Male rape victims can feel just at traumatized as female ones. But where can they turn for help?
Yesterday (Oct. 15) a Swedish hospital opened what it believes is the world’s first medical clinic catering to men and boys who have been sexually assaulted. It already has one for women—open around the clock on a walk-in basis—that treats 600 to 700 patients a year.
Last year, around 370 cases of sexual assault on men or boys were reported across Sweden, according to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. The true figure is suspected to be much higher.
“The general perception is that men cannot be raped,” Lotti Helström, a senior physician at the hospital, said when the clinic was announced in June. “In studies, the health effects are shown to be greater for men, both in terms of physical health and mental health. There is a greater risk of a raped man getting post-traumatic stress disorder.”
For cultural reasons it can also be harder for men to seek help. ”There are myths about masculinity that make it difficult for men who have been sexually traumatized to talk about their experiences,” said Inger Björklund, a spokesperson for the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education in Stockholm. ”A clinic focusing on men who have been sexually abused will contribute to the awareness of experiences of sexual abuse among men and make it more possible to meet men’s needs.”