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Working with Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

Working with Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

Working with Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

The tools in this project will help you understand how male socialization impacts the stigma and reaction to sexual violence. They will help you consider how to reach and engage men who need healing from sexual violence. They will help you map out potential partnerships in your service area. Finally, they will give you guidance on creating sexual assault services that meet the needs of male survivors. 

Understanding Male Socialization, Stigma, and Reactions to Sexual Violence Reaching and Engaging Male Survivors of Sexual Violence Creating Partnerships in You Local Communities to Support Male Survivors Sexual Assault Services that Support Healing for Male Survivors    
Understanding Male Socialization, Stigma, and Reactions to Sexual Violence Reaching and Engaging Male Survivors of Sexual Violence
Creating Partnerships in You Local Communities to Support Male Survivors Sexual Assault Services that Support Healing for Male Survivors

Lessons from the Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI) on Male Survivors:

Programs that participated in the Sexual Assault Demonstration Initiative (SADI) assessed how effective they were at serving various groups of survivors, including men and boys. When programs ranked groups in terms of how well staff thought they were serving them, men and boys regularly ranked at the bottom of all groups. The SADI helped programs learn that sexual assault specific services need to integrate trauma-informed and anti-oppression frameworks that address the unique and multi-faceted needs of many different survivors (including male survivors who had not been reached previously by their services) and to prioritize skills such as active listening, empathy, building rapport, empowerment, and collaboration. 

As you dive into exploring how to serve male survivors, your program must first:

  • have a deep organizational identity as a sexual assault center/provider for survivors of all genders
  • have a foundational understanding of sexual assault trauma and advocacy
  • address the entire scope of male survivors’ experiences and the range of their needs that exist beyond immediate crisis response

Not sure where else to start?

Elevate | Uplift is a project built on lessons learned from the SADI, offering survivor-serving programs the opportunity to dive deeper into exploring these lessons learned.

  • explore practices and services rooted in anti-racism and anti-oppression frameworks
  • create intentional organization identity
  • engage in impactful community organizing and movement-building
  • expand your knowledge of sexual violence and healing
  • learn strategies for building empowering, supportive, leadership

Learn more about Elevate | Uplift’s learning opportunities and how it can better assist you in your journey toward serving male survivors.

Why Men?

In this project, we’re focusing on improving services for male survivors of sexual violence, a complicated topic in the context of the women’s movement. Michelle Dixon-Wall laid out some thinking about how to contextualize the need to talk about men’s access to services at sexual assault centers in the article Let’s Unpack That: Men’s Access to Violence Against Women’s Services. Dixon-Wall argues that, while shining a spotlight on the needs of male survivors, we can keep a gendered framework of sexual violence but also make it more nuanced. Rigid gender expectations can hurt any of us in different ways – including men who learn to keep harm bottled up inside and not seek help. The lessons we’ve learned from the herstory of the anti-sexual assault movements can be applied with nuance to people of all genders impacted by sexual violence. The same limiting, rigid gender roles that normalize violence against women and non-binary people keep men from seeking services.

We know that sexual violence impacts people of all genders and backgrounds. There are men who commit acts of sexual violence. Men can play an important role in interrupting sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviors. And in addition to these important truths, it is also vital that we recognize that men experience sexual violence and need healing. 

In this project, we bring a gendered analysis of the impact of sexual violence to the understanding that male survivors have not been served well. We invite you to recognize the complicated identity of “male survivor” which is impacted by various additional identities and experiences that male survivors hold. We are also anchored in the primacy of trauma-informed care – every survivor has experienced trauma and, as advocates, we need to know and understand that. How trauma manifests for survivors varies. What survivors are seeking is healing, and as a community-based organization, your job is to provide opportunities for survivors to heal.

In 2018, NSVRC convened a roundtable to inform the development and direction of resource content on serving male survivors of sexual assault at rape crisis centers. The 18 participants in the roundtable included representation from sexual assault centers, sexual assault coalitions, national technical assistance providers, and survivors. The needs and priorities from this roundtable are reflected in the resources developed and shared in this project. 

NSVRC’s Resources on Working with Male Survivors 

Assessing Our Capacity for Serving Male Survivors of Sexual Violence - Assessment tool
Sexual assault advocates and rape crisis centers can use this self-assessment tool to reflect on your current work serving men who have had unwanted sexual experiences. The tool offers reflection questions related to individual and organizational capacity to serve male survivors.

Here’s how you can use our Working with Male Survivors resources for group learning - Curriculum
A sample curriculum for using the resources from this project for individual and collective learning. 

How often are men sexually harassed or assaulted? - Infographic
In this infographic, we provide statistics on the prevalence of sexual violence for men.

How We Talk About Working with Male Survivors of Sexual Assault, Harassment, and Abuse - Print publication
This resource suggests how you can communicate about sexual violence as something that men experience and about what services are available for survivors, including men.

Lessons on Serving Male Survivors Through Sexual Assault Services Program - Print publication
A resource containing lessons learned from sexual assault services programs with comparatively high percentages of male survivors served with that funding stream. An accompanying blog series highlights in more depth what programs told us about their work: see blog one, blog two, and blog three.

