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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Giving male survivors a voice where they are voiceless

The Health Promotions and Wellness Center discuss supporting male survivors of sexual assault
The+Health+Promotions+and+Wellness+Center+on+campus.+The+center+hosted+on+Thursday+an+event+recognizing+male+survivors+of+sexual+assault.+%28Lucky+Whitburn-Thomas+%2F+Golden+Gate+Xpress%29
Lucky Whitburn-Thomas
The Health Promotions and Wellness Center on campus. The center hosted on Thursday an event recognizing male survivors of sexual assault. (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas / Golden Gate Xpress)

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Health Promotions and Wellness Center at SF State hosted an event on Thursday, supporting men who are victims of sexual assault.

“I don’t even remember the last piece of media that I have consumed that talks about men’s experiences of sexual violence,” said Denmark Diaz, men’s health educator at SF State. 

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reported that about 3% of men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, and 1 out of 10 rape victims are male.

“We have to be aware of anyone that we could be with, who identifies as male, could be someone who has experienced some level of sexual violence,” said Rick Nizzardini, SF State Residential Life counselor.

Nizzardini discussed how difficult it could be for male survivors to speak up on their assault because of an internalized belief that men can’t be victims, or that they should have been more powerful in that situation and repelled the attack.  He stated that if people wanted to continue changing the culture surrounding sexual violence, then people need to talk about how men are also victims and survivors.

Men rarely have a voice around this experience, and the sad thing is they go on for years — men go on for years not talking about this thing, carrying trauma that affects them deeply in their relationships and their lives.

— Rick Nizzardini

The National Sexual Violence Research Center states that 27.8% of male victims were assaulted by the age of 10 or younger, and 70.8% of male victims were assaulted before the age of 25.

“Men rarely have a voice around this experience,” Nizzardini said. “And the sad thing is they go on for years — men go on for years not talking about this thing, carrying trauma that affects them deeply in their relationships and their lives.”

While it can be difficult for men to come out and share their experiences, Diaz and Nizzardini encourage everyone to believe survivors and make sure that you’re not judging or blaming them for the harm that they’ve experienced.

If you or anyone you know is in need of support you can go to https://1in6.org/helpline/ to speak with a specialist.

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Giving male survivors a voice where they are voiceless