Rape Among Men

I read Disclosure by Michael Crichton at a pretty young age (it is beyond me how my parents let a 10 year old read that), and it made me familiar with the connotations men deal with when discussing rape or sexual coercion. Quick overview: male character either has sexual relations with his female boss or risks losing his job. When he does reveal that he is being sexually harassed, his female boss counters by suggesting that he assaulted her. The book showed popular perception because the male was at risk for his job while everyone sided with the female.

The book touched on parts of what “The Effects of Rape on Men” discussed more deeply. The main flaw in my thinking was after reading Crichton’s book; I never really factored homosexual rape- the more prominent one. Walken’s et al. article definitely gave me more insight to the effects of rape on men.

The initial survey was shocking; estimating that rate of sexual assault amongst gay and bisexual men was 27.6%. Additionally, previous studies showed that current or ex-partners committed 65% of the sexual assaults. I extrapolated the data and took it to mean that 1/5 gay or bisexual men will be raped by someone they previously dated. These numbers are ridiculously high, but gay and bisexual men are at a higher risk because of homophobic sexual assaults as a means of emasculation.

There are a lot of parallels reading between sexual assault among men and women. I learned that men experience a lot of the same emotional and physical anguish that females go through. For instance, men feel very vulnerable after the rape, overcompensating for their safety. This can lead to a change in life style when a person becomes obsessed and paranoid about their safety. Men who have been sexually assaulted also blame themselves for the incident or feel embarrassed which can hinder the emotional recovery process.

                    As  Eunice Owiny explains, “The man has been raped, the woman has been                       raped. Disclosure is easy for the woman. She gets the medical treatment, she                     gets the attention, she’s supported by so many organisations. But the man is                       inside, dying.” (Will Storr, 2011)

It seems like there is a double standard when it comes to rape. People are not completely understanding of a male being raped. Owiny, a male rape victim described his predicament as “Everybody has heard the women’s stories. But nobody has heard the men’s”. In East Africa, rape can be used as a political tool (I originally thought that rape was used as a political tool against females in my previous blogs) used as a means of power. There are some horrific stories in which male captives would be raped 11 times a day, and wouldn’t say a word about it after release for fear of being thought as vulnerable and weak. They would lose family support because the wife assumes if the man can’t protect himself, how is he supposed to protect her? The brother will say, “Now, my brother is not a man”.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men

7 thoughts on “Rape Among Men

  1. This is very interesting. It is true that we may forget about male rape and we tend to focus too much on women who have been sexually assaulted. I think that you are right in saying that we innately support women because they are the ‘weaker’ sex in comparison to men and we sympathize with them more through peer and support groups. It is easy to forget about men, because we don’t usually accept men as victims of rape; it is the other way around and they are the villains. Concerning the male ego, with the various cultures who hold men as the strongest and highest power, it is understood why men of other cultures will think twice about admitting their defeat to rape. What we must take from this is that we are all vulnerable to sexual assault and that we must not forget about our men and show them equal support.

      • This is a very interesting post that brings up a point I do not think we pay much attention to. It is funny that this entire class has mostly focused the previous subjects we have discussed how the double standard effects females. When society fails to recognize how men are subject to the same type of abuse, we are probably not directing preventative measures in an efficient way. This issue does not seem likely to change, as many males are fearful of sharing their experiencing and making others comfortable with sharing theirs.

  2. Sumo: First, where is the quote from in the middle of your post? Please remember to cite all your quotes with author and page number (or url if it is from an online source). I think it is interesting that you, tazam, and the block, are all surprised and or frustrated by the lack of focus on men as survivors of sexual assault and rape. Why do you think, in our culture, this might be? What do we now know about masculinity, gender socialization, homophobia and silence that might help us to understand this situation better?

    • I added the origins of the quote, hopefully correctly.

      I think I saw male rape more as a surprise and was disgusted at the rapists, although my blog may have shown frustration. As you mentioned before, rape definitely has a component of power involved. So I think common thinking is that women are generally weaker than men and sometimes rape cannot be prevented. If a man is raped, it shows weakness. In some cultures it is viewed that he can’t protect himself, so how can he be expected to protect his family.

      As “The Effects of Rape on Men” mentioned, homophobia plays a role because some think that if a male is gay, the rapist is just giving the victim what he wants. Men are a little more hesitant to admit they have been raped because “they think they will receive negative treatment, be disbelieved, or blamed for their assault” as Walker, et al mentioned.

      • Sumo: thank for the follow up. The male rapist just giving a gay man “what he wants” sounds real similar to a male rapist justifying a rape/sexual assault of a woman who really just “wanted it.” Don’t you think?

        • I didn’t realize the parallel, but I definitely see the similarities. I see a slight difference between male and female rape, I think it is heavily based on how I read the experiences- not necessarily a correct opinion.

          It seems that a majority of male rape occurs with homosexual males by ex partners, although the homosexual males who are raped by heterosexual males seem to be the most graphic. The rapists do it due to disagreement of homosexuality and with the aim of inflicting pain. I usually see a quote associated with the rape, something along the lines of “I was just giving him what he wants”. Although there are many factors involved with this, it seems that opposition to homosexuality is more prominent than the idea of power.

          The same can be said for rape among women. No doubt that women experience violent episodes of rape too, and no women deserves to be raped based off the clothing she wears, her demeanor, or walking alone at an odd hour. I see it differently because I don’t feel like male rapists think the girl is asking for it. I think the men are honestly just recluse/ horny and using their strength to meet their needs. I guess this is a bad way to put it because it undermines rape among females, but it was more of the impression I got from personal stories and the in class articles.

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