Survivors, affected men, victims

These terms are often used for people who have experienced violence. Some prefer the term "survivor". It emphasizes that someone has experienced disturbing or traumatic events, but that they also survived these events. The term foregrounds the strength and resilience of those affected. Some people do not like to use the word "victim" because it is perceived as pejorative and is often associated with qualities such as weakness and helplessness. Others find it important to emphasize that they have been a victim of violence, that they really were helpless and that this must also be acknowledged by others. We think that both terms are relevant and use them mostly interchangeably. Sometimes we will use the term “affected men” and thereby mean to express the fact that these men have experienced sexual violence.

Who is affected by this?

It is very important to emphasize: It does not only happen to women and girls! Many men and boys are also affected by sexual violence. It depends on the respective conditions, which men carry a higher risk for sexual victimization. However generally spoken, some men are particularly at risk compared to other men. This applies to:

  • Refugee and displaced men
  • Labour migrants
  • Men with disabilities
  • Men belonging to political, religious and ethnic minorities
  • Gay men
  • Trans men and trans women in a male body

How many men are affected?

Overall, there is little information about how many men are affected. We have compiled some findings here:

  • In a survey in a first reception center in Saxony, 32.6% of the men reported experiences of sexual violence in the course of their lives. This is almost every third man of those interviewed.
  • According to estimates by relatives, about 30-40% of Syrian men in detention experience sexual violence.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, nearly one in four men (23.6%) have experienced sexual violence in conflict-affected areas since 1998.