Myths about male sexuality and rape

TW: rape

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.

Gay victims:

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  

 

 

 

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“Pink Carriages” The Answer for the Safety of Women and Children?

Last night on Ten’s “The Project”, there was a report on “Safe Carriages” – a push to have separate train carriages exclusive for women and children to avoid would – be predators and sex pests on city trains and to prevent further assaults. Currently, according to Sydney’s “The Daily Telegraph”,* the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics show that six men and six women were sexually victimised in the first nine months of last year. Overall, the statistic is more shocking – 142 women and 24 men have been reportedly victimised.

Other countries like Japan and India have implemented a similar idea to try and keep women safe on city trains. The suggestion, however, has received fierce opposition both here in Australia and in the UK. Feminist, Eva Cox has been one vocal opponent, fearing that it’ll do more harm than good and that it puts the focus on the victim, rather than the perpetrator:

I suspect if men are being drunk and obnoxious, they ought to be stuck away in a separate carriage, rather than limit women in a separate carriage.

Cox worries that, in fact, the move could potentially backfire and make women on mixed – gender carriages less safe:

I get fairly wary of it being seen as we have to protect ourselves by excluding ourselves

 

I can’t help but feel that it’s just a Band – Aid solution to a complex societal problem. What about cracking down on drunkenness on trains. How about, like it was suggested, employing more guards, and I’d also add, give them adequate powers to ban pests or abusive passengers. How about the legal system as a whole stop treating sex crimes and other crimes like a complete joke and give perpetrators lengthy sentences, like life or 30+ years? Or, if need be, increase funding to sex offenders rehabilitation programs? How about tightening liquor laws (times, etc), so patrons are less likely to get drunk and be aggressive in public? It’s worked in King’s Cross in Sydney of all places! (Trading hours for alcohol has been limited until 1 a.m… I think).  I agree with Cox that it takes the responsibility away from the perpetrators and putting the responsibility back on victims (men are also be victimised).

I can see how “safe carriages” could fail commuters. I also think it’s a diversion tactic, rather than dealing with the problem head – on. Everyone should be safe on trains and other public transport. That’s a no – brainer. People should be safe everywhere. Let’s deal with the issue of sexual harassment, sexual assault and other violence holistically, rather than trivially.

  • Note: if you are not a paid subscriber to the Daily Telegraph, you probably won’t be able to access the article in the link.

 

 

If You Want Sex, You Ask. If The Person Resists Or Doesn’t Give Consent, Game Over

I read before on another blog, it was alleged that a male MP, Gavin King partly blamed women for becoming victims of rape. This has to stop! Is it just me or is this attitude become rampant in society?

Why is it so hard for people to get that ‘no means no’? It’s not just men that have this attitude either. Women have also admitted that they think women could provoke attackers. A survey last year exposed how scarily prevalent the attitude is, with about a third of respondents saying that women were at least partly responsible if they were assaulted.

There is a flip side to this. Media personalities like former Cosmopolitan (Australian) editor and blogger Mia Freedman and Herald Sun columnist and blogger, Susie O’Brien have both received vitriolic abuse on social media for even suggesting that women should keep themselves safe when out in public. They were (wrongly) accused of victim blaming (anyone who has looked at either of their blogs would know without a shadow of a doubt that neither of them condone violence toward women, or anybody, for that matter).

We should ALWAYS put the blame of violence squarely on the perpetrators, not the victims. However,people shouldn’t be condemned for giving women tips on how to remain safe, especially if the advice is backed up (for example meeting dates for the first time in a well – lit crowded public area or having a friend with you when meeting the person. This isn’t (or shouldn’t be labelled as), victim blaming. Shouldn’t we all be open to hearing how to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe?