In both military and civilian communities, services and research available in response to male sexual assault is limited compared to that of women. Records show women are more likely to report than their male counterparts; the Department of Defense reports that an estimated 38 percent of female victims report versus only 10 percent of male victims. Possible explanations for this disparity include fear of not being believed or fear of blame. Additionally, stereotypes about masculinity in some communities may discourage reporting and seeking assistance. According to the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study, men in the military experienced sexual assault differently than military women. More frequently, men said their assaults occurred in the context of hazing and bullying in the workplace.
In the recent years, the DOD has taken steps to improve prevention, response, and outreach for males. The 2017 Air Force-wide Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program has focused its attention on military men, as outlined in the DOD Plan to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assault of Military Men. Efforts include enhancing male-specific outreach efforts in order to promote greater confidence in the sexual assault prevention system and a willingness to seek help.
Identified means of increasing support for these quiet victims include creating environments for military men to share their experiences and to access support safely and anonymously. In order to meet this objective, the Safe Helpline will be offering Safe HelpRoom sessions specifically for military men every Wednesday in February. This will allow men to connect online through a safe, secure, moderated and anonymous, 24/7 group chat service.
The Safe HelpRoom can be accessed by going to www.safehelproom.org or http://www.safehelproom.org. The sessions for military men will be offered at the following times, in order to accommodate different time zones (all times are listed EST):
Feb. 1 – 10 a.m.-noon
Feb. 8 – 7-9 p.m.
Feb. 15 – 1-3 a.m.
Feb. 22 – 7-9 a.m.
For more information and to join the sessions, please visit https://www.safehelpline.org/about-safe-helproom.
Members of the DOD community who have been affected by sexual assault can access 24/7, confidential, anonymous support through the DOD Safe Helpline, or by calling 877-995-5247.
Safe Helpline is operated by the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network through a contract with the DOD and provides no personally identifiable information to the DOD or your chain of command.