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Men Survivors | Denim Isn’t Always Denim

Sexual violence doesn’t discriminate by gender. And while some demographics experience it at higher rates, those across the gender spectrum have survived sexual abuse and assault. This includes men. Toxic notions of masculinity are often considered a reason some men commit sexual violence, as a way to steal or express power. But these same notions can also be why men who survive sexual assault are hesitant to disclose, and why others might not believe them. The dominant societal narrative tells us that to be a man, one must be tough, powerful, and in control or both their emotions and environment. Is there room in that definition for the vulnerability, fear, and helplessness many sexual assault survivors feel? Slowly but surely, it seems that society is expanding the definition of masculinity. By creating a space that not only identifies and discourages toxic behaviors, but also encourages openness to all feelings, we could make the world safer. An expanded definition of masculinity could not only support men who disclose their sexual abuse, but also could prevent men from perpetrating it. But, for now, #DenimIsn’tAlwaysDenim for men who survive sexual assault, it can be toxic notions of masculinity.

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