tips to support male survivors (possible trigger warning?)

pedropedro

Registrant
Unless in special discussion topics like pregnancy, ALWAYS use gender-neutral language around rape and violence, for BOTH victim and agressor. It’s not optional.

No survivor is either a “distraction” nor a “whataboutism”.

Male survivors have boundaries that need to be respected. Yes, in the bedroom, but elsewhere too. For one thing, jokes about violence towards men, sexual or otherwise, or about figurative or literal castration/emasculation are no more OK than jokes about violence towards women. This also includes phrases like “I bathe in men’s tears” and “Men are trash”. Be aware that people who say these things not only make us feel uncomfortable, but unsafe. Support our need to avoid them.

We wish women were more aware of women making men uncomfortable - and that they can and should intervene.

Most male survivors are not misogynists. But many are gynophobic. These are not the same thing. We don’t hate women, but we do often have a hard time trusting women. We’re working on it. Have patience.

Whatever your gender - if you have been violated or ever are in the future, don’t be afraid to tell someone. Even if someone doesn’t believe you, others will. I know I will.

If someone in your life tells you they’ve been violated, believe and support them whatever their gender. They told you because they trust you.

Parents - tell all your children that no means no when anyone say it - including them.

Male survivors often go back and forth between questioning if they’re “still men” and feeling guilt, shame, and self-hate about being men. Nightmares and anxiety around castration are both very common.

Many people have good intentions with using the phrase “toxic masculinity”, or at least think they do. But we don’t need to be saved from ourselves. We don’t need the patronizing and infantilizing “Great Female Savior” version of the “Great White Savior”. These remarks are considered by many male survivors to be a form of “benevolent bigotry”, similar to the phrase “I cherish women.” or “bitches be cray-cray”.

Male survivors have struggled to claim or reclaim our masculinity. Saying that phrase is calling some bad behaviors or their motivations inherently like us; inherently like what we struggle our whole lives to reclaim.

Using That Phrase also implies our pain is due to our own expectations of masculinity. This is victim blaming and lets our abusers off the hook. Many have expressed that they’d almost rather go through our rape again than have to see/hear That Phrase. Also, my rapes have been blamed by some people on my masculinity itself, a few times on my penis.

Misogyny exists. But so does misandry. Neither are acceptable. Call both out.

Don’t try to explain our feelings and our experiences to us. If we say don’t do or say something (like “Toxic Masculinity”) - don’t do or say it!

Don’t police our sitting posture. Many male survivors find “manspreading” empowering, and you never know who is a survivor.

Male survivors tend to have insecurities about their bodies, especially their genitals. Men with smaller penises, or whose abuse did not involve their penises, may worry that it’s useless or that future partners won’t like it. Survivors with larger penises may feel that their penises are dangerous and think they are somehow evil because of it.
 

pedropedro

Registrant
updated edition:

Unless in special discussion topics like pregnancy, ALWAYS use gender-neutral language around rape and violence, for BOTH victim and agressor. It’s not optional.

No survivor is either a “distraction” nor a “whataboutism”.

Male survivors have boundaries that need to be respected. Yes, in the bedroom, but elsewhere too. For one thing, jokes about violence towards men, sexual or otherwise, or about figurative or literal castration/emasculation are no more OK than jokes about violence towards women. This also includes phrases like “I bathe in men’s tears” and “Men are trash”. Be aware that people who say these things not only make us feel uncomfortable, but unsafe. Support our need to avoid them. If you’re the partner of a survivor, this may even mean cutting people who make these comments out of your life, or at least not allow them in your homes. Don’t make him choose between you and his own mental health.

We wish women were more aware of women making men uncomfortable - and that they can and should intervene.

Most male survivors are not misogynists. But many are gynophobic. These are not the same thing. We don’t hate women, but we do often have a hard time trusting women. We’re working on it. Have patience.

Whatever your gender - if you have been violated or ever are in the future, don’t be afraid to tell someone. Even if someone doesn’t believe you, others will. I know I will.

If someone in your life tells you they’ve been violated, believe and support them whatever their gender. They told you because they trust you.

Parents - tell all your children that no means no when anyone say it - including them.

Male survivors often go back and forth between questioning if they’re “still men” and feeling guilt, shame, and self-hate about being men. Nightmares and anxiety around castration are both very common.

Many people have good intentions with using the phrase “toxic masculinity”, or at least think they do. But we don’t need to be saved from ourselves. We don’t need the patronizing and infantilizing “Great Female Savior” version of the “Great White Savior”. These remarks are considered by many male survivors to be a form of “benevolent bigotry”, similar to the phrase “I cherish women.” or “bitches be cray-cray”.

Male survivors have struggled to claim or reclaim our masculinity. Saying that phrase is calling some bad behaviors or their motivations inherently like us; inherently like what we struggle our whole lives to reclaim.

Using That Phrase also implies our pain is due to our own expectations of masculinity. This is victim blaming and lets our abusers off the hook. Many have expressed that they’d almost rather go through our rape again than have to see/hear That Phrase. Also, my rapes have been blamed by some people on my masculinity itself, a few times on my penis.

Misogyny exists. But so does misandry. Neither are acceptable. Call both out.

Don’t try to explain our feelings and our experiences to us. If we say don’t do or say something (like “Toxic Masculinity”) - don’t do or say it! It’s just that simple. And yes, doing so counts as “womansplaining”.

