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Men Face Societal Pressures When Reporting Sexual Abuse

Although  the two groups have more in common than not, experts say male sexual assault  victims are often left to deal with certain issues that female victims might  not face. Research suggests more than half  of all sexual assaults in the United States go unreported. ........... Men represent a small but  significant share of the nation's sexual assault victims. According to data from  the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau  of Justice Statistics, 11 percent of sexual assault victims between 1992 and  2000 were male.

Less than half of all victims of  rape and sexual assault, regardless of the victim's gender, report the crime to  police, according to Department of Justice data. In 2010, 51 percent of all  rapes and sexual assaults went unreported, down from 77 percent the  previous year.Male victims tend to be even  less likely than females to report instances of sexual assault, said Ken  Elliott, director of UCO's Violence Prevention Project. That unwillingness  to report incidents comes mostly from social pressures and expectations  regarding men and boys, he said.Americans tend to believe that  disclosure of vulnerability is a sign of weakness, particularly among men,  Elliott said. So male victims of sexual assault often worry they'll be seen as  effeminate, he said, or that they'll lose the respect and support of their  family and friends.Straight victims may fear others  will perceive them as gay, he said, and gay male victims may worry that others  will think they deserved the assault, or invited it in some way.The fact that male victims tend  not to report being sexually assaulted leads to greater feelings of isolation  among those victims, Elliott said. Although a sexual assault is a traumatic,  life-changing event for anyone, Elliott said, female victims often have more  resources available to them, such as survivors' networks.Worse, said program coordinator Wendy  Joseph, male victims are less likely than females even to bring the assault  up in conversation with another man. Whereas female victims may know another  woman who survived an attack, male victims are often left without a support  network of any kind, adding to their feelings of isolation....A 2005 American  Journal of Preventive Medicine report showed roughly one out of six boys are  sexually abused before age 18.Making people aware of numbers  regarding sexual assault targeted at men and boys is important, Elliott said,  because it could help reduce the stigma surrounding it. Ultimately, he said, it  could make male victims more willing to report the abuse and seek help."They are not alone," he said.  "It takes a real, strong man to talk about these kinds  of vulnerabilities."excerpts taken from article written by SILAS ALLEN, The Oklahoman

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