Before I begin, I realize that this title will likely attract the attention of people who will find it to be frustrating at the very least. Also, be aware that this may not be a post you’ll want your little kids reading. Mom, you may want to bypass this one.
I know for a fact that my husband will, likely as not, be triggered by this post. I should also mention that I won’t be putting any pictures in this one. There’s a good chance it would be more triggering with them than without them.
I want to talk about rape.
Not just any rape, either. I want to talk about men as victims and women as victimizers.
Now, I’m sure many of you reading this may have just lost interest after that last sentence. However, please, bear with me.
Statistics show that male rape, meaning rape with the male as the victim, is seriously underreported. Why is this? It’s my opinion that much of it has to do with the way we bring up our boys. “A nice boy doesn’t hit a girl,” we say. “Be a man!” we say. “If a man hits you, hit him back.” If a man hits a woman, we gang up on him like he’s a horrible monster. We don’t ever stop to think that she might have hit him first.
Now, I’m betting I have you riled up. You’re all set to descend on the comments section, enmasse and blow it up with angry words because you think I’m stepping out in support of “rape culture”. Before you do, stop a second.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) about 3% of American men (1 in 33) have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. In 2003, one in every ten rape victims was male. Do you know how many men 3% is? According to RAINN, 2.78 million. The odds are pretty good that the real number is much higher.
Now, I’ll wager that you’re thinking, as so many of us often do, that, as men and women are so fundamentally different, it’s physically impossible for a woman to rape a man. The problem with this is the belief that a man can “shut down” an erection if he doesn’t feel like having sex; that a man cannot become erect if he doesn’t desire to become erect. This has led to the erroneous belief that a man can’t have heterosexual intercourse without his consent. This is as ridiculous as the claim that women can “shut down” a pregnancy when she is the victim of a “legitimate rape.”
I wish to quote another blogger verbatim here. “Interestingly, being ‘made to penetrate’ is not legally classified as a form of rape. Thus, by this definition, a woman forcing a man to have sex with her is not rape. But if a man commits the same act with an unwilling woman, it is rape. This seems to allow sexual victimization of men by women to be dismissed as less serious than the victimization of women by men, all by definition. To use an analogy, this would be like saying that when a man steals from a woman, it is theft. When a woman steals from a man, it is involuntary lending.”
Thankfully, in 2012, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report made a significant stride by redefining rape as: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
I hope I have your attention by now and that you’re thinking logically. Rape is rape! It shouldn’t matter what gender the victim and the rapist are members of. So why don’t men report it more often? Think about it a second. Just lately, we women have been tossing around the phrase “rape culture” like it means that all men are animals and all women are angels. Intellectually, I’m pretty sure you know that’s not the case. But stereotypically, like on TV and in the movies, the rapist is male and the victim is female. In other words, this is a myth that our sick society supports!
Let’s back up a second. When a woman is raped, how does it leave her feeling? She often feels dirty. She frequently blames herself for what happened to her. If only she had dressed or acted differently around the person who assaulted her, perhaps she wouldn’t have been raped. She may also feel like she is the only one who could possibly understand how she feels. She may even have difficulty becoming physically intimate with a man she actually cares about. Sometimes, her family and friends are no help. In their efforts to understand what happened to her, they may suggest that she did something to provoke her rapist. Frequently, she may even become so depressed that she may seriously consider, attempt, or even carry out suicide.
Male victims typically experience all of these symptoms, plus he may feel the need to become hyper-masculine in order to combat the feeling that he should have fought back against his attacker; that he has, somehow, become less than a man because he didn’t do so.
When a man reports a rape, typically they may hear someone ask them, “were you aroused?” If anyone ever asked a woman that question, that person would be accused of
“supporting rape culture.” Remember what I said earlier? Men don’t have to be interested to get an erection. Sometimes, all it takes is a little physical stimulation. Then, once he’s up, it’s hard for him to get it back down.
Want to read about an actual case? How about this one? It was reported by CNN in 2013. In 1990, a young marine by the name of James Landrith (19 at the time) awoke in a strange bed with a woman straddling him and no recollection of asking her for sex or being asked by her either, for that matter, and having said “yes.” She had claimed she was pregnant and that, should he fight back, he might hurt the baby. He was victimized twice that he remembers.
Now, I’ve read plenty of comments claiming that all men are animals who only care about sex and suggesting that they should all hang their heads in shame because, in nine out of ten rape cases that are reported, the victim is a woman. This is crap, in my opinion. That’s like claiming that women should hang their heads in shame for the invention of high heels.
Also, let’s not forget that rape isn’t about sex. Rape is about violence and dominance and you don’t have to be a man to be violent or dominant. We all know that.
Now, I want to encourage comments, so let me ask you a question. What are your thoughts about some of the things I’ve discussed in this article?