Male Sexual Assault: Hidden Trauma

December 17, 2019

Men face many obstacles in disclosing sexual abuse and assault histories to their clinicians and the public at large. More in this video.

What are the differences in prevalence rates and clinical presentations of men and women with sexual assault/abuse histories? What barriers do men face in disclosing sexual abuse and assault histories?

Joan Cook, PhD, Associate Professor at Yale School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, provides insights in this video.

Speaking at a recent Grand Rounds at Yale Psychiatry, Dr Cook notes that male sexual assault Is largely overlooked and neglected by the public. Survivors and health care professionals, too, often overlook their experience as valid, noting the myths surrounding sexual victimization of boys and men.

It is estimated from very good epidemiological data that at least 1 in 6 boys by the age of 18 has experienced some form of sexual violence and that that number increases to 1 in 4 across their lifespan. If you think about a football stadium of 100,000 men, 25,000 (or 1 in 4) will have been sexually abused.

The research shows us that men who have been sexually abused have higher rates of PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, and a range of other problems. These include sexual compulsivity, higher rates of HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to help survivors recognize the impact of these experiences and heal from trauma.

Further reading: When Men Are Sexually Abused in the Military