Friday, September 25, 2009

Sexual violence....the forgotten victims

Rape is something men do to women. This is a common theme.

Once you look a little closer though, you find the victims who do not come forward that easily, in a society that is very strict with applying the role of victim and perpetrator. Now more about those forgotten victims.

Prison Rape

We will start with the most obvious, which most of the time is adressed as a joke, rather than a serious problem.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 140,000 inmates are raped each year, and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race. Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc. statistics indicate that there are more men raped in U.S. prisons than non-incarcerated women similarly assaulted. They estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked; and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly disease - from here
 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In 2003, the U.S. Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, Public Law 108-79, now codified 45 U.S.C. 15601 to 15609. The Findings in this Act state: [...] Insufficient research has been conducted and insufficient data reported on the extent of prison rape. However, experts have conservatively estimated that at least 13 percent of the inmates in the United States have been sexually assaulted in prison. Many inmates have suffered repeated assaults. Under this estimate, nearly 200,000 inmates now incarcerated have been or will be the victims of prison rape.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rape used as control in U.S. prisons By NEVE GORDON  - from here
 Many prisoners are targeted for sexual exploitation the minute they enter a penal facility; their age, looks, sexual preference and other characteristics mark them as candidates for maltreatment. In a new groundbreaking report, Human Rights Watch documents the widespread prisoner-on-prisoner rape in U.S. men’s prisons. The rights group accuses state authorities of not taking measures to prevent and punish rape and, in many cases, for allowing this cruel form of abuse to persist.
One reads that in extreme incidents prisoners find themselves the “slaves” of their rapists. Forced to satisfy another man’s sexual appetites upon demand, they may also be responsible for washing his clothes, massaging his back, cooking his food and cleaning his cell. They are frequently “rented out” for sex services, sold or even auctioned off to other inmates.
One prisoner from Arkansas wrote to Human Rights Watch: “I had no choice but to submit to being Inmate B’s prison wife. Out of fear for my life, I submitted to [him]. In all reality, I was his slave, as the Officials of the Arkansas Department of Corrections … did absolutely nothing.”
“Rapes are unimaginably vicious and brutal,” writes Joanne Mariner, deputy director of the Americas division of Human Rights Watch, and author of “No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons.” Gang assaults are not uncommon, and victims may be left beaten, bloody and even dead; they almost always suffer from extreme psychological stress, including nightmares, deep depression, shame and self-hatred, which may lead to suicide. There are also known cases whereby the victim has contracted HIV.
No conclusive national data exists regarding the prevalence of this phenomenon, but the most recent statistical survey, published in the Prison Journal, revealed that 21 percent of inmates in seven Midwestern prisons had experienced at least one episode of pressured or forced sex since being incarcerated, and at least 7 percent had been raped in their facility.
 Correctional authorities generally deny that rape is a serious problem. In Human Rights Watch’s survey of all 50 states, not one correctional authority reported abuse rates even approaching those found by the rights group. The authorities’ reluctance to acknowledge the scale of the violation is reflected not only in misleading official statistics, but also in a glaringly inadequate response to incidents of rape.
When an inmate informs an officer he has been threatened with rape or, worse, actually assaulted, his complaint is seldom investigated, and only in rare instances is an inmate protected from further abuse. “U.S. state prisons have failed to take even obvious, basic steps necessary to tackle prison rape,” Mariner writes. “This deliberate indifference has had tragic consequences.”
In the report, one reads of M.R., a Texas inmate who was violently raped and beaten several times over a period of several months by the same prisoner. Fearful for his life, he reported the abuse to the prison authorities, but received no protection. In fact one investigator dismissed the complaint as a “lovers’ quarrel.” Finally one day the rapist showed up in M.R.’s cell and attacked him. M.R. suffered a broken jaw, left collarbone and finger, a dislocated left shoulder, lacerations to his scalp and two major concussions that caused internal bleeding. The rapist was never criminally prosecuted.
Why, one might ask, do prison authorities turn a blind eye to this horrific phenomenon? While Human Rights Watch does not directly deal with this issue, it appears that the authorities’ lack of response is premeditated. Rape is an effective, albeit ruthless, mechanism of inmate control.
By allowing rape to go on, the “correctional” authorities ensure that prisoner violence is contained within the cells. Frustrated prisoners are permitted to release aggression on condition that they direct it against other inmates, not the authorities. That the victims, who comprise as much as 20 percent of 2 million inmates held in U.S. prisons and jail, live in perpetual fear is also conducive to control. Divide and conquer is the name of the game; the fact that it amounts to horrendous violations of human rights does not really interest the prison authorities.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prison Rape: the challenge of prevention and enforcement by insideprison.com, May 2006 
- from here
 Prison rape is not only a physically and psychologically damaging experience, it is also a formidable challenge for correctional departments attempting to secure basic human rights within correctional institutions. A study of four Midwestern states in 2000 found that about 1 in 5 inmates experiences some form of pressured or coerced sexual conduct while incarcerated (Struckman-Johnson & Struckman-Johnson, 2000). According to Stephen Donaldson, the president of the organization Stop Prisoner Rape and previous inmate victim of prison rape, roughly 300,000 inmates are sexually abused each year (Donaldson 1995). Courts not only recognize that "homosexual rape is commonplace" in prison, but they also make a point to depart from sentencing guidelines if they believe that a convicted felon is particular vulnerable to rape, and fits the "prisoner rape victim profile" (Man and Cronan 2001).
[...]
Some facts on sexual violence among inmates reported to correctional authorities:
  • 8,210 allegations of sexual violence reported
    Nationwide in 2004
  • 42% of allegations involved staff sexual misconduct;
    37%, inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts;
    11%, staff sexual harassment; and 10%, abusive sexual
    contact.
  • Correctional authorities reported 3.15 allegations of
    sexual violence per 1,000 inmates held in 2004.
Correctional authorities substantiated nearly 2,100
incidents of sexual violence, 30% of completed
investigations
  • Males comprised 90% of victims and perpetrators of
    inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts in prison and
    jail.
  • In State prisons 69% of victims of staff sexual
    misconduct were male, while 67% of perpetrators were
    female.
  • In local jails 70% of victims of staff sexual
    misconduct were female; 65% of perpetrators, male.
Roughly half of all sexual impropriety reported in U.S. prisons and jails last year was perpetrated by correctional staff, not inmates. Female staff were the offenders in two-thirds of the prison cases, and two-thirds of the victims of prison staff were male inmates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
With 2 million men and 200,000 women behind bars in the United States, the problem appears small -- there were 344 substantiated incidents of staff sexual misconduct and harassment reported by authorities last year. But experts believe incidents are underreported, and the bureau study notes that many allegations remain under investigation.
Critics say just one improper relationship between staff and an inmate erodes discipline, security and morale in institutions where there is little privacy, few secrets and a strong reluctance to "snitch.
....While there is an element of supposed romance noted in many of the cases, sexual relations of any kind between prison employees and inmates are considered nonconsensual by law because of the inherent power that staff have over prisoners. In Virginia it is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. - from here

