While advocates are consistently making progress in increasing awareness about sexual violence services in our communities, it is evident that there are still groups of people who have been marginalized by sociological norms and are completely unaware of the resources that are available. This is particularly true for male populations. We know that one in six men have experienced abusive sexual experiences before age 18 and that 1 in 33 men have been victims of some sort of unwanted sexual assault in their lifetime. Thus, it’s safe to predict that there are many men within our own communities that are victims and are attempting the healing process alone. To help address this issue, FCASV has put together some tips on how to improve outreach and services to men.
Create Male-Specific Services
When it comes to sexual assault, men, unlike women, are rarely taught to live with the fear of their own vulnerability to sexual assault. This can lead to them experiencing a higher degree of pure shock after being assaulted. It’s important for programs to create protocols for providing services that are specific to men. For example, many of our centers have gender specific names, logos and colors. This can lead some males who visit our agencies to question whether the services available really are for people of all genders. This questioning may further the perception that men cannot be raped. One way to address this issue is to take a serious look around our agencies physical space as well as our outreach materials and revise them so that they convey the message that services are available to everyone – including men.
Train Your Hotline Staff
Due to social stigmas and myths regarding male sexual assault, men often experience shame and confusion after their assault. As a result, many men feel most comfortable with making their first contact for help through hotlines. Some staff members may assume a male caller is a prank call or may not take the call seriously. Help prepare your staffs for answering these calls by keeping them up to date with resources and information that are specific to men. Examples of resources include 1in6.org and malesurvivor.org.
Target Men in Your Outreach Services
Take advantage of the many excellent outreach opportunities in your communities to provide specific information to males and females regarding sexual assault. Suggested places to aim your efforts include college campuses, sporting facilities (such as gyms, stadiums, etc.), substance abuse facilities, shelters and other places where men may congregate.
For further outreach ideas and general suggestions for working with men, please contact FCASV Program Specialist Jose Carval at firstname.lastname@example.org