Rape Crisis Program
a service of the
Community Counseling & Crisis Center
110 S. College Avenue, Oxford, OH 45056
Help for Male Survivors
of Sexual Assault
Men are often unprepared for the fact that they, too, can be victims of
It is important for men to know that crisis assistance can help them to cope
with the crime and to make informed decisions.
When Men are Raped
(We offer our special thanks to Ohio State University Rape
Education and Prevention Program for their source book “When Men are Raped”
1997, reproduced here with minor changes.)
Available research indicates that male rape happens far more often than most people recognize. Remember, you are not alone. Anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual identify or physical strength can fall victim to this despicable crime. You did not ask for it, nor are you to blame. Nothing a person wears, does or says makes them deserving of sexual victimization-- it is not your fault that this happened. Remember, something you did allowed you to escape the assault with your life. The fact that you are alive is a testament to your ability to survive.
If you have been assaulted, contact the police or someone you trust immediately. Remember that delayed reporting to authorities will make it more difficult to prosecute the attacker. Call the rape crisis hotline (in Butler County Ohio, use the hotline number at the bottom of this page-- in the rest of the United States, call 1-800-656-HOPE) and talk about what happened.
It is very important that you get medical attention for your physical injuries and allow medical providers to collect forensic evidence and receive treatment and information about sexually transmitted infections. Often, sexual assault victims have injuries which need immediate treatment
(for example, if your head was banged against a wall or the floor, you might have sustained a serious closed head injury, even if there is no bleeding or visible injury).
Please do not bathe, eat or drink, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, or change your clothes; it is important to preserve the physical evidence of the assault. A Rape Crisis Program Victim Advocate should meet you at the hospital. The hospital examination becomes less intimidating if you have a supportive person with you. The Victim Advocate will answer your questions about the medical examination, your legal options, and the emotional and practical concerns you have.
Remember, your reactions to the sexual assault will be varied. Fear, guilt, hyper-alertness, depression, anger, panic-attacks, flashbacks, mood swings and confusion about your sexuality are all common reactions to rape. Talking to a counselor or trusted friend often helps in coping with those emotions.
You may want to find a counselor in your community who has experience working with male survivors of sexual violence. The Rape Crisis Program can offer many referrals. Male survivors of rape will experience a similar range and intensity of trauma as female survivors. There are however, important differences between male and female rape survivors. Some of those differences are:
Male survivors may worry that others will question their sexual orientation after the assault. Male survivors also tend to question their sexual orientation more often than women who have been raped. Sometimes men experience an erection or ejaculate during their assaults as an involuntary physiological response to physical sensation, intense fear or pain. This may lead the survivor to question whether or not he somehow wanted to be assaulted or that perhaps he may be gay.
In a confusion between rape and sex, many men will become homophobic after their assault falsely equating same sex rape with homosexuality. It is important to remember that most men who sexually assault other men describe themselves as heterosexual. Remember that rape is a crime in which sex is used as weapon.
Unlike women, men in our society are rarely taught to live with the fear of their own vulnerability to sexual assault. When men are raped they may experience a heightened degree of pure shock and surprise, finding it even more difficult to understand what they have gone through.
Some men will feel that in becoming a victim of crime part of their masculinity has been stripped away and that they have been feminized, or are somehow less manly because they have been sexually violated. Men may have more difficulty giving themselves credit for surviving the assault than women.
Men sometimes do not have access to (or are not aware of) the resources, self help books and support groups that women survivors of rape utilize. Given the stigma surrounding male rape, many men who are raped suffer in isolation and attempt to deal with the assault alone.
Rape is defined on a state by state basis. In some states, the rape of men is not defined by law under the same terminology or degree of offense as the rape of women. Ohios laws regarding rape and sexual assault deal equally with male or female victims. Ohio recognizes oral, anal, or vaginal penetration without consent and with force or threat of force as rape. In addition to rape, other sexual crimes against men are documented under Ohio law, including sexual battery, sexual imposition, and gross sexual imposition. More information about these crimes is available on our "Legal Issues" page.
Don’ts: Helping Male Rape Survivors
Do believe the man who reports a rape experience.
Do give the man tremendous credit for having the courage to tell you about the crime. Remember he has overcome great obstacles to be able to speak about what happened.
Do tell him he is not alone, that approximately one in fourteen men is a rape survivor.
Do tell him that the rape was not his fault.
Do listen non judgmentally. Remember his experience is not any less traumatic because he is a man.
Do emphasize to him that help is available, and that with help and support he can get through this crisis and heal from the assault.
But please DO NOT:
Dont express discomfort with issues and conversations related to sexuality. This might be one of the foremost areas of concern and your uneasiness might cause him not to mention it again.
Dont panic if he is suicidal. This is a common reaction in the aftermath of male rape. It is important for him to be able to express what he is feeling. Point out to him that he is alive and has survived the assault. Make him aware of the fact that he is not alone and that there are other male survivors out there. He needs to know that it is possible to recover from the trauma. Help him reach out for help if he is suicidal. You can utilize a local crisis hotline, the RAINN hotline (1-800-656-HOPE), or local hospital emergency room to seek help or consultation. If you are fearful that he may be suicidal, don't wait--seek help or consultation from a mental health professional or crisis hotline.
Dont tell others about the assault (except when seeking help for a suicidal person). Protecting his anonymity and confidentiality is an important priority. Don't make him regret trusting you with this very private and painful information.
Dont accuse him of being homophobic if he indicates hatred of or fear of gay males. However, at an appropriate time, inform him that most men who rape self-identify as heterosexual. Rape is a crime committed in order to control, humiliate, and degrade the victim.
Additional links follow:
This organization is "committed through research, education, advocacy, and
activism to the prevention, treatment, and elimination of all forms of
sexual victimization of boys and men. Useful information and links,
including those in the image above, and a
Consumer's Guide to Therapist Shopping.
of Males: Prevalence, Lasting Effects, and Resources
This page provides information and resources on an issue largely ignored
in cultures around the world - the sexual abuse of boys and its potential
lasting effects in the lives of men.
McEvoy, Alan, Rollo, Debbie, and Brookings, Jeff, If He is Raped, ISBN 1-55691-151-3
Isley, Paul. Adult Male Sexual Assault in the Community: A literature review and Group Treatment Model.
Rape and Sexual Assault III- A Research Handbook. Ed. Ann Wolpert Burgess. New York: Garland Publishing, 1991. 161-178
Groth, A. Nicholas and Ann W. Burgess. Male Rape: Offenders and Victims. American Journal of Psychiatry 137.7 (1980) 806-810
Rochman, Susan. Silent Victims: Bringing Male Rape out of the Closet. Advocate 30, July 1991. 38-43
Scarce, Michael. Male on Male Rape: The Hidden Toll of Stigma and Shame. New York: Insight Books 1997.
Scarce, Michael. Same Sex Rape of Male College Students. Journal of American College Health 45.4 (1997) 171-173
Stermac, Lana, et al., Sexual Assault of Adult Males. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 11.1 (1996) 52-64