Sexual Abuse of Men by Women is Underreported - BRIGID Magazine

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sexual Abuse of Men by Women is Underreported

Image: Andrew Neel
When we hear the word "rape" we tend to imagine that the victim is a woman and the perpetrator is a man. But a surprising number of men are victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated by women.

Men who are raped by women are less likely to report their experiences than women who are raped by men. Sexual assault is underreported by both groups.

"Rape of males is still taboo, and has a negative connotation among both heterosexual and homosexual men. ... It is difficult for a male victim, heterosexual or gay, to report the sexual assault that was experienced by him, especially in a society with a strong masculine custom," according to Wikipedia.  

Widespread myths that keep men from speaking out about female-on-male rape and other forms of sexual assault include:

  1. Males are not vulnerable or cannot be victims of rape.
    Many cultures teach that showing sadness or pain is unacceptable in boys and men, or that these are signs of weakness. Also, due to harmful stereotypes about masculinity, males are thought to be able to protect themselves. This blinds us to the fact that female perpetrators of rape may be physically larger or stronger than their male victims, they may be in positions of authority, and/or may use powerful forms of coercion. Many female perpetrators also use weapons against male victims.
  2. Males always want sex and must be aroused if they are able to get an erection.
    In reality, males do not always want sex. Males can experience erections even when they are not sexually aroused. An erection does NOT equal consent to sex. Even slight physical stimulation can cause an involuntary erection.
  3. Males are less traumatized by sexual assault and abuse in general.
    Males are just as traumatized by sexual assault as females, and may feel more pressure to internalize their pain and hide experiences of female-on-male assault. Some studies show that male victims of sexual assault experience more anger than female victims immediately following the trauma.
  4. Male rape victims are lucky.
    When a boy or man tries to speak out about abuse they've experienced at the hands of a woman, they might be met by responses indicating that he should feel lucky or that he has "scored". This may lead to further silencing instead of reporting the assault.

Image: Kiêt Hí 
According to researchers at Lancaster University, the most frequent strategy used by women to force men to have sex with them is blackmail and threats. More than one fifth of men who completed an online survey reported experiencing this type of rape strategy by women.

The next most common strategy used by women to force men to have sex with them is use of force -- with body weight, restraint, or use of a weapon.

Most female perpetrators were well-known to the male victims in the Lancaster University study, and were often an acquaintance or friend. Just over half of the men experienced rape by a wife or girlfriend.

"Whilst the sample size of 154 may be smaller than typically expected, this must be considered in the context of an issue that is under-reported and under-discussed," says principal investigator, Siobhan Weare. "The 'hidden-hidden' nature of this crime and the 'complex' gender dynamics involved means that huge numbers of survey participants were highly unlikely -- not because this isn't happening to men -- but because many are made to feel too ashamed or feel too distressed to report it."

This article was originally published here.

by Kristen Hovet
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