Cape Town – Many adult males experience violent rape with perpetrators likely to be armed as they often humiliate the victim, a new study has found.
“The Unspoken Victims: a national study of male rape incidents and police investigations in South Africa”, was published in the SA Medical Journal. It looks at several rape trends in cases where men and young boys were raped or sexually assaulted.
The study consists of 209 male victims, which was made up of 120 children and 89 adults.
The researchers said they found that there were significant differences in the occurrence and reporting of rape of male victims by age.
They found adult males experienced more violent rape; perpetrators were more likely to be armed and often humiliated the victim; and rapes were more likely to occur in institutional settings.
Adult males reported incidents of rape earlier and therefore had visible
non-genital injuries during the medical examination, the study found. More child rapes involved known perpetrators and occurred in a home setting, with perpetrators more likely to act kindly to the victim after the assault.
The researcher found this paralleled the patterns in rape circumstances seen in female adult and child victims.
“While there is political commitment to understanding sexual violence against women as a societal problem, work on such violence against men lags behind and is little understood. Rape of males needs to be acknowledged, and their vulnerabilities to sexual abuse and rape need to be addressed. Prevention efforts to end violence against women and girls, especially in relation to children, can be used to address violence against men and boys.”
SA Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Samsosa) executive director Rees Mann said many men don’t come forward when they have been raped as they fear discrimination and judgement, among other things.
“Males don’t believe or think it happens to other males.
“They take the shame and the blame of what happened. Sometimes when they report they are made fun of or statements are not taken.
“They don’t want to go through that secondary trauma. It can be worse than rape itself.
“It’s normally a violent act and about humiliation and control and can be considered a form of punishment.”
He said Samsosa helped men deal with their experiences by offering peer-to-peer counselling.
“Male rape on female is about power and for a man it’s about the humiliation. A lot of men who were sexually abused have an addiction, whether it be to drugs, alcohol, porn or even their work. They will use any addiction to hide what happened to them.
“There is a difference between male and female survivors. When it happens to a man their masculinity is taken away. Our message to men is that if you do not seek help you are empowering the perpetrator. Because of his action he will control your life even when he is no longer there.”
To reach out to Samsosa visit http://www.samsosa.org/wp/home