Putting the spotlight on male rape

Putting the spotlight on male rape

Statistics show that one out of every ten rape victims is male...

Me too sign of male rape victim
Me too sign of male rape victim / iStock

Rape or sexual assault is an act that is carried out without the victim's consent. It is a violation of a human right.  

Statistics reveal that one out of every ten rape victims is male.

Sammy Mothiba, the founder of the #IMatterToo campaign - which is aimed at raising awareness about male sexual abuse, says male victims of sexual abuse are "stigmatised to be weak" and given labels such as "you are less than a man". 

Coach Malebo Oldjohn-Tsindi, who has counselled male victims of sexual abuse, says men "get raped on a daily basis".

She says she had dealt with male clients who got raped by family members, prison mates, etc. 

Sadly, men don't always find it easy to share their experiences because of the stigma that exists. 

One of the misconceptions is that if a man got an erection, the sex was consensual. Coach Malebo says an erection is "not a call for sex" and men can get erect for different reasons. Random erections are normal. 

A research paper published by the Cambridge University shows that ‘approximately 1 in 21 (4.8%) of men reported that they were made to penetrate someone else during their lifetime’ -  79.2%  of which reported the perpetrator as being female.' It defines ‘being made to penetrate’ for men as including forced penetration by the victims’ penis or mouth into the perpetrators vagina, anus or mouth, as well as attempts. 

The study by the university states that "Not only can men sustain erections without being sexually aroused, but, in the same way as female rape victims can experience 'vaginal lubrication and orgasmic responses’ during their rape, male victims have also reported ejaculating during their forced-to-penetrate experiences." The study also states that male victims can respond sexually when experiencing sexual violence.

In 2012, the story of Ian McNichol went viral when the 60-year-old revealed how his then-girlfriend used to physically abuse him in order to force him into having sex with her. 

READ: Sexual abuse: Victim shares signs parents can look out for 

The after effects of male rape

Coach Malebo says in her experience that "most men who were raped as kids by other women are more drawn to older women because that’s how they learned about sex. But men who have been raped by other man suffer a great amount of anger. This can also escalate to them being physically abusive to their partner. Another issue is, some men who have been raped suffer from lust and promiscuity."

This was echoed by Sammy, who is also a victim of sexual abuse. 

He said that although men might keep sexual harassment a secret, they might start to act out to show that they have witnessed something traumatic. He said some might become abusers themselves, while others might become aggressive or violent.  

He gives his own experience: "I wouldn't allow any males to touch me. I'd put on a fight and become violent. Abuse creates this unnecessary defence mechanism in victims. Even if a person teases you, you might become very defensive."

READ: Limpopo father in court for raping daughter

Receiving help 

Malebo says many victims suffer "a lot of mental issues". 

She says they "feel they lost their lives and power through these experiences. Sometimes it is hard for them to heal from this because the mind still have a vivid memory of this."

If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape, the Rape Crisis organisation gives the following guide: 

Go to a safe place.

Tell someone you trust. 

Go straight to a hospital or to a doctor to receive medical attention. Medicine to prevent HIV should be taken within three days of being raped.

Decided whether you want to report the case to the police. 

READ: How to get help when you have been a victim of rape

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