YOU THINK IT DOESN T HAPPEN TO MEN?

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1 YOU THINK IT DOESN T HAPPEN TO MEN?

2 I couldn t look anyone in the face anymore, I thought they could see what had happened to me. Richard I never told anybody, I just tried to forget about it. I figured it was my fault and anyway, since I m gay why should it matter? Louis I was angry all the time. I was always afraid I was going to hurt somebody. I started drinking when I was twelve just to try to mellow out. Jamal I m almost forty years old and it isn t until now that I understand what my mother did to me was sexual abuse, not love. Ramon It does. 7% of all American men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. (Federal Bureau of Investigations, 1997) but most of these men never talk about it. They should, because talking helps. If you ve been sexually assaulted as a child or as an adult, you re not alone. We re here to listen and to help you recover. Our services are free and confidential. Our Center is staffed by professionals who are experts in the field of sexual trauma. Crime Victims Treatment Center St. Luke s-roosevelt Hospital Center

3 WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT? Sexual assault is any forced or unwanted sexual activity, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and molestation. Sexual assault/rape is not a crime of passion but a crime of violence, using sex as a weapon to overpower and to degrade the victim. A rapist can be a stranger or someone the victim knows a partner, date, or family member. Sexual assault includes situations where force, violence, or weapons are used as well as situations where the victim is too intoxicated or scared to give consent. By most estimates, 5 to 10 percent of sexual assaults committed in the United States involve male victims. Sexual assault against men happens in lots of different ways. Some men are assaulted by a stranger or a group of strangers, while others may be assaulted by someone they know. Men are sometimes sexually assaulted by women, but most often they are sexually assaulted by other men. Some attackers use weapons, physical force, or the threat of force. Others may use blackmail or a position of authority to threaten someone into submission. Still others use alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, to prevent victims from fighting back. No matter how it occurs, it is a violation of a man s body and his free will and it can have lasting emotional consequences. Child sexual assault is not solely restricted to physical contact. It includes non-contact abuse such as exposure, voyeurism, and showing the child pornography. A central characteristic of child sexual abuse is the dominant position of an adult or older child that allows him or her to force or coerce a child into sexual activity. Often, men who have been abused as children feel responsible for the abuse because as children they didn t feel safe enough to tell or because they wanted affection from their abuser. REMEMBER Sexual assault and sexual abuse are acts of violation, not of sex. They are traumatic experiences that can disrupt a survivor s physical and emotional health. If you are sexually assaulted or abused as a child, it is never your fault you are not responsible for the actions of others.

4 HOW WE CAN HELP Our job is to help you regain a sense of control over your life after surviving a crime, whether it happened yesterday, ten years ago or when you were a child. We can help you cope with physical and emotional reactions and provide you with support in dealing with crime-related medical, legal, interpersonal or job-related problems. Our staff has over 120 years of experience collectively in the field of sexual trauma. We provide: One-on-one counseling for survivors Counseling and support for friends and family Support groups for male survivors Advocacy with police and courts All of our services are totally free and totally confidential. IF YOU ARE A RECENT VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT Even if you do not seem injured, it s important to receive medical attention as soon as possible to assess for: Rectal and anal tearing and abrasions that may require attention and present risk for bacterial infections; Potential HIV exposure; and Exposure to other sexually transmitted diseases. At the St. Luke s and Roosevelt Hospital Emergency Departments, we have Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners and Volunteer Advocates who are trained to provide the most comprehensive and sensitive treatment for survivors of sexual assault, whether male or female. Our Emergency Department services include follow-up preventative treatment for potential HIV exposure and other STDs as well as forensic evidence collection in case you decide to report the sexual assault to the police.

