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Men as Survivors

While it is true that sexual assault of males is a part of prison culture, the occurrence of male rape is not isolated to that culture. Sexual assault can occur at any place, and at any time.

Rape is not about sexual preference or desire-it is about power and control. The motivation of the rapist is to humiliate the other person. A survey of convicted rapists found that at least half of these men did not care about the gender of their victim; they raped both men and women. Most male rapists identify as heterosexual.

Rape is something that can and does happen to an entire spectrum of men, regardless of physical strength or prowess. Being raped does not mean that the survivor is weak or a wimp. Anyone can be overpowered or taken by surprise. Size and strength is often no match for weapons, overwhelming odds, or a surprise attack.

All studies so far have found that survivors commonly do report erections and even ejaculations while being raped. These are uncontrollable, automatic, physiological responses, and do not mean that the survivor enjoyed the experience.

Women can and do commit rape of men, although this is much less common than rape by men. Sexual assault of a man by one or more women is just as serious as any other type of violation.

Protect Yourself Against Sexual Assault

  • Know when you want to stop. You have the right to say "No" to any unwanted sexual contact. If you are uncertain about what you want, ask your date to respect your feelings.
  • If possible, communicate your limits firmly and directly. Sometimes saying "No" strongly could make a difference.
  • Don't assume that the other person will automatically know how you feel, or will eventually "get the message" without your having to tell them.
  • Listen to your gut feelings. If you feel uncomfortable or think you may be at risk, you probably are. Leave the situation immediately and go to a safe place.
  • Don't be afraid to "make waves" if you feel threatened. If you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity against your will, don't hesitate to state your feelings and get out of the situation. A few minutes of social awkwardness or embarrassment is preferable to the trauma of sexual assault.
  • Be mindful that alcohol or other drugs may decrease your ability to make quick, clear and unequivocal decisions.
  • When on a first or blind date, it can be helpful to go out with a group of friends. Go to a public place like a movie, a concert or restaurant. Carry money for a taxi and a charged cell phone. Have a plan if things go wrong.

  • You have been drinking;
  • You have been making out
  • You have had sex before;
  • You said yes, then changed your mind;
  • Your partner says, "You owe me.";
  • You're flirting or wearing sexy clothes; or
  • You think s/he will get mad.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Sexually Assaulting Someone

  • Listen carefully. Take the time to hear what your date is saying. If you feel you are getting "mixed messages," ask for a clarification.
  • Don't fall for the common stereotype that when someone says "No" they really mean, "Yes." "No" means "No." If someone says "No" to sexual contact, stop.
  • Remember, date rape is a crime. It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances.
  • Don't assume that your date wants to have sex:
    • because they drink, dress provocatively, or agree to home with you;
    • because they had sex with you previously;
    • because they willingly engage in kissing and/or other sexual interaction;
    • because you bought them dinner and drinks.
  • Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is rape. If you have sex with someone who is intoxicated, drugged, passed out, incapable of saying "No," or unaware of what is happening around him or her, you may be guilty of rape.
  • Get involved if you believe someone is at risk. If you see someone using force or pressuring his or her date, don't be afraid to intervene by getting help. You may save someone from becoming a victim.
  • Avoid clouding your judgment and understanding of what another person wants by using alcohol and other drugs.

Safety in the City

  • Try to avoid being alone with someone you don't know well or who makes you feel uncomfortable.
    Suggest staying with a group. Be mindful not to wander beyond where everyone is sitting. If you go to the bathroom away from the bar, take a friend with you.
  • Avoid accepting a drink at a party or bar that you haven't seen prepared.
    It is best to buy your own beverages. If someone offers you a drink at a bar, club, or party, go to the bar and watch the drink being prepared. Carry the drink yourself to avoid having something placed in your drink without your knowledge.
  • Avoid exchanging or sharing drinks with others, and/or leaving your drink unattended.
    If you realize that your drink has been left unattended, throw it away.
  • Beware of people's behavior.
    If a person does not listen to you, stands too close, or seems to enjoy your discomfort, s/he may not respect your desires or limits.
  • Always let someone (friend, roommate, etc.) know when you are going out and when you will be home.

  • Go to events with friends.
    Stay together! Make sure everyone in the group gets home safely.
  • Have a designated "sober" person when you go out to parties, clubs, or bars.
    Have a plan to check up on each other.
  • Take steps to ensure your friends' safety.
    If one of your friends appears very intoxicated, gets sick after drinking a beverage, passes out and is difficult to awaken, seems to be having difficulty breathing, or is behaving in an uncharacteristic way, get emergency medical assistance immediately.
  • Always be aware of your friends.
    Don't leave them alone or with someone they don't know.
  • Make sure your friends know about predatory drugs, which could be slipped into their drinks.
  • Warn friends about bars/clubs or parties where aggressive behavior is known to have occurred.

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