An Intersectional Approach to Understanding Stigma Associated with Male Sexual Assault Victimization

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Abstract

Throughout popular media, there are stories about people being victimized because they are seen as different from the majority of people in society. Although there is a stigma aspect to these stories, the role that stigma plays in victimization is never truly examined. This paper uses an intersectional framework to discuss the role stigma plays in victimization. Through the discussion of male sexual assault victims, this paper sheds light on the varying construction of masculinity and how this meshes with the stigma process creating varying experiences for male victims. Issues associated with being a male victim of sexual assault are discussed, including a comparison with female victims and a discussion of how the construction of masculinity varies in different communities to illustrate how the experiences of male victims changes depending on their race, class, and sexuality. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of how a better understanding of male sexual assault victims could provide needed assistance for them.

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