Rape: Not Just For Women

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.

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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.

Women may find Rape Crisis helpful, they specifically tailor their service to women and girls – there are a lot of great resources on there. They also have a Support for Men and Boys page.

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.

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10 thoughts on “Rape: Not Just For Women

      1. Astute has a good point though. A large part of male rape victims continued marginalization is feminists and feminist institutions. The equation becomes a bit nonsensical when the alleged solution is part of the problem. And why focus on worldview preservation anyways?

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      2. I think this generalised perception that anyone using the feminist title is a typical third waver (or second wave pt 2er) and therefore a radical misandrist often gets in the way of my overall message. I actually do strive for true equality and not women>men as opposed to others of my ilk. I imagine the MRA title does the same job in clouding people’s ability to see the point you’re making without the perceived negativity associated with it.

        My main point still stands: I hate the fact that ANYBODY, feminist or not, would deny a rape victim, male female or non binary, the support they deserve. And awareness is key to ending this. Rape culture isn’t restricted to women only in my mind and surely that broader meaning of rape culture could result in positive change? Thanks for reading and sharing your views 😊

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      3. The fact that you use the term ‘patriarchy’ rather than just ‘hierarchy’ indicates that you are a misandrist. The hierarchy that exists in the UK is class-based not gender-based and precious private school educated feminists are in the upper echelons of that hierarchy.

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  1. Now hold up, fevers. I didn’t say ‘anyone using’ or ‘all’. However enough feminists to matter on a global and legislative stage do promote / lobby for things that continue to marginalize male rape victims, that it is indeed accurate to say “feminists and feminist institutions contribute to the marginalization of male rape victims”. I’m not talking a handful of unpopular comments on the ass end of a youtube video or a teenager’s blog post that I’m trying to pass off as representative of a movement. I’m thinking more the organizations self identifying as ‘feminist’ who petition against legislation that would redefine rape as gender neutral (see: Jagori, Saheli, Nirantar); who, under direct feminist influence, relegate male rape victims to ‘other sexual violence’ or ‘made to penetrate’ in their survey data and then exclude them from press releases and other public dialog (see: CDC & Mary Koss); who just generally promote and operate from a male victim / female perpetrator model which is used to dominate (no pun) family law and discussions of intimate partner or sexual violence (see: NOW). A part of this system is most definitely those well meaning feminists who, rather than attacking these institutions that’ve long sullied the name, instead just ignore them or hand wave them away while simultaneously peddling the same snake oil but insisting they’re here to help. Again, it seems a mix up of priorities with emphasis on worldview preservation.

    Now all this said, I do not operate on a label based determinism and thus have no problem collaborating with those whose goals are in the general direction of my own. That is, we are merely debating where the power in defining “feminism” resides, but that is in no way a reflection of your goals and ideas as a “feminist”. I would actually hope that you and others alike encourage more self identifieds to include men in their activism. My criticisms aren’t immutable, and ten years from now the political lobbies attached to the word may have transformed for the better.

    You are correct, there is a lot of baggage attached to the ” MRA” label, however something I’ve noticed is that explicitly anti-mra peeps can never provide me with evidence for their claims about the mrm. And I’m open to criticisms of my own identities…it’s how we grow. But mostly people just throw up ad homs (misogynist, sexist, straight white men wanting power, etc) with zero evidence and not even sniffing at an institutional example.

    I’m glad you don’t mind me rabbling thus far 😀

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    1. No not at all, I appreciate a well structured non ad hom debate and I absolutely agree that there are a lot of feminists out there who are way off in terms of (what I believe) modern feminism is/should be. Unfortunately these are the people who get the most airtime and in my opinion give the rest of us modern feminists a bad name. Thanks for sharing that information about Jagori & co, I wasn’t aware of their work until just now. Pretty shocking stuff I have to admit…

      At the top of my feminist agenda are issues like FGM, corrective rapes, rape laws in the Middle East and closer to home are issues like the gender pay gap and so on, shooting down men’s rights is not one of my aims and shouldn’t be on anybody’s agenda because it just doesn’t help anyone…

      People consider it misandrist that there is a general focus on women’s rights more than men’s but I’d say this is because, worldwide and specifically in the third world, women do not have the same rights as men and there is a clear imbalance – I want that to change. I feel that as a privileged white passing person living in the UK, along with other feminists of the same description, we have the freedom to express these views aloud where others who are more oppressed and actively silenced cannot – and that in doing so we could hopefully inspire change overseas.

      On a personal level I do not engage with the feminists of which you speak, I don’t get involved in feminist spaces where men (or trans folk) are bashed because that negativity towards men isn’t what drives me at all. Admittedly I don’t see this bunch in action too often because I tend to politely disagree with them and just steer clear from radfem spaces as they just call me a traitor and try to derail everything I say. I see a big divide in feminism and unfortunately neither of us are willing to give up the label for the better.

      On the other hand it’s worth noting that you are probably the first MRA I’ve been able to have an enjoyable conversation with where there’s been no inflammatory comments, insults or a burning desire to explain to me why I’m wrong and you’re right (looking at you astute) this is simply an exchange of information and views and I really do appreciate that. Perhaps I’ve just been unlucky in this respect.

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