What's different about interpersonal violence for male survivors?

Violence can happen to anyone regardless of their gender identity and/or expression. When male identifying survivors reach out for support, there can be many barriers in place due to the social stigma associated with masculinity.

There are many myths in our society that say men cannot be survivors of sexual violence and/or domestic/dating abuse. However, researchers have found that 1 in 6 men have experienced some type of sexual violence. This misconception is rooted in a lack of awareness and understanding of sexual/dating violence and creates barriers for male survivors to access services. Because of this, male survivors may feel alone and unsupported. There is a lot of work to be done in order to bridge the gap of access to services and understanding around the male experience of sexual violence. We want all male identifying survivors to know that you are not alone.

Society has geared us to believe men always want sex and that men cannot be sexually assaulted. Male survivors may feel confused after being sexually assaulted if they became sexually aroused, had an erection, experienced an orgasm, or ejaculated during the assault. They may also not understand or be able to decipher whether it was rape, or if  their physiological reactions imply consent. A  person’s, involuntary and physiological reactions do not mean that they wanted to be raped or that they enjoyed the traumatic event. The sexual arousal of a survivor, regardless of gender or genitalia, during an assault does not equate to consent.



Heterosexual males who have experienced sexual violence perpetrated by another man/men, may begin to have doubts, confusion, and shame about their sexuality. CARE wants to remind survivors that your sexual assault has nothing to do with your sexual orientation--past, present, or future. But, if your sexual assault has brought up questions about your sexuality and sexual orientation, CARE advocates are here to support you through this self-discovery, too. 

This may also be true for LGBTQ+ males who are sexually assaulted by women.  For LGBTQ+ males, there may be feelings of self-loathing, feeling as if they “deserve it” and/or are “paying the price” for their sexual orientation. These concerns and worries are common and valid. However, it is important to remember that sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Sexual assault is an act of violence meant to exert power and control over another person. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted, no matter the circumstances. 



CARE is a confidential service for survivors. What this means is that we are not required to report as per Title IX responsible employee requirements. We are able to provide a safe space to discuss any and all concerns a survivor may have without fear.



CARE understands sexual violence/dating violence usually intersects with other forms of oppression, making it essential that we discuss and plan for all circumstances that may arise because of this. While we know interpersonal violence knows no boundaries, we live in a society that is built on systems of privilege which allow some people to maintain power and control while others are left vulnerable. Healing from trauma is not a one-size-fits-all. We acknowledge that each person may hold many intersecting identities and want to provide a safe environment for all people.

CARE knows that everyone’s experiences are unique and valid and will support you explore your options. We strive to create a space that acknowledges the different experiences and barriers that individual community members face and where survivors feel safe to discuss as much or as little as they choose to.

Make an appointment today by filling out our online appointment request form.

Every person’s narrative is different, so please email or call us to set up an appointment. You matter and your gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexuality does NOT make sexual violence ok!