A reflection on sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week – 3rd – 9th February 2020

This year’s sexual abuse and sexual violence awareness week challenged the misconception of the statements surrounding rape and sexual assault. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, as well as forcing their victim into prostitution or engage in sexual activity with their abuser of others. Office for National Statistics (2018) concluded that 33% had been sexually assaulted/raped by an intimate partner. The Crime Survey for England and Wales stated that an estimated 3.4 women, aged over sixteen, had experienced a form of sexual assault (Office for National Statistics, 2018).

Another form of sexual abuse that Domestic Shelter (2015) suggests is increasing is the forbidden use of birth control, with the intent to conceive, as well as show dominance. Thus, increasing the risk of sexually transmitted infections, as the abuser prevents the use of condoms, or manipulates their partner into believing birth control is being used. For example, Bergmann and Stockman (2015), state that male abusers may remove access to oral contraceptives, by disposing of these or replacing them with alternative medications; while female abusers may falsely inform their partner, they are using contraceptives. Consequently, forcible reproduction could be deemed as the ultimate control, as it is a method of isolation, thus, leading to further abuse.

This misconception of men as unable to be a victim of such violence, results in many male victims not reporting their abuse. Besides, Hester’s (2012) research suggests that men are less likely to disclose sexual abuse, out of fear of other reactions, and limited data is exploring forced-to-penetrate cases, further overshadowing the abuse. Adding to this, Weare (2017) research of 154 male victims emphasise that 9% had frequently been forced-to-penetrate anally, 29% orally, and 62% vaginally. Furthermore, 43.8% of respondents of Weare’s (2017) research, reviewing 153 male domestic abuse victims’ experiences of domestic abuse stated they had experienced sexual abuse between the aged of 16-25. Thus, emphasising the high proportions of men who are victims of sexual abuse and violence.

If you require further information, advice or need support, please contact one of the following organisations:

Rape Crisis: Helpline

0808 802 9999


Victim Support: Helpline

0333 300 6389

The Survivors Trust:

0808 801 0818 


Survivors UK – Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support


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