As terrible as sexual assault is to anyone, another harsh reality is that even children suffer through this as well. We hear more about cases involving females as the victims but often times males aren’t mentioned as much. This is partially due to the fact that males are even less likely than females to report these incidents for several reasons.
About 1 in every 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they turn 18 but many of these cases go unreported. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, IncestNational Network) they found that about a third of the sexual assault victims had incidents with family members and about 60 percent are acquaintances. With having their abusers so close to them it makes it even more difficult to face the harsh reality of what happened and reporting.
Many boys who fall victim to sexual assault find it harder to open up about it since there has been such a strong masculine stereotype around males, with this it results in less reports. Males find themselves trying to keep up with the “masculine” stereotype that society has instilled in boys. When incidents like sexual assault happen to boys they immediately go to what they were taught by sucking it up, being strong, brave, and by “manning up.” Research has also shown that boys have fewer resources available to them as well as they face greater stigma than female survivors.
The impact sexual abuse has on boys greatly affects their psychological and emotional well-being, especially since they are trying so hard to hide it or try to not have it show that it bothers them as much as it does. According to the American Psychological Association’s Division of Trauma Psychology as a result it has been associated with alcoholism, drug use, anger, aggression, anxiety, depression, intimate relationship problems, poor school and work performance, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disturbances, suicidal thoughts and attempts as a result of falling victim to sexual assault
Although there have been many advances in resources and advocates for sexual assault we as a society still have a long ways to go. As a society we need to break these stereotypes that have been created for males and females to break down the barriers that are up due to them. Especially the masculine stereotype we have for males needs to be eliminated so give them the will power to come forward and report cases of sexual assault. The more victims that report these incidents the less crimes that will be committed.
If you would like to help support these victims of sexual assault and learn more about how you can help check out The Grateful Garment Project.