Academic Master


Working with People who Experienced Sexual Violence


For Susie, the trauma of waking up from a sexual assault can be a frightening and shattering experience. It can leave one with feeling confused, scared, alone, depressed, unpleasant memories and nightmares. It can often be painful from a sexual trauma that Susie went through. Because of the nature of the experience, one may lose trust in one’s self, one’s judgment or even sanity. It is essential to understand that drug use or alcohol does not make Susie responsible for the sexual assault, because an impairment of judgment means that consent was not clear, regardless of the gender or orientation. It can often lead to heightening sexual desire. Therefore it is essential to know that the victim blaming attitude in which a perpetrator tries deflecting the fault towards the victim and tries to justify it, is wrong and Susie must be counseled that she is not at fault (Killermann, 2013).

Trauma can leave one feeling vulnerable and powerless, but it is essential to know that one does have the coping skills and strengths to deal with the situation. Sometimes an intellectual understanding is not enough to rid feelings of shame and guilt. Friends who are calling the perpetrators as a decent human being or a good guy are wrong. Whether you were drunk or you were not cautious enough or scantily dressed does not make Susan what she experienced. It is vital for Susan to reconnect with her feelings and bodies, even if it feels threatening. It is not dangerous but a step towards healing to come out of her stress disorder and depression. Reality is not defined by feelings, and this process will let her feel more confident, safe and powerful. Healing from rape is an ongoing and a gradual process, and Susan must avoid self-medication with drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse leads to worsening of trauma, leads to social isolation, depression, and anger. Susie should also avoid any compulsive behavior including working. And seek help from breathing techniques and meditation. The perpetrator of the crime was solely responsible, and there can be no justification for his behavior even if Susie’s friends seem him as such.


In dating situations, sexual coercion is prevalent. It is important to know that sexual coercion is experienced by both sexes although statistics do point towards women being more likely to be victims. Male survivors of rape like Leon can experience mixed feelings that can lead towards lasting or adverse psychological consequences. In Leon’s case, it is important to understand that if orgasm or erection occurs during a sexual assault, it may lead to anxiety and confusion between both male rape and female rape survivors. Men are socially conditioned to be able to protect themselves and be physically strong. They are more likely to believe that reporting the assault may lead to admitting personal blame or reflect weakness (Robert Crooks, 2014).

Male survivors of rape often suffer the same aftermath such as humiliation, depression, suicidal thoughts and trauma, but because they are less likely to admit the assault, they require some specialized help in counseling. Their friends may see that to be a score or may consider it to be a fulfillment of some fantasy, as males are more often seen as sex-seekers than victims. To find oneself in the role of a sexual assault or rape victim is not something the average man is prepared for. Thus he may be taken off guard, and this can lead to depression or trauma, as is seen in Leon’s case. For Leon, it is critical to counsel that even if he did not anticipate the possibility, it should not deter him from seeking options, support, and help.

It should be further recognized that for men, anger is the primary culturally sanctioned emotion, and fear and sadness are not seen acceptable. Therefore to counsel Leon, it is essential to name and identify the feelings that he is going through and to normalize what is discomforting him and to help him understand these feelings as healing tools and internal messages. What is more important in talking with Leon is that erections can cause by different emotions such as fear, and he could be physically stimulated from unwanted sexual activity even. His own biases about men’s role as sexual assault victims must be confronted for him to accept that men too can be victimized sexually. Each survivor of sexual assault, male or female or non-binary or Trans, deserves an informed and fully compassionate response to that person’s unique needs.


Killermann, S. (2013). The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Impetus Books. Retrieved from

Robert Crooks, K. B. (2014). Our Sexuality (12th ed.). (J. Perkins, Ed.) Belmont, CA: Wadsworth CENGAGE Learning.



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