Live Mag

We correct the misconceptions around male rape

by: Jamie Petersen - 24 July 2015


We don’t talk enough about male rape, particularly male rape perpetrated by women. The news, in May, of a man kidnapped at gunpoint and raped by three women in Port Elizabeth appeared in both local and international news sites. The police on the case said the incident left the man traumatised, but they also admitted they were confused: “We have never heard of such a thing before.” Women do rape men, and it’s happening more often than we think.

Male rape exists and it’s illegal, too

As we stated in a previous article (Big Brother Mzansi revealed how little we know about rape), rape can happen to anyone: children, males, females, or the mentally disabled. In 2007 the Sexual Offences Act was amended, stating that rape is not something which is exclusive to female victims (as the previous act stipulated).

Boys are as vulnerable to pedophiles and sexual offenders. For instance, there was a case reported by Timeslive in June of a 20-year-old woman from KwaZulu-Natal raping a 16-year-old boy.

Male rape victims experience as much trauma as women

The reaction on social media around the Timeslive story illustrated the extent of ignorance about male rape, particularly when a woman rapes a man. Some of the commenters said he “should have enjoyed it and kept quiet” while others said he should’ve been appreciative for “the offer of free sex” and “men can’t be raped”.

Kathleen Dey, director of Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust, says a man being raped by a woman is just as traumatic as a woman being raped by a man. “The sense of violation for a man that’s been raped by a woman is just as bad.” It’s an act of violation not pleasure, she added.

Men are more vulnerable and sensitive than we think

Kathleen says people think men can’t be raped because they should be able to protect themselves. This is one of the reasons that men who get raped by women don’t report the crime because they’re afraid of the shame, embarrassment, stigma and judgement. She says the amount of men that report rape, specifically where the woman was the perpetrator, is almost non-existent. Her organisation only gets about “one or two cases a year”.

There is no stereotypical abuser or victim

Kathleen says people often assume that men who were sexually abused as boys will grow up to be abusers. This is not always true. One of the most common myths is also that only gay men are raped, and that only gay men rape. A man’s sexual orientation does not determine whether he is a rapist. Kathleen says some people have the idea that “only gay men deserve to be raped”, which boils down to believing in corrective rape, which men, too, are victims of.

Image by Bulumko Gana


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