Sex assault against men not uncommon

Every boy’s fantasy is to have a hot teacher undress him and make him a man.

Or so he’s been told.

If he dares report the sexual violation — immediately after or years later — as a crime, he faces being ridiculed or belittled.

One in six Canadian men has been sexually abused as a child by someone he trusted, according to the Canadian Centre for Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse.

But research concerning adult male survivors of child sexual abuse is sparse.

“Men don’t admit to any of this stuff,” said Rick Goodwin, co-founder and executive director of The Men’s Project.

The charity has been counselling men — straight, gay and bisexual — and their families since 1997.

Patterns of abuse vary in that boys are often targeted by people outside of the family, such as teachers, priests, or Scout leaders, Goodwin said, adding girls are usually abused within her family of origin, i.e. by a (step) father.

With adult men, “it’s hard to make conclusions,” said Goodwin.

Generally speaking, in more than 90% of cases where men are sexually assaulted, the perpetrator is another man, said Goodwin.

Men living in residences, group homes, or with disabilities are particularly vulnerable, Goodwin said.

Jail presents an entirely different context and its own statistics.

Having said that, existing services, such as rape crisis and sexual assault centres, focus on female survivors.

Men take much longer to report sex assaults, said Goodwin.

At the Ottawa Hospital, “the stats certainly don’t lie. We will see both men and women,” said nurse practitioner Tara Leach from the sexual assault and partner abuse care program.

“About 10% of our stats is men as part of our program.”

Regardless of the client’s gender, “we work on empowering the individual so that it’s not just a capture of your worst day. It’s ‘this has happened, this is what we can do to support you, how do we move forward with this?,’” said Leach.

Men who are sexually assaulted often feel shame and fear, said Ottawa police spokesman Marc Soucy.

“Be it a male that’s either violated by another man, or a woman; you know, you’re supposed to be macho and all that, why couldn’t you defend yourself and all that? So there’s that issue, too,” said Soucy.

Help is available.

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Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

What is male sexual assault?

Any non-consensual act of sexual coercion and/or domination which threatens someone’s physical and/or psychological well-being.
Physical force is not essential. Non-consent may be due to threats, coercion or altered states of consciousness, such as intoxication or ‘rape drugs.’
Coercion may be in the form of threats of harm to a person’s physical, emotional or financial well-being.
Unwanted sexual touching, oral or anal contact, is sexual assault.

Even if a man has an erection or ejaculates, it is still sexual assault.
Perpetrators can be male or female. If a heterosexual man is assaulted by a man, this does not make him homosexual.
Male perpetrators are not necessarily homosexual; in fact, the majority identify as heterosexuals.
Gay, bisexual and two-spirited men can be sexually assaulted by strangers, friends or even partners — just like straight men. Assault has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

Help him find a place where he feels safe.
Listen to him and believe him.
Reassure him that the assault was not his fault.
Respect his decisions. They are his to make.
Encourage him to seek help from a professional.
Let him know that he is not alone.
Be aware of your own feelings about men who have been sexually assaulted.
Know your limitations and be clear about how much support you are able to offer.
Seek support for your own feelings and reactions.
Source: The Men’s Project

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