Myths about sexual assault against men

Shereen Dindar
Contributing Writer
Shine On
Myths about sexual assault against men

Sexual assault of men is a topic that is riddled with many misguided notions.

What does it involve? How it is carried out? Who are the perpetrators? The answers to these questions challenge some widely held assumptions about gender dynamics, sexual orientation and sexual coercion.

It is important to actively challenge these myths and educate ourselves for the sake of identifying and treating these assaults.

Here are five commonly held myths about sexual assault on men.

Myth 1 - Men cannot be sexually assaulted by women

A recent U.S. study reveals a surprising number of young men have been coerced into sex by women. Out of 284 high school and university-aged men, 43 per cent say they've had unwanted sexual contact. Of those victims, 95 per cent say a female acquaintance was the aggressor and 18 per cent say a female used physical force to make them have sex against their will.

Myth 2 - Men can't experience erections during a sexual assault

Men's bodies can respond in unexpected ways during a sexual assault that in no way reflects emotionally how they feel about the situation. Erection or ejaculation can still occur. Perpetrators will often use the conflicted feelings that result as a way to prevent the victim from reporting the offence, hoping the victim will blame himself for the arousal.

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Myth 3 - Gay men are the biggest perpetrators of sexual assault on boys

Sexual assault is about exerting power and control over an individual and often has little to do with sex. Sexual assaults are often completely unrelated to the offender's expression of his sexual orientation.

Myth 4 - Some people aren't physically strong enough to commit sexual assault

Sexual assault is not just about physical force. It often happens through coercion or manipulation, and can involve the use objects.

Also see: How often do men really think about sex?

Myth 5 - Men who have been sexually assaulted will eventually become offenders

This myth is particularly prevalent regarding young boys who have been abused. Research shows the majority of boys who have been sexually assaulted do not go on to sexually assault others as adults. @