Home page: For Men: What is Sexual Assault?

What is Sexual Assault?

In legal terms, sexual assault is any sexual contact that is against a person's will or without consent. This includes situations where force, violence, or weapons are used as well as situations where the victim is too intoxicated or scared to give consent. Sexual assault happens to men as well as women. In fact, by most estimations, 5% to 10% of sexual assaults committed in the United States involve male victims. Some experts say that as many as 1 in 8 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. These numbers may sound startling because the problem of sexual assault against men isn't talked about very much.

Sexual assault against men happens in lots of different ways. Some men are assaulted by a stranger, or a group of strangers, while others may be assaulted by someone they know. Men are sometimes sexually assaulted by women but most often they are sexually assaulted by other men. Some attackers use weapons, physical force, or the threat of force to gain the upper hand. Others may use blackmail or a position of authority to threaten someone into submission. Still others use alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, to prevent victims from fighting back. No matter how it occurs, it is a violation of a man's body and his free will and it can have lasting emotional consequences.