Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Indian government’s reaction to lobbying for changes to their rape statutes. I noted in the piece that women’s groups in India opposed changing the statute from “rape” to “sexual assault” because it included women as potential rapists. Their argument was that rape is an expression of patriarchal power, therein making it impossible for women to rape men, and that men accused of rape would simply accuse the women of rape, both of which are typical feminist arguments against acknowledging male victimization.
It appears the Indian government bowed to the women’s groups demands:
Bowing to pressure from women activists, the government has decided to restore the term rape in criminal law that states only men can be booked for committing the offence against women. It has also decided to lower the age of consent for sex from 18 to 16 years. These are fresh changes proposed by the Centre in its criminal laws (amendment) bill, which will replace the rape ordinance issued on February 3. […] The [JS Verma] panel — set up to look into rape laws after the December 16 Delhi gang rape — had recommended that the offence be kept gender-specific and the age for consensual sex be retained at 16 years in the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In its ordinance, however, the government replaced the term rape with sexual assault, stating that any ‘person’ can commit the offence.
A senior government official explained that a section of the current law dealing with “unnatural sex and related activity” (Section 377) already addresses sexual violence committed by women. However, the law is very specific:
377. Unnatural offences: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offense described in this section.
The law was originally written to punish homosexuality, hence the term “voluntarily” as the part of the mitigating factor. While the law does allow for harsh punishment, the implication of the law is that the “victim” is a willing participant. (Coincidentally, until the passage of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill, 2011 boys were not recognized as victims of sexual assault or rape. All offenses against them were handled under Section 377. The law also does not recognize women as potential offenders, again as a result of women’s groups protests.) If India were to apply this law in cases where female sexually assault males and females, the government would imply that no sexual violation against the person took place, only a violation of the law against “unnatural” sexual activity.
And this is precisely what women’s groups in India wanted. They did not want the law to recognize women as potential rapists, and protested against the government’s attempt to create a gender neutral law. The government tried making the law gender neutral since 2011, and each attempt failed. From the articles I have read, women’s groups also oppose the recognition of men and boys as potential victims under the argument that it ignores the “gendered” nature of sexual violence.
As it stands, the current sexual offense statutes, Section 375 and 376, do not recognize males as potential victims. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2012 would have allowed for male victims to be recognized, however, that has been rejected. The current proposal, the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, 2013 retains the change of “rape” to “sexual assault” element in section 375, but maintains the notion that sexual violence is a “gendered” crime. Given such, it is unlikely that the “gender neutral” laws would actually be appiedy to male victims of rape, particularly given the opposition to including women as potential offenders.
And again, that is exactly how women’s groups and feminists in India want it.
How disappointing. I recently was told I was ungenerous towards feminists when it came to the issue of male rape. Things like this is why.
It’s like living down the rabbit hole. How does it hurt women to punish female criminals? It’s like politics, “my party, my party, my party right or wrong.”
This is just one of those things you shake your head.
If there’s a legitimate reason to oppose this based on considerations due to lack of mens rea, lack of due process or an expanded definition of rape, they should have done so.
IF there are no such considerations, then they should have put the feminists on the defensive with questions about why they want to ignore victims.
That they did NEITHER but instead caved, suggests either political fear or cooption.
Shame on Indian lawmakers either way.
I figured this would happen.
Ever since that rape incident on the bus, the whole “Women are victims alone” trope has been turned up. It was inevitable it would lead to this.
Face it guys, there are tons of powerful people out there who’d rather rape be a crime that only happens to women rather than open their eyes and see that no gender has a monopoly on rape.
I’ve adopted feminist thought on many issues for several years, but for the life of me, I don’t understand this. I have advocated for male victims since the early days of this movement, and have many male survivor friends. This is absolutely insane, and I feel for my brothers and how invalidated they must feel over this decision.
Male victims — there are feminists who support you, especially in the U.S., and I know many feminist who would tell those women in India to wake up to the issue of males being abused and raped by females and males. Feminists should be in the business of advocating for ALL human rights, not just those that apply to them.
Most feminists that I know in this country are very progressive on the issue of male survivors and their treatment in the judicial system and in therapy. Many of us have worked to get our local Rape Crisis Centers to acknowledge and respond to male victims. I know prosecutors who have taken cases of make rape to trial and won, and I applaud those efforts because we have a long way to go in teaching society that men and boys suffer just as women and girls do when they are sexually violated.
Let’s keep the pressure on, folks, and lets keep educating about how rape effects BOTH genders. We still have a long way to go in the US as well as countries such as India. To change attitudes, we need BOTH genders to speak out against actions such as these, actions that only serve to push the issue back into the closet and make it more difficult for male victims to speak out.
Thanks for posting this article. While I am saddened to read this disturbing development, I will do anything I can to help my “brothers” and to get my “sisters” to see the harm that they are causing to all of us. ALL survivors of sexual violence need to come together to fight this problem, not alienate one class of individuals based on gender. That is truly the antithesis of what feminism stands for and I am personally appalled. Stay strong, my brothers.
Another thought: What are they doing about women who sexually abuse and rape girls? If women can’t be the sexual aggressors, then they completely invalidate another class of victims — girls abused by women. Do they think that doesn’t happen? They need to look no further than the Catholic Church to see that Nuns have been accused of sexually abusing girls and these cases have been verified. I also know many women whose perpetrators were not men — they were women. They were teachers, coaches, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and on and on. There are women who are victims of sexual abuse as adults by their female therapists. Are we to deny all of these women and girls justice because their perps were female?
When I published a news-journal for adults survivors and their supporters, including therapists and other helping professionals, my editorial staff made it their mission to adopt gender inclusive language when writing and editing articles. We never published anything that didn’t include both genders as both victims and perpetrators. We never referred to victims as “she” and perps as “he” for convenience because we knew that by doing so, we would alienate entire classes of victims. Yes, it took extra words and effort to write in this manner at first, but after a short while it became second nature. The language we use to describe these crimes matters. It matters when we write and speak of the harm that comes to the victims, and it matters when it comes to educating the populous about the multitude of ways in which others can harm children and adults.
This issue really has me worked-up. I’m angry and I fear I’ve taken too much space in my comments, however I feel an obligation to help get others to stop bing so narrow-minded about these crimes. I lived through 13 years of sexual assault/rape by my father, a former cop. I spent two years in foster care while going through the judicial system only to see my rapist walk with a slap on the wrist and to be betrayed by the system that was supposed to protect me. I have lost most of my family because they can’t accept what he did, and expect me to sit down at the dinner table with my own rapist at holidays and other events. I have relatives who spend the holidays with my rapist and don’t bother to call me or even send a card. I know what it feels like to be excluded and to suffer profound loss over being abused. This issue of exclusion is one that harms us even more, and it’s as if we become abused for being abused. It must stop.
From one women who stands for anyone being sexually forced, my heart goes out to you all, male & female alike. It’s time to set with our personal agendas aside and work for the good of humanity, all humanity. Thank you for speaking out. My daughter was brutally raped by my oldest son, her brother. We later learned he had been suffering rape since he was very young. The dynamics are difficult but we as a family stand to help both of them recover. Its not easy to be supportive at times because it’s painful to face, but it’s maternally impossible for me to choose between my children, and our hope is to raise awareness of the pandemic of sexual abuse in children and find help for those looking to heal. Bless you all.
Women do sexually assault girls. It’s sickening. It needs to be talked about as much as everything else in this realm. Some mothers sell their own daughters for sexual purposes. That is sexual assault in itself. Did anyone see the story on the OWN network with Lisa Lang, called Predator in the Club House. A very brave young lady shares her story of years of abuse from her female swim coach.
Here’s the link for a preview:
A Predator in the Clubhouse: Why Abused Children Stay SilentChildren who are being abused stay silent for many reasons. Harassed and molested by her once beloved swim coach, Julie, Kristen stayed silent and endured years of torment, as Julie threatened to harm Kristen and her family if she came forward about the abuse.
(oops, my last link didn’t show up, I give up if this one doesn’t work lol)
Lana, thank you for the comment. While I realize that some feminists support male survivors, most of the opposite to acknowledging male survivors has come from feminists. Most rape centers do not provide services to male survivors, and many of them will treat the men and boys who call for help as rapists or sex offenders. Things are changing. People are taking sexual violence against males more seriously. However, these changes are recent, within the last five to ten years. Every month I read about places finally opening their doors to men and boys. What I also find is that many feminists do not support those changes or the increased focus on male survivors.
There is far too much politics involved in this than there should be, and it leads to situations like what happened in India. As for how India would treat women who sexually assaulted girls and women, my guess would be that it would either fall under the section 377 code. The proposed law specifically states that only men can commit rape or sexual assault, so in India women legally cannot commit rape or sexual assault. However, the government can apply the child protection law against women who assault children. It too specifically states that only men can commit sex offenses, but I know of at least one case of India prosecuting a woman under that law.
ToySoldier, thanks for your response. I guess we must be hanging with a different group of feminists because I never hear comments that exclude men in the groups that I belong to, and they are quite large. I think that the initial resistance to opening up to male survivors was the flawed thinking that men had more resources than women, and therefore precious resources at the centers needed to go to women. That was the buzz in the early 80s when I began working on this issue. But I also lived in a large metro area and that could have made a substantial difference in attitudes. It wasn’t that male survivors didn’t exist or need services, it was the the services were so limited that they felt they needed to choose one gender over the other.
But I don’t doubt what you are saying – that you are encountering feminists who don’t support the notion of males being raped. But I don’t think it has much to do with their feminism, I think they are just ignorant. Even in my small home town, people get that boys are raped by both genders and the female prosecutor there just got a conviction for a male survivor. With the Catholic Church exposure, most of the highly visible victims are males, so people get it now. David and the folks over at SNAP have done a great job on getting this issue exposed and out in public view. But we clearly have more work to do. It’s hard to speak out, I know because I have been doing it for 3 decades, and I am in a position where I need to again because we uncovered a “mishandling” of my father’s prosecution that is really egregious. I’m helping with the press conference plans right now and it’s hard. It’s hard no matter how long one’s been doing this and how often they’ve spoken out. I always use my real name, and there is always a cost of some sort. But we need to keep on speaking and confronting flawed thinking to break through these biases.
