Fun fact: Males cannot, in a court of law, accuse a woman of raping them. A shockingly short while ago a man could only press charges against another man for sexual assault or “non-consensual buggery” but he could not be recognised as a rape victim – not by the court and, in a knock on effect, not by the world either. Legally, at present a woman cannot rape because she lacks the “equipment” to carry out this act. This isn’t just contemptible towards the male victims of both woman on man rape and man on man rape, but it enforces the belief that women are victims and that rape against a woman is normalised. How exactly is a man able to get support or speak out against sex crimes made against them? They aren’t…and the proof of this lies in the fact that a mere 3.9% of “male sexual assaults” were reported in the UK between 2010 and 2014 while police reports show that male rape had risen by 87% nationally in 2014. A CPS report showed that 16,000 prosecutions were made where the victim was male and was instead identified as a female in the report – more proof that people think of rape as a woman’s issue.
The most despicable part of this is that men and boys are known to be targeted specifically by sexual predators for the simple fact that society and crippling pressures of the patriarchy are more likely to keep them silent about their ordeal. Men who are assaulted and raped by women are often treated as a joke, other men seem to have this disbelief that he could possibly not want those advances. Underage boys have been targeted by teachers and other figures of authority and their peers do not see this as abuse but rather some sort of fantasy come true. If someone does not want your sexual advances then you simply need to step off – especially if they aren’t old enough to make informed decisions about their sex life – regardless of gender, age, sexuality or preconceived notions about that person. Men are still capable of feeling fear, shame, hurt and insecurity no matter how much the media tells them they shouldn’t and it’s high time society begins allowing people to feel their emotions instead of burying them away just to make us more comfortable.
As a feminist I often encounter arguments made against me inferring that I must hate men, must not care about men or men’s rights simply because I often use my voice to speak out for women. This is absolutely not the case, I am fighting for fairness for everybody because the patriarchy hurts everybody –especially men. Why? Because the patriarchy not only speaks FOR men, but also dictates what makes a man and unfortunately what it wants in a man is much the same as what it wants from a woman: to stay silent and just to get on with it.
It breaks my heart to think that my boyfriend, father, brother or any one of my male friends could suffer an ordeal like sexual violence and feel like they have no choice but to remain silent. I can’t bear the idea that they would be doubted, laughed at and even experience more violence for opening up about it, that they might take it to their grave for fear of the above. I ask of anybody reading this to please be considerate, if you catch yourself thinking something like “yeah right, he probably loved it” or “but how could it be rape if he had an erection” or something similar – stop, drop and educate yourself instead of imparting that doubt onto the victims of sex crimes. I like to think nobody I know would take it further than that internal dialogue; but even this is harmful. Collectively, we all need to be better with this stuff, we all need to show compassion to create a more tolerant and caring society, to create a society that says no, that doesn’t allow this to happen or the perpetrators to walk free.
For any men out there who have been through something like this, there are a lot of growing resources out there that can help you. Check out Survivors UK – a leading charity that caters specifically to men and boys.
Transpeople now have better services for rape and sexual assault – I can only speak as a cis woman but this Guide for Trans Sufferers of Sexual Violence is full of information and LGBT Foundation in general is an incredible resource.
LGBT help resource Galop have a lot of LGBT specific information about sexual offenses and the law.