Kudos to Caitlin Bishop who wrote an article on Mamamia male rape victims. This is a topic that is sadly not talked about very often. Too often, female to male rape – especially when the male is in adolescence – is treated like a win, like something a man should want. If it’s a teacher/ student situation, it’s assumed that the victim has a crush on the female teacher anyway. This portrayal is never, if rarely, present when the genders are reversed. Often when men are raped by other men, this can lead men to mistakenly question their sexuality. CASA Forum Fact Sheet puts it:
For heterosexual men, sexual assault can cause confusion or questioning about their sexuality, especially if their body has responded.
For gay men, sexual assault can lead to feelings of self – blame and self – loathing. attached to their sexuality. There is enough homophobic sentiment in society to make gay men suffer from internal conflicts about their sexuality. Being sexually assaulted may lead a gay man to believe he somehow “deserved it” due to his sexual orientation.
I believe that there is one important thing that people need to start realising – men – like women – can refuse sex. They aren’t animals without inhibitions, despite what society says. It’s their right, just as it’s the right of women to refuse sex. Also, the age of consent applies to males as it does females. If a male is underage or when the woman (or man), is in a position of power (teacher, etc), and any sexual contact occurs, then that male has been raped. It’s not a fantasy. It’s not a “dream come true”. It’s not what they “should want”. If a man or teenage boy can’t or won’t give proper consent, then that man has been raped.
For victims who have been raped by other men – it’s of NO RESEMBLANCE to their sexual orientation. If a man is raped – regardless of sexual orientation – power has been abused. Again, gay men can refuse consent just as straight, bi, asexual, etc men can. They can refuse or withdraw any sexual contact from other men, just like anyone else. This toxic stereotype and over – sexualisation of gay men would not have done gay male victims of rape any justice, and like I quoted above, it exacerbates any internal homophobia that he may have.
The recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse saw a number of men speaking out their own experiences of sexual abuse and its aftermath. Recently in the UK, the Football Association has been rocked with historical allegations of sexual abuse by former players. According to BBC, ex – Crewe defender, Andy Woodward was one of the first to speak out without anonymity in November. He alleged that he’d been abused by former football coach and serial paedophile Barry Bennell from ages 11 to 15. Other men that have spoken out include: Steve Walters and former England and Totenham footballer, Paul Stewart.
Feminists often talk about toxic masculinity and how it affects women. But I think it’s equally toxic for men. Like I said, no, men are not animals. Yes, they should have choice an autonomy over their body and sexuality just like women. And yes, men can – and refuse sex – from people of any gender. If we don’t get rid of these toxic views on masculinity and sexuality, more male victims are going to suffer in silence.
For Australians who need help dealing with sexual abuse here is a list of helpline numbers across the country