I identify very strongly with male survivors, and part of that has to do with the ways in which I was repeatedly raped. And yes, my mother essentially hung a “for sale” sign around my neck and handed me to my father just so she could avoid him and keep her standard of living. It’s a hard reality. Women can be and are cruel to children and they abuse just as males do. No excuses. No feminist excuses of not having the resources to break free from the oppression. I’d live on the street before I let my kids be raped. But I don’t want to see us generalize about feminists because we aren’t all like these vocal groups in India who make these horrible decisions and have such narrow minds. I’ve certainly seen the opposite here in respect to women supporting men as they came forward, and encouraging them to speak and be heard. That’s all I’m sayin’.
By calling yourself a feminist, you are passively supporting them. If anything you’re helping them by acting as a sort of feminist customer complaint hotline. The haters pass some sexist discriminating policy and the critics get sent to people like you who assure us that it wasn’t representative.
The only way to stop this hateful movement is if it finally gets called out on what it is and for that to happen, people like you need to get over yourselves and get rid of the label and find one that more accurately describes your motivations. Feminism is necessarily sexist. It can’t not be sexist regardless of how many exceptions you point to.
With stories like this, I end up wondering what’s the bloody point. We are so fucking helpless it’s insane. Not only aren’t we taken seriously, we’re even ridiculed for being victims or it’s applauded by the very people who claim to want equality and mainstream doesn’t see anything wrong with that.
How did we ever get here that we’re so powerless and, at the same time, we’re held accountable as if we run the whole world like emperors?
Adi, I do not think you are being fair to Lana. While there are problems with feminism’s impact on male survivors, every person who calls themselves a feminist is not necessarily supporting those sexist views. I do not think anyone sent her here. Likewise, we cannot question her experiences. Perhaps the feminists she is around do support male survivors. No group is a collective with all the same ideas and thinking.
I understand that not every feminist supports sexist views and I genuinely believe Lana is such an exception. But you still can’t get past the element of passive support by waving the flag of feminism no matter how well meaning.
Anyway, why did she go out of her way to defend feminism? The issue of “some feminists get it wrong but they’re not representative” is not something to take up on a thread that’s reacting to a particularly vile example but with those feminists who caused that very example or others who support it.
Lana: “I’ve adopted feminist thought on many issues for several years, but for the life of me, I don’t understand this.”
Don’t be so surprised, Lana. For this is the kind of feminism we deal with all the time when advocating for support. It seems to always rear it’s ugly head everywhere male survivors go to share their stories: The gynocentric, “Women are victims only”, “Men are oppressors” strand.
It’s an insidiously reprehensible strand and you’ve just been given an early education as to how biased and bigoted it is towards any victim who doesn’t have a vagina. The mistake, though, is to treat them like some extreme fringe when in actuality they aren’t. I mean, would a fringe like this in India have been able to influence the government this way? This strand has the voice and the power in the movement and it is this strand governments and society adhere to when formulating policies to address gender issues.
From what you’ve said, you sound very egilatarian and understanding. However, I think you need more exposure to this strand in order to fully realize that it’s poisoning the movement and should be dealt with. Stick around here for this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Lana: “Male victims — there are feminists who support you, especially in the U.S., and I know many feminist who would tell those women in India to wake up to the issue of males being abused and raped by females and males.”
It would help, though, that these feminists would step out more into the limelight and protest actions like this. The thing is, you say your circle is very supportive of male survivors. The issue we have is that we don’t hear from your strand until the time comes to protest the gynocentric strand. I certainly could’ve used your strand when my story of abuse was being minimised with claims that I’m still a “White, heterosexual male that benefits from patriarchal systems” and that my story “Doesn’t compare to what women go through”. It’s even more disgusting since that abuse happened when I was a BOY!
Lana: ” Feminists should be in the business of advocating for ALL human rights, not just those that apply to them.”
Yes, I agree. But the reality is, this strand doesn’t. You’ve read it for yourself and there’s more examples of this strand denying that male victims exist or that their struggles are valid. In fact, your strand of feminism would label you an anti-feminist, or worse, from this strand. Erin Prezzy, the feminist who opened the first Domestic Violence shelter, she was harassed to the point of leaving her country just because she happened to find that women could be violent as well. Christina Hoffman, another feminist, was labeled anti-feminist because of her critique of the movement. There are countless examples of feminists who believe in supporting both genders, have problems with how feminism is applied in aspects of life, that were shunned and disowned.
That’s another reason why I’m very suspicious of feminists at points: No conistency in the meaning of feminism. One minute it’s for both sexes, the next only for women. There’s no consistency in their words and actions. Contradicitions galore.
And you know what? Adi is a perfect example of what happens when a strand of your movement marginlizes male victims or people concerned about male issues. Even though his wording can be harsh, that anger is perfectly valid. There are others who were hurt by this strand of feminism, including me, so listen to them as well and you’ll experience how the “Men and boys run the world so they’re not victims” mentality is toxic thinking.
