The estimated prevalence of adult sexual assault among sexual minority men (SMM) is comparable to published estimates for women. Adult sexual assault is associated with low disclosure rates and poor physical and mental health in SMM. One potential negative consequence of disclosures is secondary victimization, whereby victims perceive disclosure recipients’ reactions as victim-blaming or discriminatory and, therefore, retraumatizing. The published literature on secondary victimization among SMM is limited to the reporting of hate crimes and has not been extended to adult sexual assault, despite its high prevalence among SMM. Here, we explored the adult sexual assault disclosure experiences of 18 SMM through qualitative interviews (M age = 42.4 years). We observed four themes: (1) secondary victimization behaviors by disclosure recipients; (2) the role of sexual orientation in disclosure experiences; (3) participants’ own emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses to secondary victimization; and (4) participants’ perceptions about how disclosure influenced their long-term recovery process from adult sexual assault. Secondary victimization behaviors included dismissal, blaming, and attributing sexual assault to alcohol use or sexual orientation. Disclosure recipients’ responses strongly influenced men’s future disclosures. Future mixed-methods research investigating the impact of secondary victimization on mental and physical health of SMM is warranted.
Sexuality Research and Social Policy – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 27, 2016
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