Sexual Violence against Men and Boys

Sexual violence is a risk facing all refugees—women, girls, men, boys, and people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identities and gender expressions like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals. In humanitarian settings, services sensitive to the unique needs of all sexual violence survivors are limited. Without appropriate treatment, men, boys, and people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression may suffer harmful effects of sexual violence, including physical and psychological trauma. The Women’s Refugee Commission’s work with men and boys incorporates feminist principles that prioritize accountability to women and girls.

Feminist Approach

WRC’s work on sexual violence against men and boys strives to prioritize accountability to women and girls. We do this by:

  • exploring how sexual violence against men and boys impacts the lives of women and girls;
  • exploring how sexual violence against men and boys intersects with violence against women and girls;
  • advocating for services for and attention to survivors of all gender identities and gender expressions;
  • dispelling the myth that services and treatment are available for sexual violence survivors who identify as women and girls, but not for men and boys—services and treatment are typically limited for all survivors; and
  • including sexual violence experts on our Global Advisory Committee.

Sexual Violence Project

In 2018, WRC launched its Sexual Violence Project, a three-year initiative exploring the effects of sexual violence against people who have identified as male, including cisgender heterosexual men and boys, gay and bisexual men, and transgender women. The impact of sexual violence against men and boys on women and girls is being examined. The project involves research in three refugee settings: the Rohingya refugee community in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh; refugees and migrants traveling the Central Mediterranean route through Libya to Italy; and refugees in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya. We are also piloting community-based projects to facilitate service uptake, coordinating an inter-agency working group, and developing field-friendly tools and guidance.

Explore More of Our Work on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence