Male rape victims in Uganda speak out

Originally posted on May 17, 2013

I have written before about rape against men in war-torn African countries. Despite the seriousness of the issue, few human rights organizations pay any attention to male rape survivors. Few countries have support services for them, the cultural attitude towards male survivors is highly negative, and the international opinion is that war-time rape is something only men do to only women.

However, there is an effort to change that perception in Uganda:

There remains no reliable statistics indicating how widespread the crime of rape is in Africa’s conflict areas. A non-government organization providing legal aid to asylum seekers and refugees in Uganda is spearheading a project to reach out to men who have been raped.

Chris Dolan, director of the Refugee Law Project, explained the numbers of men experiencing rape are much higher than anticipated.

“We started talking to a handful of male survivors from one of the settlements and they started to meet up and now they have close to 60 members – all within the space of just three months,” Dolan told DW.

Those 60 men are not the only male survivors. They are simply the ones willing to attend the support group. Many more men do not want to go to the group, likely because of situations like this: Continue reading

You’re Not Helping v.24

Here is a perfect example of why the politically-minded should stay out of conversations about sexual violence against men and boys:

The Bryan Singer Allegations: Let’s Talk About White Male Privilege, Not Gay Culture

I wrote about the accusations against Singer earlier this week. An actor named Michael Egan accused Singer of drugging and raping him 15 years ago. Egan was 17 at the time. The actor’s allegation is that Singer took at advantage of his position in Hollywood to manipulate and abuse the young man. The allegations appear to have nothing to do with gay culture, let alone “white male privilege.”

Zachary Tallis, however, has a different opinion. He starts with this statement:

Let’s get two things clear. Number one, Bryan Singer has been accused of the repeated anal rape of a child. Number two, none of us can say whether or not he is guilty.

Yes, let us get two things clear. One, Singer has been accused of raping a 17-year-old boy. While I agree a 17-year-old is a minor and not necessarily fully mature, he is a not child. Two, Tallis is correct that none of us can say whether Singer is guilty or not, which makes his rant about “white male privilege” all the more curious. Continue reading

‘X-Men’ Director Bryan Singer accused of abuse

Michael Egan filed a lawsuit in Hawaii accusing director Bryan Singer of using drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements” to rape and exploit him:

Defendant, BRYAN JAY SINGER, manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries. Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.

According to the suit, the alleged abuse occurred 15 years ago during 1998 and 1999:

Egan was an aspiring actor and aged 17 at the time of the alleged assaults by Singer. The alleged assaults occurred in California, where the age of consent is 18, and in Hawaii, where it is 16, but as Egan is claiming he did not consent to any of the acts, his age at the time is not central to the matter.

The law firm representing Egan also contends that another man, convicted sex offender Marc Collins-Rector, groomed Egan, thereby making it easier for Singer to take advantage of him: Continue reading

Robert Kirkman responds to Invincible #110 reaction

Writer Robert Kirkman gave an interview with Comic Book Resources concerning the recent issue of Invincible. When asked about the graphic rape scene depicted in the comic, Kirkman answered:

It’s definitely a hectic time in Mark’s life, there’s definitely a lot going on with Robot trying to take over the world, and I’m just trying to throw Mark Grayson — the main character of this book — into the worst possible situation he’s ever been in so we can see where he comes out on the other side and whether he manages to retain his sanity in the process. We’re really putting Mark through his paces.

Also, it’s just another attempt to bring something that’s a bad part of real life into a superhero world and analyze the ramifications of something like this happening to someone in superhero comics. It’s a great medium to be able to deal with real-world issues against a fantastic backdrop that is completely unreal and see how those differences in the situation change how characters behave. It’s really all about exploring Mark’s character, and I can say it’s a very hard scene to read, and it’s meant to be that way. There will be far-reaching ramifications coming from this moment that will extend throughout the life of the book for years and years and years. It’s definitely a huge turning point in Mark’s life and it’s something that’s going to temper almost every scene with that guy moving forward. Issue #110 was a monumental issue as far as the run of the book goes.

Continue reading

Comic books, sales, and rape

Invincible #110 features an uncommon scene in comics: the rape of the main male character. In the issue, Mark Grayson, Invincible, is attacked and raped by a female character. The scene is graphic. While nothing adult is shown, there is no question that the woman physically overpowers and forcibly rapes Invincible in order to get pregnant by him. When finished, she then retorts that Invincible should “Man up. It’ll probably take a few more times. I’ll see you soon.”

I do not read the comic, but I am familiar with the general plot of the story. My understanding is that the female character is part of the same alien, Kryptonian-like race as Grayson, which explains why she is able to physically overpower him. What makes the scene unique is that it does not shy away from showing a woman doing what people usually assume a man would do. The scene does not appear to be played for comedy.

It is unclear how people will react to this. I suspect that a number of fans will take is a Grayson wanting it deep down. Some may take it as a male role-reversal fantasy (this seems the more likely feminist take), while others may find it genuinely disturbing. Continue reading

The Code of Silence

Originally posed on May 21, 2013

Over the last week, sexual violence in the military received much media attention. This partly came out of two people in charge of handling sexual assault investigations facing their own charges of sexual assault. It also came from President Obama speaking about the issue during a press conference.

Yet one aspect of this scandal remains unspoken: men make up the majority of the victims. Look at the coverage of this topic, and one sees numerous discussions about protecting women, but little mention of protecting men. One hears from women who survived assaults, but not from men. Yes, occasionally someone will remember that “men can be victims too.” Yet that afterthought does not linger long, and soon the conversation goes back to women.

This is not to say that women do not face legitimate risks. It is absurd to think that servicewomen in the field will refrain from eating and drinking at night so they will not need to use the latrine and risk assault. Yet it is equally absurd to think that the majority of the victims of these assaults would go unmentioned because they are male.

Nevertheless:

More military men than women are sexually abused in the ranks each year, a Pentagon survey shows, highlighting the underreporting of male-on-male assaults.

When the Defense Department released the results of its anonymous sexual abuse survey this month and concluded that 26,000 service members were victims in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, an automatic assumption was that most were women. But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon.

The statistics show that, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel begins a campaign to stamp out “unwanted sexual contact,” there are two sets of victims that must be addressed.

“It appears that the DOD has serious problems with male-on-male sexual assaults that men are not reporting and the Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about,” Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness.

Continue reading

“One man’s sexual assault is another man’s sexual fantasy come true”

Originally posted on April 9, 2013

“Sexual assault, you say? Lucky guy others say, nudge-nudge, a fivesome and didn’t even have to pay for it.”

Rosie DiManno of The Star wrote that in response to a recent gang rape of a young man. According to reports, four women offered a 19-year-old young man a ride home after they left a club. The women, reportedly all in their 30s, instead took turns sexually assaulting the young man in a parking lot. They then drove off in a Honda SUV.

That is a fairly straightforward report. Here is how DiManno put it: Continue reading