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Sexual assault of military men

This news story was published on April 30, 2020.
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There has been an increase in the number of sexual assault cases in the military. While most of the reported cases are from women, it affects every gender. There are times when more men than women are assaulted. There is a lot of stigma surrounding sexual assault of men that most cases go unreported. It is estimated that for every six cases, only one is reported. The assault does not only happen in the military. You will find that thousands of men joining the military were assaulted as children.

With all this happening, it is important to understand the sexual assault of military men and the measures put in place to help them

Facts on male sexual assault

The first thing to look at is the facts on male sexual assault. There are several myths surrounding male sexual assault which need to be cleared out:

  • Gender does not cause sexual assault. It is also not the outcome of sexual assault. 
  • Just because one is aroused or ejaculating does not mean they want the sexual contact. It is a body reaction that does not mean one has consented.
  • It is possible for women to assault men
  • As much as you enjoyed the attention you were getting, it turns to assault if it becomes nonconsensual or exploitive. Just because the perpetrator went too far does not mean that it is your fault.
  • Men can get traumatized just like women. They should not be expected to forget about it just because they are men. “Being a man” does not mean you cannot get emotionally scarred.
  • Anyone can be assaulted. If you are sexually assaulted, it does not make you less than a man. 

Reasons for non-reporting of male sexual assault in the military.

Sexual assault cases are on the rise but there are a few numbers of men coming forward to make reports for various reasons. Here is a compilation of some of those reasons:

  • Victims are ashamed

Most men will feel ashamed that they put themselves in a situation where they were assaulted. As such, they will not report the assault.

  • Victims blame themselves

One of the effects of sexual assault is self-blame where the victim blames himself for the assault. He believes that if he did things differently, he would not have been assaulted.


  • It is part of ‘being a man’


Men are not supposed to say when they are assaulted. You must have heard a man being told to “man up”. According to the society, a man is expected to keep such things to himself. He is expected to suffer through the assault with the belief that it is part of being a man. This is especially the case when the perpetrator is a woman.


  • Fear of retaliation


A sad fact is that most of the time, the victim knows the perpetrator. However, they are reluctant to speak out because they fear retribution. If the perpetrator is a senior ranking officer, the victim is afraid that no one will believe him. He might also be afraid of being physically harmed by the perpetrator. This is especially the case if he was threatened into silence.


  • Fear of segregation


Other than the fear or retaliation, there is the fear of segregation by other military members. If the identity of an assault victim is known, they are more likely to be treated differently. They will be seen as queer and less than a man. They are more likely to be discriminated upon so they decide to keep the assault to themselves.

In most cases, men consider sexual assault as some type of bullying and brush it off. The fact is that men are as likely to be assaulted at their work stations like women. There needs to be awareness of what constitutes sexual assault. Military men need to be encouraged to report incidences of assault and there needs to be measures in place to protect the identity of the victim.

The military is determined to eliminate sexual assault cases in the army. There are measures in place to ensure that military men have a safe working environment where they can live and work without fear of being sexually harassed or assaulted.

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