The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

Silenced Suffering: Unveiling Male Sexual Assault

Courtesy of Unsplash, photographed by Yousef Espanioly

In a world that expects men to present as invulnerable and above emotions, our society fails to perceive the cracks in this “impenetrable” man-shell that hides a terrifying and often silenced reality—male sexual assault. Behind the facade of stoicism, many men grapple with the unspoken abuse they suffered, hidden beneath the suffocating surface of shame and impotence.


According to the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, “About 14% of reported rapes involve men or boys, and that 1 in 6 reported sexual assaults is against a boy and 1 in 25 reported sexual assaults is against a man.” Despite these statistics already being alarming, it is estimated the number of men who have been sexually assaulted is much higher than currently stated. The true extent of this issue is clouded by stigma that coerces survivors into silence. 


As a consequence of a patriarchal culture that perpetuates toxic masculinity, men are conditioned to believe that vulnerability is a weakness and that even suffering sexual abuse is a lack of dominance. Even if a man manages to get over his internalized judgment, he will likely face mockery or apathy from others around him. Some examples of this shaming cycle can be seen in cases like Brendan Fraser, Terry Crews, Corey Scott Feldman and Johnny Depp, who all were ridiculed or had their struggles undermined when speaking about what happened to them. 


This issue can get especially difficult in Hollywood. It is no secret in the world of show business, reputation is everything, therefore, word-of-mouth from someone powerful could ruin an entire career. As a result of this hierarchy, people in positions of power often take advantage of actors, singers, models and performers, by using sexual favors as a bargaining chip to grant them jobs or advance their careers. 


Model Mario Adrion opened up about the sexual abuse he underwent on his YouTube channel. “Because I was very open and because I didn’t say anything [about being sexually abused], that’s why I was rewarded…I was almost conditioned to be okay with things I am uncomfortable with because that’s how I got jobs.” 


Another anonymous male model revealed in a YouTube interview for Vice, “If you’re on set and you mention that you feel uncomfortable, to be honest, that’s…you’re finished – you’re not going to get the job.”


This atrocity is not only exclusive to men, but it is a true disease of show business. Victims find themselves helpless and paralyzed by the fear of losing their jobs and the reputation they worked so hard to build. Only to be stripped of it all by the oppressive influence of glorified criminals who view rape as an acceptable form of currency.


Consultant and policy specialist Landon Wilcock, talked about his experience undergoing sexual assault during his TED Talk, “…I tried to forget what happened, and as I experienced a new pain, a pain unlike any physical or mental pain I had experienced before. I cut myself off from the outside world. I stopped seeing friends and communicating with my loved ones. I became deeply apathetic towards everything in my life. School, friends, family, nothing mattered anymore.” Sexual assault is a traumatic event that scars the victim for all their lives.


Later, Wilcock talks about how long it took for him to come to terms and speak up about the abuse he suffered because he was ashamed and unsure of how his friends would perceive him. 


Encouraging vulnerability and open dialogue in our social circles is crucial to breaking the stigma and inhumane social norms. There is no place for shame when talking about a victim; shame should be reserved for the perpetrators of sexual harassment.


There is never an excuse for sexual assault: the lack of absolute consent is already abuse. It is long overdue that we forge a new culture where silence isn’t an option, where support and accountability stand strong, and where the only shame is for those who feel the liberty to perpetuate sexual violence. 


For help reporting sexual violence, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656- 4673

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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine. 

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