‘Denial over male rape fills victims with shame’

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. Continue reading

Tamen gets FBI to clarify its position on “envelopment” rape

The FBI implemented a new definition of rape in 2012. The previous definition defined rape as:

The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

The current definition now reads:

The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

The new definition recognizes forced anal and oral sex as rape, which incidentally allows male victims to also be recognized as rape victims on a federal level.

However, the new definition fails to clearly state whether being forced to penetrate counts as rape. This is important because a 2010 CDC study showed that the majority of male victims of sexual violence reported being forced penetrate their rapists rather than being penetrated by their rapists. While the CDC researchers did not define that act as rape (an issue I discussed elsewhere), being forced to penetrate is often counted as rape in various states.

So it is curious that the FBI chose language that at best makes it unclear whether those acts would count under the new definition. This has been a complaint from many male survivors, their advocates, and various men’s rights activists since the FBI announced the new definition.

To my knowledge, no one who wrote to the FBI about the definition received a response. Except now. Tamen, a blogger at Feminist Critics and Tamen’s Writings and a frequent commenter here, managed to get a response. Continue reading