Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse: Becoming Gender-Sensitive and Trauma-Informed

  • Jennifer Elkins University of Georgia School of Social Work
  • Katherine Crawford University of Georgia School of Social Work
  • Harold E. Briggs University of Georgia School of Social Work
Keywords: Sexual abuse, males, gender, trauma-informed care


While there is a wide body of literature examining the behavioral, emotional, and social consequences associated with being sexually abused, comparatively few studies have focused on males. Sexual abuse victimization among males remains largely under-reported, under-treated, and under-recognized by researchers, practitioners, and the public. Researchers trying to clarify why sexual abuse in males has been overlooked point to prevailing cultural norms, myths, assumptions, stigma, and biases about masculinity. Consequently, there is often an assumption that males are not negatively affected by sexual abuse. Drawing extensively from the literature, this article provides a critical review of: (1) the nature, experience and impact of sexual abuse victimization for males; and (2) the multidimensional processes that promote and inhibit resilient outcomes. It concludes with a discussion of trauma-informed and gender-responsive recommendations and future directions for social work practice, policy, and research. 


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