The Uncomfortable Truth about Rape
The this article was written by Sydney Watson
Rape has always been an inevitable talking point of feminism. In fact, any time I have immersed myself in feminist perspective, much of what they believe seems to boil down to sexual assault, rape and violence against women.
The objectification and sexualisation of women is something widely discussed in the feminist world. These concepts, along with the “Patriarchy” are the primary issues at the core of the third-wave feminist movement.
But their main argument comes down to this: men are the sole perpetrators of violence and must be taught not to rape.
This model of thinking is not perfect. Terms such as “family violence” have become synonymous with “violence toward women”. Rape has become a female-only experienced problem.
This means that male victims of all ages and female abusers vanish from the issue. The victimization of men and boys flies, unheard, under the radar. Without men being given a voice when it comes to violence and rape against males, it presents a problem that is disproportionately in favour of female experience. The problem with a model centred on females is that the experiences of men in the same situation are dismissed.
The long-held feminist belief that women are oppressed and consistently exposed to violence speaks to a society that has entrenched women’s rights and overlooks its own inclination towards inequality.
Even when sexual abuse against men is highlighted, it is often qualified by claiming that men are raped by other men. This is not true.
This kind of response makes the problem circular. It continually insists that rape and sexual violence are a male problem. It is also victim-blaming, a term that feminists quite like to use.
So many perpetuated ideas towards sexual violence and rape overlook the male perspective. While there is a certainly a case to be made that men do engage in violence and rape, many of the existing feminist arguments that force this notion are not successful in explaining why some men are violent and the majority are not.
Feminism has tried to shake the gender-based, sex-based, hormone-based categorization of women that says they are suited towards and inexplicably tied to particular traits and responses. But, the irony of consistently labelling men – simply by virtue of being a man – as a rapist or having the propensity to rape is a most hypocritical perspective.
The uncomfortable truth is this: male victimization exists and it is severely underreported.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies Male Survivors of Sexual Assault and Rape addresses how statistics and theories about sexual assault fail to see men as victims. There are also issues with consistently stereotyping men as inherently violent and masculine. These stereotypes inform the way a man is sexually assaulted and how he is affected by that. For example, men are considered active participants in sexual activity. They also considered over-sexualized and always engaged in the idea of having sex.
In many ways, these stereotypes assume that men are able to protect themselves and they will not turn down an opportunity for intercourse.
Researchers have suggested that being a male victim can cause problems in how the police, justice system and society respond to their assault. The sexual assault of a man forces him to challenge conventional masculinity. The fact that society barely recognizes the rape of men means that male victims are marginalized and they are, by extension, disproportionately misrepresented in statistics.
The Invisible Boy, a Canadian report on male victimization, displays some very troubling facts about female abusers and male victims. Sexual abuse by females on “rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men” is high in occurrences. However, depending on the study, between 59 to 80 per cent of male sex offenders were abused by a woman. The study admits that “male adolescent sex offenders abused by “females only” chose female victims almost exclusively”.
Further studies suggest that rapists and sex offenders are consistently classified by the same subtypes: power, anger and sadistic.
As rape by men is consistently disproved as an act of sex, but actually one of violence, there is little to support the notion that sexual violence can be inherently male.
An article written by feminist activist, Clementine Ford, said “[rape is] part of [the rapist’s] character… [they] believe they are entitled to use women’s bodies against their will, to dominate and hurt women for their own gratification.”
What is unfortunate are these claims are unsubstantiated and overlooks the fact that often, female abusers create rapists.
To write these things and publish them, with no basis in science, only adds to the leagues of misinformation on rape, men and women. Sorry, Clementine – your opinion doesn’t count!
In 93 per cent of cases, a man who was victimized by a woman, in turn, exclusively targeted women.
The last point in relation to rape comes right comes down to brain structure and learned behaviour.
Many feminist articles I have read argue that men are inherently violent and predisposed to rape. Well, science says otherwise.
Tel Aviv University in Israel conducted a series of tests on the brain structures of 1400 male and female brains. The results determined the following:
There is no purely “male” or “female” brain.
In most cases, there was up to a 53 per cent cross over between male and female structures in the brain. More simply, men and women shared the same characteristics.
Only between zero to eight per cent of the brains contained all ‘male’ or all ‘female’ structures.
The researchers went on to analyse datasets that evaluated stereotypical gender behaviours. They found that participant interests were just as varied as their brain structures. Only 0.1 per cent of subjects showed gender-specific stereotypical behaviour (such as video gaming, sports, reading, etc).
Daphna Joel, the behavioural neuroscientist who conducted the study, said “there is no one person that has all the male characteristics and another person that has all the female characteristics. Or if they exist they are really, really rare to find”.
Based on this evidence – that would have to mean that men could not possibly be automatically predisposed towards violence and rape, because if they were, women would be too.
The crucial fact is that women objectify men. Women also sexually assault, rape and victimize men. In many ways, society has said that men’s issues are not as important as women’s issues and basically thrown them aside.
The oppression of women that feminism seems to promote is appearing more and more to be a pathological problem, rather than a social one.