Sexual Victimization of Men: What the Research Says - Annotated bibliography
This annotated bibliography provides descriptions of recent research related to sexual victimization of men. It provides an overview of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse experienced by diverse populations of men in a variety of settings. 

Who are male survivors of sexual harassment and assault? - Infographic
Men who survive sexual violence come from many different backgrounds and communities. In this infographic, we share statistics on the race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities of men who have experienced sexual assault.

Working with Male Survivors Podcast Series - Podcasts
This series from our podcast Resource on the Go includes conversations from across the field on working with male survivors of sexual violence. Topics include understanding expressions of trauma in men, working with formerly incarcerated male survivors, services for transgender male survivors and transmasculine survivors, and much more.

Organizations

1in6
1in6 helps men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences live healthier, happier lives. Their mission also includes serving family members, friends, partners, and service providers by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community. 

Healing Justice Alliance
Healing Justice Alliance’s goal is to create equal access to culturally responsive victim services for male survivors of violence, especially males of color who are disproportionately impacted by violence. They support effective evidence-based models, programs, practices, and outreach/messaging strategies and promoting collaborative learning across like-minded communities.

Just Detention International (JDI)
JDI is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention. JDI holds government officials accountable for prisoner rape, challenges the attitudes and misperceptions that allow sexual abuse to flourish, and makes sure that survivors get the help they need. 

MaleSurvivor
MaleSurvivor is committed to preventing, healing, and eliminating all forms of sexual victimization of boys and men through support, treatment, research, education, advocacy, and activism. They are dedicated to providing personalized support for men at every stage of the healing process. 

MenHealing
MenHealing is dedicated to providing help for male survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual trauma during childhood or as adults. They conduct healing workshops for men, ages 18 and older, who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault as a child and/or as an adult, including through their Weekend of Recovery and Day of Recovery events.

O’Brien Dennis Initiative
The O’Brien Dennis Initiative empowers male victims of sexual violence to live productive and fulfilling lives in their communities. ODI educates the New York community about the effects of male sexual assault. 

Additional Resources

1in6’s Recommended Books and Films - Resource list
This list includes books and films that 1in6 recommends to men with histories of unwanted or abusive sexual experiences and those who care about them. Topics include men’s stories and memoirs, depression, addiction, relationships and intimacy, and more. 

Abused and Betrayed Series - Videos
This series by NPR’s highlights sexual assault survivors with intellectual disabilities, and features interviews with several male survivors.

Boys and Men Healing - Film
This 2010 documentary includes the stories from adult men who experienced sexual abuse as children. It addresses topics including the impact of abuse, questions about sexuality, struggles to find services, and more.

Healing of Boys and Men of Color Training Curricula - Curriculum
This curriculum supports victim service providers in understanding and implementing a holistic healing framework for boys and men of color. It includes three modules (Trauma 101, Historical Trauma, and Strengths-Based Policy Development) and a corresponding training materials.

Holy Water-Gate - Film
This 2004 documentary explores the child sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The film includes interviews with several adult male survivors of the abuse.

Just Detention International’s Survivor Voices - Videos
This page on Just Detention International’s website includes several videos of men talking about their experiences of sexual victimization while incarcerated. Additional videos are available on JDI’s YouTube channel, including Survivor Stories: Rodney and My Name is Joe

Male Survivors and Medical Accompaniment: Our Forgotten Victims - Webinar
This webinar is part of a course in the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and National Sexual Violence Resource Center online learning campus. The webinar includes information for advocates on understanding and responding to needs male survivors may have related to forensic exams.

Male Survivors of Sexual Assault - Brochure
This brochure by Texas Association Against Sexual Assault includes information like: facts about men and rape, typical reactions during and after a sexual assault, and issues that may be specific to men. It is also available in Spanish

Male Survivors of Sexual Violence - Newsletter
This Fall 2011 Connections newsletter from the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs includes articles on faith communities and male survivors, male survivors of sexual assault in prison, working with gay male survivors, sexual violence against men and boys in wore, and more.

Male Survivors with Tammi Burke - Podcast
This episode of PA Centered, the podcast by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, is a 2020 interview with an advocate who has worked with male survivors of sexual violence for more than 30 years. It includes tips for advocates at sexual assault centers on improving service to male survivors.

Men Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted - Information sheet
This information sheet from Men Can Stop Rape offers answers to common questions about male survivors of sexual assault. 

ReShape Newsletter: Increasing Our Capacity to Serve Male Survivors - Newsletter
This Winter 2014 newsletter from the Resource Sharing Project includes three articles about working with male survivors of sexual violence, and a list of additional resources. 

Sexual Victimization of Men with Disabilities and Deaf Men: A National Snapshot - Research brief 
This publication from Vera Institute of Justice offers an overview of research on sexual violence and men with disabilities and Deaf men, identifies barriers to service, and explores gaps in knowledge from victim service providers.

Texas Men’s Story Project - Videos
This video series was a collaboration between the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) and the Men’s Story Project. The stories were recorded during the live event “The Texas Men’s Story Project: Telling Our Truths” in September 2020, and several of the men identify as survivors of sexual violence.

The Voiceless Documentary - Film
This 2017 documentary by Vanessa McNeal includes stories from five male survivors of sexual violence. 
 

For more information please email resources@nsvrc.org