Contrary to what many think, men can be—and tragically are—sexually assaulted.
Male victims of sexual assault are now using the internet to ‘break the silence’ regarding sexual assault against them, in the hopes that certain myths regarding rape might be debunked.
Until recently, most have viewed sexual assault as an issue that largely concerns women, at least in the sense that females are generally considered the victims of the crime. However, this is not the case.
In fact, according to the American organization RAINN—which is an anti-sexual violence group—roughly 10 percent of rape victims just happen to be men, and roughly one in 33 American men have either experienced being raped or have been the victims of attempted rape.
Things are even worse in the United Kingdom; it has been estimated that about 12 percent of rapes committed are against male victims.
As a result of the way society views the whole situation, some male survivors of sexual assault are trying to get the word out that men can indeed be sexually assaulted.
There is a Tumblr page, which is called Project Unbreakable, and it is being used by the aforementioned survivors to share their stories—not to mention the horrible words used by those who attacked them. It is a series of photographs designed to aid those who have survived rape, child abuse, and also domestic violence.
The site hosts tons of photos of survivors of sexual assault, UPLOADING and they hold up messages expressing survival, defiance, healing, and hope.
A lot of women are sharing their stories; amongst them, however, are brave men who are holding signs sharing the words of their attackers—both female and male attackers.
The report rates regarding sexual assault are known to be extremely low—people who are assaulted often don’t report the crime to police due to fear and shame—and Project Unbreakable definitely seems to be responding to that unfortunate reality.
One male survivor of sexual assault said that the person who attacked him—and this person was an authority figure who was supposed to be taking care of him while he was a child—allegedly wanted to teach the victim how to masturbate. This person, according to the victim’s photo, was a teacher as well as family friend.
Another male victim of sexual assault claims that his babysitter, who was 17-years-old when he was only five, utilized manipulation and guilt. The attacker asked the child if he wanted his parents to think he was “being bad”.
Other men spoke of the societal pressures to engage in sex. One man claimed that the person who attacked him said that boys are “supposed to like” what was transpiring.
The rape of male victims is still really considered sort of taboo in most societies, and therefore is not reported as often as it absolutely should be. Male victims tend to try to hide what happened to them—unless forced to seek medical attention due to injuries. Even when there are injuries, men tend to be sort of vague regarding what actually transpired.
In certain countries, part of the reason for being vague is that there is the concern that they will be considered homosexual.
One psychologist estimates that only 10 percent of male-male rapes actually get reported to the proper authorities. Furthermore, male-male rape that occurs in prison is reported even less frequently than rapes that occur outside of prison walls.
Let’s be clear: Females can and do rape men; however, the topic hasn’t really been researched as thoroughly as it should, and statistics vary. According to the CDC, one in 17 men actually reported being forced to penetrate at one point in their lives. Sexual coercion as well as unwanted sexual contact were also reported by a significant number of men.
Consider the case of a man named James Landrith. He was coerced into penetrating a woman while he was intoxicated due to alcohol; she was a friend of a friend who had offered him a ride home, and this all took place in a motel room where he was supposed to “sleep off” his intoxication. He recalled lying down with his pants on, but he later woke while being straddled by the female attacker, who just happened to be pregnant.
The next morning, he was assaulted again and was told not to put up a fight, as doing so could hurt the baby.
Male victims need to start reporting these crimes.