That Piece About Men As Victims And Survivors Of Sexual Assault Too

That Piece About Men As Victims And Survivors Of Sexual Assault Too

This piece is an op-ed written by Joseph Rogers, and originally published on theorion.com. And I update this as a dedication to my missing friend, iDuke, once a victim of sexual assault, and every reader of Kito Diaries, man or woman, who has been violated sexually at one time or another in their lives.

*

It does not always happen in an alley.

It does not always happen in the dark.

It does not always happen at knifepoint.

It does not always happen in the park.

It always leaves scars.

As difficult as it has been writing this, there’s a point — a perspective, mine and other men’s, that shouldn’t be silent.

One of the greatest men I know once told me if I really wish to make a difference in the world I have to tell my story.

Not the public story I share with others in polite arenas — the real, personal one.

I remember attending one of the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center’s Diversity Summits. There’s a culminating activity called “cross the line,” in which situations are called out, and if they are true for the participants, we “cross the line” of the circle to stand in the center with others who are in the same boat.

“Cross the line if you, or someone you know, have been the victim of sexual assault” was called out.

I hesitated. For about five seconds. Then I crossed the line.

I suppose I could have justified the crossing by saying I knew a victim, but the preparation and lead-up had encouraged us to drop social and emotional barriers.

I was vulnerable.

I think I took three, maybe four steps into the circle before I broke down. Not crying — weeping. I fled the room.

I’m so grateful that a friend of mine was a student working at the summit. She came out to me. I lack the words to describe the reality of that experience.

Sorrow? Yes. Shame? Hell yes. Despair and depression? Fuck yes. Anger? Yes, with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns.

Statistics regarding male victims of sexual assault are scarce and inconsistent. Some will say that 10 percent of all victims of “sexual assault, sexual abuse and rape” are male. Others will go higher and put the number at 38 percent of victims.

Then we get one in six men “have experienced abusive sexual experiences before age 18” or “one out of every 33 American men has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime.”

Feeling confused? The difficulty is a matter of language — how sexual assault and rape are defined both legally and socially.

Does a man have to be penetrated to be a sexual assault victim? No. If his penis becomes erect, does it imply consent? No. If he achieves orgasm, he must have wanted it, right?

No.

Many sexual assault laws, until fairly recently, used language that implied that only women could be victims.

There is a significant stigma surrounding male sexual assault survivors that makes gathering reliable data difficult.

There’s a belief that a man wasn’t strong enough to prevent the assault. Or that straight male victims might think that they will be perceived as gay. Or gay male victims may feel targeted because of their orientation.

Male sexual assault survivors experience similar psychological effects to those of their female counterparts. Depression, fear, anger, disbelief, guilt and doubt plague assault survivors of any gender identity.

Sexual assault happens at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. It happens in the daytime, in the showers. I was a 9-year-old boy. It happens by the teenager who’d worked with my family for years.

And it hurts.

A lot.

It happens at a friend’s 21st birthday party. It’s a cute guy, who’d been making semi-appropriate conversation, that handed me a drink and then I have no memory until the morning.

It’s waking up naked and disoriented, being licked by his big-ass Dalmatian while he is getting dressed. It is the sexual comments about “last night” that confirmed sexual activity. And I didn’t find a condom wrapper anywhere.

There has been so little public discourse on male assault survivors that some men doubt that they have been sexually assaulted.

Unfortunately many of the services for sexual assault survivors are not overtly welcoming of men. It’s understandable as most survivors are women, but it doesn’t lessen the need for safe spaces for male assault victims to seek help.

I didn’t end up reporting these assaults.

When I was 9, there hadn’t been the conversation about child molestation or rape, so who’d believe that I wasn’t making it up.

As for the second one, I was frightened. I was dealing with self-doubt. I didn’t want to deal with the police. Would the responding officer mock me? Make inappropriate comments?

I didn’t need that.

Any of it.

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35 Comments

    • pinkpanthertb
      April 01, 04:57 Reply

      *handing over dictionary* Here, wanna take a quick peek at its definition? 🙂

      • Pete
        April 01, 05:32 Reply

        I know what it’s. My question was on another angle entirely.

  1. Dennis Macaulay
    April 01, 05:33 Reply

    Some ghosts are long buried and forgotten and we have moved on. Can we not bring them back

    • Colossus
      April 01, 06:06 Reply

      No, pull up a chair. Now, tell daddy all about it.

