After Sam Schultz was sexually assaulted, it took them eight years and the growing #MeToo movement to go public and make a police report; it took another five years for their attackers to plead guilty. As much as Schultz hopes there’s a reckoning coming in gay and queer communities, too, it feels like they are the one shouldering the blame, not the attackers, for coming forward, harming the men’s reputations. Instead of being able to focus on recovery, Schultz has been saddled with worries from other gay men that talking about sexual abuse in their community will hurt the fight for LBGTQ+ rights. The pain of the assault and ensuing public attention and court proceedings have taken a huge toll, the Associated Press reports.
“It is an exhausting and horrifying journey that I almost quit because it just takes way too much of a person,” Schultz said. “And to any person who has pursued justice and quit along the way, I get it. The system is not built for us. The system is built to protect certain people.” As many as 95% of male sexual violations go unreported, according to a review of scientific literature about male victims of sexual assault. Four of five men who reported assaults regretted doing so, saying that police were often unsympathetic and disinterested and that the process just added more trauma. Men may fail to report sexual assault because of stigma, shame, guilt and embarrassment; fear of not being believed; privacy concerns; and worries that their sexual orientation or masculinity will be questioned.