So, what about the men?

Image via www.hawc.org

1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by age 18.*

1 in 33 men will be experience completed or attempt rape in his lifetime.*

52% of gay men will experience coercion from a partner*

22% of male prison inmates will be raped during their incarceration**

Out of all the victims of murder by an intimate partner, about 1/4 are male.***

Even as victims, men who leave abusive female partners have a high risk of losing custody of their children.****

And, even though it is estimated that men make up 10% of all rape victims, they are the least likely to report sexual assault**

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These numbers don’t get mentioned very often, and this can leave male survivors feeling isolated and marginalized. Men suffer from rape and domestic abuse, just as women do.

But I rarely hear people talk about it.

This certainly isn’t to say that we should be putting less energy into ending violence toward women. But we need to remember that male survivors of abuse are also silenced by gender roles…

Roles which suggest men cannot be raped by women because men should always want sex.

Roles which suggest women cannot rape men because women don’t have their own sexuality.

Roles which expect men to be strong enough to “avoid being victimized.”

Roles which view women as weak and frail, and therefore incapable of committing domestic violence.

Roles which assume that even an abusive woman is, in nearly every circumstance, a better nurturer for children than a man

Roles which stubbornly view all men as potential abusers, and all women as potential victims.

Roles which completely ignore same-sex relationships.

When we cling tightly to these gender roles, men suffer. Legitimate problems are ignored. Roads toward improvement remain unpaved. Survivors either keep quiet in fear or they are silenced by outside ignorance.

Women, as we fight for equality, let’s not forget that our brothers are also being hurt by the strict gender roles that society has set up. And let’s do what we can to help!

–Let’s start including the above statistics in our discussions.

–Let’s be careful about making universal statements that enforce negative stereotypes (you know, “All men are jerks!” and the like).

–Let’s be careful about placing pressure on men to always be strong, to always be leaders, to always be protectors…never humans.

–In fact, let’s break the stereotype that says only men can be protectors. Let’s let the men in our lives know that we’ve got their backs!

–Let’s show the men in our lives how much we love them and value them.

And men, we hope you can find freedom. But until you do, just know that we’re here for you. We love you.

You’re not alone.

*http://www.rvap.org/_docs/pdf_documents/sexual%20assault%20statistics.pdf

**http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32361

***http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_violence#Gender_aspects_of_abuse

****http://www.hawc.org/site/c.9hJJL0MDK8KWE/b.7883821/k.9798/Male_Survivors.htm

  • http://melindaguerra.myadventures.org melindaguerra

    Thanks for this.

    I tried to write something similar about a year ago, and had to search and search for statistics and then tabled it for another day.

    I hate that men aren’t given space to be victims… and appreciate what you give on roles… i think that’s key to understanding where and how we’ve gone so desperately wrong, and to creating something better. The one about how society sees even abusive women as a better nurturer for the children then a man– it’s been hitting home lately, watching friends lose their kids… mostly because they’re men.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      Yeah, I think sometimes even feminists like myself having trouble breaking out of the “women=victims, men=abusers” mindset. It’s a problematic way to think, though

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    I can’t help but think of when my older son from my second marriage was (barely) 5 and committed by court order to a children’s psychiatric hospital from the abuse he suffered at his mother’s hands. All through the ensuing years, as she ignored court and doctor recommended (or ordered) steps, yet continued to receive pro bono counsel and the “benefit of the doubt” at every juncture, I couldn’t help but think that if our positions were reverse, I would probably be under criminal investigation. I certainly wouldn’t have been given any benefit of the doubt. Nor do I think I would have gotten a series of pro bono attorneys.

    I’ll also note that an adult male who has sex with a teen minor is considered a predator by most people. But until it becomes ridiculous (a 30-something teacher with a 6th grade male student), a minor male — even one as young as 14 — “involved” with an adult female is considered … something to be praised.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

      Ah, sad. Our society holds women to their role as a nurturer, even when women fail to nurture, even when children are at stake.

      Also, I was just talking w/ my partner about the second double standard you mentioned. TV shows portray female teacher/male student relationships as sexy and exciting, and ignore the fact that such a relationship is statutory rape,

  • http://www.facebook.com/jameslandrith James A. Landrith Jr.

    Sarah,

    I am a male survivor of rape by a female rapist. I can’t tell you how many people fail to comprehend how that can occur and the impact. Sadly, some women, to include some feminists, were just as bad as the knuckle-dragging gender policing alpha male wannabes.

    Thank you for writing this blog entry.

    It needed to be said.

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com Sarah Moon

      Thank you for sharing your story. Yes, both genders seem to fall into the “male=abuser/female=victim” trap. I don’t understand why some feminists can even fail to see that women can cause hurt as well. If we want to be thought of as equals in some areas, we must also admit that sometimes women, unfortunately, can do equal harm. So sad that this issue is often ignored.

  • http://toothpic.wordpress.com Toothpic

    This is an awesome post. Thank you for bringing this to light. All too often women blame men for things or overlook men’s issues. Feminists who act like all men are terrible people really get on my nerves, or that men are inferior…. Erghhhh but I love you blog because your views on men and life doesn’t make me want to stab feminists anymore. Thank you :)

  • LR

    Any woman who rapes or abuses a man is asking for trouble.

  • Volume

    I find it offensive you insisting I am hurt by Patriarchy (which you abandoned) and hurtful gender roles. I apologize if I have this wrong but I get the idea that if I’m absolutely fine with my “tight” gender role that I can be expected to be terrorized by the likes of you and others insisting I can’t possibly know what’s good for me.

    So I ask you author, under what proxy are you allowed to tell me or any man what we are hurt by and to then assault our gender role as the suspect. To put a finer point on it, I don’t recall asking you to do so or insisting it was due to my “gender role”. This is feminist insisting this and from what I’ve seen don’t seem to have men’s best interest at heart.

    I tell YOU what I have a PROBLEM is you don’t INSIST for me. Your abusive “gender roles” argument seems like another “Patriarchal” assault where feminist decide what MY problem is for me. It reeks of silencing the victims voice.

    I like my gender role.

    What are you going to do? Beat us up if we tell you “No our problem is related to something else”

    -No. it’s not, it’s inflexible gender roles

    ummm, no it’s not

    -Yes it is.

    How about you listen to hetero males ALSO and stop inserting your Feminist pre-made narrative. It’s very transparent and it proves you haven’t learned a thing. Stop sticking us in YOUR agenda.


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