Friday, 15 February 2013

Male rape and rape myths

So I'm a student studying Criminology and we do one police module where we seem to have quite a few great lectures...surprising for me really since I was debating on doing a language instead but we'll not get into that. One of the topics of the more interesting lectures was sexual offending or more specifically male 'rape'.

By that I mean male victims of rape. One of the topics society ignores and laughs off when the reality is that it's nothing funny or anything to joke about. Other than male domestic violence victims they're one of the most ignored victim groups within western society and are just brushed off with focus being on women victims which is all good and dandy for them but what about you guys? Could you imagine a scenario where you being male are being forced into sexual intercourse with a group of women after falling asleep at a party? That was a real example given to us by our lecturer and you know what happened to those women? They were NOT charged with rape. Why? Because rape laws are gender bias in the UK and most US states.

By gender bias they are specific to a penis and how many women do you know with one of them? The fact of the matter is if you don't have one you can't be charged with rape. Now forgive me for this but that's not exactly gender equality is it? In this day and age you would've thought rape laws would also allow women to be charged but that is not the case everywhere, in some it is; thankfully.

I am a female and I can see how plainly wrong it is, you don't need to be male to demand a change in rape laws or any sexual offence laws to allow women to be charged as a rapist. You just need to have half a brain and some common sense since you can't run about saying how things are so much more equal these days when you're allowing men to be victims one of the most psychologically damaging crimes and never allowing them any kind of justice. It is just not on. Also rather lovely for you guys out there; If someone is forced to go down on a man then it's rape but if they're forced to go down on a woman it's not. All part of the blind spot in rape laws.

Men are the main victims in this little shaded area but lets not forget that a woman can't be raped by another woman thanks to the blind spot in rape laws. Now feminists are the main cause of why there are still blind spots (according to my female lecturer who is an expert in this topic with a book coming out this year on it) and excuse if I'm wrong here but they're damaging womens rights as well by preventing female victims claiming rape charges against other females. It seems to me like they haven't though it through here.

Now for a little bit on common misconceptions on rape

MYTH: Rape is about sexual gratification
TRUTH: It's actually about power, not some kind of uncontrollable sex drive.

MYTH: You can resist a rape if you really want to
TRUTH: It is a natural reaction to freeze, we all do it at the threat of danger or bodily harm and in order to prevent yourself from being hurt you just shut down. It is an evolutionary trait in both genders. The police will tell you to fight as it's more likely to get a conviction then but in reality you most likely wouldn't do.

MYTH: Stranger commit rape
TRUTH: In reality the one who are most likely to rape you are the ones closest to you being family, friends, spouses, boy/girlfriends, any other person you know such as a teacher, etc. Usually there is some kind of  relationship between the rapist and the victim(Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000) and those same people in the brackets came to these statistics for us Uni students in the UK:

Classmate (35.5%)
A friend (34.2%)
A boyfriend or ex-boyfriend (23.7%)
An acquaintance (2.6%)
Other (4%)

This must give you some kind of an idea of the chance of a stranger raping you with 4% of offenders here being strangers.

MYTH: All women want to be raped
TRUTH: Seriously? Do I even need to comment on this one? Sure there's probably SOME out there but not ALL of us do! We still have the conception today that some people are 'asking for it'  by how they're dressed which is ridiculous since why should we have to abandon what we like just because if we were to be raped the jury would deem us a willing victim because of it? I like my platform boots, 'leather' trousers and jacket and mini skirts and my new bright blonde hair but should that mean I'm 'asking for it'? or how does walking around at night alone mean that as well? For some reason I don't think me walking to and from the off-campus library late at night alone means I'm 'asking for it', do you? Though I'm sure some jury somewhere would disagree.

MYTH: Many women falsely cry rape
TRUTH: Most rape cases will never come to light for many reasons ranging from the victim being too afraid or doubtful in policing ability to come forward or the lack of evidence in the case which would mean the case wouldn't be taken to court. You are also more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted by someone you know than a stranger, would you want to convict a friend or a family member? or even your spouse? Rape within marriage is still rape; always remember that.

A fact to keep in mind: By the time a rapist has been caught and convicted they will typically have committed 14 previous rapes with each one becoming more violent.

Rape is probably the worst crime against a single being to ever occur, yes murder is bad too but that person is dead so they don't have to deal with the consequences but a rape victim is still alive and they have to carry the memory of what happened to them around for the rest of their lives and with how the criminal justice system and law reacts to rape most victims will never see justice. Imagine someone you know hurting you in such a way and seeing them every day afterwards because they're in your class, at your work, your spouse, your family. The psychological damage it would do is tremendous.

We need to fight to get rape laws to change, to allow women to be recognised as a rapist and tear down those social views making rape a joke for both men and  women (not ignoring you transgender peeps, your sex is whatever you feel you are) in order for justice to finally come for so many victims to afraid to come forward and for those failed by the system that's meant to protect them.

Clare x

Edit: Here's a few links if anyone is interested in the topic or would like to speak to someone about an experience:

Rape Crisis UK:
Victim Support:
Support Line:

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