Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The reason why we should "not" pretend that men are not raped.

From a recent NYTimes article:

Like women, men who are raped feel violated and ashamed and may become severely depressed or suicidal. They are at increased risk for substance abuse, problems with interpersonal relationships, physical impairments, chronic pain, insomnia and other health problems.

But men also face a challenge to their sense of masculinity. Many feel they should have done more to fight off their attackers. Since they may believe that men are never raped, they may feel isolated and reluctant to confide in anyone. Male rape victims may become confused about their sexual orientation or, if gay and raped by a man, blame their sexual orientation for the rape.

“If you’re sexually assaulted, there’s this idea that you’re no longer a man,” said Neil Irvin, executive director of the organization Men Can Stop Rape. “The violence is ignored, and your sexual orientation and gender are confronted.”

Many rape crisis centers — which often also provide services for victims of domestic violence — do not have the resources to counsel male victims. Remarkably few male victims seek professional help for injuries, screening for sexually transmitted diseases or counseling after an attack, often waiting years or decades.

One study of 705 men in Virginia found that 91, or 13 percent, had been sexually assaulted, a vast majority of them before they turned 18. Fewer than one-fifth of victims had ever received professional services related to the assault.

“Men are affected — they have high rates of P.T.S.D. and depression — but the majority don’t get help,” said Dr. Saba W. Masho, the lead author of the Virginia study and an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “It’s easy for you and I to talk about it, but when you put yourself in that victim’s shoes, they’re asking, ‘Do I want people to know? How do I seek help? Do I want my doctor to know? Where do I go?’ ”

To repeat: "Since they may believe that men are never raped, they may feel isolated and reluctant to confide in anyone."

We have to change that! Even more so when it comes to female on male rape (people are even less likely to believe that). I include some more data from a recent Genderratic post:

studies have shown that sexual abuse does have a profound impact on men, and this includes female-on-male sexual abuse. For instance, the link between sexual abuse and suicide attempts is stronger in boys (Rhodes et al. 2001) and sexually abused boys are twice as likely to commit suicide (Molnar et al. 2001) than sexually abused girls. In addition to that, there is a risk factor for sexually abused men to sexually abuse others is if their abuser was female (Salter et al. 2003.)

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