Warning: Please note that the first and third links in this post lead to written descriptions of rape, and may be disturbing or upsetting. For those interested in this topic, a listing of all posts at The Superfluous Man concerning sexual violence and related issues can be found by clicking here.
Over at Pajamas Media, I had the bad fortune to encounter what is probably the most disgusting congregation of human vileness I have ever personally encountered on the internet, which is saying something. There are acts more despicable than ridiculing and belittling a rape survivor, but not many.
Helen Smith had an article about the little-discussed phenomenon of female-on-male rape. She recounted the story of the pseudonymous “Mike,” who was raped as a young man by a woman who mounted him while he slept, then extorted his submission by threatening to falsely accuse him of rape, likely sending him to prison, if he resisted.
“Mike” eventually spoke on his own behalf and identified himself in the comments as the very courageous libertarian writer James Landrith. You can read Mr. Landrith’s own thoughts about his experience here. There's also some good discussion of the issue at this Toy Soldiers post. I would also like to put in a good word for Wendy McElroy, who has been a very positive force in this area.
The public’s attitude towards men raped by other men (in prison or otherwise) is almost uniformly dreadful; raped men are either a punch line or objects of contempt, to the extent they are acknowledged at all. This is not surprising, since many supporters of both traditionalist/patriarchal sex roles and many supporters of feminism have an interest in ignoring, denying, or belittling the issue. Well, the attitude towards victims of female-on-male rape actually manages the difficult feat of being worse. To the extent that people were willing to even admit the possibility of such a thing, the response was ridicule or outright contempt and disgust for the victim. It’s interesting to note how much of the belittling of the importance of the rape described (and the character of its victim) boils down to one of these:
1.He must have wanted it, since he remained erect (I guess women being raped never experience lubrication, either), or he was somehow “asking for it” in one way or another, such as getting drunk or sharing a room. Any of this sound familiar?
2. Men, being on average the more sexually driven sex, don’t mind being raped and aren’t traumatized by the experience. Another parallel: Though less often said openly nowadays, one still sometimes hears it suggested that raping a promiscuous woman or a prostitute is in some sense a lesser crime than raping a “decent” woman, on the theory that it wouldn’t be as big a deal to the victim.
3. It serves him right for being such a weakling. The frequency which with this one was repeated is interesting because in traditionalist/patriarchal morality, strength/power is often considered the prime virtue of a man, just as chastity is considered the prime virtue of a woman. In other words, we have here a masculine parallel to “The slut had it coming.” Violate the expectations placed on your sex, and there will be no compassion for you.
Thus, we have a nearly perfect recapitulation of the traditional ways of denying, minimizing, or condoning the rape of women. In fact, there were a number of women in the comments saying stuff like this. That initially surprised me, but it shouldn't have.
It’s worth noting how people can suffer from positive stereotypes about their sex. Much of the indifference to crimes like this (By no means all- there are also “progressive” reasons not to care, which sometimes overlap), or to men being raped in prison, or to male victims of domestic violence, and so on, can be attributed to the traditional belief that men, who are supposed to be the strong, stoic sex, don’t let themselves be harmed or abused by others, don’t (or at least shouldn’t) feel pain the way women do, and certainly shouldn’t admit it to it if they do. A perusal of the comment thread at the linked article will certainly testify to that, as will observing attitudes on the issue of men being raped in prison. A crying woman inspires compassion; a crying man inspires contempt. It’s drilled (or beaten, as needed) into everyone from an early age. God only knows how much injustice and misery has happened through the years because of this mentality, and how much we’ll continue to see.
And I don’t think it’s ever going to end.