The Complex Road to Justice and Healing for Male Sexual Assault Survivors

by Madison Thomas
Male Sexual Assault Survivors

When Sam Schultz became a victim of sexual assault, it was as though a part of their very essence had withered away. It took eight long years, along with the momentum generated by the burgeoning #MeToo movement, for them to summon the courage to step forward and file a police report. Five additional years elapsed before their attackers finally pleaded guilty.

Yet, in the midst of seeking justice, Schultz found themselves burdened by an unexpected weight – the blame. Instead of being able to focus on their own healing and recovery, they found themselves shouldering the blame from other members of the gay and queer communities. Their crime? Coming forward and, in doing so, potentially tarnishing the reputations of the men who had assaulted them.

The pain of the initial assault, coupled with the subsequent public attention and courtroom proceedings, took an immense toll on Schultz. In their own words, “It is an exhausting and horrifying journey that I almost quit because it just takes way too much of a person.” Schultz’s sentiment highlights a stark reality: the justice system often appears ill-equipped to support survivors, particularly male survivors.

Research cited in a recent article published in the journal Behavioral Sciences reveals a distressing statistic – up to 95% of male sexual violations go unreported. This reluctance to report stems from a multitude of factors, including stigma, shame, guilt, embarrassment, and fear of not being believed. Privacy concerns and worries about the potential questioning of their sexual orientation or masculinity further deter male survivors from seeking help.

For LGBTQ+ individuals like Schultz, the complexity deepens. Concealing their identities becomes a concern, fearing that revealing their status might inadvertently disclose more than they are ready to share. Scott Berkowitz, president of RAINN (the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), notes that disbelief still exists in some quarters regarding the vulnerability of LGBTQ+ people to sexual assault.

Organizations like MaleSurvivor and the National Women’s Law Center aim to provide support for male survivors, recognizing that stereotypes about survivors often do not align with the reality. Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, emphasizes, “And men as a category don’t meet that stereotype, even though all the research has shown us that at least 9% of sexual assault survivors are male.”

Schultz’s journey from assault to adjudication and beyond paints a wrenching and maddening picture. They were an aspiring opera singer and a graduate student when they met their assailants, David Daniels and Scott Walters, through the city’s music circles. What began as admiration for Daniels, a “proud gay man” in a conservative art form, spiraled into a nightmarish ordeal.

The ordeal left Schultz with a haunting question: what was the right course of action? Reporting to the police or seeking medical help felt unsafe, leaving them to grapple with their trauma in isolation. It wasn’t until 2018, amid the #MeToo movement, that Schultz found the strength to go public.

Daniels and Walters, despite pleading guilty to sexual assault of an adult, still maintain their innocence within their opera community. Schultz was not only confronted with the trauma of their assault but also with the disbelief and criticism from those who rallied around the perpetrators.

This painful experience underscores the need for a conversation about consent within the LGBTQ+ community. Schultz rightly points out that, “As young queer people, many of us are objectified and reduced to conquests by often older or more powerful peers.” Such discussions are crucial for fostering understanding and respect.

The recent exposure of allegations involving prominent individuals, such as the case of Mike Jeffries, the former CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, offers a glimmer of hope. Schultz believes that as more stories emerge, society will begin to take these cases seriously.

In the aftermath of Schultz sharing their story, they received a poignant message from a man in his 60s who had also been sexually assaulted in college. His realization and emotional response highlight the immense importance of addressing these issues openly.

Male sexual assault survivors like Sam Schultz deserve justice, healing, and a society that listens and supports them on their journey towards recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Male Sexual Assault Survivors

What is the main theme of this text?

This text primarily delves into the challenges faced by male sexual assault survivors within the LGBTQ+ community, their struggles for justice, and the path towards healing.

How does the #MeToo movement relate to the story?

The #MeToo movement played a crucial role in empowering survivors like Sam Schultz to come forward and share their experiences of sexual assault, shedding light on the broader issue of sexual violence.

What are some reasons why male survivors might hesitate to report sexual assault?

Male survivors often face stigma, shame, guilt, and fear of not being believed. They may also be concerned about privacy, potential questioning of their sexual orientation or masculinity, and a lack of sympathy from law enforcement.

What challenges do LGBTQ+ individuals face when reporting sexual assault?

LGBTQ+ individuals, like Schultz, may fear that disclosing their identity could unintentionally reveal more than they are ready to share, adding complexity to an already difficult situation.

Why is consent within the LGBTQ+ community a topic of discussion?

The text highlights the need for discussions about consent within the LGBTQ+ community, emphasizing that young queer individuals may be objectified and reduced to conquests by older or more powerful peers, leading to the normalization of problematic behaviors.

How can society better support male sexual assault survivors?

Society needs to create an environment that listens, supports, and believes male survivors. Open discussions, increased awareness, and resources specifically tailored to their needs are essential steps toward achieving this goal.

More about Male Sexual Assault Survivors

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LGBTQsupporter December 3, 2023 - 1:05 am

#MeToo movement helps many peeps, kudos to them.

Michele_C December 3, 2023 - 6:42 am

dis text talks abt imp ishoos, thx 4 share.

Survivor_Sam December 3, 2023 - 9:55 am

I relate 2 dis so much, itz tough, but we gotta talk bout it.

ConcernedCitizen December 3, 2023 - 11:10 am

its hard 4 them to speak out & ppl should listen, itz importnt

Reader45 December 3, 2023 - 12:33 pm

wow, this is so sad. men shuldnt go thru this, but they do. 🙁

OpenMind101 December 3, 2023 - 12:43 pm

Society needs to chnge, support everyone, no matter who they r.


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