Sunday, May 07, 2006
MYTH Only women can be raped.
FACT Men can be and are sexually assaulted every day. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 6% of rape victims were men in the year 2000.
MYTH Men who rape other men are gay.
FACT Rape is not about sexual preference or desire - it is an act of power and control. The motivation of the rapist is to humiliate and brutalize another person. A survey of convicted rapists found that at least half of these men did not care about the sex of their victims; they raped both men and women. Most male rapists are either heterosexual or suffer great confusion about their sexual identity.
MYTH Men who rape other men are psychotic.
FACT There is no evidence to support this belief. Rape is a reflection of a "macho" society that trains men to strive to dominate and control others and to avoid the open expression and acknowledgment of feelings.
MYTH Victims of male rape must be gay.
FACT Both straight and gay men can be raped: most studies report that at least half (and more often the clear majority) of victims are exclusively heterosexual.
MYTH Rape is something that doesn't happen to "real men".
FACT Rape is something that can and does happen to an entire spectrum of men, regardless of physical strength or fighting prowess. Reported survivors have included a boxer and a man 6'2" and 200 lbs. Being raped does not mean that the survivor is weak or a "wimp". Anyone can be overpowered or taken by surprise. Size and strength is often no match for weapons, overwhelming odds or surprise attack.
MYTH Male rape only happens in prison, and is due to the lack of sexually available women.
FACT The rape of men in prisons is a classic example of men using rape as a means of getting power and control. Male rape happens much more often in society at large than we realize: but the victims rarely tell anyone. Many rape crisis centers report that as many as 10% of their callers are male survivors.
MYTH A man cannot have an erection if frightened.
FACT All studies so far have found that survivors commonly do report erections and even ejaculations during even the most vicious attacks. These are uncontrollable automatic physiological responses, and do not mean the survivor enjoyed the experience.
MYTH Women don't rape men.
FACT Women can and do commit rape of men, although this seems much less common than rape by men. Sexual assault of a man by one or more women is just as serious as any other type of violation of any other victim.
MYTH Being raped reflects upon the survivor’s manhood.
FACT It is important to remember that a victim of rape, whether male or female, was not at fault or responsible. Recovering from rape demands that we realize and combat rape myths about both male and female survivors.
MYTH There is no way for a man to protect himself against the likelihood of being raped.
FACT By increasing your awareness and taking basic precautions you can make yourself safer. Precautions include:
· Never hitchhike. From one third to one half of all male rapes may be due to hitchhiking.
· Moderate your drinking and use of drugs. Intoxication increases your vulnerability.
· Pay increased attention to your surroundings, especially in isolated situations.
MYTH Men deal better with personal/physical crisis and attacks than women do, and will therefore get over a rape more quickly and without help.
FACT There is growing evidence that men heal from this type of experience with greater difficulty. Men characteristically deal with this sort of trauma by trying to ignore it. This reluctance to seek therapy or support hinders recovery, and many men remain traumatized by the crime for literally years.
MYTH There is nothing a man can do to help another man who has been victimized by rape.
FACT Like the women's movement, a movement among men toward supporting and helping one another will be a giant step in beginning to effectively address the needs of male victims. Exposing and attacking the myths and disseminating the facts about male rape is a first step in this direction.
*Information compiled from several sources