Hey Beautiful People, How are you on this fine Monday? What did you do this past week? Anything special/interesting happen? On my end, I just got back from a trip to a beautiful city where the food is great, the traffic is heavy, and the people can’t drive, especially when it rains. Oddly enough, it…
Hey Beautiful People, How are you on this fine Monday? What did you do this past week? Anything special/interesting happen? On my end, I just got back from a trip to a beautiful city where the food is great, the traffic is heavy, and the people can’t drive, especially when it rains. Oddly enough, it wasn’t Lagos…. it was Houston, Texas. I had a blast on my trip, but while I was there, the ambience felt like it was getting tainted by the subject of various types of violence in intimate situations.
Before I even got to Houston, I was noticing a lot of conversations about everything from the Ray Rice situation, which Reni J covered a little in a previous post, to false rape accusations. However, the thing that really sent me spinning off the edge was reading a GQ article in which current and former members of the US military recounted stories of their experiences being sexually assaulted. It’s a heartbreaking read but I encourage every last one of you read it so that you’re aware that sexual assault is everybody’s problem. The reason I bring this is up is because I find it troubling that there are people out there who believe that men can never be raped. Trust me. I am very good friends with one of these people. She graduated law school in Nigeria. Given that she could have an impact on the future of legislation in Nigeria, her views on sexual violence are downright disturbing. A few years back, we were having a conversation about whether or not men could be rape victims. Her answer as was no.
The argument she gave me was that men can’t be raped be they have erections during the encounter, so they must be enjoying it on some level. To be fair, our conversation was almost unilaterally in the realm of assault scenarios involving male victims and female perpetrators, while the GQ article I alluded to earlier mainly features perpetrators and victims who are both male. You might almost be able to convince me that those are two separate arguments but irrespective, it still betrays an intellectually lazy thought process that is altogether callous and inaccurate. To me, that is the same kind of thinking that accompanies statements made to female victims, such as, “You didn’t really get raped because you didn’t fight back,” or “You couldn’t have been raped because you passed out.” (cough cough Cee-Lo cough Green cough cough cough).
Those kinds of statements portray a worldview in which the problem is always with the person whose dignity and rights were violated and never places any responsibility on the perpetrator. That’s like getting robbed and having someone say that it’s your fault for having all that nice jewelry….. Okay, maybe that’s not the best example because someone in this audience might think that too is a permissible thought. So let me put it like this: Making statements of that nature is like being attacked and having anyone (including you as a hypothetical victim) say that it’s your fault because your face was in the way of their fist! Now ask yourself, does that make sense? I don’t think so. However, since some people don’t believe that this is possible, let me give you an abridged course in how it works:
Step 1 – Get to know someone: Most rape victims are assaulted by someone they know, so that’s a good place to start. Befriend a coworker, a Pastor, a new love interest, etc. It really doesn’t matter who, but it’s usually preferable if there’s a major disequilibrium in power, no matter how seemingly irrelevant it is at first. Bonus points if it’s someone who you would ordinarily trust, especially in life or death situations.
Step 2 – Find yourself in a situation beyond your control: This can be in the form of a night out, or as was the case for some of those military guys, a direct order from your commanding officer. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what the specifics are just so long as you feel powerless to prevent what’s about to happen.
Step 3 – When it’s all over, (don’t) deal with the aftermath: The key to successfully completing this part is fear. You must fear ostracism, mentally reliving the experience even if it’s inevitable. You must also be too afraid to speak up for fear that you will get laughed at or not be taken seriously. Lastly, you must fear retaliation from your attacker or anyone else who deems you a threat.
Step 4 – If you must speak about it…. well don’t because….: For one, you should have already read step 3 and taken it to heart. However, if that doesn’t suffice, just know that “Men don’t get raped,” and if they do, it’s supposed to be hilarious. Congratulations!!!! You have successfully completed your course in how to be a male rape victim. You may now go on and try to rebuild whatever is left of your life, your self-esteem, and/or your dignity. Anyway, you know the deal. Am I wrong? Is it unequivocally true that men cannot be raped?
Disclaimer: As if it needs to be said, I do not think rape is funny. My facetious tone toward the latter half of this piece is purely for the purpose of illustrating how ludicrous it sounds when people say that men cannot be raped. Furthermore, rape involving female victims is far more common and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, irrespective of the victim’s gender, notice that there’s a very specific pattern that follows for most victims of sexual assault. If you need further evidence of this, feel free to peruse Efe’s Saturday column. Occasionally, some of our female readers and contributors have been brave enough to share their stories.