As a reminder the National Crime Victimization Survey of 2006 found that 113,290 incidents of rape happened. The estimates ranged from 140,000 to 300,000.

Rape in the military 

This is something I saw regularly pop-up on feminist sides. When I read the following I was surprised
Avila Smith is known nationally as an advocate for veterans who slip through the cracks of the Veterans Affairs health-care system. After she was raped while serving in the Army, Avila Smith became a self-taught expert on helping veterans who were raped navigate the complicated VA system.
Military sexual trauma is unique in the world of sexual assault, Avila Smith said. It combines the violent, violating act of rape with the alienation and shame seen in veterans suffering combat trauma — all set within the Byzantine complexity of military bureaucracy.
In the military, reports of rape are handled by officers, who tend to value unity and conformity over individual complaints, Avila Smith said.
Victims who report being raped can be ignored or have charges levied against them — for filing false charges, exhibiting conduct unbecoming of military personnel, or adultery.
Sexual assaults are rarely reported in general, but in the military, rape victims are often threatened, intimidated or persecuted into silence by military members who are directly responsible for the victim's safety while serving, said Avila Smith.
Kay Whitley, director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in the Department of Defense, calls the threats and persecution that can follow a rape a "re-victimization" and said it is not limited to military members.
"I think it's a national problem," said Whitley. "That can happen to anyone, civilian or military."
In 2005, when reports began surfacing of sexual assaults during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Defense made sexual-assault prevention and response a priority and created new policies to provide victims with resources.
"With everything we have in place now, that should not be happening," Whitley said about revictimization. "We have made big progress in a short period of time. There is a system in place to take care of them."
[...]"This is not a 'woman' problem," said Mountjoy-Pepka. A little more than half of military sexual-trauma victims are men, mostly because they make up a majority of veterans, according to the VA.
"If you're a male in the military and you're a macho guy and you're raped, your shame is compounded and multiplied," she said.
Many veterans never make it to Veterans Affairs hospitals, often because mental disorders — such as post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction — which are developed after a sexual assault or after facing combat, can keep them from knowing or admitting they need help, Avila Smith said. Half of veterans and 80 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who reported sexual trauma are diagnosed with a mental condition, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"It's not like they walk off the battlefield and know they need to call for help," Avila Smith said. - from here
Of course given the fact that far more men work in the military than women the percentage of victimized women must be higher, but nonetheless more than half of all rape victims in the armed forces are men.

