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Sexual Assault: Co-ed and Male Prevention Programs for Sexual Assault VictimsGraciela D CabreraCalifornia State University, Los AngelesIt is only a myth in our society that men are rarely”if at all, sexually assaulted. The question then becomes, why do men report less sexual abuse than women? What is holding them back”what ideas in our society prevent male survivors from speaking out about their experience in regard to sexual abuse? The main factor is the stereotype that claims sexual assault among men is not common.
However, statistics show that sexual assault in males is more common than people think. Men feel less empowered when they are sexually assaulted and as a result, men feel like they don’t have to and probably won’t report anything. Men can also report less than women so that they can fit into social norms and won’t be looked down upon their experience.Now, what social norms do men feel pressured to satisfy? Society teaches children”boys and girls, to act and behave a certain way.
Boys are taught to play with manly toys like dinosaurs, trains, cars, helicopters and guns. Girls are taught to play with dolls, makeup, dress-up, and participate in princess roleplay– but society also teaches the youth how to behave and react to certain situations: if a boy were to fall down to the ground while running, a boy is told not to cry and to man up because if exhibiting that kind of behavior as an adult, he would not be manly enough.
If a little girl were to fall, the girl would receive much more attention and would probably be helped and be told that everything will be okay. These kinds of scenarios enable certain thoughts and worsens the idea that children shouldn’t feel or say certain things, and eventually they carry out these beliefs when they become adults. It’s been proven that men report less sexual abuse than women. It is more common to see a woman go to prevention programs and cope with their stress and mental health, but what about a man? Sure, we don’t have a lot of data on sexual abuse within men, but we have enough to know that men and boys are assaulted on a daily basis. Here are some facts:1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.As of 1998, l2.78 million men in the U.S. had been victims of attempted or completed rape, and 1 on 10 rape victims are male.52.4% of male victims of rape reported being raped by an acquaintance, and15.1% of men were raped by a stranger.35% of men report significant short-term or long-term impacts (e.g. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).Men who are college students ages 18-24 are five times more likely to get raped than non-students aged 18-24.It is clear that men also experience sexual assault”so why are there not enough resources to help male survivors? Sexual assault can happen to anyone, but because men don’t report as much as women, men seem to not get the help and resources they need to move on and understand what happens after. If there was nothing stopping me from preventing sexual assault, I’d suggest creating more co-ed rehabilitation and prevention programs for those who have been sexually assaulted. Although the act has already been done, I believe it would be a great idea to educate the victims and others who are interested about alarming behavior and ways to defend themselves if they were to experience any kind of sexual abuse. It would also educate others about what sexual assault is, the types of sexual abuse and can also serve as a support system for victims”male or female. Organizations such as A Call to Men, a college-affiliated association, would be working with administrators, student leaders and community members to facilitate conversations and provide awareness and education on methods and strategies to prevent sexual assault. Co-ed prevention programs would welcome any gender and create a safe environment for anyone who is seeking for help or support.I would also suggest creating more male prevention programs”because you barely hear about any even existing. This would allow men to have a safe space and perhaps make them comfortable enough to speak about their experiences as well as become part of a support system for men who have been abused. Maybe then, men will feel less scared about speaking out and report more sexual assault incidents.It is important to address that rape does not discriminate”it can happen to anyone. And because anyone is at risk of such horrific act, everyone is deserving of receiving treatment and be aware of what to do to be safe and ways to cope if they ever become a victim of sexual assault.The purpose of creating male and co-ed prevention programs for victims of sexual abuse is to help and educate individuals about the topic. These programs would welcome anyone and would require engagement, interactive lectures and workshops. Through funds and donations, creating more preventive programs is possible”and anyone will have to chance to heal. If nothing was stopping, I’d do anything in my power to help others, including men, who have become victims and their families as well in hopes to empower anyone, particularly men, to prevent sexual assault, violence and discrimination. ReferencesFinkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect 14, 19-28. Retrieved from HYPERLINK ” The National Center for Victims of Crime. Child sexual abuse statistics. (2011). Retrieved from Sexual Violence Resources Center. Get statistics. (2018). Retrieved from sexual assault. (2016). Retrieved from
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