Myths and realities
Sexual abuse suffered by men carry many myths, for example the fact that they are “lucky” if they were abused by a woman, or that there was implied consent if there was a physical reaction during the abuse. Here are some common myths that need to be addressed.
Knowing the answer to these questions helps to alleviate the feeling of guilt and helps survivors through the healing process.
1. All sexual offenders are men.
Even if the majority of convicted sexual offenses perpetrators are men, according to a recent study, 40 % of the male survivors have been abused by women.
Source : Cortoni, Franca, Babchishin, Kelly M. et Rat, Clémence (2016). “The proportion of sexual offenders who are female is higher than thought”. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 20(10), 1-18.
2. IF A BOY OR A MAN IS SEXUALLY AROUSED OR HAD AN ORGASM DURING THE EVENT, IT MEANS HE GAVE CONSENT AND EXPERIENCED PLEASURE.
It is what the abuser will try to convince the victim to believe. This myth generates confusion, guilt, and shame to the victim. Erections and ejaculations are mechanical reactions to a physical stimulation and have nothing to contribute with the victim’s participation during the events.
3. IF A BOY OR A TEENAGE BOY IS ABUSED BY AN ADULT WOMAN, HE SHOULD CONSIDER HIMSELF LUCKY TO HAVE BEEN INITIATED TO HIS SEXUALITY WITH AN EXPERIENCED WOMAN.
Whether the abuser is a man or a woman, the trauma experienced by these boys or teenagers is the same. Beyond the concept of age and gender, consent is required at any time.
When the abuser is a woman, the victim lives with the fear of not being believed by the multiple stakeholders and being ridiculed by his entourage. It is essential not to minimize a sexual abuse, no matter the circumstances.
4. WOMEN EXPERIENCE MORE SEXUAL ASSAULTS THAN MEN.
Women account for roughly twice the number of victims of sexual violence compared to men. It remains that the number of sexually assaulted men is significant and needs to be addressed in our society. One in six men is victimized before the age of 18. In Quebec, we estimate that at least one in ten* men have been sexually assaulted, which is about 400 000 men.
*Les statistiques varient selon les études. Certaines études chiffrent les hommes victimes d’agression sexuelle à un sur cinq.
Source : https://www.ciusssmcq.ca/telechargement/220/document-de-formation-sur-l-intervention-psychosociale-aupres-de-victimes-d-agre/
5. THE CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE ARE LESS SERIOUS IF THERE WAS NO PENETRATION.
It is not possible to assess the severity of the damage according to the act. The consequences vary from an individual to another, no matter the nature of the acts suffered. Sexual violence includes a wide variety of acts that go beyond penetration.
6. A “REAL MAN” IS ABLE TO DEFEND HIMSELF AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE.
The aggressors, men and women, can use several techniques to achieve their ends and to ensure that their victim is unable to defend themselves. The victim can often remain frozen in fear. Threats from the attacker and fear of greater violence if he resists are not uncommon.