Being a Man: 303

A few weeks ago I posted about the backlash James Landrith received when Dr. Helen wrote about his experiences. I happened onto a feminist post that was surprisingly sympathetic towards male victims of rape:

When I read what happened to James Landrith one of the things that really made me pause is the realization of the way that I have gendered the victim in my mind. Before reading his account yesterday, I never once thought to write about male victims of sexual violence. In my mind they (read: males) were the evil enemy, and not the ally for which I should weep tears of compassion, and solidarity with. I have experienced true shame since realizing this truth about myself. I am 100% against rape, and yet I created a group of victims as invisible, and thus marginalized, and ignored their experiences. Thank you for sharing James, you have opened my eyes in many ways.

One of the greatest fallacies with my reasoning was the thought that because a man had to get an erection to penetrate a woman, he must of have enjoyed it on some level. I am so ashamed to admit to this as I have often fought against this same sort of stereotype when it comes to womens physiological reactions towards rape. Getting an erection, or ejaculating during a rape is not an indication of pleasure, it is an involuntary physiological reaction. To those that think as I once did the following statistics will be eye opening.

It has been my position for some time now that the best way to change people’s opinions about male victims is not badger them into agreeing or shame them into silence but to simply allow boys and men to share their experiences. If a person is reasonable and objective then the person should have little trouble considering male rape victims as being equally victimized and traumatized as female victims.

While the initial post was supportive of male victims, some of the comments on the thread are not as open-minded. There is still the issue of relegating male victimization into the realm of “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too” or the “It’s Your Own Fault” category. Unfortunately, the blogger also falls into that trope. As I have said many times, part of the reason boys and men do not come forward is because they will blamed for what happened. What the blogger and some of the posters do is essentially blame male victims for their rapes and then (rather ironically) claim that those boys and men somehow benefit from it via the “Patriarchy.”

Like James, I think some of the comments on that thread are condescending, dismissive, contradictory and hypocritical. I find it somewhat sad that while the blogger was willing to challenge her gendered view of rape, that challenge could not withstand her strongly held preconceived notions about how rape works, who can be harmed by rape or why rape occurs. Like many other feminists, the blogger and some of her posters fall back on male privilege as a means of — unfortunately — trivializing and dismissing male rape as essentially unimportant in comparison to women’s experiences.

That said, I still believe that a reasonable, objective person should have little trouble considering male rape victims as being equally victimized and traumatized as female victims and acknowledging that politically-motivated theories have little to do with why women and men rape.

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7 thoughts on “Being a Man: 303

  1. You totally misinterpreted my comments…final thoughts yes male rape I firmly believe that more support is needed for male victims of rape. They have my fullest sympathy as I believe that no one should be the subject of any kind of violence. What I will not over look for even one minute is the fact that men are still the ones doing the majority of the raping. Having sympathy for the victims should not out way attacking the perpetrators of violence. It would seem to me that if MRA’s were truly interested in addressing male rape they would reach out and encourage other men to stop raping. Not everything is the fault of feminism you know. At least women are making an attempt to address male violence which is more than I can say for most men.

  2. What I will not over look for even one minute is the fact that men are still the ones doing the majority of the raping.

    Technically, one can only state that men make up the majority of the reported rapists. Female-on-female remains a taboo, so few women come forward. Female-on-male abuse gets treated as a ‘rite of passage’, so few males are willing to come forward either. When they do, females make up about 40% of male victims’ abusers. It is certainly possible that women only abuse males and only do so in infinitesimal numbers, but not very likely. We know that women commit the majority of reported child abuse, they initiate the majority of reported domestic violence assaults and commit relatively the same amount of domestic violence (largely unreported) as men according to various studies. Given that and our generally incomplete picture of sexual abuse, it would be inaccurate to state for certain that men commit the majority of rape.

    It would seem to me that if MRA’s were truly interested in addressing male rape they would reach out and encourage other men to stop raping.

    I am not a MRA. However, stopping men from raping would only stop half the sexual violence committed against men and boys. I want to stop all sexual violence against males, so I will not ignore, downplay or dismiss violence committed by women. If feminists find my focus on the least discussed perpetrators of sexual violence offensive, I think that is a fair exchange for preventing rape and sexual violence against males.

    At least women are making an attempt to address male violence which is more than I can say for most men.

    That is great. The next step is for women, particularly feminists, to address female violence. If done with the same fervor applied to male violence, perhaps it might reduce the rate in which women emotionally, physically and sexually abuse others, particularly children.

  3. As I travel conducting Healing Broken Men workshops for other men of faith men dealing with the aftermath of the sexual abuse, I’m not often surprised with the challenges of being vocal on this taboo subject.

    I think the important point is that sexual abuse devastates and affects many. I find the main issue for me in my work to be helping other men break the silence and heal. In so doing it increases exposure to a buried issue and educates more people to the reality of this travesty.

    Thomas Edward, life coach and author of
    Healing A Man’s Heart

  4. Pingback: On Being « Toy Soldiers

  5. “…that because a man had to get an erection to penetrate a woman, he must of have enjoyed it on some level.”

    i agree, an example is when your asleep you can get an erection without even thinking about anything sexual.

  6. Like too many people, I once believed that males couldn’t be victims/survivors and that females couldn’t be abusers. I don’t remember all the statistics and stories that awakened my sympathy, but here are some:

    girlwriteswhat’s blog post on male rape in the Congo:

    http://owningyourshit.blogspot.com/2012/08/transcript-of-are-vaginas-in-house.html

    Lloyd deMause’s writings on child abuse in history. He says that “The further back in history one goes–and the further away from the West one gets–the more massive the neglect and cruelty one finds and the more likely children are to have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers.” It doesn’t take a genius to conjecture that much of this neglect and cruelty was committed by female caretakers, i.e. mothers, especially when the victims are very young children. In fact, it has become obvious to me that most infanticides throughout history were probably committed by the mother.

    http://www.psychohistory.com/
    http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/05_history.html
    http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/06a1_incest.html
    http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/02_whymalesaremoreviolent.html

    The heartbreaking experiences of male survivor W.R.R/AsAshesScatter:

    http://goodmenproject.com/author/w-r-r/
    http://asashesscatter.com/

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