Childhood sexual abuse

Studies on childhood sexual abuse often find 1/4 of all girls have been victims of such a crime, but they also find high incidence rates of male victims.
Boys, Too, Suffer Long-term Consequences Of Childhood Sexual Abuse
ScienceDaily (May 19, 2005) — Children of both genders are frequently victims of sexual abuse, and the long-term consequences are nearly identical in men and women, according to a broad-based new report in the June 2005 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Among participants in the study of more than 17,000 California adults, 25 percent of females and 16 percent of males reported experiencing childhood sexual abuse. Moreover, say the authors, sexual abuse significantly increases the risk of developing health and social problems -- such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, and marital strife -- in both men and women.
A history of suicide attempt was more than twice as likely among both male and female victims as among nonvictims. Similarly, sexually abused adults of both genders faced a 40 percent greater risk of marrying an alcoholic.
Until now, most research on the effects of child sexual abuse has focused on female survivors, and little information was available on male victims. The new study shows that being male offers little protection. "All children are vulnerable to this form of abuse, and the burden is similar for both men and women later in life," says lead author Shanta Dube of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings are based on confidential questionnaires completed by more than 17,000 adult members of a health maintenance organization in California.
The respondents represent a fairly general population, says Dube, because each visited the clinic for a wellness assessment rather than for treatment of a health problem. In addition, statistical methods allowed the authors to isolate the effects of sexual abuse from those of other childhood stressors that may occur simultaneously, such as emotional or physical abuse.
The questionnaire asked participants if the sexual abuse involved intercourse or inappropriate touching only. The findings show that the risk of negative health outcomes was slightly higher for both genders if the abuse included attempted or completed intercourse.
The study also looked at the gender of perpetrators. Women reported that males committed the abuse 94 percent of the time. However, among men, abusers were divided more evenly between both genders with females accounting for up to 40 percent of the abuse.
Child sexual abuse had similar effects on males regardless of whether the perpetrator was a man or woman. "Thus, the vulnerability of boys to perpetration of [childhood sexual abuse] by both males and females deserves increased national attention," notes the study. - from here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Research suggests that 1 in 6 men have experienced unwanted or abusive sexual experiences before age 16. And this is probably a low estimate, since it doesn't include noncontact experiences, which can also have lasting negative effects. [...]
What the best research tells us:
  • A 2005 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, on San Diego Kaiser Permanente HMO members, reported that 16% of males were sexually abused by the age of 18.1
  • A 2003 national study of U.S. adults reported that 14.2% of men were sexually abused before the age of 18.2
  • A 1998 study reviewing research on male childhood sexual abuse concluded that the problems is “common, under-reported, under-recognized, and under-treated.”3
  • A 1996 study of male university students in the Boston area reported that 18% of men were sexually abused before the age of 16.4
  • A 1990 national study of U.S. adults reported that 16% of men were sexually abused before the age of 18. 5
Why these statistics are probably underestimates:
  • Males who have such experiences are less likely to disclose them than are females.6
  • Only 16% of men with documented histories of sexual abuse (by social service agencies, which means they were very serious) considered themselves to have been sexually abused.7
Men who have had such experiences are at much greater risk for serious mental health problems than men who have not been abused, including:
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.1,2,8
  • Alcoholism and drug abuse.1,9
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.1,9
  • Problems in intimate relationships.1,10
  • Underachievement at school and at work.1,10
References*
  1. Dube, S.R., Anda, R.F., Whitfield, C.L., et al. (2005). Long-term consequences of childhood sexual abuse by gender of victim. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28, 430-438.
  2. Briere, J. & Elliot, D.M. (2003). Prevalence and psychological sequelae of self-reported childhood physical and sexual abuse in a general population sample of men and women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 1205-1222.
