When it comes to sexual assault, people tend to see men as creatures who abuse and not like people who too can get abused. We have heard of several hundreds and thousands of rape cases and sexual harassment cases where males emerge out as culprits. But, how many of the male harassment cases have been brought into the light? Now, you might ask, “Well, do men even get raped or sexually harassed?” According to Wikipedia, “the CDC(Centers for Disease Control) found in the 2012 data that 1.715 million (up from 1.267 million in 2010)reported being “made to penetrate” another person in the preceding 12 months, similar to the 1.473million (2010: 1.270million) women who reported being raped in the same time period. The definitions of rape and “made to penetrate” in the CDC study were worded with extremely similar language hinting that the victims were forced to or attempt to sexually penetrate someone (of either sex), either by physical force or coercion or when the victim was intoxicated or otherwise unable to consent.”
There are some cases when men speak up about being a victim of rape, as in the 1993 American made-for-television drama film ‘Men Don’t tell’. The film was based on the true story of a loving husband who is terrorized by the violent behavior of his wife. In real life, male victims find it difficult to report the incident as the rape of men is still taboo. The sexual orientation of males is judged, and they are labeled as “non-masculine” when males get raped.
In a society with strong masculine culture, it gets difficult for men to report abuse. Even if few accumulate courage to report the crime, they are not taken seriously, or they are not provided with justice because of trivial, unreasonable facts just like the recent case in Neal. A man was raped in the Jhapa district of Nepal. However, police have released the suspect stating that there is no particular law for male rape in Nepal. As absurd as it sounds, the case wasn’t even taken as an ‘unnatural rape case’ because the victim has to be minor to be categorized in the same category.
There certainly are more cases of men getting raped than what gets reported. But, if the responsible
authority doesn’t use its wiseness to take the correct steps for justice of the people, every tad bit of courage the man came up with, every tad bit of hope the man had to get justice will get crumbled. Since only a small percentage of acts of sexual violence are brought to the attention of the authorities, nobody will have the guts to speak up against abuse once a similar case gets adjourned without the victim getting justice.
I think it is important to recognize one’s power, one’s capacities, and one’s dreams. We were actually talking about this in the last men’s group we had. We were talking about these dreams they had as kids and how they just disappeared. They just seemed like they couldn’t even be followed anymore. So for me, that’s a loss of power. That’s a loss of their power; their own belief that they control their world. But they need to understand that their actions matter.
― Robert Uttaro, To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence
International Journal of Men’s Health, Vol 6, No 1, Spring 2007 stated that “Male victims received more ancillary injuries and were more likely to be threatened with a weapon by the perpetrator.” The symptoms and injuries most frequently noted are tension headaches, ulcers, nausea, colitis, abrasions to the throat, black eyes, and broken bones. The study by Stermac and colleagues (2004) noted that 45% of male survivors who went to a hospital sexual assault center had some type of physical injury (25% soft tissue injury, 20% lacerations). The data from hospital emergency rooms show that male rape victims are more likely to have non-genital injuries than females and that they are more likely to neglect seeking medical attention if the injuries are not significant. Hodge and Canter (1998) reported that homosexual male victims are more likely to sustain serious injuries than heterosexual male victims. Sometimes victims become infected by a sexually transmitted disease as the result of rape, but it is infrequent and includes only a small portion of male victims.”
Elizabeth Donovan, a psychotherapist, stated that males have the added burden of facing a society that does not believe that rape can happen to them at all. Civil law countries like the USA, Canada also attempted to make their rape laws more gender-neutral so that it includes men also.
The Definition of rape as per (United States Department of Justice, 2012) is:
“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.
In Scotland, the “Sexual Offenses (Scotland) Act, 2009” brought serious changes in their rape laws and redefined it as:
The intentional or reckless penetration of the penis (to any extent) into the vagina, anus or mouth of another person, without that person consenting and without any reasonable belief that consent was obtained.
In this definition gender-specific term “women” was replaced by “person” to include male victims in the ambit of definition. Despite the changes made by these countries, there are still some countries, (like Nepal, India, Pakistan), where rape is continued to be seen as a gendered crime.
Article Credit: Aarya Risal
Aarya is currently pursuing her higher education at Adarsha Vidhya Mandir (AVM) in grade XII. The author has a keen interest in writing about contemporary issues, and she is good at expressing her writing to convey a good message to the viewers.