Men and Sexual Assault Victimization

Male Support Group

Written by: Chelsea Mandes, VSC’s Victim Advocate Intern

Sexual assault is a hot topic these days: from the multiple alleged campus sexual assaults in the media, to allegations of rape against beloved celebrities and athletes alike, it seems that one cannot go one day without a new allegation of sexual misconduct levied against a man. When we know that 1 in 4 women will experience unwanted sexual contact in their lifetimes, it’s not surprising that our headlines usually consist of such stories. However, what needs to be addressed is the fact that it is not just women who are victims of sexual violence. Anyone can be a victim of sexual violence, including a man of any sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, religion and ability.

The National Violence Against Women Survey, published in 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, produced results that show men report sexual victimization at rates far less than that of women; 17.7 million women responded in the survey as having been raped at some point in their lifetime, compared to 2.8 million men. According to research conducted in 2005, the average age of an adult male sexual victim is 24.

Because of this discrepancy in the appearance of the majority of sexual assault victims identifying as female, victim services have been presented, oftentimes unintentionally, as exclusively for women. This seems to have permeated the mindset of our culture to somehow reinforce that idea that if sexual victimization services aren’t offered for men, then surely men must not need them.

This, however, is not the case. Here at Victim Service Center we served a total of 1,891 male clients, and all of our services are available to men and women alike. Victims of sexual assault, whether the victimization occurred 48 hours ago or 48 years ago are welcome to contact us to see which of our many services, including but not limited to crisis counseling, therapy, court accompaniment, criminal justice education, case management, may be right for you. Historically, VSC’s male client population typically utilized our non-acute services, but we would like all victims of sexual assault regardless of gender or sexual orientation to know our acute services such as the 24/7 confidential sexual assault hotline are here for all victims to receive the care they deserve as human beings.