A silenced reality on the way to the United Kingdom: sexual violence in male migrants in transit in Belgium and France

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Ethnicity and migration studies
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Public health sciences not elsewhere classified
    • Health and community services
    • Mental healthcare services
Transit migration male sexual victimization mixed-methods
Project description

Contrary to gender stereotypes portraying male migrants as dangerous, hypersexual and invulnerable, research indicates male migrants face high risks to experience sexual violence. With sexual victimization rates reaching up to 37,20% in male migrants in transit in Morocco, sexual violence seems to be particularly common along the route and in transit. This regularity of male sexual violence has recently been reported in migrants in transit on the English Channel route, aiming to reach the UK. Despite the omnipresence of sexual violence against male migrants in transit, current knowledge holds considerable gaps. First, considering the wide-ranging impact of sexual violence, its impact on male migrants’ physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health as well as on masculine identities is unclear. Second, at the level of care practices and legislation, there is a lack of evidence on male-inclusive approaches. This research aims to tackle these gaps. Preceded by ethnographic fieldwork through participant observation, male migrant victims’ experiences will be recorded through longitudinal qualitative in-depth interviews and Ecological Momentary Assessment. These accounts will be triangulated with the perspectives of professionals, gathered through focus group discussions, and a critical appraisal of policy approaches. Ultimately, findings can inform politicians and practitioners to adopt inclusive approaches toward all victims of sexual violence and encourage further research.