  2. D-boy
    April 01, 06:17 Reply

    ‘Does a man have to be penetrated to be a sexual assault victim? No. If his penis becomes erect, does it imply consent? No. If he achieves orgasm, he must have wanted it, right?’

    I was repeatedly abused by the help and his friend as a kid. I remember one day playing with friends and bursting out of frustration that I had been raped, touched. I didn’t even know how to describe what it was. Of course the little kids had no idea what I was saying. How does a boy get raped? What is rape?

    Eventually Parents caught him pants down on top of me while I slept . There was never any penetration. Parents disciplined him. Father never discussed it, Mother asked if I knew suggesting I had participated. That honestly broke my heart.

    For the longest time, I was uneasy around guys. I became a recluse. It’s a lot of demons that I have had to let go.

    sigh!!!! Male sexual abuse is REAL and sadly overlooked in this parts.

  3. kendigin
    April 01, 06:17 Reply

    When I was in the university, there was gist of this guy whose girlfriend used to beat nonsense out of him. Everybody thot it was a joke, but everyday I could see the guy losing a part of himself. (the fact that I was tripping for him didnt make it any easier.lol). But I think he finally dropped out of school.

    Anyway, men are often overlooked as victims bcos everyone expects u to be as strong as steel. Especially in this part of the world where prejudices and assumptions take the place of reality.

  4. Gad
    April 01, 06:43 Reply

    Male sexual assault especially on the boy child,teenage boy,economically vulnerable etc is real. It has always been here but rarely discussed and it has grown like cancer. Who will deliver the boy child?

    • Max
      April 01, 07:34 Reply

      I see you’re towing the line of Jonathan, surprising us with your comment this morning.

      • Gad
        April 01, 14:16 Reply

        I’m not in your league. Will never be..

      • Teflondon
        April 01, 15:27 Reply

        Oh Gad.. You are my Hero!!
        **stiffles Giggle**

      • MacArdry
        April 01, 16:56 Reply

        You really have to do something about whatever this is you have for Gad,Max.

      • Max
        April 01, 20:27 Reply

        @Gad, no need to reply you. You’re “an excuse for a man”.. @ Tef, I won’t be surprised if I hear that Chiwetelu Agu is your role model, @Marc, I’m gonna pretend like you didn’t say that..

      • MacArdry
        April 01, 23:53 Reply

        I did say it,Max.Don’t pretend I didn’t.You’re always the first to jump on his case,whether his comment merit a reply or not.
        Even when he’s nowhere near addressing you.It’s from you we learnt he has grey pubes few weeks back,tho you still won’t say how you got to know that.You two really have a thing for each other,especially you Max.Sort it out ‘tween yourselves.This your love/hate-fest is getting irksome.

      • Max
        April 02, 05:57 Reply

        Oh honey, you really don’t know me do you? @Gad, the fact that you used something from an article I wrote, just to look good, means you’ve got nothing up your sleeve. Most of you didn’t bother to read the ending-” This is not my story, this is our story”
        “Ome ka nwaanyi”, really? You think that does anything to me? How old do you think I am?. And you think I am effeminate? Like right now?. I have a thousand things to say to you, but I’m just gonna say one- You’re the most disgusting thing here on KD and everyone knows that, you come here to display your wealth of foolishness daily and entertain people with it. No one likes you and no one cares what you have to say(apart from your visionless minions).Now run along… I think your child needs a diaper change..
        @Mac, I really dont think its healthy for you to keep poking your long fingers into this matter. Kpachalu Anya gi.

        • Gad
          April 02, 06:52 Reply

          No one likes me. Everyone likes you. Please when you will be receiving national awards for being liked by multitudes, don’t forget to invite CNN and please do use the torrents of cash that flows into your bank account (for being liked by a crowd) judiciously.

