Out of the shadows: Male rape victims stepping forward

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by Noelle Gardner/KENS 5

kens5.com

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 7 at 11:22 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- The alleged sexual assault of boys by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky has shocked the nation. But sexual assault of male victims is not just a national scandal. It's happening here in San Antonio - and reports are increasing.

Laurie Charles, a forensic nurse with Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, says, "We see about 600 kids, and about 14 percent are boys. And this year it is actually 17.5 percent. So it has increased significantly."

it took two decades for Curtis St. John to come forward. He was abused by a teacher in August on 1979. That teacher was later accused of killing another child.

"I was still in fifth grade. I went to him for tutoring in math and he helped me with one day of math and the rest was sexual abuse," says St. John. "I knew even at 10 nobody would even believe me."

But advocates say media attention has prompted more victims to come forward.

It has been a long healing process for James Meadours. He was raped by a group of girls while still in school, and then again by a male teacher. James is not only a survivor, but an advocate. He says embarrassment and guilt kept him in the shadows.

Shelly Botello is a forensic nurse at Methodist transplant specialty hospital. "Their body is responding to it and that will give them conflicting messages," she said.

James Meadours, a survivor, admits it took a long time for him to tell anyone.

"Years later, many years later, I realized it was not my fault and they were trying to persuade me to do something I did not feel comfortable," he explained.

San Antonio currently has two hospitals that routinely receive victims of sexual assault:  The Christus Santa Rosa, and the Methodist Specialty Transplant Hospital. Once an outcry statement is made, the victim is brought to one of these hospitals for an examination.

Botello adds, "Approximately 5 percent of the population that come into our facility that are 13 and older are male patients, and that's been consistent since the program started in 1998."

Just as with female victims, data is collected the same way from male victims. Forensic nurses use a digital imaging camera used to take pictures of the victims injuries. They also use a sexual assault collection kit when examining the victims. Evidence can be collected up to 96 hours after an assault.

FBI statistics previously tracked only sexual assault of females by males. Until recently the FBI defined rape as the "carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." Newly enacted legislation will define rape as any kind of penetration of another person, regardless of gender, without the victim's consent.

Sgt. Chris Benavides with the San Antonio Police Department adds, "Our investigators go through special training to be able to deal with male victims. We know that you have to be sensitive when they gather that info and that's what we want our detectives to be sensitive to that nature, but also be able to set the evidence to prosecute these suspects."

If you were sexually assaulted help is available. Call the Rape Crisis Center's hotline at 210-349-7273.

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