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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Rape is worse when it happens to men

114 replies

AyeRobot · 28/01/2012 21:53

According to the New York Times

Luckily, there are some brilliant women around to help the NYT out

Yes, the Patriarchy hurts men too. Why can't they just say that? Then there could be some useful public debate about what to do about it.

OP posts:
BasilRathbone · 28/01/2012 23:10

Thanks for posting this Aye and for the follow up article, which encapsulated everything I felt about the original.

It is a brilliant deconstruction of it, isn't it

AnyFucker · 28/01/2012 23:16

Great post, Aye

ledkr · 28/01/2012 23:20

Its a bit like the men for whom domestic violence is worse Hmm it may be the same (ALTHOUGH AS A VICTIM IM NOT CONVINCED) but its not bloody worse is it?

AnyFucker · 28/01/2012 23:23

yes, led

because DV against men threatens their manhood, but for women it's just part of being a woman, isn't it ?

BasilRathbone · 28/01/2012 23:24

Of course it's worse for men.

They're real human beings.

Have you learned nothing?


ledkr · 28/01/2012 23:30

Sorry for slight hijack but i keep seeing this man on tv who had all these wounds inflicted by a woman but what i dont get is that i used to be so terrified that id have run down the rd naked had i been able to get away and certainly wouldnt have sat on the sofa whilst the kettle was boiling knowing what was coming.
Obviously rape isnt a biggy for us as we are already used to it Shock

messyisthenewtidy · 28/01/2012 23:47

Really agreed with the follow up article. The comment by Loup Loup Garou summed up what was so misogynistic about the original article.

Archemedes · 29/01/2012 08:53

I could see that a man is more likely to be treat mockingly by his peers for being raped , a woman is more likely to receive sympathy/compassion.

but other than that I can't see why its worse.

BasilRathbone · 29/01/2012 09:42

I don't think a woman is more likely to receive sympathy actually.

I think women are often met with scepticism and blame. "Are you sure he didn't know you didn't want to?" "Do you think he realised you weren't up for it?" "He's such a nice guy, I'm sure he'd hate to think he'd caused you any pain, it must have been a misunderstanding", "But why did you let him in? You must have known what he was after?"

Hence the reason the majority of rape victims, don't ever tell anyone they've been raped, except a rape crisis line years later or an anonymous researcher.

msrisotto · 29/01/2012 09:55

Women are not more likely to find sympathy I agree Basil. Even 12 year old girls are told they were asking for it by dressing provocatively etc.

Grumpla · 29/01/2012 10:15

Good follow-up article and some amazing comments on there too.

Given this and some of its other recent fails in reporting sexual violence against women and girls, i must say that the New York Times makes me proud not to be an American.

Mind you I'd be deluding myself if I thought the same attitudes weren't endemic in the UK as well.

Charlotteperkins · 29/01/2012 10:21

People believe men who say they've been raped. That's the difference.

WidowWadman · 29/01/2012 10:49

Charlotteperkins - is that so? I wouldn't be surprised if there was an even bigger stigma attached to being raped if you're a man, than if you're a woman.

I don't think that it's particularly useful to try and see whether men or women have it worse when it comes to being raped or experiencing violence.

edam · 29/01/2012 10:51

but that's the point, widow - people are objecting to an article claiming men have it worse.

balia · 29/01/2012 10:54

Agree, WidowWadman, it's not a contest, surely?

And if it isn't acceptable to question why a woman stays with an abusive man, then it isn't acceptable to say

"I wouldnt have sat on the sofa whilst the kettle was boiling knowing what was coming."

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood · 29/01/2012 10:57

I don't think it is worse, however, I do think that women have battled to get their rights heard and understood (not there yet!) However I think the concept of men being raped is at a different stage in that social awareness.
I would say for my awareness the social attitude to men being raped/sexually assaulted seem to be very much like the attitudes USED to be for women. and in that way I guess not the physical act being worse but the support network is not yet as developed as it is for women.

TunipTheVegemal · 29/01/2012 10:58

Last year I looked at a document which gave the conviction rates for men and women victims in the UK (linked on a thread here but it would take me forever to find it, sorry) and what the figures said was:
-adult men victims were more likely to get a conviction than adult women
-teenage boys were less likely to get a conviction than teenage girls

Of course there will be lots of factors contributing to that but I did wonder if it related to underlying prejudices about how trustworthy these groups of people were.

