Jul. 17th, 2011

stephiny: (fuck it)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/17/the-rape-of-men

This isn't the most unbiased article ever, but it is still an essential read.

I made the mistake of reading the comments, some of which were removed very quickly. There are still a lot of people that seem to think that men can't be raped. There are people who think that organisations that support female rape victims should never do anything for men. They say that women worked together to create these organisations so men should do the same.

I don't entirely disagree. Men need to do something. But the women forming these organisations work in a culture where it's thought that to be female is to be a potential victim, because it's something that men do to women. Men are big scary predators, women must band together blah blah blah.

I'm not for one instant saying that all of that isn't great, but it makes it even harder for men to come forward and get help.

1. Who do they turn to when the only places that suport rape victims are women only spaces?

2. Who will believe them in a society that believes only women are ever raped?

3. How can a man, who many see as a potential rapist, actually be the victim of rape?

It's the third point that is the most important. In most cases, rape is primarily about power. In a society with strong gender roles such as those mentioned in this article, it is an attempt to make a man less of a man. Where strength and power is valued and vulnerability is seen as a female trait, to admit to being raped will strip a man of his masculinity and of his place in society. When even rape crisis centers turn men away, I would argue that it is even more devestating in many cases than when it happens to a woman.

Whether in Uganda or England, I imagine men being less likely than women to band together to develop support for male rape victims because it's seen as something that only happens to women. A man who is raped is seen as weak, not good enough, not man enough. When being a man means being strong and powerful, why would anyone want to be associated with providing support?

...this is somewhat lacking in coherency, but I hope everyone gets the gist of what I'm trying to say.

tl;dr - Perceptions need to change. Stigma needs to be reduced. Male rape victims should not have to have such a hard time coming forward. In the meantime, centers dealing with female rape victims need to also offer some kind of support for males.

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stephiny

July 2011

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