"Ready to Stay Hidden for a Long, Long Time": Analyzing Male Sexual Violence in Young Adult Literature

Open Access
Drapcho, Kymberly Maria
Area of Honors:
English (Behrend)
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sarah Elizabeth Whitney, Thesis Supervisor
  • Craig Andrew Warren, Honors Advisor
  • male victims of sexual violence
  • sexual violence
  • female perpetrators
  • peer perpetration
  • adult male perpetrators
Public discussion of male sexual assault is minimal. Young adult literature featuring male victims is similarly under-acknowledged and under-represented. This thesis analyzes the portrayal of male victims of sexual violence within six young adult novels. As the novels act in conversation with one another, each work presents a different but relevant depiction of the costs of toxic masculinity in the aftermath of sexual violence, as evidenced by the victims’ coping mechanisms and ongoing trauma. Oftentimes, these literary portrayals reflect real-life stigmas that impact adolescent male victims. As the novels discussed in this paper demonstrate, these stigmas vary depending on a variety of characteristics, including sex/gender of the perpetrator, the victim’s relationship with his offender, and the age difference between victim and perpetrator.