Rape support group ‘ignoring male victims’

I thought this article would be worth reading:

HE WAS 25 years old when he left his home in Dumfries and moved in with relatives in Derby in England. There, he was subjected to a brutal and sustained rape at the hands of his own uncle and his uncle’s son, his cousin.

Alan X, who has asked not to be named, is just one of many campaigners and victims who are demanding that Rape Crisis, the national organisation which helps and protects vulnerable survivors of sexual assault, start to recognise that men can be victims of rape too.

Alan X’s experiences are not that uncommon, whether they happen in Scotland or in America. Many rape support services simply do not and often will not provide services to male victims. Often times those men and boys remain silent and try to deal with it on their own, some turning to drugs and alcohol, others turning to self-harm and suicide. While that is not unique to male victims, the sad fact is that male victims do not turn to those things simply because of shame, but because they generally do not have any other options. As more men and boys come forward, the reality of the frequency of male rape and the sexism fueling the rape support community comes to light.

For those who tend to object whenever someone says that rape crisis services regularly discriminate against male victims, the article goes on to say:

Director Iraina McGroarty said the centre has not been a member of the national Rape Crisis network since it was asked to leave several years ago, following a dispute about its decision to offer support to men. None of its current female users has objected to men using their Dumfries counselling suites.

“The Rape Crisis network does not currently support men and we are not their partners,” says McGroarty. “The service for men across Scotland is patchy. We can’t apply for full membership because we support men.” She says she wants full membership as that could lead to “better and more secure funding. People are aware that rape and sexual violence isn’t just a women’s issue.”

Just to reiterate the point, when McGroarty decided that the South West Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre should provide services for male victims, the center was kicked out of the national Rape Crisis network.

Of course, no blatantly and ironically sexist act would be complete without the obligatory explanation as to why it is perfectly acceptable to deny services to men and boys who were raped:

Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland’s national co-ordinator, said: “Rape Crisis Scotland operates a membership structure, and currently our full membership is open only to local rape crisis centres working with women. But we are in the process of exploring associate membership to enable centres which aren’t full members to be part of our organisation.

“We fully support the valuable work carried out by centres such as South West Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre.”

At least she did not contradict herself in the same sentence.

I find it somewhat difficult to believe that Brindley values McGroarty’s work when she will not allow McGroarty’s organization to be part of the national network solely because McGroarty assists male victims. McGroarty did not demand others to follow her lead or suggest that she would cease to help female victims or claimed to provide services to rapists. All McGroarty did was offer assistance to male victims and apparently just doing that crosses some politically correct rape-crisis line. Brindley’s response is so disgusting and idiotic that it is practically laughable in the same way that blatantly racist cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s are to my generation.

That is, until one is confronted with what male victims go through. Then it is not so funny, at least not to people who be disturbed by Brindley’s comments:

Alan X left his home when his parents shunned him for being gay. “The attack was on the Saturday after I moved in and there was no communication while it happened,” he said. “I was trapped and waited until I could get out of the house.

“I left all my belongings and was re-housed by a Christian charity. I couldn’t tell my parents because they had pushed me out for being gay. I was on diazepam and couldn’t go out or work because the attack constantly preyed on my mind.

“I attended the Crichton Hospital in Dumfries, which offers help for people with psychological problems, but I took an overdose. They didn’t know how to deal with me.”

He was put in touch with the South West Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre in Dumfries – which is not part of the national Rape Crisis network. It is one of the few organisations to really help male rape victims. Alan says he “would never have approached them myself because I thought it was for women. What I like about coming here is all the staff are female. I don’t trust men and wouldn’t contact a local gay organisation for help.”

So much for the very common “If men need help they should just go to gay organizations” theory. It is worth noting that while many men and boys do not trust men and do not want to discuss their experiences with other men, the opposite is also very true. Many men and boys do not trust women and do not want to discuss their experiences with them.

Setting that aside, for those who try their hardest to help male victims, it is people like Brindley that they have to deal with, people who resort to dodging the point rather than addressing it. Unfortunately, people like Brindley cannot be argued with. There is no amount of information, statistics or telling them about a man’s or boy’s rape that will change their minds. So despite all the claims that such things do not happen, that it is the evil men’s rights movement making up lies, that it is only a small subset of minority of micro group of people who think that lowly of male victims, there you have it. A very prominent support organization openly and shamelessly denies services to male victims because of an obviously sexist view that is attributable to only one political movement.

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9 thoughts on “Rape support group ‘ignoring male victims’

  1. Another problem is that hetero male survivors of male sex crime may not trust any other males, particularly not gay males.

  2. That is often very true. Many male victims associate their rapists’ actions with homosexuality, so going to gay organizations for help would be for then like going into the lion’s den.

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  4. I remember how difficult it was being open for me, especially in the religious communities. 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.

    Guys are afraid of being labeled as gay if they divulge their secret. We have built this false image of manhood in our society that doesn’t allow men to hurt or be victims. This crazy image does more harm than good.

    However, I believe it’s important as a survivor to stand and help represent others. They need our help.

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

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