  3. Holmes, W.C., & Slap, G.B. (1998). Sexual abuse of boys: Definition, prevalence, correlates, sequelae, and management. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 280, 1855-1862.
  4. Lisak, D., Hopper, J. & Song, P. (1996). Factors in the cycle of violence: Gender rigidity and emotional constriction. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 9, 721-743.
  5. Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 19-28.
  6. Holmes, G.R., Offen, L., & Waller, G. (1997). See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: Why do relatively few male victims of childhood sexual abuse receive help for abuse-related issues in adulthood? Clinical Psychology Review, 17, 69-88.
  7. Widom, C.S. & Morris, S. (1997). Accuracy of adult recollections of childhood victimization part 2. Childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Assessment, 9, 34-46.
  8. Widom (1999). Posttraumatic stress disorder in abused and neglected children grown up. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1223-1229.
  9. Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14, 245-258.
  10. Lisak, D. & Luster, L. (1994). Educational, occupational and relationship histories of men who were sexually and/or physically abused as children. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 7, 507-523.
*There are many more studies than these. Our goal here is to summarize some key research published by respected scientists, in reputable journals, after the work was reviewed and approved by scientific peers. - from here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vancouver Sun, Gerry Bellett , Canwest News Service, Tuesday, May 27, 2008
VANCOUVER - Canada's largest study into the sexual exploitation of street kids and runaways has shattered some myths about who the abusers might be - with the most surprising finding being that many are women seeking sex with young males.
"Some youth in each gender were exploited by women with more than three out of four (79 per cent) sexually exploited males reporting exchanging sex for money or goods with a female," said Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator for the study conducted by Vancouver's McCreary Centre Society. . . ."I must admit it wasn't something we were expecting." - from here
Similar findings from the other side of the globe.
South Africa: Some 9% (weighted value based on 13915/127097) of male respondents aged 11-19 years reported forced sex in the last year. Of those aged 18 years at the time of the survey, 44% (weighted value of 5385/11450) said they had been forced to have sex in their lives and 50% reported consensual sex. Perpetrators were most frequently an adult not from their own family, followed closely in frequency by other schoolchildren. Some 32% said the perpetrator was male, 41% said she was female and 27% said they had been forced to have sex by both male and female perpetrators. Male abuse of schoolboys was more common in rural areas while female perpetration was more an urban phenomenon. - from here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
India: Urban Indian teenagers are being hounded by demands for non-consensual sex, with boys apparently being more at risk. According to a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University of the US, 15% of boys and 3% of girls reported that someone forcibly tried to have a physical relationship with them. Boys who had friends of the opposite sex were more likely to report attempted forced physical relationships. In fact, the most commonly reported perpetrators were female friends for boys (72%) and neighbours (60%) for girls.
Writing in the Journal for Adolescent Health, Dr PH Jaya and Michelle J Hindon said 32% of boys and 42% of girls reported being touched against their will. Boys and girls who had been employed and those who had friends of the opposite sex were more likely to report the experience. When it came to unwelcome touch, the most common perpetrators were female friends for boys (60%) and strangers for girls (93%).
The study, which covered 583 boys and 474 girls in Delhi in the age group of 15-19, does not detail who these ‘female friends’ might be or their ages. It merely states that these female friends could be dating partners, friends of the same age or older to them. “The purpose of the study was to examine the magnitude of the problem. Hence, we focused on limited questions only and did not go into the details of who exactly these perpetrators were,” said Jaya.
While underlining the negative effects of non-consensual sex on the minds of adolescents, Samir Parekh, consultant psychiatrist, Max Healthcare, New Delhi, finds the results among boys surprising. “If same age children are touching or having sex, then it is surprising that a 16-year-old girl will like it and a 16-year boy will not. The boy may be reluctant but it sounds culturally inappropriate to say he was forced into it by a female friend of the same age. - from here

