I have often mentioned on this blog that part of the reason we know so little about male victims of sexual violence is because we do not talk to men about their experiences. This is particularly true when it comes to female-perpetrated abuse. The common view is that women cannot rape men, or at least that whatever they can commit is minimal and harmless. This view is bolstered by the feminist claim that sexual violence is an act of oppression specifically committed by men against women.
Those narratives intertwine, creating an unwillingness for society, law enforcement, support agencies, and researchers to acknowledge male victims or female rapists. But what happens when one actually asks men about their experiences?
As seen in the recent CDC studies on intimate partner violence, it appears that one will discover that far more men are victims of sexual violence than initially assumed, and that the majority of the abusers are female. I have written before about the CDC research, specifically how the CDC separated female-perpetrated sexual violence from rape, creating the category “made to penetrate” (i.e., the male is forced to insert his penis into a vagina or anus), and then labeling this as sexual assault.
Many people took issue with this, myself included, not because the CDC acknowledged this particular type of violence, but because their categorization made it appear as if men were rarely raped, when the results actually suggested the opposite. There were further questions regarding the methodology and how the researchers presented the results, however, the CDC study was the first to examine the concept of “made to penetrate” to such a degree.
Even with the concerns, the results showed far more men are raped by women than anyone assumed. What was needed was further independent research on the same topic. How many male victims are forced to penetrate their rapists? What is the sex of the rapist? What impact does this particular form of rape have on the victims? What assistance, if any, do victims seek? How are they treated?
We now have another report asking those questions. Continue reading