5 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ADULT MALE SEXUAL ASSAULT Real men can t be raped. Just as some people think that a good girl can t be raped, they believe that a real man would never allow himself to be raped. The reality is that anyone, no matter how strong, can be the victim of this crime. Sexual assault is a life-threatening experience, and a strong person is one who is able to do what is necessary to survive the trauma and then seek help. If a male is sexually assaulted, both perpetrator and victim are homosexual. Most men who sexually assault other men identify themselves as heterosexual. This fact helps to highlight another reality that sexual assault is about violence, anger, and control over another person, not lust or sexual attraction. Just as rape and sex are frequently confused, so too are male rape and homosexuality. Heterosexual, gay, bisexual and transgender men are equally likely to be sexually assaulted. Being sexually assaulted has nothing to do with your current or future sexual orientation. Your sexuality has no more to do with being raped than being robbed. Erection or ejaculation during a sexual assault means you really wanted it or consented to it. Fear, panic, anger, and even pain can cause the body to confuse sexual reactions with excitement reactions. Also, some rapists manipulate their victims to the point of erection or ejaculation as a way to further exercise control over them and to make the victim so ashamed that he is less likely to report the assault. COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE OF BOYS Boys who have been sexually abused will become sexual offenders. There is no proven correlation between being sexually abused as a child and becoming an adult perpetrator. Boys who have been sexually abused by a male will become gay. Sexual abuse does not change a boy s sexual orientation, but it may lead to confusion about sexual identity and make it very difficult to sustain adult intimate relationships.

6 Most child sexual assault is committed by strangers. Children are rarely raped by strangers. The vast majority of children are sexually abused by someone known to them, most frequently a family member. Sex with an older female is always a positive experience for a boy. Sexual abuse of children by older females is often minimized or ignored. If an adolescent or adult female initiates sexual contact with a male child, many people tend to view it as a consensual and positive sexual initiation, no matter what the difference in age. However, it is just as damaging to boys as it is to girls when someone in a position of power coerces them into a sexual relationship. Some men even feel societal pressure to be proud of early sexual activity, no matter how unwanted it may have been at the time. COMMON REACTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT Disorientation/Difficulty Concentrating: Chronic forgetfulness, feeling in a fog ; inability to remember significant periods of time (especially true for people abused as children). Anxiety: Panic attacks; phobias rising from the traumatic event such as fear of using elevators, going out at night, etc.; sense of life being limited due to fearfulness. Physical Stress: Chronic non-specific physical complaints such as headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue not responsive to medical intervention. Flashbacks/Intrusive Memories: Frequent, sudden, and upsetting memories about the event; feeling as if the event were happening again; physical reactions (such as shakiness, chills, heart beating fast) when seeing people, places, or other reminders of the event.

7 Sleep Disturbances/Nightmares: Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep; repeated nightmares about the event. Appetite Change: No appetite or eating excessively. Emotional Lability: Sudden bursts of anger, crying jags, difficulty maintaining emotional composure. Hypervigilance/Terror: Chronic fear of being attacked; always on red alert ; fear that people can see that you have been assaulted. Isolation/Withdrawal: Avoiding friends and/or family; difficulty trusting others. Lowered Self-Esteem: Feeling shameful, dirty, powerless, naive, stupid. Depression/Restricted Affect: Wary, clamping down on emotions, holding things inside, unable to enjoy previously pleasurable activities, feeling hopeless. Sexual Dysfunction: Fear of sex, numbing, flashbacks during sex; sexual compulsiveness including excessive masturbation, use of pornography or anonymous sex. Addictive/Compulsive Behaviors: Excessive use of alcohol, drugs, sex, food, shopping, gambling, exercise or work to numb or distract from troubling feelings or memories. Relationships: Difficulty in maintaining intimate relationships and/or careers.

8 NEW YORK CITY RESOURCES New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault ; New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project ; NYPD Rape Hotline RAPE Safe Horizons Hotline ; Lifenet (Mental Health Association of New York) LIFENET; OTHER RESOURCES New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault ; New York State Crime Victims Board ; New York City Office: RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) ; The National Center for Victims of Crime 800-FYI-CALL; INTERNET INFORMATION & RESOURCES Information about sexual abuse of boys Information about sexual abuse of boys Information about both adult male rape and sexual abuse of boys maleassault/menassault.html. Information on adult male rape from the University of Texas at Austin

9 This booklet was prepared by the Crime Victims Treatment Center thanks to a grant from the New York City Council. We are very grateful for their generous support. For more information, call or visit our website at The Crime Victims Treatment Center is funded in part by New York State Crime Victims Board, New York State Department of Health, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the Scaife Family Foundation.

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