nothing to do with how masculine they are.
- If a boy liked the attention he was getting, or got sexually aroused during the abuse, or even sometimes wanted the attention or sexual contact, this does not mean he wanted or liked being manipulated or abused, or that any part of what happened, in any way, was his responsibility or fault.
- Sexual abuse and assault harms boys/men and girls/women in ways that are similar and different, but equally harmful.
- Boys can be sexually abused by both straight and gay men and women. Sexual abuse is the result of abusive behavior that takes advantage of a child’s vulnerability and is in no way related to the sexual orientation of the abusive person.
- Whether he is gay, straight or bisexual, a boy’s sexual orientation is neither the cause nor the result of sexual abuse. By focusing on the abusive nature of sexual abuse rather than the sexual aspects of the interaction, it becomes easier to understand that sexual abuse has nothing to do with a boy’s sexual orientation.
- Girls and women can sexually abuse or assault boys and men. The boys and men are not “lucky,” but exploited and harmed.
- Most boys and men who are sexually abused or assaulted will not go on to sexually abuse or assault others.
Common Feelings and Reactions
Recovering from a sexual assault, dating/domestic abuse, and/or stalking is a process, and this process looks different for everyone. There is no exact time frame for healing. Many male survivors of violence may experience:
- Betrayal and loss of trust
- Self-doubt and self-blame
- Depressions or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Difficulty developing and maintaining relationships/intimacy
- Issues with sexuality
- You are not alone.
- What happened was not your fault.
- The experience of assault or abuse does not make you "less of a man."
- There is hope and support available to you.
Printed with Permission From: Central MN Sexual Assault Center
Books and Literature:
- Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men
- Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse, Mike Lew, 2004
- Abused Boys: Healing for the Man Molested as a Child, Mic Hunter, 1990
- The Courage to Heal Workbook: For Women and Men Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, Laura Davis, 1990
- Not Quite Healed: 40 Truths for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe, 2013
- Broken Boys/Mending Men: Recovering from Childhood Sexual Abuse, Stephen D. Grubman-Black, 1990
- Healing the Man Within: Hope for Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Randy Boyd, 2015
Films and Documentaries:
- The Bristlecone Project, 1in6.org, 2013
- Boys and Men Healing, Kathy Barbini and Big Voice Pictures, 2010
- Stories of Silence: Recovering from Boyhood Sexual Abuse, Ethan Delavan, 2008
If you are a male survivor of sexual abuse or assault:
Join the 1in6 weekly chat-based support groups facilitated by a counselor.
Central MN Sexual Assault Center 24 hour hotline:
Anna Marie’s Alliance (Dating and Domestic Violence) 24 hour hotline: