Respect Boundaries

How Sexual Violence Affects Men

(adapted from mencanstoprape.org)

5 ways men can be affected by sexual violence

  • Men can be victims
    • 10-20% of men will be sexually violated during their lives. The perpetrators of these crimes can be either women or other men, and the victim may or may not know his attacker. It is important to remember that this attack does not change a man's masculinity -- sexual violence is a crime, regardless of the victim's gender.
  • Men may know female victims (sisters, partners, friends, etc.)
    • 1 in 4 college women have survived rape or attempted rape in their lifetimes. Statistically, this means a woman you care for may be the survivor of this type of attack, whether you know it or not. Create an environment that does not tolerate comments that are sexist or depict rape as something other than the crime it is. By doing this, you will help create a culture that does not promote sexual violence, and allows survivors to feel safer in talking about their attacks, if they choose to do so.
  • When men rape, it perpetuates stereotypes that all men are potential rapists
    • While men and women can both be the victims of rape, virtually all perpetrators of rape are men. Each time a rape occurs, it can perpetuate stereotypes that any man (yourself, your brother, your teammate, etc.) is a potential rapist. Show respect to women and men by not condoning the actions or comments of others that promote sexual violence.
  • Men have a responsibility to be part of the solution when it comes to creating a safer campus environment
    • While not all men are perpetrators of sexual assault, all men do have a responsibility to stop this violence. If you are worried about one of your friends when she goes out with someone, talk to her about what is happening and if she is comfortable with how the night is going.
  • Survivors may disclose to a male friend that they have been the victim of sexual violence
    • If a friend comes to you with this disclosure, they are putting their trust in you to help support them during this time of crisis. Respect this person by believing and listening to them, letting them control the conversation, and reassuring them this was not their fault. After talking with your friend, make sure to get help for yourself. If you need help processing what you've been told, respect the privacy of the survivor, but don't be afraid to talk to someone you know will keep this information confidential, such as a counselor.

5 things men need to know to help stop sexual violence in their communities

  • Understand the legal and campus definitions of the different forms of sexual violence
  • Understand how consent is given and respect your partner's wishes if consent is denied or withdrawn during sexual activity
  • Understand the importance of honest conversations regarding each person's expectations for sexual activity
  • Understand that you and your partner need to be sober prior to engaging in any sexual activity, as consent cannot be given if someone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Understand the consequences of sexual violence on your partner, yourself, and your community

5 ways men can create a safer environment for men and women

  • Educate yourself and reflect on the cultural messages you receive about what it means to be a man and how that impacts attitudes towards women
  • Actively engage in dialogue regarding sexual violence by participating in events such as Take Back the Night
  • Challenge other men who joke about rape -- these comments contribute to a culture that is acceptant of sexually violent behavior
  • Confront men who use language that is demeaning to women -- think about the message that sends to males and females
  • Embrace and express a broad range of emotions, while allowing other men and boys to do the same -- don’t hide your feelings behind a "man face."

Resources for men