The studies that come up with such high incident rates are always seen critical. But no matter what you think about them, we learn that childhood sexual abuse is not a problem only girls face.

Sexual violence against men by women


Women raping men? This is unbelieveable and can only be a minority of all cases...right?
According to the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence in Canada:Self-report studies provide a very different view of sexual abuse perpetration and substantially increase the number of female perpetrators. In a retrospective study of male victims, 60% reported being abused by females (Johnson and Shrier, 1987). The same rate was found in a sample of college students (Fritz et al., l 981). In other studies of male university and college students, rates of female perpetration were found at levels as high as 72% to 82% (Fromuth and Burkhart, 1987, 1989; Seidner and Calhoun, 1984). Bell et al. (1981) found that 27% of males were abused by females. In some of these types of studies, females represent as much as 50% of sexual abusers (Risin and Koss, 1987). Knopp and Lackey (1987) found that 51% of victims of female sexual abusers were male.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two studies examined the prevalence and emotional impact of men's nonconsensual sexual interactions with women. The first study included a sample of 247 heterosexual men with a mean age of 18.3 years. The second study was a replication with a sample of 153 heterosexual men with a mean age of 22.3 years. All respondents completed a measure of nonconsensual sexual interactions including the use of three aggressive strategies (physical force, exploitation of the man's incapacitated state, and verbal pressure) and three forms of unwanted sexual contact (kissing/petting, sexual intercourse, and oral sex). In addition, the relationship to the female initiator was explored. For each type of nonconsensual sexual interaction, respondents indicated the affective impact of the experience. In Study 1, 25.1% of respondents reported at least one incident of nonconsensual sex with a woman and 23.9% reported attempts by women to make them engage in nonconsensual sexual activity. In Study 2, the overall prevalence rate for completed nonconsensual sexual interactions was 30.1%, and 23.5% of the men reported attempts at making them engage in nonconsensual sex. In both samples, exploiting the man's inability to offer resistance was the most frequently reported aggressive strategy. Kissing/petting was the most frequently reported unwanted sexual activity, followed by sexual intercourse and oral sex. Prevalence rates were higher for nonconsensual sex with an (ex-)partner or friend than for nonconsensual sex with an unknown women. Ratings of affective impact revealed that men rated their nonconsensual experiences as moderately upsetting. The findings are discussed in the light of previous studies on men's unwanted sexual experiences and the extant literature on women's nonconsensual sexual interactions with men. - from here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Male libido myth puts pressure on both sexes
Allison Hanes, National Post Published: Friday, September 21, 2007
The stereotype of the male stud who is always up for sex is being challenged by new research from the University of Guelph showing that men are almost as likely to be coerced in the bedroom as women.
A study of 518 university students found that 38.8% of men and 47.9% of women reported being pressured into a range of sexual activity, from kissing and cuddling to intercourse and oral sex.
But the most surprising finding was the link between popularized notions of the male libido and the susceptibility of both genders to pressure, said Cailey Hartwick, the lead author of the study published in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality.
The existence of traditional stereotypes may cause men to engage in sexual activity rather than feel guilty about refusing it. Meanwhile, adherence to such stereotypes by women may fuel the belief "that resistance may be somewhat futile against a man's indomitable desire for sex," the study stated.
It may also in part explain coercive behaviour by women toward men.
"I hadn't anticipated that. I thought it would possibly predict men being coerced because of the whole idea that they should want to have sex and feel guilty if they don't," Ms. Hartwick in an interview. "What I thought was interesting was that it put both men and women at risk of sexual coercion."
