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LETTER: Males also victims of sexual abuse

In 2015 Nova Scotia introduced Breaking The Silence: A Coordinated Response to Sexual Violence.

The first of its kind in the province, this response recognizes that sexual violence is both a complex social issue and a violation of human rights. Yet many people remain unaware of what sexual violence actually means and how anyone can become a victim, including men and boys.

The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services reports that between 10 to 20 per cent of all males will become victims of sexual violence, meaning that thousands of men and boys in Canada alone will be abused this year. Unfortunately, this statistic is most likely inaccurately low as it can only include those cases of sexual violence that are reported, and male victims are even less likely than female victims to report their assault. Sexual violence perpetrated against men is also more likely to involve the use of violence and weapons, and male survivors of sexual violence are more likely to commit suicide as a result of their experience.

Sexual violence, including that which is committed against men, is always about power and control. What may differentiate male survivors from others is the common believe that men cannot become victims of sexual violence. Society’s understanding of masculinity often clashes with the experience of sexual violence. This belief causes stigma and shame for male survivors, and prevents many from reporting their experience.

There is also a serious lack of recovery and support resources available for male survivors of sexual violence, due in part to stigma and underreporting. The MORPH (Mapping our Road to Power and Healing) initiative, which is funded through Breaking the Silence, aims to address at least some of these issues in Pictou County.  MORPH is currently organizing a support group tailored to the specific needs male sexual violence survivors. For more information please contact MORPH Navigator Lauren Delaney at or at (902) 755-4647.

Lauren Delaney

MORPH Navigator

Pictou County Women's Resource and Sexual Assault Centre

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