Yes, Women Do Rape Boys

Note: I submitted this piece to The Good Men Project, but since I received no response I assume they have no interest it in.

Female rapists are a taboo subject. People know women rape, yet few want to talk about it. When people do talk about it, they blame women’s violence on men, drugs or mental illness. They treat female-on-male rape as a joke, a badge of honor or an anti-feminist ploy. Few realize just how often women rape boys.

Case in point: In his recent article, Hugo Schwyzer claimed, “Because women are much less likely to sexually abuse teens than are men, those rare cases that do feature female defendants tend to attract lots of media attention – particularly when the woman involved is relatively young and conventionally attractive.” Schwyzer implies that the media covers most of the cases of women’s violence, yet most cases never make the news. Likewise, while there is a lack of research on female-on-male rape, the available studies suggest that women rape boys about as often as men do. Here are some of the statistics: 

The research shows that women commit 20 to 50 percent of the sexual violence against boys. The prevalence rate increased as more researchers studied the problem and more male victims reported their abuse. The facts are clear: Women abuse boys almost as often as men do.

Schwyzer likely based his assumption on police reports and gender-skewed studies. Police reports are misleading because most male victims do not report their abuse, particularly those abused by women. Likewise, many of the studies that show a low rate of female-on-male rape rely on those police reports. Other studies do not include women as potential abusers or use gendered language on their surveys, which may result in male victims not reporting their abuse.

Yet the likely reason for Schwyzer’s claim is that it is the accepted social view. People simply do not believe women commit rape or count their acts as rape. Schwyzer summed it up best in his response to Pal Sarkozy’s account of his sexual encounter with his nanny at 11-years-old: “To suggest he was a victim is preposterous.”

That is the sentiment we must overcome if we want to address female-on-male rape. As long as people think it is preposterous to view males as potential victims and view women as potential rapists, we will never know the full extent of women’s violence. As long as people claim that women’s violence against boys is rare and frame it as a “relationship”, we will never help male victims. As long as people pay lip service to the sexual abuse of boys, we will never see society take this issue seriously.

Only when we stop treating women’s violence like a rare novelty can we stop the abuse.

20 thoughts on “Yes, Women Do Rape Boys

  1. @TS…

    You linked to this GMP thread in a previous post thusly.

    The link you’ve used in this current post leads to the same Schwyzer/GMP article with a remarkably and severely abbreviated commentary.

    If you examine the actual link URLs you’ll see the difference between them.

    I’d kept an eye on that thread knowing I had posts which I believed visible and two still in moderation. I’d be interested to know, TS, if you’d seen any of them at all. For my own sanity I’m reproducing all I can find below. I have no doubt there were many other posts “in moderation” which I couldn’t see from myself and others. I’ve kept copies of the html source for both. Later today I’ll do a proper analysis of just what has disappeared from the commentary.

    gwallan says:
    October 31, 2011 at 1:19 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I’ve been involved in advocacy for male victims for more than a decade and am currently a board member with a state wide network of rape crisis services in Australia.
    Whilst your invitation is appreciated I would not consider contributing anything that may cause male victims to come to this website. Whilst this may change eventually I do not consider it a safe environment for them at this time. I also hope you can understand when I say that having Mr Schwyzer writing articles about male victims or female perpetrators is a significant backward step in this regard.

    gwallan says:
    October 31, 2011 at 1:27 am
    Like this one just over a week ago…
    Woman got boys drunk for sex

    I live in Victoria in Australia. Just over ten years ago our state laws were amended to allow for the charging and conviction of female perps. Previously the definitions had been so anatomically specific that it was impossible to convict a female.”

    This is merely the most recent. Similar cases have cropped up every few weeks through most of the decade since those legal changes. With one (obligatory) exception the above outcome is replicated in EVERY instance. No real punishment for the female perpetrator. In the same time frame a handful of women who abused girls fronted the courts and all went to jail.

    Having followed this history through the entire decade it’s readily apparent that female rapists of boys will be treated as though they are schoolgirls caught in a prank.
    In all seriousness I would argue that female perpetrators are actually treated with more sympathy and compassion than their victims, let alone any given male perpetrator.
    I’ve recently begun questioning the training/guidance that has been provided to institutions and organisations in our communities of the like of judiciary, media, government and so on. I’ve written in the past that in a sexual impropriety any woman involved is always a default victim. Whilst said with some cynicism it seems I was more right than I realised. I’ve begun to realise that the training/guidance to which I refer seems to have resulted in compassion and sympathy ALWAYS being directed towards any woman involved regardless of which side of the equation she inhabits.

    gwallan says:
    October 31, 2011 at 1:53 am
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    “Oh for the love of Peter, Paul, Mary, all the angels and the saints… the “women are perps and men and boys the real victims of sexual violence” crowd really comes out of the woodwork at times like this.”
    – Hugo Schwyzer April 1, 2010
    These were Hugo’s words just eighteen months ago in response to folk he knew to be victims. Try to understand why we might not trust him nor want him speaking to issues directly impacting on us. His track record to date is of acting to marginalise thus harming all male victims and victims of female perpetrators.

  2. Gwallan, two of my comments and the trackbacks to my blog posts are in moderation. Curiously, the comment count at the top of the page still lists the comments as present even though you cannot see them. From what I can tell, any comment critiquing Schwyzer’s prior position, linking to his blog, mentioning Pal Sarkozy, or using phrases “male victim” end up in moderation.

  3. Ah, TS, it’s in the small print between the comments and the trackbacks. Comments are spread over two pages. Many remaining in moderation and some weird connections between posts and replies at times.

    It’s a very clunky website physically. Matches it’s temperament I guess.

    I’m starting to get a handle on GMP. It’s run by and for feminists after all. At the moment it seems that male victims are OK but they must play by the girls rules. Victims of male perps are certainly OK as they can be used to fill a role in the Patriarchy Pageant. Theoretical discussions about the possibility that girls could be naughty are OK. This, of course, helps make them look a bit “progressive”. Any direct, first hand, implication of an actual girl doing something naughty is gauche and mean to all girls and will not be tolerated.

    The female perpetrator is their event horizon. It’s here that their cognition begins to break down. Beyond this point they cannot deal in the active. Everything must be passive in the treatment of female perpetrators be it the punishments afforded, the media’s coverage or any other discourse. The victims MUST conform. They have cake to eat.

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  5. If it’s women raping men, it’s dangerous because men can easily beat, kill, and/or rape them back. Pure and simple.

  6. LR, few rape victims are in a mental state to retaliate after being raped, so the idea that men can “easily” beat, kill or rape women back is ridiculous. Secondly, the post was about boys, not men, and it is unlikely boys can just overpower their rapists.

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  9. I hate the fact that women can get away with any thing, especially assault. A lot of people say because a man is stronger a woman can attack him at any time that’s a load of BS. Then the world wonders why we have maniacs like Ted bundy.

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