Of the 251 males and 267 female respondents who completed the anonymous questionnaire, 23.3% of men and 34% of women related being pressed into kissing and fondling, while 18.3% of men and 21.1% of women said they were strong-armed into intercourse and 5.8% of men and 4.2% of women complained of being cajoled into oral sex.
The study defined coercion as everything from mild cajoling to full-blown sexual assault. However, only a tiny fraction of respondents told of being physically forced into sex. The majority reported being seduced by "guilt-tripping" or intoxication.
In his Vancouver sex therapy practice, David McKenzie said he has counselled thousands of couples whose most common complaints are women with low sex drive followed by men with a sexual dysfunction.
"I could probably count on less than two hands that I've ever heard the man say that he felt coerced into having sex at any time," Dr. McKenzie said. "I certainly notice a good proportion of women who want regular sex with their partners and sometimes a man will have difficulty that way in performing. But it's more of a performance issue. It doesn't have to do with 'I just don't feel like sex tonight, dear,' while the women is sitting there ... dying to have sex with him."
Josey Vogels, a sex columnist and author of several books, including Bedside Manners: Sex Etiquette Made Easy, also said she rarely hears men complaining about being pushed into sex.
"But given our culture's belief that men want it anytime, all the time, I suspect it would be much harder for a man to admit he didn't want it," she said. "Men [and women] are conditioned to think that any way a guy can get laid is a score -- the old 'she can seduce me anytime' bravado.
"I do, on the other hand, hear a lot from women who complain their partners don't want sex as much as she does and that she has to initiate all the time, which could be considered a form of coercion, I suppose."
But Peter Davison, executive director of a Nova Scotia-based organization called Men For Change, says he was not surprised in the least. In discussion groups he runs, many involving university-age students, many men express frustration over the pressure to live up to the myth of the male lothario.
"I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about male performance and the fact that some men actually want to form emotional bonds before they have sexual encounters," Mr. Davison said. "There's the stereotype is that we're ready to go at any moment and the truth is we're not; the truth is we desire authentic human connection." - from here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Predictors of Sexual Coercion Against Women and Men: A Multilevel, Multinational Study of University Students
Abstract:
Several explanations have been forwarded to account for sexual coercion in romantic relationships. Feminist theory states that sexual coercion is the result of male dominance over women and the need to maintain that dominance; however, studies showing that women sexually coerce men point towards weaknesses in that theory. Some researchers have, therefore, suggested that it is the extent to which people view the other gender as hostile that influences these rates. Furthermore, much research suggests that a history of childhood sexual abuse is a strong risk factor for later sexual victimization in relationships. Few researchers have empirically evaluated the first two explanations and little is known about whether sexual revictimization operates for men or across cultures. In this study, hierarchical linear modeling was used to investigate whether the status of women and adversarial sexual beliefs predicted differences in sexual coercion across 38 sites from around the world, and whether sexual revictimization operated across genders and cultures. Participants included 7,667 university students from 38 sites. Results showed that the relative status of women at each site predicted significant differences in levels of sexual victimization for men, in that the greater the status of women, the higher the level of forced sex against men. In addition, differences in adversarial sexual beliefs across sites significantly predicted both forced and verbal sexual coercion for both genders, such that greater levels of hostility towards women at a site predicted higher levels of forced and verbal coercion against women and greater levels of hostility towards men at a site predicted higher levels of forced and verbal coercion against men. Finally, sexual revictimization occurred for both genders and across all sites, suggesting that sexual revictimization is a cross-gender, cross-cultural phenomenon. Results are discussed in terms of their contributions to the literature, limitations of the current study, and suggestions for future research.

