Online proceedings for the IRCT General Assembly and 10th International Scientific Symposium - Delivering on the Promise of the Right to Rehabilitation

Time: 17:10 to 17:30 Download Presentation

Boys do cry: Improving the identification and rehabilitation strategies for male victims of sexual torture in Mexico

Presenter(s) and co-author(s): Ms. Erika Sofia Valtierra-Gutierrez ( Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, A.C. - Mexico ), Prof. Valeria Moscoso ( Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, A.C. - Mexico )


Forms of sexual torture include forced nudity, sexual threats, insults and jokes; when it comes to men, these comments focus on the loss of masculinity. Other specific types of sexual torture against men include beatings or electroshocks on the testicles and/or anal penetration. Certain psychosocial consequences of sexual torture are similar in men and women. Regarding male victims of sexual torture, little research has been made, in which the main interest is on victims of rape in the context of torture. In the case of male victims of sexual torture in Mexico, no research or rehabilitation projects have been found.


The first stage of the project was a documentation about sexual torture, which included identifying the elements of sexual torture, and the physical, psychological and social consequences in this type of victims and male victims of rape in war contexts. International and domestic criteria for identifying and rehabilitating sexual torture victims were also consulted. Afterwards, there was a qualitative analysis and comparison of six cases of males who have been tortured. All subjects have been identified as male victims of sexual torture, and five of them are currently incarcerated in federal prisons across the country. Information was obtained through data from Specialized Medical and Psychological Reports for Cases of Possible Torture and/or Mistreatment and by interviewing close relatives. The analysis was made in order to identify common sexual torture techniques as well as the physical, psychological and social consequences of their experience. One of the six cases was explored in depth because of the consequences he has stated to present. These cases were also used to identify the ongoing challenges to deliver the right to rehabilitation to male victims of sexual torture, especially in Mexico.


Sexual torture against men does not pursue a sexual gratification for the torturer, since it is a matter of humiliation, degradation and power over the victim, which is shown through physical and psychological techniques. In terms of physical sexual torture, most of the subjects were subjected to forced nudity and electric shocks on genitalia; moreover, some of them were also hit on their testicles. On the other hand, psychological sexual torture techniques included humiliating comments regarding their presumed sexual orientation or gender identity, rape threats, and sexual violence (including rape) threats against female relatives. Subjects were classified by the seriousness of the physical and psychological impacts of sexual torture. Amongst others, the ongoing challenges identified to deliver the right to rehabilitation include the way incarceration interferes with questioning gender roles and the possible lack of awareness about the fact that sexual torture and rape are not synonyms.

Funding & No Conflicts Declaration

This project had financial support from the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and resources from CMD- PDH. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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