Barriers to Male Victims of Sexual Assault

Any form of sexual assault or rape is unacceptable and damaging to those who have experienced the assault and everyone around them. When it comes to victim population, men are less likely to report when they have been victimized and are less likely to seek help. As outlined in our Medical Response to Adult Sexual Assault, some barriers and vulnerabilities contribute to why that is.

Public Perception

It is a common perception in today’s culture that men cannot be victims of sexual assault based on several assumptions. These include myths such as men typically do not deny sexual engagement, men seek out sex as a rite of passage, and it is not possible for women to overpower men. These are incorrect and keep men from reporting. After an assault occurs, men face the same barriers internally to reporting as women, including embarrassment, shame, guilt, and fear of not being believed.


After an assault, men also fear being judged as gay if they report. During sexual assault or rape perpetrated by a man on a man, it is not uncommon for a man to have an erection or ejaculate. This occurrence creates the assumption that the assault was unconsciously enjoyed. Sexuality is often questioned in cases of assault to men due to a natural biological response.


Attitudes surrounding male sexual desire may dismiss the credibility of assaults. While statistics show it is less likely for women to commit an assault against a man, when it does happen it undermines the likelihood of the assault being reported due an expectation of masculinity.

All cases of sexual assault are disgraceful and have lasting impacts. If you or someone you know works with male victims of sexual assault, consider our books for your line of work. For more information on what we do, visit our website or subscribe to our newsletter.


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