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Timely CCNY research on barriers for male victims of sexual violence

Martina Delle Donna lead author of paper on barriers for male victims of sexual assault
Martina Delle Donne

As the #metoo conversation continues, another group of victims is being recognized: men. A recently published paper in the American Journal of Men’s Health shows that some men who have experienced sexual violence are hesitant to speak out or seek help.

The lead author of the study is Martina Delle Donne, a visiting researcher in the lab of Victoria Frye, associate medical professor in the Community Health and Social Medicine Department, at the CUNY School of Medicine at The City College of New York.

This research aims to fill the gap in the literature and better understand how men, both straight and gay as well as cisgender and transgender, conceptualize, understand, and seek help related to sexual violence. Key findings show that those who both self-identify as men and as members of sexual-orientation minority populations are at higher risk of sexual violence and are less likely to report or seek support services. Like women, these men face barriers. But some of those barriers are unique, including:

  • Traditional gender norms that encourage men to be “strong” and not show vulnerability
  • Stigma associated with both being gay and being a victim of sexual violence (e.g. “you asked for it”)

It’s worth noting that the majority of the study participants who experienced violence stated that it was from another man, which is in line with the data reported from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2011) which show that when men are raped, in 79.3% of the cases the perpetrator is another man. 

According to Delle Donne, “The goal of this exploratory study is to describe the barriers in order to interrupt stigma, reduce shame, and diminish stereotypes that have left men who experience sexual violence feeling silenced and invalidated. As one of the Silence Breakers, Terry Crews noted, right now it’s crucial to speak out and advocate for victimized people’s rights.” 

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Today more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight professional schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship.  Now celebrating its 170th anniversary, CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.


Contact: Rebecca Rivera (212) 650-5310