Awareness on male sexual assault
Story by Summer Barraza
Often, when I read fractional statistics like, “one in three people will have a great day today,” I look up and begin to count the people around me and I think to myself, “Okay out of the three people I have counted, one of us might have a good day,” and it’s always made me wary of what other people deal with on a daily basis. Usually, they aren’t always that positive and are often used for mental illness and disorders such as anxiety.
Mental illness has always been in the light and certain disorders- even the topic as a whole have their own circles of support and awareness. However, the potential causes of mental illness are put to rest. What else could make you look up from this paper right now, to count the heads of people who have been affected? How they cope? What it’s like to be them? One in six men have been sexually abused. While the fraction of men who are sexually abused is smaller, only two away from the amount of women who are abused, there are still men out there who have not come out.
Recently, in the media, there have been numerous outings of Hollywood executives and celebrities who have sexually harassed, or assaulted the women we see on the big screen. With so much emphasis on the strong women who have been dragged through trauma and dirt, there are bound to be people who fall in between the spaces of Hollywood’s blacklist- the men. Terry Crews and Brendan Fraser are two of the men so far who have come out about being groped in public by Hollywood executives and talent agents, which can destroy an actors career. This can be said about Fraser, as he was no longer cast in movies or television until now and people had wondered where he had gone. Terry Crews still has to split his earnings with the man who groped him publicly. It seems like we don’t hear enough about this to get garner an uproar.
Being a man and coming out about these types of issues is very difficult, as society often puts men into rigid metal boxes of masculinity where they are reprimanded for showing any signs of sensitivity, vulnerability or hesitation. When a man or a young boy is sexually abused there is not a single reaction, it’s a multitude of reactions. These reactions leave out the honest feelings of the victim involved, often making their attacker even more powerful and the victim weaker. Examples of this depend on the sex of the attacker. If it is a woman, then he probably enjoyed it, right? If it’s a man, then he’s gay and not to be associated with. With accusations like these, it isn’t easy to come out and get help. What can we do as people who have relationships with the men who have been treated so unfairly? We treat them like humans. Through discussion, patience, an open mind and having other male survivors offer their support is part of the slow process of healing. We can no longer be there for one, we have to be there for all.
If you are seeking help, you can schedule an appointment with counseling or Mary Vest, the Sexual Assault Advocate on campus in her office in Barlow Hall in room 221A. There are also many online resources like 1in6. org for men who have been sexually abused, and rainn.org which is a hotline that will connect you with local specialists to get you the help you need.