UNNOTICED SURVIVORS

Men also sexually abused despite the ‘tough guy’ notion

They are not open to conversations on sexual assault, being viewed as 'the stronger gender'

In Summary

• Men suffer in silence due to societal belief that they are the 'stronger gender', they think reporting these crimes would make them as weak. 

• A programme on sexual and reproductive health conducted by Jiactivate has revealed frustrations from men who have been sexually assaulted.  

Maendeleo Ya Wanaume chairman Nderitu Njoka addresses the media a Nyeri hotel during a past briefing
FORGOTTEN GENDER: Maendeleo Ya Wanaume chairman Nderitu Njoka addresses the media a Nyeri hotel during a past briefing
Image: FILE

Rising cases of murder in relationships have stemmed in part from aggregated instances of sexual assault.

A wide range of sexually violent acts which have been thrown under the carpet has taken place in different circumstances and settings notably against women while appearing to ignore the male gender. Majority of reported cases only condemn sexual assault against women.

The World Health Organization provides a list of all forms and contexts of sexual violence which include rape, unwanted sexual advances, forced marriage and others. However, as a result of societal norms and the design of a man’s anatomy, male survivors of sexual assault have gone unnoticed.

Instead of opening up, men have tended to suffer silently for lack of knowing how to start a conversation about it. This has been brought about by toxic masculinity exacerbated by the tough-guy mentality which ends up masking distress.

Men’s unwillingness to express their opinion on this controversial public issue is further affected by their largely unconscious perception of those opinions being unpopular, coupled with the fact that age-appropriate sexual health and rights conversations are suppressed. 

Information from an ongoing programme on sexual and reproductive health conducted by Jiactivate–a national youth movement–has revealed frustrations from men who have been sexually assaulted.

To address this, it has to be acknowledged that male sexual assault is severely underreported. That way, research, policy formulation and call to action campaigns for men to come out and speak will be effected to bridge the gap, get them to put aside some of their ego and speak up.

 

Programmes officer at Siasa Place and JiActivate chairman