3% of men reported forced sex (of which 2.1% was forced vaginal sex... this is in fact men reporting victimization by women)
22% of men reported verbal sexual coercion

By comparison, in the same study it was found that:
2.3% of women reported forced sex (don't ignore the decimal point)
25% of women reported verbal sexual coercion - from here
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From the international Dating Study (Straus 2003)
"(The)... median rate of forcetd sex perpetrated by male sutdents was 4% and by female students 1.9%"
The rates for using sexual coercion was 28% for men and 22% for women
Other studies (Anderson - An Investigation into Male Victimisation from Domestic Violence... - 1998, Fiebert - College Women who initiate Assaults on their Male Partner... -1998) found similar high incidence rates.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From the National Violence Against Women Survey
Persons Raped in Previous 12 Months by Sex of Victim:
Women 0.3% - Men 0.1%
If we compare the incidente rates we find out that women report more incidents of rape, but also that the different between men and women are a few percentage points.

Summary

What do we learn from all of this?

- If the estimates are correct, there are more men raped in US prisons than non-incarcerated women
- There are slightly more sexual trauma victims in the armed forces
- Sexual child abuse happens to boys and girls in similar rates (1 boy : 1.33 girls)
- Annual rape rates for men and for women are in the lower one-digit region. The difference between men and women are just a few percentage points.

- A high percentage of perpetrators of sexual violence against boys/men are women


In addition to that there are several factors that constricts men from comming forward/reporting their victimisation even more so than female victims.



- The stereotype that men can only be perpetrators and women can only be victims
- The stereotype that men want every sexual contact they can get and are therefor "lucky" to be raped
- The myth that men can not be raped


This might skewer the statistics as well. Consider the following, Female sexual abusers receive a 68% shorter sentence. When a female teacher has sex with an underage student, people consider him as lucky. If the genders were reversed people were asking for castration. Or the example of  the Hollywood movie "40 days and 40 nights" where the protagonist is raped by his ex-girlfriend and has to apologize to his girl-friend for being raped. The same situation with a woman as victim, unthinkable. Far more services for female victims exists and demonstrations against rape are usually only highlighting male on female rape. All of this is certainly not improving the situation of male victims.


Two blogposts I want to recite here. First Dr. Helen on female preadators.

