Safety and first aid

Sexual assault information for men

There are specific issues that affect men who have been sexually assaulted or abused.

Very few men come forward after an assault. Many are ashamed to seek help because of the belief it could never happen to them or to any other man.

Current research indicates, however, that 1 in 6 men have experienced child sexual abuse and 1 in 20 men will experience sexual assault.

Table: Common myths about sexual assault
Myth Fact
A child can initiate the behaviour and participate willingly. Whatever the child’s actions or reactions might be, the adult is always responsible.
Men cannot be sexually assaulted because they can fight off an attacker. Men are sexually assaulted regardless of their size, strength or appearance.
If a man assaults another man or male child he must be gay. Most men who assault other men are heterosexual and often in a relationship with a woman. Sexual assault is an act of power and control, not an expression of sexuality.
Men who are sexually assaulted are or will become homosexual. Sexual orientation is not affected or influenced by sexual assault. Both homosexual and heterosexual men can be assaulted.
Only gay men are sexually assaulted. Both heterosexual and homosexual men can be sexually assaulted.
A man cannot be sexually assaulted by a woman. They should consider themselves lucky they are getting sex! Although men are usually assaulted by other men, men can be assaulted by women.
Any unwanted sexual behaviour can be frightening and humiliating.
Sexual abuse occurs within a loving relationship. Sexual abuse is an abuse of power and trust, which may have long term effects on a person’s life. It is never part of a loving, healthy relationship.
Children who are sexually abused become abusers. The majority of children who have been sexually abused do not grow up to be abusers.
Sexual assault and abuse is committed by strangers. Approximately 70 per cent of perpetrators of sexual violence are known to their victim.
If a man became erect and ejaculated then
he must have wanted and enjoyed the sex.
Erection and ejaculation are normal bodily responses to physical stimulus. This cannot be controlled. It does not mean he wanted or enjoyed the experience. Sex without real consent is a sexual assault.Some assailants are aware of how these bodily responses can confuse their victim and use this to make the person feel they are responsible for the assailant’s behaviour and to discourage the reporting of the crime.
For a sexual assault to take place considerable force or a weapon must be
Although this is sometimes the case, assaults often occur without weapons or a lot of force. Coercion, fear, shock, intoxication, surprise and drink spiking may render a person incapable of saying ‘no’ or being able to fight off an assailant.
If someone is drinking or taking drugs they
are asking to be sexually assaulted.

Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can prevent a person from being able to consent to sexual acts with another person. It is a crime to have sex with a person who cannot consent due to being intoxicated or drugged. Remember that drinking and taking drugs does not influence good decision making.

Wearing ‘provocative’ clothing means people are asking for or are responsible for the assault. Whatever the victim of an assault wears, they are never responsible for the actions of the assailant.

Physical injuries

SARC doctors document injuries such as bruises and cuts, but may not be able to treat injuries. Serious injuries or injuries requiring treatment, such as cuts needing stitches, need to be treated by a GP or in an emergency department.

Trauma to the anus can cause tears in the anus or the rectum and may worsen haemorrhoids (piles) or cause temporary problems when using the bowel. Persistent pain around the anus or in the abdomen should not be ignored.

It is also important that anal bleeding, particularly when using the bowels, is not ignored. If you experience these problems, you should go to an emergency department or see your GP.

A very rare occurrence is a bleeding laceration in the bowel with the ongoing passage of fresh blood and feeling unwell. This requires urgent medical attention at an emergency department.

Constipation may occur due to the pain and trauma of an assault. Burning or stinging when passing urine may also occur and can be dealt with by the SARC doctor or a GP.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Oral sex

If you have been forced to have oral sex, sexually transmitted infection can occur. If the assailant had a cold sore, for instance, Herpes Simplex type 1 could be passed on. This can result in small, painful or itchy clear blisters on the penis.

If you have been forced to perform oral sex on the assailant’s penis, then infection is unlikely, but it is still advisable to have tests for STIs.

Anal penetration

If anal penetration has occurred, SARC doctors or a GP will test for STIs.

SARC doctors do not test for all sexually transmitted infections so it is possible that some may become apparent after a period of time. This includes herpes and genital warts. If blisters or lumps appear in the ano-genital area talk to your GP.

Where to get help

Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)

  • 24 hour emergency line for recent sexual assault – phone (08) 6458 1828 or 1800 199 888 (free from land line only)
  • Emergency telephone counselling between 8.30am and 11.00pm daily – phone (08) 6458 1828


  • In an emergency situation, go to the nearest hospital emergency department
  • See your doctor

Sexual Assault Resource Centre

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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