Thursday, December 28, 2006
Because when shit happens to men, it becomes important
Now, I mean no disrespect to any man whose been raped. I'm not one of these people who deny that men can be raped. Of course they can be. And they experience the same levels of pain and shame that any rape victim feels and should be afforded the same sympathy and help. So, please, don't take anything I'm about to say as an suggestion that male rape victims don't deserve to be recognized or don't exist.
But...how many times has this shit happened to women and it never made the news? Certainly never seen a serial rapists who was attacking only women as the top headline on MSNBC before. Hell, when I was in the newspaper business, we had a serial rapist attacking women in our town and the police didn't even tell us about it until he was on victim number five! (To the paper's credit, once our police reporter noticed a pattern and pinned the cops down on what was going on, we did run a huge story on page one.)
Have we become so numb to violence against women that we simply assume there are serial rapists out there at all times? Have we just resigned ourselves to the fact that hey, shit happens if you're a woman?
Some of the quotes in this report are interesting to me. Like:
Levin and other experts say male-on-male rape sometimes stems from sexual encounters gone bad.
So, we're admitting that, between men, date rape happens. You know, two guys get together and one wants it and the other doesn't or maybe one is cool with the blow job, but draws the line at penetration, but the other doesn't agree and so...we have rape. Odd, isn't it, how when that happens to a woman it's all 'well, she should have known better than to go to his hotel room/taken off her top/gone down on him if she didn't want to have sex'.
he U.S. Justice Department says one in 33 men in the United States has been a victim of a rape or attempted rape, compared with one in six women. Experts say men are far less likely to report a rape to authorities, because they fear being perceived as weak or see the attack as an assault on their masculinity.
Okay, I'll be the first to admit I didn't know that the number was 1 in 33. That's awful. Of course, 1 in 6 is terrifying. And maybe the difference in those numbers has something to do with men who have been raped fearing that it makes them seem weak. Because it makes them seem like women, whom society has relegated to the class of victim. Which is something that, frankly, a lot of female rape victims suffer with. Being attacked makes them weak. Why didn't they fight back harder? Why weren't they strong enough to resist? Why didn't they have a knife hidden by the bed for just such an occassion? Why weren't they possessed of superstrength that enabled them to fling their attacker out the window? As far as an assault on their masculinity? Again, being raped makes them like women, who are not men, ergo not masculine. And what will other men think, if they know they allowed themselves to be assault? What kind of man submits to that? (Which, btw, is bullshit. If someone's got a gun to your head, you do what you have to to survive. Period. There's nothing weak about that. If someone is physically stronger than you and forces themself on you, that doesn't make you weak. That makes them an asshole and a criminal. Period.)
And this quote? Bullshit.
No one has been seriously hurt.
Really? Because what, rape doesn't have lifelong consequences? Right.
I'm annoyed that this story made the national news only because it involves men as victims. Granted, the national news can't do stories on every local serial rapist out there, but come on -- you don't see roundup stories about national sex abuse trends on the top very often either.
Rape victims, male or female, are relegated to the wayside in our society. Too weak or too dumb or too 'deserving' for our concern -- with no regard to the longterm consequences of ignoring a huge segment of our population. 1 in 33 or 1 in 6. Look at those numbers and think about the people you know. Chances are very good that at least one of the women you know has been raped and frankly, not so small a chance that one of the men you know has been too. With those kind of odds, can we really afford to ignore this problem?