Editor’s note: This article’s aim is not to distract from the fact that 1 in 2 women experience sexual violence in their lifetime. But rather, see it as a time to highlight that the age-old stereotype that men don’t get raped is horrendously wrong.
Furthermore, society’s shift in thinking surrounding male sexual assault can be largely contributed to the Women’s Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement. Read more here.
Sexual violence against men
Just over three years ago, the FBI announced to the masses that it’s almost century old definition of rape would be changed. The definition, that was enacted in 1927, was as follows: “Forcible rape — the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.”
In 2012, they extended the definition to include any gender or perpetrator.
“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 FBI said in a statement.
The FBI’s statement also recognized that neither men nor women could consent to sex while under the influence of a substance.
The opening up of this definition holds real weight considering the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 1 out of 5 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Most of these sexual assaults are committed by other men who identify as heterosexual according to Brown University.
This number of sexual assault decreases when speaking of the LGBT community among men. 50 percent of bi men will experience sexual violence and 40 percent of gay men will experience sexual violence.
Many have speculated that rapes (especially among men) have long gone notoriously under reported. In 2014, the National Research Council (NRC) added stark evidence to that claim.
Likewise, In 2010 the NRC concluded that 15,019 boys and men were sexually assaulted. This is particularly interesting because the FBI only reported 84,767 total sexual assaulted that year while the NRC estimated 268,574 total rapes. In contrast, another trusted data source — The Center For Disease Control (CDC)’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reported 1.3 million incidents that very same year.
Measuring rape incidents becomes a particularly tricky task when many studies go household to household to collect data and it is said that 1-out-of-4 assailants are close friends or family members.
Male victims of sexual violence are also harder to track because many studies will only ask men if they have inflicted sexual violence on another, not if it’s been inflicted on them.
Because of the age-old misconceptions that surround men and sexual assault and masculinity, many men’s claims surrounding sexual violence aren’t taken seriously or with as much weight as women’s,according to a Brown University study.
Brown University also reports that if a male ejaculated or was aroused, they might not believe they were raped. Furthermore, many male victims of sexual violence self blame and feel guilty for not being strong or manly enough to fight off their assailant.
The same could be said for men who report other forms of interpersonal violence.
How to report interpersonal violence as a male
1 in 7 men will be subject to severe physical violence by a partner in their lifetime. Many men will not report their assailant to authorities because of stereotypes of what a man should be.
Others see it as them becoming the butt of jokes as this video of Solange attacking Jay-Z was in late last year.
Though the resources for women, severely outweigh the resources for men. There are many listed here.