Lana: ” I think that the initial resistance to opening up to male survivors was the flawed thinking that men had more resources than women, and therefore precious resources at the centers needed to go to women.”
Which, if you’ll pardon my bluntness, is a great big steaming pile of BULLSHIT! This is another example of the kind of thinking that still exists: Because the top tier happen to be men, ALL men have more resources/power than women. It’s what lead to this mess where men and boys have a hard time getting the supports they need.
Anyway, thanks for understanding.
I agree, but I think there is a better way of addressing that than the tone you took. What happened in India is not unusual. There is a similar hesitancy with human rights organizations to recognize male sexual victimization abroad. Most rape centers and support services in war-torn African countries do not provide assistance to males. The UN has completely ignored the rape of boys in Afghanistan. There is virtually no mention of the thousands of boys used in sex trafficking and sex tourism in Eastern European and Eastern countries. The general reason for this is because of the false narrative that only women can be rape victims, and unfortunately that message comes from feminists.
While I understand why some feminists will argue “some feminists get it wrong but they’re not representative” the evidence shows otherwise. So there is no need to take a hostile tone. One need only present the proof.
Whoa! Am I to change genders because women hurt and abuse as well? I am not in the habit of throwing babies out with the bathwater and I won’t do it on issue of equality. My very point is that the early thinking WAS FLAWED but that we within the movement are changing those attitudes.
You, know, I didn’t come here to fight. I came here to support. MANY of us feel isolated and alone because of the type of abuse that we experienced. I was a victim of incest and I am sick and tired of “Incest is Best” jokes, and on an on. I am tired of my crime being segregated when being discussed as “rape and incest.” What happened to me was RAPE, and it really is as simple as that. Just because my father did the raping doesn’t make it less serious, and less of a crime but that is how the courts and the mental health field have treated it for DECADES.
I am also not in the business of sitting around and whining about how screwed we ALL are as a result of being raped as children. If people want to engage in one-upmanship and “you think you had it bad” mentality on this website, then this isn’t the place for me. We are all in this together, and if you want to feminist bash because some feminist don’t get it, then go with. But you will lose support from the very group of people who can help you and HAS helped you. Who do you think brought the issue of sexual assault out into the mainstream to begin with? Feminists. Do you think that male survivors would even have a voice at all right now had it not been for the pioneering work of many feminists on this issue? No. None of us would and we would still be back in the days were these crimes weren’t even prosecuted.
Context is everything. And the women in India are not representative of the women in the US. You don’t see these laws being rejected in the US because some feminists think that men aren’t rape victims as well. No, in fact it is quite the opposite. You’ve had support from feminists in this country but you are so bust feminist-bashing that you can’t or won’t acknowledge it. THIS is why you are getting the responses that you are getting from feminists — we come here to support you as fellow survivors and you do nothing but spit in our faces.
Sit here and wallow in your self-pitty if you must, but I have real work to do to change laws, attitudes, and the hearts and minds of people who simply don’t get how damaging these crimes against ALL children, both male and female, are. My true brothers in this movement don’t bash feminists — and they have been around far longer than you have.
Good luck. This is a great site in so many ways, and I truly wish you well.
Ok I realize I was pretty hard in tone. But, from another perspective one could say it was mild.
I’d like to challenge everybody to a little game:
Imagine for one moment that the sexes were reversed, male victims get all the advocacy, female victims are routinely ignored or ridiculed, this blog is trying to help bring attention to female victims, the Indian incident is dismissing them and Lana is male and I’m female and Lana shares some random label with the group behind the incident.
Take a few moments and really print that picture into your mind and then read my first comment one more time and tell me you have exactly the same reaction to it, you had before.
Good bye Lana.
Don’t let the door hit you – or your mythical feminist friends who never seem to actually show up when this legislation is written up in the US or anywhere else for that matter – on the way out.
Seriously, would it have hurt this person to have actually backed up anything she claimed with some links? I don’t even believe her.
For the record, I wrote my last comment before Lana’s last comment was published.
You’re right Clarence. The whole last comment is just a middle finger. Funny how quickly all that empathy can disappear when you don’t say all the right things. It’s almost as if it were attached to conditions. Can’t be, right?
Anyway, we better all get back to “wallowing in self-pity”.
Lana, the problem is that this not early feminist thinking. The India proposal was altered a few days ago to completely exclude women as potential rapists. I understand that it is difficult to accept, however, that does not change that clearly plenty of modern feminists hold the view that rape is something only men do to only women, nor does it change that many of those feminists have the political power to get their way.
Since you understand how isolating a group’s assault can hurt, you should understand why male survivors might take offense when a political group that claims it opposes sexual violence declares that nearly 40% of male survivors were not raped because their rapist was female. While all feminists do not make such declarations, you cannot argue that only a handful of feminists do it in light of India’s recent decision.
As for losing feminists support, which feminists: the ones who say they support male survivors but whose groups and organization do little or no outreach for male survivors? Or the ones who kick rape centers that provide assistance to male survivors out of the national rape crisis network? Or the ones who imply that male survivors owe feminists something, as if before feminists came around men and boys never reported abuse? When you take the “you owe me” attitude you do yourself a disservice. As a male survivor I owe feminists nothing, and to claim that male survivors would not even have a voice without feminists insults the men and boys who came forward and reported their abuse before feminists started making noise in the 1980s about sexual violence.
As for feminists in the United States, the recent change of the FBI’s definition was written by feminists, and it fails to include women as potential rapists as well. Most feminist anti-rape campaigns include no mention of male survivors. The few that do rarely mention women as potential rapists. Most feminist-led outreach fails to include male survivors as well. Many rape centers will forward men and boys’ calls to batterer programs. I understand it may be difficult for you to believe, but it is not difficult for me to prove. I do not think anyone is wallowing in self pity by noting the ways they are treated by the larger support community. The only way to change those attitudes is by confronting them, and if your response to that confrontation is to get nasty and defensive, I think that speaks volumes about how dead on the criticism is.
I also think it speaks volumes about your character when you would say to someone you do not know “my true brothers in this movement don’t bash feminists — and they have been around far longer than you have.” I do not take it personally because that is the typical response I get from feminists. However, that kind of response is precisely the reason feminists have such a hard time convincing male survivors like me and men in general that feminists are their allies.
Clarence, I do not doubt that some of the feminists Lana associates with support male survivors. However, my own experiences with the lack of outreach and hostility coming from feminists in the support community coupled with what I hear, see, and read on a daily basis shows me that plenty of feminists have a genuine problem acknowledging male survivors and treating them as equals. Every week I read about another domestic violence or rape center that just opened its doors to men. Most of these places have been open for decades. So I do not buy Lana’s argument that feminists are inherently on men’s side or reaching out to them. Even The Good Men Project, a feminist magazine that is supposed to address men’s issues, does a piss poor job of talking about male victimization.
Hope you havnt disappeared completely. I think you are probably very genuine in your wanting to help. I would like to ask one question though. Why do you need the moniker or title, “Feminist”?
Lana: “Whoa! Am I to change genders because women hurt and abuse as well? I am not in the habit of throwing babies out with the bathwater and I won’t do it on issue of equality. My very point is that the early thinking WAS FLAWED but that we within the movement are changing those attitudes.”
While I’m very hurt by your turn of character, I’ll try not to take offense and state my opinions.
If you though the early thinking was flawed, then the movement should’ve changed those attitudes FROM THE VERY BEGINNING! Not wait until years later and countless male survivors shunned, refused, and minimised. Then you wouldn’t be experiencing the blowback from these male survivors. As I’ve said, they were seriously hurt by this strand of feminism.
And I take major umbrage with this comment of yours:
Lana: “We are all in this together, and if you want to feminist bash because some feminist don’t get it, then go with. But you will lose support from the very group of people who can help you and HAS helped you.”
Firstly, notice that nowhere in my first response to you did I group all feminists together. I took care in seperating the Egalitarian ones (such as yourself) from the gynocentric ones that hurt me. Yet, you claim it’s still bashing feminism across the board. How much more of a distinction should I grant you in order to even feel like I’m not going to be hammered to kingdom come for expressing my critiques? Do I have to supply more information like the strand’s common blood type, genetic make-up or other careful detail like that? When is it okay to say “This strand of Feminism is poisoning the well”?
Secondly, it’s very presumptious of you to assume feminism HAS helped me or others. As I’ve stated before, when I sought a sympathetic ear from these feminists I spoke of, my story was dismissed at best or obfscutated by labels of “Privledged, white, heterosexual male”. As if I have the goddamn power these Patriarcharal Oppressors possess in the first place! That does not give them the goddamn right to minimise or label my story as an anomoly. That’s what happened. They didn’t HELP me before so you’re way off in that assumption.
Lana: ” Who do you think brought the issue of sexual assault out into the mainstream to begin with? Feminists. Do you think that male survivors would even have a voice at all right now had it not been for the pioneering work of many feminists on this issue? No. None of us would and we would still be back in the days were these crimes weren’t even prosecuted.”
I will have to make a major correction with this grandiose claim of yours centered around feminism bringing the issue of sexual assault to the forefront.
Here’s the thing Lana. Feminism did bring the issue of sexual assault out into the mainstream to begin with…FOR WOMEN ALONE! It was women who were dubbed the victims and given first-rate attention by the media and society thanks to feminism. Never, in any of the discussions, were Male Victims included. Until DECADES later when the damage had already been done.
You gave a reasoning earlier about why domestic violence shelters turned away male victims due to limited resources and the mentality that men have more resources than women. Do you call that bringing the issue of sexual assault to the forefront for both genders?
Instead, whenever male survivors tried to get their stories heard, this strand of feminism I spoke of came out fully armed and ready to strike down each and everyone one of them, pushing them off into the fringes because of the Duluth Model of Domestic Violence (which gynocentric feminist groups had a hand in supporting to law), VAWA (it was recently re-instated) and their theories that Domestic Violence is a tool of the patriarchy. This strand did serious damage and Male Survivors are licking their wounds.
