It is time to talk about men who get raped and cannot speak out because of what the society believes about them- strong, smart and powerful. The reality is that just as girls get raped, boys and even men also get raped. But why are male victims ignored?
When a rape case is reported, no one dares to ask what the victim’s sex is and even if one decides to ask, they would be given a sarcastic response or rather ignored. This is because rape has been generalized to be a crime committed only against females. In fact, sex is perceived to be a male activity and therefore, abuse of it can only come from men and never from women.
Structures of rape interventions usually do not incorporate men because the belief is- men cannot be victims of rape. In fact, some laws rarely recognize that men could be victims of rape making it difficult for women to be convicted.
Although the number is very less when compared to girls, boys and men also get raped and they are raped by women. According to UNICEF, one in ten boys and one in four girls have been sexually abused. A contributing factor to the relatively less number of male victims is that boys and men are less likely to report or admit being sexually assaulted.
Male rape victims prefer to remain silent as they have been conditioned to remain resolute regardless of anything. As a result, only a few but extreme cases manage to get media and police attention. A very recent case is a 5-year-old boy who was raped by three other boys on a beach in Australia.Extreme expectations from men, the media and the law all contribute to male rape victims being ignored Click To Tweet
Other paedophilia cases have also been reported but adults too are not exempted from sexual abuse. A horrific case was the 23-year-old man who was abducted and gang-raped by three women in South Africa. The man was abused for three days after which he was dumped in a field.
Another very disturbing case was the gang rape of a male teacher by five female secondary school students in Nigeria. The girls who pretended to make a quick recovery visit to their ill teacher raped and left him almost lifeless.
Whether or not they are unreported or less, findings show that boys and men can also be victims of rape. So why do we ignore this?
Cultural beliefs make it hard to believe male victims
The society is majorly patriarchal and of course, holds men in ‘high esteem’. Men are expected to dominate, rule and show no weakness. They are believed to be smarter and better even when they are not.
These beliefs create a lot of expectation from men which include being strong. As rape victims are wrongly considered as ‘weak’, men cannot be among. The reality, however, is that men especially children can be abused in their homes, schools and even workplace.
When this reality comes, these men are unable to receive help. High chances are they would be shamed and never believed. Although they are perceived to be strong, they still have to deal with the traumas of being a victim- one who might never speak out. For years, they are left to deal with depression, sexual dysfunction and relationship issues just like any other rape victim.
It is difficult for female victims to receive justice but it is even more difficult for male victims as they are less likely to be believed. For instance, some women have irresponsibly made false rape accusations towards men in other to ‘punish’ them. Women can do this because they are more likely to be believed by the police and the media. Men, on the other hand, cannot dare this as even true allegations are hardly believed. This makes it almost impossible for male victims to get the justice they equally deserve.
Justice for all
Cultural beliefs have made society an unsafe place for male victims of rape to speak out. The extreme expectations from men, the media and the law all contribute to male rape victims being ignored.
Indeed, rape is a silent plague destroying both men and women. Attempted justice if biased; is injustice. Rape is a crime that should be punished regardless of the offender’s sex. Whether or not the figures are less, both boys and girls deserve sympathy, fair hearing and justice if abused.