Being A Man: 202

Originally posted on July 1, 2008

Dr. Helen recently posted an article about one man’s story of being raped. His experience sounds much like any other date rape experience, except that the male is the victim and that his rapist used her gender and pregnancy as a means of keeping him silent. It takes a certain amount of bravery to put one’s story out there. I applaud Dr. Helen for taking this man’s experience seriously and writing an article that in no way denies the pain and suffering the rape caused him.

However, I am truly astounded by the level of vitriol people have thrown at this man. It ranges from flat-out mockery to insulting him directly. More than that, it is not one specific group of people doing it. It is not just men or just women or just feminists or just conservatives who fear “homosexual rape.” Someone from every group has attacked this man for no apparent reason other than his gender.

As I stated on Dr. Helen’s blog, I am not so much shocked at the response in and of itself. Rather, I have never gotten used to seeing this kind of reaction, which I have yet to see in any instance other than high-profile rape cases. It is as if some people have literally gone out of their way to bash this man, both his credibility and who he is as person, simply because woman raped him and he did not like it.

This happened to this man when he was 19-years-old and it took him years to come forward only to receive a general reaction of “So what?”, “Only women can be raped” and “You should have liked it. I would’ve.” He is an adult and I can imagine that this is causing him a ton of distress. Imagine then he if were still a child and came forward to feminists quibbling about rape definitions and female strength, men flat-out laughing at him and women doing the same, but with a more condescending tone.

This is what it looks like to be a male victim. This is what they have to face if they come forward. It is not just that they will be called liars or that people will imply that they wanted it or that they could have stopped it if they wanted it. It is that extra bit of “C’mon, you’re a guy. Man up and stop whining.” that come virtually every person who has anything to say other than “This woman is a rapist and I’m so sorry she did this to you.”

This is why men and boys do not come forward. The dissent against men and boys speaking out about being raped by women (or raped at all) is so loud and overbearing that the people who do not hold those views get completely drowned out (in this instance, I am not be facetious. One must literally look for the supportive comments on both sites). Until we change our attitudes about whether women can hurt men and boys and whether men and boys should just “tough it out,” male victims will continue to be pummeled into silence not only by their rapists, but by the people who should be on the victims’ sides.

23 thoughts on “Being A Man: 202

  1. Your blog is doing a very special job-awaremess! …and,I am grateful to find another like myself that finds it important for society to realize that men are victims too.
    Thank You

  2. I posted a comment over there, it might still be in moderation. Basically I agree with your sentiments expressed in the thread and here in this post.

  3. I read it. It was a great post. It is unfortunate that there are not that many people over there that will understand it.

  4. I too find most of the comments disturbing. Some claim that because they – in their fantasies – might wish for this, that he ought not to believed when he said it was emotionally painful for him. That is little more that saying he’s not following the standard male gender expectation of always, under any circumstances, with any possible female, wanting to have sex.

    The female commenters were interesting too. Many of them fall back on the “rape as a provable legal matter” view, saying since he couldn’t prove his case in court, or have the police take him seriously, it wasn’t rape. Apparently the feminist claim – that any lack of positive, unambiguous enthusiasm at every progressive stage of a sexual encounter means that a rape occurred – only applies to women’s experiences. Not men’s. Apparently men have to be physically forced to claim rape. Women just need to say they had exhibited mixed feelings about what happened for it to be considered rape.

    This is a perfect illustration that feminists – as much as any group – have double standards and rigid models of how the sexes are to behave.

  5. TS:

    Thank you for your excellent comments on Dr. Helen’s blog entries. Also, thanks for posting this one about my own experience and the mob mentality of male rape deniers.

    If you get a moment, could you shoot me an email? I’d like to talk.


  6. You are most welcome. As much I as appreciate the gratitude, the fact is that you should never even have to give it. Comments like the ones I comment should not be in the minority.

    I will try to email you later this week.

  7. To my mind, the word “rape” has taken on almost holy proportions to these women who decry this man’s predicament.

    They almost seem to worship the definition of rape. I know it’s only because an accusation against a man is a very powerful tool, and this nuclear option can be exercised at will.

    Here’s a new angle, women fear, but at the same time worship the concept of rape.

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  10. I’m very leery about throwing my support to Dr. Helen as she seems to have pentiant for criticising anything that is deemed “Liberal”, one of those hardcore neo-con supporters.

    Neverthless, I have read the article and commentary. It’s very insightful and you can see, from the commentary, the deep-seated prejeduice even supporters of the man in question still harbor about male sexual abuse.

    Still, I just can’t get really behind someone like Dr. Helen. She’s no different from Sean Hannity to Rush Limbaugh in the extreme right-wing depeartment.

    Just to be clear, I’m not a full supporter of either party. Still, I can’t ignore bias and inflammatory sniping no matter where it comes from.

  11. I don’t trust her, or any of her ilk. While left-leaning feminists insult with “You’re privledged so your experiences don’t count”, Right-leaning people come at it from a “Family values” angle. Where men were just men and women were women, fulfilling their roles. In all the articles I’ve read on supporting men from people like her, I’m sure they come from a supportive place but still resort to stereotyping masculanity.

    Many articles site men who fight in the army as what a man is, defending freedom from terrorists. Others site firefighters, policemen, brick layers, construction workers, and the like as people working for an honest days living as what men are.