  5. Teflondon
    April 01, 09:07 Reply

    Very touching. It brought back deep evil memories.
    It’s a very sad situation that has grown like cancer. It’s everywhere.. Every young boy out there from a poor background is vulnerable and a lot of Gay people are using this to thier expense (something I must admit I was Guilty of).
    I did a lot of bad things.. And I am not proud of it. I have decided to start a foundation to be helping sexually assaulted boys and boys from poor background. I am currently on a project with those boys are around oshodi bridge. I hope the govt approves certain things so I can touch as many lives as possible.
    The thing is, I was assaulted as a child. As one point. I was raped by 5 of my seniors in school at the same time. They took turns on me and told me to be giving them BJ while they gisted and laughed. I grew up with hatred but before I knew it.. I found out I was doing the same with the young once around me. Its an unexplainable feeling to be honest.. It’s like a disease that is being passed. Once you are molested as a child the tendency of you also being a Molester is very high. Except one seeks help. Which I am currently doing.
    I hope to write my wrongs by helping a lot of assaulted kids out there and educate kids from being molested in the future.

    This article brought back memories!
    Memories I wish never happened.

    • D-boy
      April 01, 09:25 Reply

      WOW….The important thing is self – forgiveness. Good luck with your cause!

    • Sinnex
      April 01, 12:24 Reply

      Wow….this brought tears to my eyes.

    • Gad
      April 01, 14:19 Reply

      I will reserve my thoughts on this…

  6. JArch
    April 01, 11:16 Reply

    When I read articles such as these, I count myself lucky… I am not sure how being in such a position would have affected me. Cos even as I read, I can feel the intense pain and shame and suffering a victim goes through. It’s like I am reading a story about me that never happened.

    The culture of silence like DM puts it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. The voices in your head doesn’t let you speak up, and those who know the truth act like it was nothing.

    • pinkpanthertb
      April 01, 11:34 Reply

      This story made me unbelievably sad because it reminded me of what my friend iDuke went through. And that reminded me of the fact that he’s still missing. And that just drops this emotional burden on my heart.

      • JArch
        April 01, 11:48 Reply

        I can only imagine how you feel, and the fact that there’s no updates makes it even worse

        We’ll just have to continue hoping for the best and praying for his safe return, despite the odds

  7. Sinnex
    April 01, 12:29 Reply

    I really don’t know what to say. I have never been there. Although I have been close to assaulting a young guy when I was a teenager. The thing that helped me was that I did not know what to do or how to do. Deep within me, I still feel guilty. Although there was no penetration or romance but I assaulted his ears and eyes with sexual innuendos. I have long apologised to him, but he pretends as if he doesn’t remember anything.

    • Teflondon
      April 01, 13:33 Reply

      Loooool **I’m crying for you** smh* it’s never easy for anyone to be on the recieving end of an assault.
      Make sure that boy really forgives you! Atleast you are lucky you have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness frm the one you tried to molest.
      I’ve lost count of mine.. May the God lord help me on my journey to redemption.

    • wondabuoy
      April 07, 09:32 Reply

      My depression didn’t start today. It dates back to my “as-long-as-I-can-remember”. My dad’s workers would come and play with my dick [in my baggie shorts] and the big thing would erect uncontrollably. They made jest of me that I have something beyond my age. I was always feeling bad. Tried to tuck it in, puh. That wasn’t the feeling I dreaded… I was not liked by anybody except some … [wish i had forgotten completely]

  8. Teflondon
    April 01, 13:21 Reply

    The evil in you will surely turn blind eye to the facts I am writing my wrongs and have my own foundation.

  9. Gad
    April 01, 14:51 Reply

    Culture is now a monster. We blame everything on culture. This pure negligence of parents is now being blamed on culture. I’m not aware of parents who swept assaults on their boy child under the carpet. I’m aware of cases where culprits where followed up till they are brought to justice.culture? The problem we have is that some parents are Lords over there kids instead of friends. As a result the kids can’t confide in them and things kept going from bad to worst.

  10. A-non
    April 01, 17:07 Reply

    Some day, sometime, somehow it will get told.

    #victorsnotvictims

  11. Max
    April 01, 20:22 Reply

    “Writing your wrongs”??
    You really need to see a lexicologist.. It’s getting tiring reading your blunder here..

  12. Jamie
    April 04, 13:40 Reply

    Well, yes! Gad got it right… I might have said something but…daddy never had time for us… It’s really nice to know that today, I only just remembered this…meaning I’ve learned to forget it by now.
    About the fighting and quarrelling…it really isn’t worth it. It makes me so uncomfortable. We really should be brothers… And it’s becoming a fashion.

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