Male Survivors and The Gender Motivated Violence Act

default author image04.29.2024

At least 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused or assaulted but only 15% of men report sexual assault to the police. The NYC Gender Motivated Violence Act (GMVA) offers survivors a second chance. The statute opened a two-year window for all survivors who have experienced sexual assault or abuse, motivated by their gender, in NYC. People are able to come forward regardless of how far back this abuse took place. They can hold their abusers accountable through the civil justice system through February 28th, 2025.

If you think your claim may fall under GMVA please feel free to contact us.

Why don’t more people, especially men, report sexual assault?

Adults of all sexes and identities may struggle with involving law enforcement after a sexual assault.

In general, we often see that people don’t come forward at the time because of:

  • fear of secondary victimization by the police; of victim blaming, insensitivity, or incompetence.
  • the survivor’s perception of the assault; that it wasn’t that serious, or that healing would be easier if the experience were shrugged off as quickly and quietly as possible.
  • the survivor’s relationship to the offender; perhaps they were a coworker or a client, or maybe they were a powerful and connected public figure, perhaps they were a friend or intimate partner, or a medical professional.
  • a survivor may not understand their options or know that they are entitled to pursue a civil claim for financial damages – not just from the offender but from whoever enabled them, whether it be an employer, a supervisor, a record label, a hospital, a prison, a college, etc.
  • a survivor may not understand that an experienced law firm can handle a civil claim in the least disruptive way possible.

A male survivor may not report an instance of sexual assault if he has been socialized to repress his emotions or experiences, thinks no one will believe him, has seen others treat the abuse of men as a joke, fears the abuser or potential retaliation from the offender, community, or someone else.

Common cultural myths about men and sexual assault

Myths about men and sexual assault make it harder for them to talk about their experiences, locate support, and report offenses to the police. When a sexual assault survivor is male, evidence shows that common tropes of masculinity can serve as barriers to reporting crimes of assault.

Myth #1: Men should be able to defend themselves.

  • Society perpetuates false stereotypes that men should always be able to protect themselves. Men may fear that they will be perceived as failures if they express emotional or physical vulnerability.
  • Male survivors of sexual violence may fear that they will be blamed because they are viewed to have failed in their masculine identity. This is a false and harmful narrative. All survivors of sexual assault deserve the dignity of receiving services, support, care, and justice.

Myth #2: Men are perpetrators, not survivors, of abuse.

  • The media tends to focus on female sexual assault only, but men are also survivors. Rape myths perpetuate the misconception that it is impossible for men to have unwanted sexual experiences and that they always want sex.

Myth #3: There are no resources or support available for male survivors.

  • It may seem like there are more resources available for women than men when it comes to sexual assault. However, there are many organizations and services which support men with this issue. Please see the resources section below for more information, helplines, organizations, and New York State-specific services available to male survivors of sexual assault.

Myth #4: Men can shake it off and move on more easily.

  • Dealing with traumatic experiences is not a linear process. Male survivors of sexual assault may experience long-term symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, feeling on edge or unable to relax, difficulty sleeping, withdrawal from relationships or friendships, and more. Sexual assault is not something that you can shake off—it is important for all people who experience sexual assault to seek help as soon as they are ready.

Myth #5:  Gay or bisexual men will harm the LGBTQ+ community if they report abuse.

  • Anyone who has experienced sexual abuse deserves the opportunity to seek justice and healing. No survivor is obliged to stay silent about abuse to protect a wider community. On the contrary – survivors can find solidarity, strength, and empowerment through seeking justice, and help to protect their community by discouraging perpetrators from repeating similar abuses in the future.

Myth #6: Erection or ejaculation during sexual assault means that you consented to it.

  • Physiological responses such as developing an erection or ejaculation do not necessarily mean that a man invited, consented, or enjoyed a sexual act.

Support services for survivors

Helplines:

  • New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline for confidential assistance: call 1-800-942-6906 or text 844-997-2121
  • Report sexual assault on a New York college campus to the New York State Police: 1-844-845-7269

Organizations and services:

The EMPOWER Center

(212) 238-4906

227 Madison Street New York, NY, 10002, United States

Free healthcare and social services for people in the sex trade and those who have experienced any form of sexual violence

Crime Victims Treatment Center

(212) 523-4728

40 Exchange Place, Suite 510 New York, NY 10005

Provides free of charge services such as crisis intervention, individual and group trauma-focused therapy, legal advocacy, and psychiatric consultation.

Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program

(212) 423-2140

Manhattan: One Gustave L. Levy PlaceBox 1670 New York, NY 10029

Queens: 25-10 30th Ave., Long Island City, NY 11102

Provides free services to survivors of sexual assault. Has a general counseling program as well as one for Orthodox Jewish survivors. They also provide legal and emergency room advocacy.

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

(518) 482-4222

info@nyscasa.org

Provides expert consultation, training, resource development, & policy advocacy. NYSCASA’s member rape crisis programs provide free, confidential services including: crisis hotlines; crisis intervention; individual counseling; support groups; advocacy and accompaniment through medical, law enforcement, and court systems; information and referral.

New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

(518) 482-5465

nyscadv@nyscadv.org

Provides training, support, technical assistance, & advocacy to local direct service domestic violence agencies

Safe Horizon

Sexual Assault hotline: 1-212-227-3000

Visit https://www.safehorizon.org/find-us/ for program locations.

Provides services for victims of crime and abuse, including child abuse, and their families. Includes: legal and court programs, domestic violence shelters, counseling center, and multiple hotlines.

Other resources:

Visit RAIIN for more information about laws in New York

Visit New York State Office of Victim Services for compensation for medical and other costs related to a crime

Visit New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence for definitions, statistics, & laws on domestic violence.