Posted on | July 25, 2009 | 61 Comments
We talk about it less often due to its less common occurrence (and also because many of us who talk about sexual violence are feminists, and therefore focus on specifically women’s issues), but men can be and are raped, too. RAINN estimates that 1 in 33 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and also that 1 in 10 sexual assaults is committed against men. As I generally perceive RAINN’s estimates to be on the conservative side, I also wouldn’t doubt the real figures being higher. And like with women, an appalling number of those assaults take place before the age of 18.
Though the estimates vary, there is no debate that a very significant majority of male rape victims are raped by other men. While gay and bisexual men are more likely to be chosen as victims than straight men — and are often sexually assaulted as a part of a hate crime — straight men also make up a majority of victims. And because of numerous pervasive rape myths — that men can’t be raped, that men always want sex and therefore must have enjoyed the assault, that men should have been able to fight off an attacker, or that being raped by a man makes you gay (tied into society’s general homophobia) — they are also even less likely than female victims to report the attack to police.
Men, of course, experience trauma from rape just as women do. Expecting that they wouldn’t is just buying into the gender stereotypes/myths of women as emotional and men as emotionless. Men, too, experience self-blame, guilt, post-traumatic stress disorder, trust and sexual issues, and rape apologism and dismissal from those who they do tell about the assault. They are, however, even less likely than women to tell anyone at all.