Silva Neves Specialist Psychotherapy in Central London W1 & EC1

Sexual Trauma: sexual violence and rape. Male and female survivors #01

Sexual violence and rape

Sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion.
It includes unwanted sexual comments or advances, acts to traffic a person or acts directed against a person's sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim.
It is widespread and is considered to be one of the most traumatic, pervasive, and most common human rights violations.

I specialise in male victims of sexual violence.

What is Rape?
Under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for any male to penetrate with his penis the vagina, anus or mouth of a female or male without their consent. Male rape became recognised in law in 1994 but the 2003 legislation made victims of rape gender neutral.

What is assault by penetration?
Assault by penetration is when any male or female penetrates the vagina or anus of another person without their consent. The offence is committed where the penetration is by a part of the body (for example, a finger) or anything else (for example, an object) for sexual intent.

What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is when any male or female intentionally touches another person sexually without his or her consent.

What is consent?
It is a permission or agreement. This is something that must be clearly established between two people before any kind of sexual act or behaviour can take place.
You can change your mind at any time.
In the UK, it is not possible to give consent if you are under the age of 16.

How often does male sexual violence happen?
  • Much more often than people think.
  • Figures published by the Office for National Statistics (2007) tell us that at any given time 11% of boys under 16 are victims of some form of sexual abuse.
  • At current population, that’s over 700,000 victims. This indicates that there are in excess of 2 million adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the UK.
  • The same reports tell us that in adulthood, 3.5% of men have been sexually assaulted, constituting 905,000 assaults and 120,000 rapes.
  • That’s over a million sexual assaults against adult men. Over 1,000 men report being raped to the police every year and the police and government admit this is likely to be less than 10% of the real number.

    What are the common effects of male sexual violence?
  • Emotional Shock, feeling numb.
  • Disbelief or Denial.
  • Embarrassment. Worried about what family and friends might think. This often leads to feeling silenced and being in isolation.
  • Shame. Feeling disgusting.
  • Guilt. Blaming oneself.
  • Depression.
  • Powerlessness. Not feeling in control.
  • Disorientation. A general sense of feeling confused.
  • Flashbacks. Reliving what happened as though it was happening now.
  • Fear. General fear. Or fear of having contracted a STI such as HIV.
  • Anxiety. Panic attacks. Feeling overwhelmed.
  • Anger.
  • Physical Stress. Physical pain. Loss of appetite.
  • Low self-esteem
  • Drug and alcohol addiction
  • Sleep disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Grief
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Poor self perception
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Social dysfunction
  • Dysfunction of relationships (including parenting)

    As a psychosexual & relationship therapist and a trauma therapist, I often work with the trauma of sexual violence, and I have seen change and healing happen before my eyes.
    It is important not to stay silent. It is important to heal. Healing is possible. When it happens, it is the most precious gift that you can give to yourself and an act of love to your body.

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