You are right-- it is hard to find information about male survivors. As a survivor looking for resources online, the majority of support is geared towards women. For example, college students looking for sexual assault resources are often directed towards the school’s Women’s Center. This is helpful for woman-identifying survivors, but male survivors often feel left behind. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of gender and sexual orientation, and yet male survivors do not always have a specific place to go in the same way many woman survivors do. Sexual assault is a human issue, not just a women's issue. Luckily, many sexual violence organizations are beginning to realize that and change their language and programming.
Although the presence of other male survivors may not be as noticeable, I promise you are not alone. Nearly a quarter (24.8%) of men in the U.S. experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime. Additionally, 1 out of every 10 rape victims are male. The gap in support for male survivors is largely due to outdated stereotypes and harmful attitudes related to masculinity. According to 1in6, “The social stigma and silence around male sexual abuse and assault results in a lack of awareness and understanding about the effects of these experiences, and what men need to move forward.” It is important to directly acknowledge that men also experience sexual assault and need healing. Male survivors face similar emotions to woman survivors, but they often experience more stigma from others when they express them.
Society tends to assume that men crave sexual experiences and that they cannot be harmed by sexual encounters. This is not true. Consent is always important for both parties involved. Yet if a woman perpetrator assaults a man, other men might tell them that they were "lucky" they had that encounter - which further contributes to those harmful stereotypes. Instances of sexual assault and abuse is often, as you stated, “a forbidden topic” for men which is difficult for the survivor to disclose their experiences and find healing. This creates conflicting emotions after men feel violated and perpetuates shame for wanting to express those negative emotions when society tells them they should feel positively. There are not nearly enough men who share their stories due to this.
In addition to the resources on the Our Wave website, MaleSurvivor’s platform provides a space specifically for male survivors, “Every man who has experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse deserves access to a judgment-free space where he can heal on his own terms and without shame.” They have discussion boards you can read to learn from others who may have had experiences like yours. If you need immediate help, free and confidential support is available 24/7 from:
Additionally, we believe stories are powerful and can help survivors feel less alone. You can view men’s stories on the 1in6 website or use our filter option to specifically view male survivor stories on Our Wave’s platform to read about other male survivor experiences.
The purpose of Our Wave is to amplify the stories of all surviors of sexual violence and harm. This we hope will begin to change the conversation around survivorship. Thank you for reaching out to us. You are not alone and your story matters.