According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), not just women, but also men are sexually assaulted on college campuses. The NSVRC claims that one in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime, and that 1 in 16 men on college campuses will be raped in their lifetime.
Those numbers may seem high, but in comparison with the 1 in 5 women being raped in their lifetime and on college campuses, these numbers are often overlooked.
Just because the rate of sexual assaults for women is higher, does not mean that male victims of sexual assault are not important or something to be aware of. Sexual assault in regards to men is not discussed as much due to the fact that many men may be ashamed or scared to discuss this very real problem.
There are reasons why men may not report or discuss sexual assault, and according to the Mississippi Coalition Against Sexual Assault, men may feel as though they are weak for letting sexual assault happen, homosexual, or “not manly” enough.
The idea of masculinity or being and acting masculine in men seems to be the basis for many of the reasons as to why men may not report or talk about sexual assault, and this is definitely a problem. There is also the misconception that men cannot be sexually assaulted by women, which is entirely false.
An article by CNN titled: Against his will: Female-on-male rape, by Sarah LeTrent, takes facts from the NSVRC as well as from professionals such as Elizabeth Donovan who is a trained psychotherapist.
Donovan says “males have the added burden of facing a society that doesn’t believe rape can happen to them … at all”
This is a problem in that men are not reporting these rapes and sexual assaults and this, in turn, skews the numbers of actual reported sexual assaults and rapes, making them lower than the current percentages among male and female victims.
In order to spread awareness about sexual assault in regards to male victims, the issue with masculinity and the fear of reporting sexual assault must be eradicated. Men need to realize that being the victim of sexual assault does not make them weak and is not an attack on their masculinity or lack of masculinity.
According to Chapter 31, Title 18 of Pennsylvania statutes, rape is a first degree felony offense, hence, it is never the victims fault, be they male or female.
In addition to spreading awareness and facts, the Bristlecone Project (bristleconeproject.org) is one of many projects that is taking a stance on spreading awareness of sexual assault among males victims.
This project personalizes the human beings who are victims of sexual assault through the use of portraiture and biographies of the victims. Instead of painting the victim as merely a victim, the Bristlecone Project focuses on the person’s achievements in life, such as education, art, and career paths.
The issue of sexual assault among male and female victims on college campuses must be brought to light and awareness must be more apparent in order to help victims speak up and report when a sexual assault has happened to them or a friend.
There are many outlets in which a person can report a sexual assault and starting with your campus police department is a good one. There are also professionals willing to help and assist, such as counselors and therapists and there is no shame in reporting a sexual assault or rape that has happened. Speaking up is key, and it helps eradicate the stigma of being a male victim of a sexual assault.