Sexual Violence against Men and Boys


Russell, Wynne. 2007. “Sexual Violence against Men and Boys.” Forced Migration Review 27: 22–23.

Author: Wynne Russell


Russell stresses that male-directed sexual violence—including rape, sexual torture, mutilation of the genitals, sexual humiliation, sexual enslavement, forced incest, and forced rape—has been reported in 25 armed conflicts across the world in the last decade. However, such violence remains largely undocumented. The author notes that until we better understand the scope and consequences of such violence, male survivors will continue to be deprived of care or justice.  Russell also states that systematic collection of data is vital. Organizations operating in the field should strengthen efforts to identify male victims of sexual assault and create reporting categories for violence that affects male sexuality and reproductive capacity, such as the mutilation of the genitals. Mechanisms are needed for expert discussion within and across cultural contexts on how to provide assistance for men and boy survivors. Male victims need to be fully represented in international justice initiatives and included in national laws on sexual violence. 


"Even though male violence is included in international tribunals’ definitions of sexual violence, the domestic laws of many countries do not include male victims in their definitions of sexual violence.” (22)

"Little is known about the psychological consequences of male victims." (22)

"We need to understand the impact of sexual violence against men on post-conflict reintegration of adult or child combatants, or of civilian men forced to rape family or community members.” (22)

“Both adult men and boys are most vulnerable to sexual violence in detention. In some places over 50% of detainees reportedly experience sexualized torture.” (22)

“The main overt purposes of sexualized violence against men and boys appear to be torture, initiation and integration into military/paramilitary forces, punishment of individuals and a strategy of war designed to terrify, demoralize and destroy family and community cohesion.” (22)

“Sexual violence is used as a mechanism by which men are placed or kept in a position subordinate to other men.” (22)

“Organizations in conflict zones need to collect data and create categories for violence that affect male sexuality and reproductive capacity.” (23)

“Mechanisms for assisting men and boy survivors need to be developed.” (23)

“The prosecution by the international Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia of perpetrators of sexual violence against male victims and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s recent extension of the crime of rape to include male victims are positive examples.” (23)

Topics: Gender, Men, Boys, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Men, Torture, Sexual Torture

Year: 2007

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