News & Opinion | June 22, 2018 10:39 am

How Do Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Fit Into #MeToo Movement?

There remains a common misconception that women cannot rape men.

metoo
#MeToo hashtag, is the campaign encouraging women to denounce experiences of sexual abuse. (BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, only 1.7 percent of American men said they had been raped in their lifetime, by either a man or a woman. But four times that many—6.7 percent—said they had been forced to penetrate someone sexually and in almost 80 percent of those cases, a woman was reported as the perpetrator, reports Playboy. UCLA School of Law professor Lara Stemple has published several papers on sexual assaults where men are victims and women are abusers. She estimates that almost one million men are victimized each year. Stemple says that men are conditioned to not see what’s been done to them as a crime, so the data doesn’t tend to show up in studies that focus on criminal statistics.

Like any sexual assault, the trauma of a woman assaulting a man has intense psychological effects. The average male who suffers abuse will take more than 20 years to seek mental help, research finds. For men raped by women, Richard Gartner, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of MaleSurvivor: The National Organization Against Male Sexual Victimization, said that there is added shame because men think they are incapable of being raped, and they are supposed to be too strong to allow it. Many think admitting to being sexually assaulted will make you less of a men. Gartner says this pain can manifest in many, self-destructive ways.