For our activist project, we thought to look into a seriously overlooked issue: victims of assault, abuse, and rape, specifically male. Rape and abuse are already difficult enough for some to acknowledge as “a real problem,” some claiming that it is merely a vie for attention when someone expresses that they were abused, or even that rape is an arguable term and should not be a criminal offense. There are countless arguments against the validity of victims’ testaments, and it seems there exists even more of a negative attitude toward males who claim to be victims of any kind of abuse–be it sexual, verbal, mental, emotional. Our intention was to confront a few men about it in order to consider alternative perspectives (if any), in addition to spreading information regarding where to seek help for victims or friends of victims.
In a 2013 survey of 40,000 households about rape and sexual violence, 38% of instances were against males: a troubling statistic that cries to be acknowledged. Because of societal expectations regarding masculinity and how a capital-m “Man” is supposed to digest negative events in his life, these individuals are even less likely to seek not only legal assistance, but also any emotional assistance or comfort, be it from a professional or even a friend. Rape, abuse, and assault are all associated with subordination and vulnerability. In a culture that praises “manly” men who diminish their emotional expressions and strive to express power and control over not only themselves but their immediate surroundings, we have not left much room for the men who do have been made vulnerable, who have been forced into subordination, who have been robbed of human dignity.
Is abuse worse for men than any gender?
The answer is too dynamic for a yes or no. The truth is, to prioritize the cruelty of abuse of one gender over others is not an option. All abuse, regardless of gender, is abhorrent.
We chose to focus on the male perspective because it is not acknowledged as often or with as much zeal as others. When we think “rape” we tend to think male: oppressor, female: oppressed. That binary definition of assault simply isn’t a reality, and it is not that we feel women are receiving too much “publicity”, it is that we are concerned for the well-being of anyone who has been had their autonomy overridden. Abuse does not have a gender.
If you or someone you know has had an abusive experience, it’s imperative to seek help. Each situation demands justice, and for those seeking solace, these services are available.
via Mathias Smith, Faith Reed