You should also know, as Toysoldier mentioned, this assumption is very offensive to male survivors who got diddly squat from society and this strand of feminism; making feminism out to be their saviour and supporter when, for decades, this gynocentric strand continusouly ran roughshed over them without a single word of protest from Egalitarians FROM THE BEGINNING WHEN IT COUNTED!
I’m sorry about your situation. But that doesn’t give you the right to trumpet feminism’s ego, which is what it’s all about in the end: Ego. Why else would you claim that male survivor’s wouldn’t have a voice if it weren’t for feminism?
There are Male Survivors in their FIFTIES and later speaking out just now on their abuse from men and women perpetrators that have struggled in the system. How do you explain that? No, it’s not soley due to machismo and fearing the loss of their manliness so don’t bother using that reasoning alone. Think about it.
Pingback: A Sad Day For Male Rape Victims In India | Together We Heal
Wanted to let you know I found this article too important not to share with my readers. Thank you for the work behind this.
Am an Indian woman.Have seen some arguments of these feminist groups in India.Their progressive biased nature is evident.They are simply protecting female predators.Pathetic.And the government is even more pathetic here.The media too isnt really giving unbiased coverage to such cases.Am from Surat,when male prostitution is soo visible here,there must be male survivors out there too.Being a survivor is something really brave and male survivor,no help for them,no justice.kindly educate urself GOI
One interesting observation among these egalitarian feminists is how personally attached they are to the title “feminist”. This should ring anyone’s alarm bells because such attachment to any political ideology is inherently problematic.
The TRUE egalitarian sees equality as their goal and they won’t hesitate to switch isms as a means to achieving that purpose. That’s why most MRAs have also been feminists at some stage and many will quickly switch again.
Here’s the mindset of the two compared:
1) See injustices in society they want fixed.
2) Feminism doesn’t address them or even denies/dismisses them.
3) So they critique feminism and/or turn elsewhere
1) Want validation and sympathy
2) Feminism provides that (if you have the right genitalia)
3) Criticism of feminism is perceived as an attempt to deny them their validation/sympathy.
4) Therefore critics are [insert the usual]
The comparison mirrors with great clarity the comparison between evolutionary biologists and creationists.
Anita, thanks for the comment. I do not agree that the feminist groups in India are trying to protect female predators. From the comments I read, it seems many feminists in India do not think women can be predators. I think this is just what happens when ideology gets combined with politics.
Adi, it is not just the ideology. For many feminists, being a feminist is part of their core identity. They could no more give up the label than they could declare themselves no longer human. I see this on the flip-side with fundamentalist Christians. Being a Christian is so core to who they are that they cannot see past it. It makes discussing issues like homosexuality, contraception, and abortion virtually impossible because you will just get the rhetorical spin.
Yes, that was basically what I was trying to say.
Interestingly, there is very little such attachment among MRAs. They can be dogmatic too but it’s not about the MRM. I’ve found the most likely thing they tend to believe religiously is that feminism is the main cause of men’s issues (which it isn’t). I think it stems from a need to have a villain to point at.
I’m very critical of feminism (to put it mildly) but I’m fully aware that it is not the cause of our problems, more like a symptom of them. In a system in which one gender consistently has more power, it is logical that the more powerful gender will also have a more powerful lobby representing them (in this case, feminism).
Some people mistakenly compare feminism and the MRM as somehow equivalent but on opposing sides. They are not even similar. Feminism is the big bully and the MRM is weak and vulnerable.
Interestingly, there is very little such attachment among MRAs.(Adi)
Just wait, that attachment is just around the corner. Remember, equality means MRA’s can be just as whacked as Feminists. 😦
I’m beginning to find, as a pattern, that even Egalitarian feminists are prone to safeguarding the movement. To the point where not even qualifying what strand of feminism you’re directing ire towards is enough for them equate it as bashing the entire movement.
It’s getting even harder for me to trust them, seriously. Egalitarian feminism even has it’s own offshoot: Ones who who say they’re egalitarian, say they do it through their actions in the real world, but suddenly turn stark raving mad whenever you try to critique the movement.
Something tells me we need a whole new category.
Not all of them do, I must add. But that’s what annoys me, having to discern which are TRUE egaltarians and those who just use the label when convenient.
That is because the men’s rights movement lacks the ideological framework the women’s rights movement has. Part of that may come from how the men’s movement spawned. It is a response to feminism, and so much of its “ideology” is simply refuting feminism concepts. In contrast, feminism was a response to social norms and was born out of Marxist and socialist thinking. One needs a lot of ideology to prop up something that lofty, hence the feminist rhetoric.
I do not think feminism and men’s rights are the same animal. At this point, feminism has become more like a religion than a political movement. The Men’s right movement is slowly becoming a legitimate movement, but without a clearer position and less “we’re opposed to feminism” it will not reach greater heights. What is interesting is that the men’s rights movement owes much of its current success to feminists in that by annoying feminists so much that they talk about men’s rights activists on a constant basis, it made people want to know what the movement was about.
