As rare as the discussion of male rape is in the West, it is more rare to hear it mentioned elsewhere. The stigmas male victims face here are exacerbated and often quite worse in other parts of the world. Sometimes male victims are threatened with death and even killed. While we may be used to hearing this about female rape victims, we do not often hear it about male victims. They remain shrouded in silence, not just because of the social stigmas or their warranted unwillingness to come forward, but also because few international human rights groups make an effort to acknowledge, let alone address, this issue. In the end, male rape victims in war-torn and conflict-strewn areas of the world go largely ignored.
A recent video highlighted this problem:
In Democratic Republic of Congo’s troubled and lawless east, sexual violence against women is commonplace and often used as a weapon of war. But now, increasingly, male rape victims are coming forward.
There is no way to tell how frequently boys and men are raped on places like the Congo. So few come forward and there are not many resource centers in those areas to begin with, and perhaps very few willing to work with male victims. The social stigmas in those areas are such that even researchers might have difficulty finding out what the rate actually is. A fair guess would be to assume that whatever the general rate of random violence against males is — assault, robbery, torture, murder — probably would apply to the rate of potential sexual violence, especially if male victims are just as unlikely to report the previously mentioned crimes.
This is one of the reasons why it is so important not to frame rape as a women’s issue or pretend that only or overwhelming women are the victims. That kind of misinformation leads to boys and men refusing to come forward not only from undue shame, but also because they simply do not believe that such acts can happen to them or that those acts are not rape.