Advice for Male survivors
Victimisation of men by (usually) other men is less common, but no less appalling, than victimisation of women. But male rape (as it is often called) invariably gives survivors extra problems that are hard to cope with and recover from.
Male rape is about domination. It is not about sex; it is about power - the power to humiliate, to control. In everyday life, men and boys can suffer appalling sexual assaults. And very often, male victims do not ask for help but try instead to keep the assault secret because of a feeling of shame; a feeling that, culturally, they are expected to present a ‘strong’ external image, no matter how much they are suffering inside.
Society expects men to be strong enough to look after themselves. This can lead to conflicting feelings about what has happened and what to do about it, adding further turmoil to a victim's anxieties of whether to report such an attack - anxieties about whether the Police are likely to respond sympathetically; how doctors are likely to react; what to do about the risk of sexually transmitted disease; what will be the response of family and friends if they find out about the assault. All of these worries represent an extra burden.
Confusion, Depression, Isolation are all natural reactions. Often victims seek to blank out their anxieties by using drink and drugs as a solution to their feelings of powerlessness and humiliation. Common problems resulting among male victims are relationship difficulties, alcohol/drug misuse, low self-esteem, anger and/or depression, and isolation.
We offer help to men as well as to women. The chance to talk about your experiences can be a positive start towards making sense of what happened and taking a step towards rebuilding your life, and our Helpline receives calls from men of all ages, sexualities, races and backgrounds.
It takes courageto make the first move, to pick up the telephone and begin to talk about what has happened. At RASASC we understand that. One of our earliest callers said “This is the hardest phone call I have ever made in my life”. A client coming to his first counselling session described his own difficulty: “I was so tempted to go down the pub first but I got myself here and I’m gonna have the biggest bloody drink when I get out of here tonight”. He had found the courage to say at last “My childhood was stolen from me by a paedophile”.
The opportunity to talk about your experiences can be the key to properly understanding what has happened and the first step to moving forward again in your life. You don’t have to suffer in silence! We are an organisation that cares about providing support, and understands the destructive impact of rape and abuse on the lives of the men that experience such suffering, and knows about the shame and the guilt and the way these crimes diminish a man’s confidence and self respect.
Once you have taken the first step and talked about your experience you might feel a great sense of relief - as though you’ve put down a burden that you've been carrying all on your own.
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