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Yes, it's hard to believe. There's strong scientific evidence.
At least 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused or assaulted.
Researchers have found that at least 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual abuse or assault, whether in childhood or as adults. And this is probably a low estimate, since it doesn’t include noncontact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects. If you’ve had such an experience, or think you might have, you are not alone.
If you wonder whether such an experience may be connected to some difficulties or challenges in your life now, you are not alone.
Whoever you are, maybe you’re thinking something like, “1 in 6?! Come on, how can that be?” or even “That can’t be true!” Again, if so, you’re not alone. Those are common responses to this statistic, which many people find hard to believe – including men who’ve had such experiences themselves.
This page is about saying, briefly, “Yes, it’s hard to believe,” and “There’s strong scientific evidence.”
In summary, the 1 in 6 statistic is supported by solid scientific research, including a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and is likely an underestimate of the actual prevalence. Furthermore, this widespread problem contributes to mental health, personal and work difficulties of many men.
Yet few people are aware that there are just as many men who experienced sexual abuse as children as there are who develop prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men and one of the leading causes of cancer death among men. And few know that the 21 million men with histories of childhood sexual abuse are more than 4 times the number with heart disease, the leading cause of death among men. Please consider helping to educate others by letting them know about this page, 1in6.org/statistic.
* There are many more studies than these referencing the one in six statistic. Our goal here is to summarize some key research that has been published by respected scientists, in reputable journals, after their work was reviewed and approved by their scientific peers. For a detailed discussion of definitions and research methods, see former advisory board member Dr. Jim Hopper’s Sexual Abuse of Males.