SEXUAL ASSAULT IS A SUBSTANTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM IN THE U.S.
- 2–3% of men in the U.S. report having experienced sexual assault victimization. (1)
- While this percentage may seem low, it is important to take into account the different segments of the male population. For example, looking at the gay and bisexual community the percentage is higher.
- In one study the prevalence estimates of lifetime sexual assault victimization ranged from 11.8–54.0% for gay or bisexual men. (1)
When we look at sexual violence, we have to look at it through the lens of trauma.
Here is something that is being forced upon a person; this is not something they did on their own. In general, people are not taught a great deal about COPING STRATEGIES, nor do people spend time teaching children how to get through the tough times in life.
Many victims deal with trauma by using substances.
It is socially acceptable and it works instantly. The other thing is you can always find someone to do it with you. You are not the only person in town who is using drugs as a coping device. From one study we know that:
- Rape victims are 5.3 times more likely than non-victims to have used prescription drugs non-medically. (2)
Drug use turns to addiction.
It is not surprising that this drug use turns to addiction. There is a lot of SHAME around sexual abuse, especially for men. Without any other social outlet, these victims are left to deal with their trauma on their own. Drugs take away the pain and so, left to one’s own devices, why wouldn’t the victim continue to seek relief through drug use? The problem is compounded for those in the gay and bisexual community. Many times the physical violence stems from hate crimes. Being gay makes them more of a target for sexual assault. Looking at our youth we are finding mounting evidence that LGB youth are disproportionately the targets of bullying and physical violence, and are at increased risk for substance use. We need effective intervention strategies to help our youth. Without action, we will see these youth likely turn into drug addicted adults.
So what can we do to help this community of victims?
One major challenge is that we don’t know they are victims. Most acts of sexual assault go unreported. We need to change the tides of social acceptance. In the meantime, we typically don’t find out there is a problem until another problem arises; that is, drug addiction. It is CRITICAL to get these victims into some type of treatment facility for their addiction.
We are a full service treatment facility that specializes in treating the LGBT community.
Call us today at 1.888.903.9898 to find out more about us. Learn more about how we treat addiction for the LGBT community. Sources: (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3118668/ (2) http://www.wcsap.org/sites/www.wcsap.org/files/uploads/resources_and_pubs/rad/RAD_v8_i1.pdf