    I’m tired of them associating masculanity with this. What about artists, writers, poets, philosophers, movie makers, painters, chefs, and anything that doesn’t have to do with military and technology? You know, men who are successful in avenues outside of the traditional realm.

    Me, I’m only into war and military action as a last resort, not as something to use to fight something like “Terror” or any other method employed by “enemies”. According to people like Dr. Helen, I’m not a man.

    I also am not employed in firefighting, policework or physical labour intensive jobs. So I’m not a man, according to her and others with this view in their pieces that support men’s struggles.

    Sorry, but her support rings hallow. No place for me in their camp.

  12. Dr. Helen looks like she is genuinely concerned with how men and boys are treated. I have not read any of her articles where she associated her concern for men’s issues with any particular right-wing view of masculinity. I suppose it is possible that has happened, however, I have not seen her do it. Being such, I value her insights and contributions not only because she helps raise awareness about men’s issues, but also because she does not play gender politics when she discusses them.

    We should be able to agree with people on some issues and disagree with them on others. After all, it is very unlikely that we will encounter people who agree with us on every matter.

  13. Toy Soldier, you should really have a look at the other articles she’s got on her site. Majority of them criticise anything liberal. Do I really want to associate with someone who claims they’re “reasonable” when it comes to men’s rights (doing their research, really writing about the issues) but they don’t bother to check their sources when they supposedly research stuff allgedly done by liberals and democrats? Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, are typically used by right-wingers like Laura to claim liberals are bad people. That isn’t balanced. That’s someone with an agenda.

    Not all people who are into men’s rights share right-wing viewpoints. I’d rather associate with someone who looks at all angles rather than spew talking points, right or left wing.

    She listens to RUSH LIMBAUGH! You have any idea how hateful he is and yet she worships the ground he walks on? And her links: Neo-neocon? Right-wing news?

    Anybody who blindly worships biggoted ignorance, even if they’re so “Concerned about men’s rights’, I don’t want their sympathy.

    Sorry about the rant, Toy Soldier, but at the end of the day let’s look at reality: Dr. Helen is a right-wing commentator who listens to Rush Limbaugh, links to right-wing sources for her opinions, and communicates with every extreme republican talking point in the book. I don’t trust her, I don’t trust commentators like her. It’s what drove me out of Men’s Rights in the first place, their allegiance with the right-wing.

    Men’s rights shouldn’t be spiked with right-wing or left-wing politics. They’re human issues.

    Note: I’d have the same criticism if men’s rights associated with Michael Moore, an extreme leftist who also manipulates his sources to make a point.

  14. Oh, if you want an example of her stereotyping masculanity, take a gander at her “Toys For Boys” article. It’s in the archives.

    That’s stereotyping right there.

  15. Eagle31,

    Your criticisms seem to be implying a standard that would disqualify anyone from being accepted as an ally of men’s rights if they were also outspoken on other political issues. I wouldn’t care to have men’s rights associated with Michael Moore either, but I think it would be going much too far to reject someone who has been a supporter of men’s rights issues because they had spoken harshly about conservatives and had links in their sidebar to Daily Kos or The New Republic or what have you.

    I would agree with Toy Soldier’s remark made above; despite her political conservatism, her writings on gender issues don’t at all advocate forcing men or women into traditional gender roles. Indeed, I think she’s refreshingly free of the sort of “be a real man” rhetoric that often infects conservative writing on these issues.

  16. Thanks again TS, for covering this topic like a human being, rather than with the feigned sympathy or outright mockery that some bloggers have extended.

    I wanted you to know that a year and a half later I am doing much better. Yes, the PTSD is still there and I have problems being in confined spaces with women among other issues, but it is being managed.

    I am now one of a handful of male survivors who participate in the RAINN Speakers Bureau. I traveled to several locations on the East Coast and I’ve now been asked to help form a speakers bureau for a Virginia organization. In addition, I’ve been asked by someone working for the State of Oklahoma if I would be willing to serve as a resource on the needs of male survivors for a program serving the State of Oklahoma.

    Try as they might, the deniers and shamers have only succeeded in ensuring that I speak even louder and to an ever expanding sphere.

    Your support when I was at my most fragile following the savagery at PJM in the comments played a role in convincing me that I had made the right decision in speaking out. Thank you for that TS.

  17. Hey James. Really pleased to see things going well. Also good to see some US states acknowledging the issues. We’re still quite primitive about the whole deal in my part of the world. But baby steps have been taken over the past year. I and a few others will continue to scratch away at the monolith.

    I join you in your appreciation of TS. He provides an active, overt voice as well as a place of safety for those who understand the prejudices through direct experience.

    We are not alone.

  18. I am glad that I could help. I thought the way you were treated was terrible, especially with how it turned into a question of whether a man could be raped by a woman. I have faced that before when I was 19 and it prompted me to stop speaking (not just publicly, but in general) for nearly a year. No one should have to experience that just for talking about crimes committed against them.

    I hope you can do a lot of good with RAINN as I am aware they do not do much in terms of supporting male survivors.

  19. the double standard is hard to swallow due to the extremity of the comments posted. god forbid we have a remotely similar standard for defining male AND female rape.

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