This is why irony is so fun. By trying to shut the men’s movement down feminists gave it more credence.
Eagle, as I mentioned above, part of what you are seeing is the result of their adherence to the ideology. It is a part of who they are, so of course they will defend it. What I find most curious is how quickly some feminists can go from “we’re on your side” to “you’re all nuts”. I still do not understand how someone can understand why male survivors might take issue with the ways feminists marginalize them and in the next breath tell those male survivors they should stop talking about it. It reminds me of how some “open-minded” people will side with various minority or special interest groups, but do not want those groups to talk about the ways the “open-minded” people’s groups treated them. You cannot say you support black people and then try to shut them up when they talk about the racism they experienced from liberals.
And this is why I think that it’s good to be confrontational with them. At first glance it may seem like it just increases pointless conflict. Well, more than anything else, we need to get the truth out in the open (before we can even begin to address it). And confronting them brings out that truth. Take Lana for example. Confronting her with inconsistencies in her belief system, revealed the truth: namely that her identification with feminism comes before any of the good she thinks it does.
It was easy to miss that truth when she spent so much time expressing her sympathy with male victims. What made me suspicious was that she came back to defending feminism several times as if her sympathy was some kind of loyalty reward. But it was just a suspicion, not certainty. Only through confronting her, did we manage to confirm that suspicion.
This comment thread and Lana in particular, serve as a very good example for why one should treat anyone who calls themself a feminist with suspicion, even if they appear to be so caring and supportive at first glance.
Another great example is Clarissa. Much of what she believes is egalitarian, perhaps even all of it. But it all comes under the condition that you do it through feminism and only through feminism.
Yes, and another reason is that the title “MRA” is strictly descriptive while “feminism” is a name and a world view in itself. This means, for example, that you are an MRA if you stand up for men’s rights even if you don’t call yourself one, just like you can be a human even if you don’t call yourself one. Being an “MRA” does not require you to have a belief system or identity while feminism ALWAYS requires it. I have yet to encounter a strand of feminism, no matter how progressive, that doesn’t come with some incoherent belief system.
And I’d really like to be challenged on that.
Adi, the problem with being confrontational with someone is that you look like the bad guy. If you think someone is trying to pull a fast one on you from the start and you immediately attack them, that person’s negative reaction is now justified. If you allow a person to voice their opinions and then civilly question them about the inconsistencies, that person’s negative reaction is now unjustified.
So if Lana had responded to my comments in such a hostile manner, it would look like she was talking out both sides of her mouth. By confronting her in such a hostile manner, it looks like she is defending herself even if she contradicts herself.
Part of the nuance of this kind of thing is to always leave the person an out. Always leave a person a way to retreat without losing face. That way if they say they want peace and but choose to keep attacking it makes them look bad. If you block them off and assail them as they sue for peace it just makes you look bad.
“Being an “MRA” does not require you to have a belief system or identity while feminism ALWAYS requires it.”
I do not identify as MRA even as I’m one of the staunchest supporter of male victims rights and right of expression (all matters of choices regarding it) rights. The label is too tainted for me to endorse it, but feminism is similar, and I found feminism to be that way first (before I ever heard about men’s rights).
I disavow any label, it’s easier that way.
That’s the point. It’s not a label. It’s a description. That sets it apart from “feminism” which is a label. All discussions show this clearly. For example that nobody really knows if the “A” stands for activism or advocacy.
Not “endorsing” a description really only means that it’s inaccurate but then I’ll ask you to find a more accurate description (Incidentally, if that catches on, then it’ll end up just as tainted).
I like to think of it like this: I consider myself a human rights activist. That, given the circumstances as I see them, necessarily makes me a men’s rights activist even if I don’t call myself one.
I disavow any label, it’s easier that way.(schala)
Hear, hear! It is so much easier for people to distance themselves or attack you if they can make a label stick. Call me by name and then call me out if you disagree with my position.
Reblogged this on susanmacnicol and commented:
Always such a contentious isue and this makes very sobering and disturbing reading. Take a look at my own website
for how I feel about the whole situation and how I got involved in this in the first place.
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The first pingback illustrates perfectly how willingly some are to throw other victims under the bus.
Dear moderator i am great full to you at least somebody is thinking beyond gender , we should definitely vouch for gender neutral laws and Help reduce the misuse of law meant for safety of CITIZENS as weapons of revenge by some females .
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don’t lump all feminists in here. the indian law makers are insanely backward. this is also NOT the feminist argument. this is the patriarchal argument that only men can rape and women can only be victims. the mind set of these people need to change but it will take time.
Scritch, the groups are feminist groups, so it is nonsensical to claim this has anything to do with a “patriarchal argument”. Likewise, the general feminist position is that rape is something only men can do to only women, and that on the off chance males are victims, the act is really one of misogyny, not violence against men. You will be hard-pressed to find many feminists who think men can be victims of, as Whoopi Goldberg would put it, “rape rape”.
With respect, it isn’t nonsensical at all. Just because they claim they are a ‘feminist group’ doesn’t mean they are right or that everyone agrees with them. It isn’t one homogeneous whole, just as all men are not lumped into one homogeneous whole.
The argument should be about equality – that both men and women can be domestically and sexually abusive and need to be prosecuted as such. The onus of blame should not be on the survivor. So I’m sorry but anyone claiming this as a feminist argument is simply incorrect, and I find it personally appalling.
Their argument that men cannot be raped is not an argument based on equality but one based on a ‘macho’ culture (certainly in India this macho culture is a big deal), where men are always supposed to be the stronger one. Therefore in their mind logically how can you hurt something that is strong and if you can, the question his masculinity. Is he really a ‘man’? This is half the problem for rape victims on both sides. To change it it requires a lot of rational discussion without heat or finger pointing. Trying to changing an entire cultural viewpoint point is bound to be difficult.
There are many voices on both sides and within any ideology, but your claim that I’d be hard pressed to find women who are not appalled by male survivors of rape being dismissed is simply not true. Are there rape-apologists who are both male and female – of course. But is it everyone? No. Really it isn’t. If you look around you will find support willing given.
But I have to say, it does seem from reading parts of the comment thread that you or at least some people here are not really trying to find common ground within the mess that is gender and equality. There seems to be more desire to promote the THEM vs US (THEY the ‘feminists’ are all the same. both bitches etc) which for me is really unnecessarily divisive and will never address the real problems. Which is a real shame.
I do understand how it does sometimes feel futile and enraging hearing groups like this saying stuff like that but like i said before, its not a homogeneous whole. I don’t doubt there will be strong opposition from other kinds of rational ‘feminist’ (or whatever they want to label themselves) groups. Support is definately there. Take care. x
That is the No True Scotsman fallacy, and it just does not hold up. These groups work specifically to address women’s issues and call themselves feminists. Claiming they are not feminists because they blocked the recognition of female rapists is illogical.
This is not to say you cannot find their actions appalling. You can and you should. However, that does not make them any less feminist.
That does not appear to be the case. Allow me to quote the women opposed to recognizing male victims of female rapists:
And then there is this:
For a better explanation:
For a more bigoted explanation:
That has nothing to do with any cultural notion. To the contrary, it is based on the feminist concept that rape is a tool of male oppression against women.
That is not what I wrote. I wrote, “You will be hard-pressed to find many feminists who think men can be victims of, as Whoopi Goldberg would put it, ‘rape rape’.” I do not see many feminists treating sexual violence against males as they do sexual violence against females. There is a double standard at play. Yes, more feminists are publicly stating that they find sexual violence against males bad, yet this has happened solely because of male survivors coming forward, greater media attention, and men’s rights groups calling feminists out.
There is no common ground to be had when a political movement that claims to want to end sexual violence blocks legislation recognizing certain types of victims and offenders. I do apologize, but I will not compromise on protecting male victims or prosecuting female offenders. That is
I do not consider feminists “bitches”. I do, however, acknowledge that the majority of feminists appear to hold specific views about men and sexual violence, and those views are often sexist and hateful. More so, I acknowledge that feminists are the ones who created the us versus them dichotomy. I do not play that game. My concern is for helping abused men and boys, not trying to appeal to political movements.
I am an Indian male, but I still feel that male rape should get no priority. Female rape is common in India, not male rape. So in a country where we have a million problems – poverty, terrorism, lack of infrastructure, etc. – we can’t focus on male rape which happens once in a blue moon. We have to focus on female rape, which happens every five minutes. So my point is, we have to prioritize …. top priority is female rape followed by pedophilia.
Oscar, according to a 2007 study conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development:
More boys are sexually abused than girls, and apparently half of India’s children are sexually abused. I think that should give male rape a priority.
Scritch said on September 6, 2014
“don’t lump all feminists in here. the indian law makers are insanely backward. this is also NOT the feminist argument. this is the patriarchal argument that only men can rape and women can only be victims. the mind set of these people need to change but it will take time.”
Those insanely backward Indian law makers proved themselves to be a damn sight more progressive than the obviously influential feminist protagonists in this case.
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Male or female rape is wrong in any country it is violation of a person against their will. There was an attack in my area some years ago by a gang of men against a man walking through a local park. Not only did these horrible men rape this man they also raped him with an iron bar of some sort causing bad damage to the man. Countries I think must take all rape seriously be it male or female not dismiss the fact that this is a serious crime against a person and the people who carry out such acts should be found and given a suitable prison sentence.
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I am a man from india and i feel that women should be tried for rape only if the assault is on a minor or fellow woman. If women are prosecuted for raping a grown man, all male perpetrators of rape will counter with fraduelent cases against the female victims and make investigation a menace. Indian history has nil evidences of women raping grown men and if women are banned from anti feminine activities like gyming ,crossfit, martial arts and weaponry use( like it has allways been until recently) things will definitely remain the same.
The police could investigate the crime to see whether the complaint were true. By not charging women with rape, it allows female rapists to get away with the crime, and ironically allows them to do the very thing you warned against: accuse their victim of rape.
It may have no history of charging women with rape, but it is incredibly unlikely that there have never been women who raped men in India.
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This is horrible!
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