If you think that only women fall victim to the heinous crime of rape, then you are sorely wrong. Men, mostly teens and young adults, likewise suffer from various levels of sexual violation. “It is important for advanced practice nurses and other clinicians to be aware of indicators of rape and sexual abuse in men and to be able to detect them,” says Jennifer C. Yeager, MSc and Joshua Fogel, PhD.
Majority of the male rape victims belong to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. A homosexual male is targeted by another man most especially if he is effeminate or has feminine features or is ‘too pretty’ for the offender. In most cases, male offenders may claim that they are not homosexual and may internally justify their aggressive behavior as a display of masculinity.
Sadly, sexual assault on men isn’t an isolated incident or an unusual situation. In a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of lesbians, gay and bisexual victims of sexual-related crime are equal or even higher than similar incidents involving heterosexuals.
Trusting the Wrong Person
There are several rape cases where offenders, usually when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are acquaintances of the male victims. Some of these male victims are in intimate relationship with their aggressors.
In a report done by the Williams Institute’s School of Law about the research on intimate relationship violence (IPV) and sexual abuse among LGBT people, a study provides an approximated 26.9% of gay men who were victims of IPV in their lifetimes.
It is a daunting thought that a person you unconditionally trust can do something so horrific.
Gang Rape and Group Rape
It is not a foreign concept for a man to find himself in the middle of a gang or group rape. A fraternity may be a potential stage for such scenario where a new member or a neophyte may be forced to have sexual intercourse with several older members of the group as part of an initiation process. In some circumstances, it may not involve any form of initiation but rather an act of discrimination against a homosexual or bisexual member of the group.
Prison is another probable setting for this sexual-related crime. In fact, there have been reported cases of gang rape in jail over the years. One of the factors that may drive men to commit such a vicious act is psychological. Being locked up with limited access to the outside world and having no means to release sexual tension can increase stress levels that may drive a person mad. It is also undeniable that a prison is a lair full of individuals with psychological disorders.
Discrimination and Hate Crime
Not all sexual violations involve forced intercourse or penetration. “Sexual harassment is really not about sex. It’s about power and aggression and manipulation. It’s an abuse of power problem,” says James Campbell Quick, PhD, a professor of leadership and management at the University of Texas at Arlington. Men may also be victims of verbal assault, sexual harassment, physical violence and psychological coercion to perform other sexual acts such as oral sex. Discrimination may be the cause for perpetrators to violate homosexual or bisexual men. This is often billed as a hate crime, and it happens to about 4 out of 10 men who are identified to be part of the LGBT group.
It is not easy for a man to admit, much more to go public or to report to authorities, that he had been sexually violated. Shame and self-doubt are natural reactions that may plague him and prevent him from taking necessary steps.
In a gender-focused hierarchy, men are likely expected to be the aggressors. Being victims may leave them confused and afraid of how other people may view them. They may be overwhelmed with fear that reporting the crime committed against them may lead to exposure of their sexual orientation if they have not come out of the metaphorical closet just yet.
Sexual crime against men is no different than the same criminal act done on women. They deserve the same assistance offered to women who have been sexually assaulted. If you are a man and you have been a victim of sexual abuse, you need to reach out to the authorities, or anyone you deem may be able to help. “Even if you have no interest in filing a lawsuit, it’s often a good idea to talk to an employment attorney,” says forensic psychologist Joni E Johnston Psy.D.