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Can guys be raped, too?

Yes. Often, people hear the words “rape” or “sexual assault” and automatically figure the victim is female. This isn’t always true. Males or people with penises can be raped. Also, females or people with vaginas can rape people. There are some state laws, however, that define rape only in terms of a male forcing sex upon a female. Regardless of how rape is defined legally, being forced to do something sexually that you did not agree to is always wrong and can have lasting effects, regardless of your sex or the sex of the person who raped you.

A male or person with a penis can be penetrated by a penis or object, anally, for example. And despite what some people think, a person with a penis can also be forced to have vaginal intercourse. Just because a person has an erection doesn’t necessarily mean that the person wants sex. An erection is simply a response to stimulation—a normal, involuntary reaction that the body has—and it sometimes can happen out of fear, shock or for no clear reason at all.

It’s hard for anyone to report rape or sexual assault. A cisgender guy might feel like he’s not a “real man” if he was raped, or he may feel like no one would believe him because he’s been taught that guys should always want and have sex if the situation arises. If the person who rapes him was a male, he might worry the rape “made him gay.” Or he may worry that others will think he’s gay. If a gay or bisexual guy is raped by another guy, people sometimes think that he was “asking for it” or that he’s making it up. These are all examples of myths that are out there that can make it even more difficult for guys who have been raped to get help. Just like anyone who has experienced rape, guys have nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of if they are raped. It’s not their fault.

Someone guilty of rape—regardless of their sex or gender—has hurt another person physically and psychologically and broken a law. Someone who has been raped has the right to heal physically and emotionally.

There are many resources online for male rape survivors. One place to start is Male Survivor. Guys can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline managed by the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support and information to all survivors of rape and sexual assault.

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