Rape Has No Gender: Can Men be raped too?
40% of boys are made sexually active (mostly against their will) before the age of fourteen (14) according to a recent survey, mostly by older sexually active female housemaids, elementary grade teachers or relatives. I remember very well-known cases of Debbie LaFaye, who got two years of HOUSE ARREST for raping a fourteen-year-old boy in Florida, or sexual offender Mary Kay LeTourneau. LeTourneau dated and slept with her sixth grade student, though after she was caught, ended up being charged with statutory rape and sentenced to seven years in prison after she committed the crime again following her release from a five (5) month sentence. As young teens growing up, I remember a close friend of mine was gang raped by a triumvirate of his girlfriend’s sister, cousin & one of the sister’s friends. The case never saw the light of day as the perpetrators and observers alike claimed it was consensual and it was quite ‘awkward’ to believe that a guy/man/male could be raped. This had a really dampening effect on his ego & psyche afterwards although the case died down.
Will the Men then talk about it? “men cannot be overly emotional” [including with family], “men don’t cry”, “men have to be tough”, “Men are the boss”, “Men have to be strong”, are phrases that are definitely going to be on every male’s mind after they have been assaulted. These universally-known stigmas, foolish or not, hold validity within people in a psychological sense, primarily those involving the physical dominance of men, will leave men at an extreme risk to be subjected to ridicule if they voice their victimization. According to David Lisak, psychiatrist specializing in sexual abuse, who interviewed several male rape victims for a study and addressed the consequences of this, explaining, “Helplessness emerged in men’s need for control. Many of the men struggled to acknowledge to themselves that they were in fact abused and that the abuse had greatly affected them” (Lisak). These stigmas on men definitely contribute to the lack of support for men and the underreported amount of male victims. According to Mic Hunter in The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse, “A review of several national studies put the prevalence of sexual abuse in males at between 2.5% and 16%. If the rate of abuse is constant from year to year, than at least 46,000 – 92,000 boys under the age of thirteen (13) are sexually abused each year in the United States alone” (Hunter). Jim Hopper, a psychologist who has researched sexual abuse for 15 years, states on his website “Approximately one in six boys is sexually abused before age 16” (Hopper). Given these numbers, this is clearly a topic needing to be addressed just as the topic of female victims needs to be addressed. Just because there are less male victims doesn’t mean they aren’t valid as well.
According to Adrienne Sere, a respected feminist activist, on the topic of rape, she states;”Yet if the argument that men are rapist by nature is taken seriously, the only reasonable conclusion is that women should immediately get away from, and indeed, organize against those who pose an extreme irresolvable danger to their lives and sexual integrity” (Sere). Though Sere’s quote has validity and expresses her opinion reasonably, her argument is based solely on male perpetrators and female victims, which offers justifiable reason to identify her statement as a form of gender bias. Luckily, in today’s western societies, awareness, support, self-defense classes, books, and assortment of resources are widespread available to educated victimized and non-victimized women alike. Additionally, modern technology has offered scientific tools to identify a rape victim and offer evidence for the conviction of their attackers. What must be noted here is that these technologies can identify a rape victim, no gender specified, and yet these resources are directly solely for women. Factually and inevitably, any person can become a perpetrator, male or female, and therefore any person can be a victim regardless of gender and therefore these resources must be available for both genders. Of course there is no question and never will be any question that the majority of victims are women. Still, though women are the primary victims of rape, men also comprise a significant portion of rape victims and the lack of awareness and support offered is alarming and most importantly, unacceptable.
How can he be raped when he is NOT erect?
Erections = Consent (i.e. you can’t rape a wet noodle). Anyone spouting this nonsense clearly failed, or didn’t take elementary biology. Erections can be forced quite easily and unexpectedly. Many men can attest to embarrassing incidents that involved the appearance of an unwanted erection. A simple touch can result in involuntary stimulation. While some men may have difficulty maintaining an erection after consuming several alcoholic drinks, this is hardly universal. Further, most healthy men experience erections while asleep and often upon waking up (James Landrith).
Contrary to the science and personal experiences of many male rape survivors, there are plenty of people who simply cannot grasp the concept of an involuntary erection. It is almost understandable that SO MANY women believe this nonsense to the degree that some will outright mock male survivors with this myth. The truth is, They don’t have penises and as a result, this must all seem so simple in their heads. Really, I understand that. However, there are also a large number of morons who have no clue how their own penises work and just LOVE to broadcast that ignorance when they come across stories about male rape survivors.
What do we do?
Rape is a psychological destabilizing experience and shouldn’t be taken lightly; however, we should learn to create campaigns against rape for all, male, female, young and old. By so doing, we encourage people to understand more about it, less girls will hide under this guise & prejudice should gradually be killed. We all have a role to play.