The beliefs — that boys and men can’t be sexually used or abused — are woven deeply into our collective consciousness. The myth that males don’t experience sexual or domestic violence is central to cultural ideals of masculinity that focus on physical strength and sexual desire. Maybe you can even recall thinking or saying something similar yourself. Many men who’ve experienced abuse have too: internalizing those harmful misunderstandings themselves, imagining they must be the only one.
Survivors are by and large encouraged to bury our experiences — whether that’s because we may be met with a criminal justice system that doesn’t adequately respond, or a community that doesn’t believe. For men in particular, the response may be one of questioning their manhood or sexual orientation, or insisting that they must have wanted the sexual interaction.
We need to change that narrative so men and boys, as well as women and girls, can feel safe stepping forward to get help.