If you are a man who has experienced sexual violence, you are not alone.
Research by Statistics Canada (2014) suggests that 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual violence at some point in their lives, often before the age of 16.
Male experiences of sexual violence have historically been shrouded in secrecy and stigma. Our patriarchal culture values invulnerability and denial of pain as essential qualities of masculinity and “manliness.” It can feel like men are simply not allowed to admit that they have been sexually assaulted and abused.
As a group, men impacted by sexual violence report a lack of recovery services and support — many services are focused on meeting the needs of the overwhelming number of girls and women who are abused and assaulted. Our law enforcement and justice systems are often ill-equipped to deal with this type of crime when it’s committed against men. Because so few people realize that large numbers of males are sexually abused and assaulted, men are an almost forgotten category of people impacted by sexual violence.
Most men who experience sexual assault choose never to reveal it, even to people they know and trust. They fear being disbelieved, ridiculed, shamed, accused of weakness, ignored or, in the case of heterosexual men, being perceived as gay. Worst of all, men impacted by sexual violence fear being blamed for their own attack because they were not “manly” or “macho” enough to protect themselves or prevent it. For all of these reasons, many men who survive sexual violence endure their traumatic experience silently and alone.
We at CSAC are here to help you and encourage men to reach out for support. We have counsellors of various genders who are ready to listen.
When Males Have Been Sexually Abused as Children: A Guide for Men [PDF] — An in-depth brochure compiled by the Family Services of Greater Vancouver to help men understand the effects of the abuse on their lives today.
Characteristics Observed in Male Sexual Assault Victims [PDF] — An overview of some of most common physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms men may experience after sexual violence.
1in6 — 1in6 is a website with information and resources (including weekly virtual support groups) for men who have experienced sexual violence. The title refers to the statistic that 1 in 6 men have experiences sexual assault or abuse.
Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault: Their Experiences [PDF] — Research by the Department of Justice detailing the experiences (coping mechanisms, emotions, support services, etc.) of male survivors of sexual violence.
Reimagining Masculinity: My Journey as a Male Sexual Assault Survivor [YouTube video] — In this TEDx Talk, Landon Wilcock shares his story of being raped while a student at Queen’s University and explains the factors that prevented him from seeking help from anyone for months after the assault. Landon has had to learn how to view himself as a man, while rebuilding his own identity and masculinity. He details how breaking down his own identity from the ground up and finding his own version of manhood after a life changing experience has shaped who he is today.
Men Need to Talk About their Sexual Abuse [YouTube video] — In this TEDx Talk, Pastor Seth Shelley takes us on an emotional and at times difficult journey about male sexual violence. He brings forward his own story of sexual assault to ask men to open up about their personal stories too.
“Great Big Sea’s Séan McCann opens up about abuse by a priest” — An interview with Séan McCann by CBC Radio’s The Current about his alcohol abuse and what he believes is the real source of the demons that tormented him for years — his childhood sexual abuse by a trusted priest.
“200 Adult Men Who Were Molested Come Forward” [YouTube video] — In a landmark episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, 200 men courageously stand together to say they were all molested. Shattering the stigma of abuse, 200 men are stepping forward and speaking out — some for the first time — about the trauma of their own childhood sexual abuse. Fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, open up like never before about the pain of being molested, their anguish about hiding their pain and the many ways in which their abuse has affected their lives and their relationships.
“Former Canadian Hockey League players detail allegations of abuse, hazing” — This CBC article includes a video interview with former NHL player Daniel Carcillo about how toxic hockey culture silences players and protects abusers.