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This sixth episode in the season entitled, “Research and Considerations for Sexual Assault Cases” in the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Patricia Powers, an attorney adviser with Aequitas, who discusses the support of male victims of sexual assault in the reporting and processing of their criminal cases.
Background information for the interview notes that research indicates sexual assault of male victims is often underreported. Biases, myths, and societal expectations can further discourage male survivors of sexual assault from disclosing their assault. Pattie Powers discusses this issue from the perspective of her work with survivors of sexual assault, with attention to the impact that misconceptions of male sexual victimization have on the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault crimes. She discusses the myths associated with sexual assault, the role of education in overcoming biases against male sexual victimization, and best practices for supporting male survivors and effectively prosecuting their cases. She notes there are reported cases of male sexual assaults that involve boys, adolescents, and mature males. The perpetrators are mostly men, with heterosexual men composing a statistically important feature of perpetration. As a crime, it is underreported, so there is a need to examine reasons for this and develop fuller understanding of the support needed by male victims of sexual assault. She encourages research on the trauma experienced by male victims of sexual assault, their fear of adverse outcomes for themselves if their victimization becomes public, and the education and training needed to change public and criminal justice professional attitudes and practices toward male victims of sexual assault.