Male sexual abuse
If you're forced into any sort of unwanted sexual contact then this is sexual abuse
Forced and unwanted sexual contact is sexual abuse. Even though it involves sex or the build up to sex, abuse has nothing to do with love. It’s about control, aggression and power – the power of one person over the other. Anybody regardless of age and/or gender can be sexually abused. Often the person who abuses you is someone known to you.
Usually when we talk about sexual abuse it’s supposed that women are always the victims and men the abusers. This can make it very difficult for men or boys to tell someone if they’ve been abused or raped. Rape crisis centres throughout the country gives support to victims both male and female of rape, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. They can go with you to the Gardaí or police, arrange a medical forensic examination, give you information about what happens next and offer you specialist counselling. There is also professional help available through Tusla and the HSE.
What to do if you have been sexually abused or raped
- Don’t blame yourself; the rape was not your fault.
- Some victims might get an erection or ejaculate (cum) during the attack. This is an involuntary reaction by the body and doesn’t mean you enjoyed the attack or wanted it to happen.
- Abuse or rape doesn’t affect your sexuality. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, the attack won’t change this.
- Are you safe now? If not you may need to ask for help.
- Get medical attention right away. Visit a doctor or a clinic to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and to have any physical injuries treated.
- Tell someone you trust, even if you were abused in the past but have never spoken about it.
- If you decide to report the rape or sexual assault to the Gardai or police, do not wash until after you have had a forensic medical examination because important forensic evidence might be washed away.
- The National 24 Helpline 1800 77 88 88 is available to anyone who has experienced rape, sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse. The telephone counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, to listen, provide information or direct you to your nearest rape crisis centre where they can organise counselling if that’s what they want.
- There are Rape Crisis Centres throughout the country where you can speak to someone confidentially if you’ve been raped or abused. All centres give support to male victims of rape, sexual abuse or child sexual abuse. They will listen, offer support in any way they can, which can include accompaniment to the Gardai or police and/or to the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) for a forensic medical examination.
- If you think you’ve been drug raped ask the medical staff to take a urine sample as soon as possible but remember some drugs can leave your system in as little as 12 hours.
- If you’ve been assaulted or raped (or think you might have been) and choose to report to the Gardai or police, don’t let being drunk or taking drugs, deter you from reporting this crime.
Abuse or rape doesn’t affect your sexuality. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, the attack won’t change this.
Some victims might get an erection or ejaculate (cum) during the attack. This is an involuntary reaction by the body and doesn’t mean you wanted or consented for it to happen.
- You have the right to ask for a male or female garda, police officer or doctor. When you’re reporting the rape or assault you can have as many breaks as you want and leave the station any time you want. You’ll be asked a lot of detailed questions and should carefully read through your statement when it’s finished to make sure there are no mistakes.
If you think you’ve been drug raped you should contact the guards or a rape crisis centre who will arrange to take you to a SATU so that the evidence can be collected.
Your feelings after being raped or sexually abused
How a person reacts to sexual abuse or rape is different for everyone and it can take time to deal with what happened.
- You might feel disbelief, numb, frightened, powerless, ashamed, disgusted with yourself or humiliated.
- You might feel guilty and responsible for what happened or blaming yourself for letting it happen.
- You might want to be alone and feel unable to tell anyone that you were sexually abused.
- You might have nightmares or flashbacks about what happened and find it difficult to get involved with anyone else.
- You might self harm or develop addictions to drink, drugs or food.
- The effects will vary from person to person because everyone reacts differently to trauma and crisis and sometimes a person will not react in the way they themselves might have expected. Remember there are rape crisis centres throughout the country to listen and offer support.
Staff at a Rape Crisis Centre can help you work through your feelings. The 24 Hour Helpline 1800 77 8888 offer a confidential, listening and support service for women and men who have been raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually abused at any time in their lives.
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're 16 or over, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.