Thursday, January 14, 2010

Denial, the plight of male rape victims

According to your opinion, was she raped?
He started to rub against me and I clearly told him, many times, to stop. I tried to push him away, but he kept going. He took me, and it happened. I tried to resist but he was easily able to restrain me physically. I just couldn't move, or push him away. I felt weak, stupid, etc. I realize we did not use protection. It's another reason for me to feel scared, and betrayed.
I assume most people would say yes. The problem here, in the original the victim was a man. The shitstorm was inevitable and went from "men can´t be raped by women" to "he was somehow raped, but she shouldn´t be put in prison" and more such nonsense. In short probably every misconception and cliche there is about female on male rape (to be fair there were a lot of positive posts as well). What a good chance to get some resources together.

Can men be raped by women?

Is that possible? Yes.
Sexual molestation of men by women
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine
Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior

The belief that it is impossible for males to respond sexually when subjected to sexual molestation by women is contradicted. Previous research indicating that male sex response can occur in a variety of emotional states, including anger and terror, are corroborated. Eleven cases of male sexual molestation by females are classified and described. A post-trauma reaction occurs in which sexual function and psychological state are affected. The men were all personally interviewed. Recognition of this phenomenon should lead to increased identification of male victims as well as to better medical, psychological, and legal services for them.
Also often people wonder how a woman could overpower a man, besides the obvious huge woman vs a small man. Well there are several possibilities, drunken and disabled man as well as boys have a hard time to fight back. Weapons are also a good equalizer.

But that guy surely was trolling

That is the same thing that was said to James Landrith.Rape is a serious matter, no matter who the victim is. Is there a possibility that this was trolling? Sure, but certainly this attitude against male victims is not helping them to come forward and is certainly hindering them to cope with their pain.

Come on, how often does that really happen

Data on raped males :
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States, 2007 survey by the CDC
A look at "TABLE 12. Percentage of high school students [...] who were ever physically forced to have sexual intercourse" column median of the state surveys reveals that 4.5% of males and 11.3% of females have been forced to have sex. According to that data men are about 1/3 of rape victims. - from here


Men's Reports of Nonconsensual Sexual Interactions with Women: Prevalence and Impact
Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
Published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior

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


Predictors of Sexual Coercion Against Women and Men: A Multilevel, Multinational Study of University Students

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

Data on female perpetrators:
Women's Sexual Aggression Against Men: Prevalence and Predictors
Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, Germany - 2003

In this study, we investigated the prevalence of women's sexual aggression against men and examined predictors of sexual aggression in a sample of 248 women. Respondents reported their use of aggressive strategies (physical force, exploitation of a man's incapacitated state, and verbal pressure) to make a man engage in sexual touch, sexual intercourse, or oral sex against his will. Childhood abuse, gender role orientation, ambiguous communication of sexual intentions, level of sexual activity, and peer pressure were included as predictors of sexual aggression. Almost 1 in 10 respondents (9.3%) reported having used aggressive strategies to coerce a man into sexual activities. Exploitation of the man's incapacitated state was used most frequently (5.6%), followed by verbal pressure (3.2%) and physical force (2%). An additional 5.4% reported attempted acts of sexual aggression. Sexual abuse in childhood, ambiguous communication of sexual intentions, high levels of sexual activity, and peer pressure toward sexual activity were linked to an increased likelihood of sexual aggression. - 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%"


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. (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,In a retrospective study of male victims, 60% reported being abused by females 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. 
This also seems to be fitting.

I have worked in the field of sexual abuse for the past 18 years and average about 350 interviews per year. [...] In the early 1980s, when I first began this work, female offenders only accounted for approximately one and a half to three percent of my total case load. During the past three years [the article is from 1998] that percentage has risen to a level of about 35%. In the past six months, I would estimate that at least 40% of my cases have involved juvenile offenders and of that about 50% have been females. [...] In looking at the limited information and research available on female offenders, it would appear that based on what information is slowly surfacing on the subject, approximately one third or 33% of sexual offences are committed by females.
Probably some more can be found in that post.

But official statistics say

Official statistics usually include the findings by the National Crime Victimation Survey as well as the National Violence Against Women Survey. Those findings include the following:
An estimated 91% of victims of rape are female, 9% are male and 99% of offenders are male. (Bureau of Justice Statistics 1999)
93% of women and 86% of men who were raped and/or physically assaulted since the age of 18 were assaulted by a male. About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33  — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.(National Violence Against Women Survey, 1998)
Sadly, those studies are not very good when it comes to counting male victims.

In the National Crime Victimation Survey people were directly asked if they had been raped. This kind of question leaves many victims uncounted especially men who are more likely than women to not see their victimisation as rape (especially when those men are raped by women).

The findings by the National violence Against Women Survey, isn´t a surprise either as they define rape as being penetrated, which again leaves many male victims uncounted. Those numbers are certainly misleading. If a study asks for "forced sex" one gets a very different result as shown above.

Searching for help?

Some resources:
Male Survivor
1 in 6

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