Originally posted on February 24, 2014
Dan Farr began a campaign in Bristol to address sexual violence against men and boys:
In a statement on his website, Mr Farr said he was concerned there was a “huge denial that male rape exists”, rooted in mistaken beliefs that men could fight off attackers, women could not rape men, and male rape only happened in prison.
His new campaign comes after three high-profile incidents of male rape in the Bristol area over the past year. In that time, Avon and Somerset police investigated a total of 34 cases of rape reported by men – up from 18 in the previous 12-month period. According to charity Mankind, one in 29 men has reported being sexually assaulted and one in 20 has been affected by sexual violence.
Mr Farr said: “These mistaken beliefs make it hard for male survivors to come forward because they are left with feelings of shame, confusion and self-blame for what happened. That’s why we need the council and police to publicly recognise male rape to make it easier for male rape survivors to get the help they need and to report the crime.”
This follows the UK government creating a £500,000 fund to help male survivors.
Both of these are unprecedented moves in the UK. The UK government is notorious for ignoring male rape victims. For example, males are not recognized as potential rape victims in the UK. The law specifically excludes counting men and boys. Sex crimes against males can only count as sexual assault.
The current attitude change likely happened because of greater reporting by male victims and more research into the topic of sexual violence against males. I have noted several times on this blog that things will change as people learn how frequently men and boys face sexual violence.
While the numbers reported by Mankind are likely low estimates of the actual rate of sexual violence against men and boys, the numbers do reveal that this is not a passing problem. Rather, it is a hidden problem.
The only way to get around that silence is to encourage men and boys to come forward, and the only way to do that is by taking the issue seriously and providing them with the means and support they need.
Hopefully, the UK fund will be spent wisely and not squandered on silly campaigns or co-opted by feminist groups intent on using it to teach men “not to rape.”