Speak Out: Men Can Get Raped Too
Long before the advent of the #MeToo movement, a movement against sexual harassment and sexual abuse, there was Project Unbreakable.
Project Unbreakable is an online community where survivors of sexual assault send photos of themselves holding up posters that contained phrases said to them by their attackers. Established in 2011 by Grace Brown—a then New York photography student—the project reportedly “aims to use photography to help victims of sexual abuse.” By posting said photos, Brown hopes that the survivors will be able to “take the power back of the words that were once used against them.”
The photography project gives sexual assault survivors, especially the men, an avenue to tell their story no matter how brief it is. Project Unbreakable also reiterates the fact that yes, men can get raped or sexually violated, too.
If there’s one thing in common among the survivors’ stories is the stigma surrounding male sexual assault: men can’t be victims, men can’t be raped. Their stories are almost always met with disbelief shaming them into silence, preventing them from reporting any form of sexual assault to the proper authorities or even from just sharing their stories with anyone.
Here is a look at sexual assault in the United States by the numbers which clearly shows that yes, men can be victims of rape and sexual violence, too:
- Approximately 13 percent of lesbian women, 46 percent of bisexual women, and 17 percent heterosexual women have been raped in their lifetime. *Note: This translates to an estimated 214,000 lesbian women, 1.5 million bisexual women, and 19 million heterosexual women.
- 40 percent of gay men, 47 percent of bisexual men, and 21 percent heterosexual men have experienced sexual violence other than rape in their lifetime. *Note: This translates into nearly 1.1 million gay men, 903,000 bisexual men, and 21.6 million heterosexual men.
- According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 47 percent of transgender people experience sexual assault at some point in their lifetime.
- 26 percent of gay men, 37 percent of bisexual men, and 29 percent of heterosexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.
[Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Read the full report here.]
That being said, if you or anyone you know is a victim of rape or sexual assault, call the 24/7 National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673. Take a look also at the other resources below.
- International Sexual Assault Resources
- Hotlines – National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence
- International Rape Crisis Hotline
And lastly, if you have a story to tell, we are listening. We believe you!