Fewer than half the men who reported experiencing sexual assault or abuse in a new P.E.I. survey did not seek the help they needed because of social barriers.

The anonymous online survey was conducted by the P.E.I. Rape and Sexual Assault Centre. Nearly 50 men responded, as well as 110 service providers such as councillors and mental health workers.

"Unfortunately we haven't seen a lot of male survivors coming forward," said Sigrid Rolf, coordinator of the P.E.I. Rape and Sexual Assault Centre.

"We have always kind of wanted to know why and what we can do to improve our service so that more men would see us as being a place where they might receive the help they want."

Fifty-eight per cent of the men said they felt too much shame to seek help, or didn't know where to look. The survey found the men did not report assault or abuse for the following reasons, listed here in order.

  1. Embarrassment.
  2. Shame.
  3. Fear.
  4. Stigma.
  5. Lack of awareness of services available.
  6. Lack of male specific services.

All the men who received treatment and advice reported that it did help them.

The centre will host a conference this spring on how to better train P.E.I. service providers about male victimization, funded by the Federal Victim's Fund. That fund also provided money for the survey.

The conference will be led by specialists with the Men's Project in Ottawa.