The impact sexual assault has on men


Below is a list of the common reactions of someone who has fallen victim to a sexual assault. Anyone who has been sexually abused will react in a certain way and experience lasting effects and shifting emotions. The survivor will not necessarily experience all of the following symptoms but is very likely to show at least one or two. These symptoms are common to both males and females of sexual abuse.

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Confusion
  • Fear
  • Flashbacks
  • Numbness
  • Self-blame
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal feelings
  • Shame
  • Sexual dysfunction

Like women, men are also likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and an array of emotions, yet due to gender socialisation and upbringing men find it a lot more difficult to come to terms with what they are facing. For more information on facing problems and dealing with sexual abuse, take a look at the article “Support For A Male After A Sexual Assault” above on our page.

Some unique reactions, only affecting men following a sexual assault include the symptoms below:

  • Tend to show more aggression  and hostility than fear and tearfulness
  • Very likely to begin questioning their sexual identity or orientation
  • Downplaying the severity of the experience, making it seem as if the sexual abuse had no importance or traumatic value
  • Acting out or expressing emotion through sexual nuances or hints

Some symptoms may differ between men and women as recognised above, but whether male or female, we are all human and we all feel and hurt, this is real, this is serious, this can be treated and we will win the fight to become a thriver.


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