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Debunking myths

Male sexual assault

Survivors UK is a charity that offers support to men who have been raped or sexually assaulted.

Misconceptions about sexual abuse of men make things even more difficult for survivors and can increase feelings of isolation and shame, making it hard to talk to anyone. However sharing your experience with someone is the most important step to ensure that you don’t have to deal with this on your own.

We address some of these perceptions you and others may have below:

Men can't be sexually assaulted

Sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, size, strength or appearance. Sexual assault and rape is always a crime.

It only happens to gay men

Sexual assaults are committed by and against heterosexual, gay and bisexual males. Sexual assault is often about violence, anger, power and control over another person, not lust, desire or sexual attraction.

Same sex sexual assault causes homosexuality

Men who have survived this type of assault often have resulting fears for their sexual identity. There is nothing to indicate that same sex sexual assault has any effect.

Responding physically means you wanted it

Erection and ejaculation are physiological responses. They can result from as little as physical contact or even from extreme stress. They don’t signify enjoyment and don’t mean anything about sexual orientation. If your attacker told you something different, this may have been an attempt to put you off telling anyone about the assault.

A woman can't sexually assault a man

Although the legal definition of rape means that it cannot be committed by a female, men can be sexually assaulted by women. Any sexual contact without your consent is sexual assault.

Men should be able to defend themselves

You shouldn’t have to defend yourself. Any sexual contact without your consent is sexual assault and how much or little you resisted is irrelevant. There are many reasons why anyone (male or female) may not be able to defend themselves against a sexual assault or rape and it’s not your fault if this was the case.

Homosexual and bisexual people deserve to be sexually assaulted

Sexual contact against someone’s wishes is sexual assault and is a crime no matter regardless of sexual identity. Police will never take sexuality into account.

Assaults against sex workers

Police will not treat you any differently if you are a sex worker. You are entitled to the same support from SARCs and other charities. There is additional specialized support available from National Ugly Mugs (NUM), who campaign for an end to crime against sex workers. They provide greater access to justice and protection for sex workers who may be reluctant to report incidents to police.

National Ugly Mugs

  • Take reports of incidents and send anonymised warnings to sex workers and groups who support them nationally.
  • With consent, can share your story with police anonymously
  • Support you reporting to police to identify, arrest and convict your attacker.
  • Ensure access to support and advice to make sure you don’t have to go through this on your own.