WidowWadman · 29/01/2012 10:59

edam - yes, but the argument is also almost immediately turned on its head saying that it's women who have it worse. That's no better than saying men have it worse.

Rape is horrific no matter who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. Deciding on which victim deserves more sympathy based on their gender is stupid. They all deserve sympathy and support. Making it gendered doesn't help anyone.

(And yes, I'm aware that the majority of rape victims are female. But if campaigns concentrated on fighting the rape of people rather than fighting the rape of women I think that'd be better.

YuleingFanjo · 29/01/2012 11:00

great response. thank you for posting.

KRITIQ · 29/01/2012 11:00

I don't think there is any benefit in arguing that rape is worse for men than for women, or the other way round. It's similar to arguing that rape is inherently worse for "some" women (e.g. virgins, those who've had few partners, where perpetrator is a stranger, where they are seriously injured, etc.) than for others.

I've been close to both women and men who've been raped, as adults and as children. I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but there are so many factors in a person's life, personality, situation and facts related to the incident that influence how they cope with what has happened. Stating that gender or any other factor governs how "bad" a rape is is deeply offensive, does little to help those who've been raped deal with what's happened and adds nothing useful to public discourse on rape.

I agree that in that article at least there seems to be a misogynist undercurrent that women are "used" to having sex "done to them" and because rape is an extreme version of that, it has to be worse for a bloke who's not used to it. It's what I'd call "casual misogyny" - taking something that is deeply sexist for granted as something that just "is" rather than something that is founded on the validation of a form of oppression as normal or natural.

This kind of reminded me of the plethora of debates I was once involved in with the precursors of MRAs. They insisted that partner abuse was more common and worse for men than it was for women and it was wrong that there was Women's Aid and other organisations to support women but nothing like that for men.

Apart from the fact that there were services, but different types (as it had been found that men leaving abusive relationships didn't need or want refuge space,) I would think if you were genuinely concerned about the welfare of a group of people who were being abused within a trusting relationship, the last thing you'd want to do is try and get rid of services to support another group of people suffering the same plight. You'd want to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who'd campaigned for services for women and insist on MORE services for victims (including men) and not cutting the already overstretched and inadequate services for men.

That sort of busted what their real agenda was about - not helping men, but taking down women. Yep, this article reminded me of that.

KRITIQ · 29/01/2012 11:03

Sorry - last line of last paragraph but one should have said "women" at the end and not "men."

Heswall · 29/01/2012 11:03

It would be wouldn't it Hmm

Haziedoll · 29/01/2012 11:10

I agree that it isn't a contest and it is an awful thing to happen to anyone. I think male rape isn't talked about as much, possibly because it isn't as common. Men may be less likely to talk about their rape which probably hinders their recovery and may give a perception that male rape is worse when it isn't.

I was sexually assaulted whilst backpacking in India, it happened on a bus with dh standing next to me. I didn't tell dh because I knew he would hit the man and end up in a police cell. As we got off the bus I kicked the man, swore at him and got on with my travels. If dh had been sexually assaulted I fear that he would still be in recovery 15 years later.

Why is that? Is it because women are stronger or is a sexual assault worse when it happens to a man? Or is it that as women we are conditioned to believe that we are sexual objects and just accept that we will receive unwanted sexual attention from time to time. I fear it is the latter. Sad

WidowWadman · 29/01/2012 11:29

Haziedoll - but would the difference in reaction to that situation be solely down to gender or also simply to personality. I think some women cope better with being assaulted than others, and equally some men will cople better to being assaulted than others. And vice versa.

Reactions to rape may have a basis in gender - so a woman might be ending up internalising blame "having asked for it"/"being a slut" and a man might experience feelings of being demasculinised - but that's not to say that one is worse than the other - they're just different responses shaped by the role context. And some will be hit harder by these feelings than others.

The reaction to this article reads a bit like whataboutery to me, to be honest.

SardineQueen · 29/01/2012 11:36

I may have missed something in that article but I didn't see where it said that it was worse for men?

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