Boys and girls experience sexual violence and sexual exploitation in gender differentiated ways. Numerous national-level surveys have found that boys experience these forms of violence at lower rates than girls do, but at rates that nevertheless merit great attention. Boys are less likely to seek help, especially from formal services, when they experience sexual violence. Particular groups of boys also face higher risk, such as street boys. Boys' experiences of sexual violence are tied to feelings of shame, uncertainty, confusion and homophobic attitudes from the part of parents, service providers and legal or police officials.
This document summarizes results from the report, "Hidden Violence: Preventing and Responding to Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse of Adolescent Boys, Case Studies and Directions for Action", prepared in 2012 by Promundo for the OAK Foundation. It first introduces some of the literature on the topic, then follows with international project experiences featuring a case study and video clip produced in Nicaragua. Conclusions, emerging issues and final recommendations are then presented. Calling attention to sexual violence experienced by boys does not minimize the experiences of girls and women. Rather, we seek to apply a gender lens to boys' experiences of sexual violence and exploitation and to both raise awareness of particular challenges boys face, and in the case of sexual violence against girls, improve prevention and protection efforts.