Sexual Assault of Men and Boys
Sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter your age, your sexual orientation, or gender identity. Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused may have many of the same feelings and reactions as other survivors, but they may also face other challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity.
Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted may experience the same symptoms of sexual assault as other survivors. They may also face other challenges that are unique to their experience. Men may respond differently if they were abused as boys or teens then if they were sexually assaulted as an adult.
Know that you are not alone. The following list includes some of the most common symptoms shared by men and boys who have survived sexual assault:
- Anxiety, depression, fearfulness, or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Avoiding people or places that remind them of the assault or abuse
- Concerns or questions about sexual orientation
- Feel like “less of a man” or that you no longer have control over your own body
- Feeling on edge, unable to relax, having difficulty sleeping
- Sense of blame or shame over not being able to stop the assault or abuse, especially if you experienced an erection or ejaculation.
- Withdrawing from family or friends, isolating oneself
If you were sexually abused when you were a child or a teenager, you may have different feelings and reactions at different times in your life.
If you were sexually assaulted as an adult you may feel shame or self-doubt, believing that you should have been “strong enough” to fight off your perpetrator.
Who Are The Perpetrators?
Perpetrators can be of any gender, age, or sexual orientation. Like all perpetrators, they may have any relationship to the victim, they may use physical force or psychological and emotional tactics.
Does Being Assaulted Affect Sexual Orientation?
A person’s sexual orientation cannot be caused by sexual abuse or assault. Some men and boys may question their sexuality especially if they experienced an erection or ejaculation. Adults who sexually abuse boys may use phrases such as “You know you liked it” to maintain secrecy.
If you were sexually assaulted, it is not your fault. Know that you are not alone. Coming forward about surviving a sexual assault or sexual abuse can be difficult. We are here to help.