#SCAMEN: Male Sexual Consent Awareness and Movember

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Trigger Warning: This article contains consistent reference to sexual assault

As we move into the month of November,  Sexual Consent Awareness Society would like to highlight some of our plans that will be running alongside our normal weekly activities. Our focus of this month is all about male sexual assault.

In the UK, around 70,000 men are raped in a year and even more are sexually assaulted. Under current UK law, a cis-woman cannot legally rape a man because of an absence of ‘penile penetration’. Since it was first legally recognised in 1994, there has been a significant increase in the number of offences of male rape recorded every year by the police in England and Wales. In 1995, 150 offences of male rape recorded by the police. Ten years later, the figure was 1,135. In 2011-12, around 1,250 incidents of male rape were reported.

Men face great stigma associated with sexual assault. There is less access to mental health resources, often due to stereotypes, and lack of reporting and research into the area. Less than 3% of men report their sexual assault, and of those assaults and rapes that are reported, many are perpetrated by other males. Studies of male victims who sought treatment because of sexual victimisation show that only 6-15% of offences were committed by females. However, this does not take into consideration that many incidents of sexual assault and domestic abuse go unreported simply because there is insufficient education about what sexual assault is. There is a lack of understanding about male sexual assault, which is not just by force but by emotional manipulation, guilt and emotional abuse, which in turn prevents male survivors getting adequate support. The data does not accurately reflect the men who are sexually assaulted, harassed or domestically abused within relationships of any sexual orientation, by family members or by people in positions of power. Boys are particularly vulnerable to child sex abuse and pedophilia.

The lack of reporting may partly be due to a reluctance of being further victimised by a woman, the backlash men face by other men, or down to how men themselves view and define their victimisation experience in a patriarchal world of toxic masculinity. Research has shown that many men who experience something that would legally qualify as rape do not label their experiences as such, and that one of the main reasons for not doing so is that the perpetrator of the offence was female. It has been contended that one of the main reasons for not reporting victimisation or proceeding with a sexual victimisation complaint is that it is not acknowledged by the victim as having been a sexual crime.

While many men who are sexually assaulted are heterosexual, there is a high prevalence of assualt in the LBGT+ community, with 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men facing sexual abuse in their lifetime. Often, LGBT+ experiences are paired with hate crime, such as conversion therapy and gay bashing. It is important to remember that there is much predatory sexual abuse within the gay and bisexual community itself, too.

SCA are collecting experiences of male sexual assault to raise awareness using the hashtag #scamen, which we will feature on our page. We want to hear about experiences that you or friends may have had, which you can fill out here.

All this information will be completely anonymous and nothing will be used to identify any individual.

We are planing to hold an event with talks from Survivors UK, a male specific sexual assault charity, followed by a debate with Debates Society, date and place to be determined.

We will also be working closely with MindSoc and other student societies to explore the effects of male sexual assault in all areas of life, with specific focus on mental health in male sexual assault victims.

If any of this affects you, we have a male specific page in our SCA booklet here:

Credit: Sexual Consent Awareness Society

Further sources can be found here:
http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-04864-001
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13642980902758135
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/an-overview-of-sexual-offending-in-england-and-wales
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/f78ad097-77d7-4ec0-8014-54ace0fc4b11

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