Male Sexual Assault - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Male Sexual Assault - Post Traumatic Stress DIsorder

Male Sexual Assault and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a growing problem. And there is a failure to acknowledge the problem within the mental health profession. PTSD is a “normal” response to an “abnormal” event.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) which is known as the bible for psychiatry and mental health workers, states that PTSD is more prevalent among females than males. The DSM-5 suggests the prevalence for a greater number of women to be diagnosed with PTSD is due an increased possibility of exposure to traumatic events such as rape or domestic violence. The DSM-5 fails to acknowledge male to male sexual assault.

In 2005 it was estimated that between three to sixteen percent of men will be victims of male to male sexual assault in their lifetime. Research suggests that men who are victims of male to male sexual assault are reticent to report the crime and approximately only between four and six percent of victims come forward. Men state, “That they feel that they have been ‘un-maled’ when they have been raped.”

Male to male sexual assault occurs in prisons, where it is estimated 200,000 to 300,000 inmates are sexually assaulted in the U.S.A. each year.  Male to male sexual assault also occurs within the armed services. In 2000 a young navy officer was sexually assaulted at knifepoint by a superior officer, and he was ordered not to report the attack. After the attack he lived in fear for his life, he suffered depression, and attempted suicide on several occasions. A navy psychiatrist accused the young officer of fabricating the story and diagnosed him with a borderline personality disorder. After his discharge from the navy he was diagnosed with PTSD due to the violent sexual assault and shortly after he began therapy.

Research has indicated that people suffering PTSD make up between thirty and fifty nine percent of those seeking treatment for substance abuse. Other research suggests that there is a higher rate of substance abuse among men than women. This raises the interesting question as to whether society and the mental health profession are failing to acknowledge that substance abuse may be masking a potential relationship between PTSD, and male to male sexual assault.

Christopher Swane - Counselling And Psychotherapy For Men - Wellington New Zealand