I met a successful businessman at a meeting the other day.

When I told him where I work and what I do, he asked to speak with me privately. He shared that he was molested as a child and that he felt he was still traumatized by that memory. He also shared that he had told just a few people, because people’s reactions to male sexual assault can be, well … sexist.
Men and boys who have been sexually assaulted or abused often have many of the same feelings and reactions as other survivors of sexual assault, but they also face some difficult challenges because of social attitudes and stereotypes about men and masculinity. Men who were sexually abused as boys or teens may respond differently than men who were sexually assaulted as an adult.
Sexual assault can happen to persons of any age, sexual orientation or gender identity.
If something happened to you, know that you are not alone. The following list includes some of the common experiences shared by men and boys who have survived sexual assault. While it is not a complete list, it may help you to know that other people are having similar experiences:
•Anxiety, depression, fearfulness or post-traumatic stress disorder
•Avoiding people or places that are related to the assault or abuse
•Concerns or questions about sexual orientation
•Fear of the worst happening and having a sense of a shortened future
•Feel like “less of a man” or that you no longer have control over your own body
•Feeling on-edge, being unable to relax, and 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
•Withdrawal from relationships or friendships and an increased sense of isolation
Perpetrators can be any gender identity, sexual orientation, or age, and they can have any relationship to the victim. Like all perpetrators, they might use physical force or psychological and emotional pressure tactics.
Sexual assault is in no way related to the sexual orientation of the perpetrator or the survivor, and a person’s sexual orientation cannot be caused by sexual abuse or assault.
Some men and boys have questions about their sexuality after surviving an assault or abuse—and that’s understandable. This can be especially true if you experienced an erection or ejaculation during the assault. Physiological responses like an erection are involuntary, meaning you have absolutely no control over them.
Sometimes perpetrators, especially adults who sexually abuse boys, will use these physiological responses to maintain secrecy by using phrases such as, “You know you liked it.”
If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, it is not your fault! In no way does an erection invite unwanted sexual activity, and ejaculation in no way condones an assault.
1in6.org is an organization dedicated to helping men who survived unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood. Their website has answers to many of the questions or concerns you might have as an adult survivor.
Some men who have survived sexual assault as adults feel shame or self-doubt, believing that they should have been “strong enough” to fight off the perpetrator. Many men who experienced an erection or ejaculation during the assault may be confused and wonder what this means. These normal physiological responses do not imply that you wanted, invited, or enjoyed the assault. If you were sexually assaulted, it was not your fault. Like my new friend found, coming forward about surviving sexual assault or sexual abuse can be difficult, requiring a lot of trust and understanding for you and your friends and family.
1in6.organswers some of the questions you might have about telling your partner. Other resources are:
National Sexual Assault Hotline- 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat anonymously and confidentially online with a support specialist atonline.rainn.org
To find a mental health center that is closest to you and best fits your needs, go to  www. findtreatment.samhsa.gov  or call: Crisis Services HELPline- 256. 716.1000  which is available 24/7. Remember- you are not alone!

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