Don’t police our sitting posture. Many male survivors find “manspreading” empowering, and you never know who is a survivor. If it’s an issue of space, we will stop, just as much as we would take an object off the bench and put it on the floor if necessary. “Manspreading” is no more inherently provocative than wearing a low-cut blouse with a pushup bra.

Male survivors tend to have insecurities about their bodies, especially their genitals. Men with smaller penises, or whose abuse did not involve their penises, may worry that it’s useless or that future partners won’t like it. Survivors with larger penises may feel that their penises are dangerous and think they are somehow evil because of it. Some survivors may internalize this body shame and wonder if they are obligated to die, or even to castrate themselves. Survivors also have boundaries that they DON’T have to “overcome”. Some common sexual boundaries include not being touched in certain body areas (especially the anal region), and not wanting to perform oral sex. As in any relationship, communicate on all issues, including intimacy and sexuality. Talk about what you both want and don’t want to do or have done to you, as well as the compromises you both are willing or not willing to make. Not all couples are compatible in this area, and some relationships may have to be celibate or won’t work at all. This is not a bad reflection on either of your characters.
 
please don't be offended, but toxic masculinity is a real phenomenon. of course, masculinity isn't inherently toxic - men are not worse human beings than women, but certain behaviors that certain men exhibit can & should be described as toxic masculinity. it's toxic to not treat men who are physically weaker than you & women as your equals, it's toxic to be homophobic, it's toxic to tell your sons that boys don't cry & call them girls/sissies/pussies when they get emotional. most importantly for us here, it's toxic when a man tells a male survivor to just get over the abuse, to "snap out of it", to "be a man about it", not to talk about it or, god forbid, cry.
 
pedropedro
I really like what you wrote.
I don't think I ever heard the term "gynophobic" before. Having been abused (sexually and otherwise) by my mother and observing my brother's worse, more frequent abuse by her - we both have had and have a form of this, but I did not know there was a word for it.

I would add to or modify your last part about male survivors having insecurities about their bodies. Here is why: in addition to being sexually abused by our mother, I was raped & molested by men who were focused on my butt, one who I remember more clearly talked about my butt before and while he was raping me. Plus for much of my life, many have commented about my "bubble butt" and, for me, this (my butt) has been an issue moreso than my genitals, although certainly what you wrote is absolutely true and pertinent.

Just wanted to say that as well as thank you.
 
I'm with pedro completely regarding the term "toxic masculinity." The phrase "toxic masculinity" doesn't do anyone any favors, @SinkBackIntoTheOcean, because it's become so overused and generalized that many people now just use it to describe men, period. We can describe a problematic behavior, or even a group of behaviors, without resorting to calling people toxic. People who act in so-called toxic ways are following the scripts they received in childhood. They need to heal themselves, and they're not going to get close to doing that if you call them OR their behaviors toxic. Sorry, it's just the truth.
 
many people now just use it to describe men
well, those people are either not very intelligent or they are man haters. i am neither, so i'll continue to use that term in the appropriate context because i know what it really means.

They need to heal themselves, and they're not going to get close to doing that if you call them OR their behaviors toxic. Sorry, it's just the truth.
ok, i'll never call rapists or their behavior toxic. i'll just feel sorry for them because they are just following scripts they received in childhood, & wait for them to heal themselves. i'll pray for them to see the light & turn the other cheek or, even better, spread my butt cheeks for them
 
Rape is not usually described as "toxic masculinity." Rape is rape. Rapists are rapists. Women can also be rapists. Would a rapist woman have "toxic masculinity?"
 
Rape is not usually described as "toxic masculinity." Rape is rape. Rapists are rapists. Women can also be rapists. Would a rapist woman have "toxic masculinity?"
no, but i'd call her a toxic woman, which is wrong according to you - "We can describe a problematic behavior, or even a group of behaviors, without resorting to calling people toxic." why do you have this need to use euphemisms? "problematic" is just a prettier word for "toxic"... my alcoholic mother neglected & psychologically abused me. am i a bad, judgmental person for calling her behavior toxic instead of problematic? yes, toxic people need healing as well, but their victims' healing is more important. all rapists should receive help from therapists, but it should happen while they're serving time
 

pedropedro

Registrant
calling an individual or their behaviors toxic is not comparable to implying that some part of a core identity of half the world's population is "toxic" is.... If you would not say "toxic femninity" or "toxic feminism" or even "toxic [insert ethnic or religious group here]", don't say "toxic masculinity" YOu have your opinions, but I would guess you're overwhelmingly outnumbered
 
calling an individual or their behaviors toxic is not comparable to implying that some part of a core identity of half the world's population is "toxic"
i explicitly said that masculinity is not inherently toxic. for god's sake, just google "difference between masculinity & toxic masculinity". the term "toxic masculinity" refers to a specific subset of behaviors exhibited by certain groups of men, not all of us... i am a gay guy & i have experienced firsthand that toxic masculinity is a real phenomenon in my country. if you don't believe it exists in your country, go for a walk holding hands with another man in a couple of small towns in, say, alabama or mississippi. you'll be surprised by how quickly & frequently groups of men will form, approach you & teach you a lesson about the existence of toxic masculinity that you will never forget.

btw, i would use the term "toxic feminism" when it comes to women who think & write that all men are evil. i think it's also perfectly legitimate to talk about, say, "toxic catholicism" - i'm very familiar with that variety of catholicism & nobody can persuade me that it doesn't exist
 
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