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.