ONE in five adult males has been a victim of sexual assault in Mzansi, but they are 10 times less likely to report this crime.
Boys and men can be sexually abused. It has very little to do with their masculinity. Sexual abuse can be carried out by straight men, gay men, and at times even women.
Abuse is about taking advantage of a child’s vulnerability and rarely has anything to do with the sexual orientation of the abusive person. The following symptoms are common in survivors:
- Worry about disclosing the abuse for fear of judgement
- Feelings of guilt and helplessness
- Fears or concerns about their sexual orientation
- Challenges with intimacy
- Substance abuse and suicidal thoughts
- Post-traumatic stress disorder and depression
- Underachievement at school or in the workplace.
You can support survivors by:
- Listening without judgement
- Supporting feelings
- Providing professional resources for support.
For males to speak up about sexual abuse or assault it takes a great deal of trust and understanding. To survivors of male abuse, the crime and shame is not yours. Speak up and take back your power!