“The way we talk about men and sex needs to change,” Stemple says. “When we have these stereotypes for men, it makes it hard for them to come forward when they’re victimized.”
Stemple has long focused her research on how sexual violence against men goes under-reported. In 2014, she released a paper on male victims of sexual violence which analyzed several national surveys and found that, when taking into account cases where men were “made to penetrate” someone else, the rates of nonconsensual sexual contact between men and women were basically equal: 1.267 million men said they had been victims of sexual violence, compared with 1.270 million women.
The “made to penetrate” category is not the type of violation we imagine when we think of sexual assault, as Slate’s Hanna Rosin wrote in a piece on Stemple’s research in 2014. But it can result in similar psychological and physical effects, including sexual dysfunction, depression, loss of self-esteem, and long-term relationship difficulties.