1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by age 18.*
1 in 33 men will be experience completed or attempt rape in his lifetime.*
52% of gay men will experience coercion from a partner*
22% of male prison inmates will be raped during their incarceration**
Out of all the victims of murder by an intimate partner, about 1/4 are male.***
Even as victims, men who leave abusive female partners have a high risk of losing custody of their children.****
And, even though it is estimated that men make up 10% of all rape victims, they are the least likely to report sexual assault**
These numbers don’t get mentioned very often, and this can leave male survivors feeling isolated and marginalized. Men suffer from rape and domestic abuse, just as women do.
But I rarely hear people talk about it.
This certainly isn’t to say that we should be putting less energy into ending violence toward women. But we need to remember that male survivors of abuse are also silenced by gender roles…
Roles which suggest men cannot be raped by women because men should always want sex.
Roles which suggest women cannot rape men because women don’t have their own sexuality.
Roles which expect men to be strong enough to “avoid being victimized.”
Roles which view women as weak and frail, and therefore incapable of committing domestic violence.
Roles which assume that even an abusive woman is, in nearly every circumstance, a better nurturer for children than a man
Roles which stubbornly view all men as potential abusers, and all women as potential victims.
Roles which completely ignore same-sex relationships.
When we cling tightly to these gender roles, men suffer. Legitimate problems are ignored. Roads toward improvement remain unpaved. Survivors either keep quiet in fear or they are silenced by outside ignorance.
Women, as we fight for equality, let’s not forget that our brothers are also being hurt by the strict gender roles that society has set up. And let’s do what we can to help!
–Let’s start including the above statistics in our discussions.
–Let’s be careful about making universal statements that enforce negative stereotypes (you know, “All men are jerks!” and the like).
–Let’s be careful about placing pressure on men to always be strong, to always be leaders, to always be protectors…never humans.
–In fact, let’s break the stereotype that says only men can be protectors. Let’s let the men in our lives know that we’ve got their backs!
–Let’s show the men in our lives how much we love them and value them.
And men, we hope you can find freedom. But until you do, just know that we’re here for you. We love you.
You’re not alone.