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Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence
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1.877.END.SADV (1.877.363.7238)
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1.408.683.4118

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Prevention Corner

PREVENTION CORNER - June

Sexual Assault: Men Are Victims Too


There is a common misconception in our society that sexual assault is a women’s issue; that it affects only the female gender. News reports of male sexual assaults are often received with disbelief and skepticism. Yet statistics state that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. That translates to nearly 19 million men in the United States, 2.2 million of those in California alone. Even these numbers are considered a gross underrepresentation of the actual number of men affected by sexual assault. The truth is that sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.

 

In order to spread this truth, it is important for boys to have an idea about what healthy masculinity looks like. Fathers and other male role models can demonstrate positive behaviors, including displays of non-violent conflict resolution or constructive uses of personal power and equality. Parents can talk to their children and debunk common myths about male sexual assault.

 

Since most male sexual assaults occur before the age of 12, it is critical to begin conversations about good/bad secrets and good/bad touches with our children very early. Ask questions like: “What is a good secret? What is a bad secret?” Listen to the answers. Reinforce that a good secret is one that doesn’t hurt anyone; if a secret makes them feel uncomfortable they can talk to a trusted adult.

 

The discussion about good and bad touches can follow a similar path. Let children know that no one should touch their private areas without their consent. Plan what they should do if someone makes them feel uncomfortable, tries to touch or touches them. This can range from telling the child to leave the room to utilizing a loud yell. By educating and empowering our youth, we can begin to challenge these misconceptions and change our communities.