Patricia Pearson explains that we often mistake women for angels. We always want to see women as victims, rather than perpretrators of crime--that thought is too scary, I think, because we want to believe that the last person who would hurt us is a mother.
So we do anything we can to document that women are victims, rather than predators. When we look at crime rates, we see tables that cite the percentage of incarcerated women who were abused as children. There is typically not such a table for men---even though more boys are physically abused in childhood than girls. We try to justify why a girl would grow up to be a woman who harms others but we have no such excuse for men. Pearson says that this is because we clearly seek a preemptive cause for female transgressions that preserves an emphasis on victimization. "It is not the effect of abuse on future criminality that truly concerns us. It is the desire to avoid seeing women as willful aggressors." [...]
As long as we believe that women do not possess the full range of human emotions, we will continue to see them as victims of circumstance. The real tragedy in this is that the real victims of these predator women (who are often children) will never see justice served and the rest of us who are female will live with stereotypes that have not moved us beyond the 19th century.
 And another great piece by TS. (Check out his blog as well.)
Male victims constantly face [...] isolation. In many ways, they are damned if they do and damned if they do not. Remaining silent means staying in the shadows, all alone, but coming forward means being placed on public display mockery and ridicule and blatant denial. While female victims may experience something like this (sans the denial of potential victimization), it is not nearly as socially and politically reinforced as it is when it is directed at male victims. Not only is there an unwillingness to discuss male victimization in society and in the media, but even victim groups seem hesitant to broach the subject. There is little outreach done to raise awareness, and the few organizations that do rarely receive media attention or coverage. The lack of visibility, along with the lack of discussion, the victim blaming, stereotypes and politically motivated denial, unfortunately sends the message that male victims simply do not exist. For a boy or a man struggling to cope with his abuse, the profound feeling of being the only one can be and often is crippling. [...]
Victim advocacy groups do nearly half the victims of rape and sexual abuse a disservice by pretending that male victims are rare and presenting the false notion that sexual violence has a lesser impact on boys and men than it does on females. If those groups made a better effort to reach out to male victims they might realize that there are more men and boys who have been abused than anyone believes is true. Most researchers acknowledge that the 1 in 6 rate is a low estimate. It is probably higher, meaning the literal rate of sexual violence against males is likely much closer to the rate of sexual violence against females. [...]
[S]ociety’s view of males further skews this by pushing the false notion that males can always fight back. This grossly inaccurate notion plays out in a rather insidious way by challenging the masculinity of male victims since “real” men would not be victimized. Yet, as if not to be taken lightly, society demands that males keep their feelings and experience to themselves, never to be disclosed.This view is not just bolstered by society’s general unwillingness to hear about bad things, but also the presumption that men can handle any problems on their own. Ironically, society chastises men for keeping things inside, often portraying those men as old-fashioned and weak, leaving male victims (and men in general) with the contradicting messages of being told to keep it to themselves, then being chastised for not feeling, only to be mocked and told to shut up should they try to open up.
Unfortunately, people also tend to draw rather horrible conclusions about consent based on social perceptions about males. People tend to think that male-on-male sexual violence makes boys and men into homosexuals or that they were gay to begin with. People tend to think that erections imply consent and a desire to participate. People tend to think that all males want sex with women all the time and that boys and men are lucky no matter how violent or humiliating the abuse is. People tend to think women are incapable of sexually violating males, even children, or that should something happen, because a woman did it the act was harmless. And of course, there remains the assumption that any sexually abused male will go on to abuse others, and therefore cannot be trusted until they receive treatment, not for their own mental stability, but to ensure they will harm no one else. These all serve as justification, from a social perspective, for treating male victims as tainted, untrustworthy and ultimately victims of their own lacking masculinity.
All of these factors and expectations work in concert with the cruel comments abusers tell their victims — no one will believe you, no one will help you, it is your fault, no one cares about you, you must like it because you have an erection, you could make it stop if you were a real man, you are gay, you are weak, you need this — leaving male victims in the rather bleak situation of being somehow unlike other males. After all, most people’s perceptions of the world and who they are come from society’s presentation and presumptions. Since society does not reflect male victims’ experiences as part of the general male experience, boys and men who have been abused are left feeling as if they are individually the only ones this has ever happened to.
Faced with that, male victims, unsurprisingly, keep quiet, unfortunately reinforcing the false perception that they are the only ones. Reasonably, no boy or man wants other boys and men to be abused. Few people would wish that on anyone. But when faced with the despair of reality, there is not much to fall back on. It is often better to simply believe that one is the only man or boy who has been hurt than fight with people who think it is a joke or argue with people who resort to rhetoric retorts. But, as clich├ęd as it is to say to male victims:

You are not the only one.
Still dreaming of a world where we care as much about boys and men as we do about girls and women...

1 comment: