The issues of male rape and sexual abuse get plenty of sensationalistic air time on “Law & Order: SVU,” but not so much substantive awareness in our day-to-day lives. While it is true that reported sexual abuse of girls and women is far more prevalent than male abuse, I also assume acknowledging or discussing male sexual abuse brings up uncomfortable feelings amongst guys about masculinity and what it means to be a “strong man.” There’s even vicious stereotypes that dog gay guys — who are routinely denigrated as being “not manly enough” — that they must have been sexually abused as kids. In a way, that’s kind of all you need to know about what some (perhaps many) people think of male sexual abuse survivors.
So it makes sense then, from a messaging standpoint, that to reach male victims of sexual abuse, the UK group Survivors UK would address “masculinity” head-on. Their new campaign, which launches this week in time for a rugby tournament in London, features a rugby ball (speared by a nail, I think?) and the slogan: “Real men get raped: and talking about it takes real strength.” Keep reading »