hidden By Silenece

Hidden by Silence

What is rape, and to whom does it happen? Generally speaking, rape is a violent sexual act imposed on a nonconsenting partner that makes you question many things about yourself. Unfortunately the mythology usually surrounding rape is that it only happens to women. The fact is, rape does not only happen to women, but men as well. It is one of the most misunderstood of all crimes, and when the victim is male, understanding why it has happened, is one of the hardest things to comprehend.

When I first learned about rape, I thought that it was something that only happened to women that was brought on by a male. Growing up, one doesn’t hear about male rape. It was unheard of. Granted it happened, but no one wanted to talk about it. The fact is, male rape is a lot more common than one would think. The thoughts and attitudes toward male rape are that “real men cannot be raped”, or that being raped turns the victim into a homosexual. The fact is, the majority of the rapists as well as victims are generally heterosexual. It is because of these attitudes which surround male rape with a feeling of total humiliation for the victim, that it is rare for a male rape victim to acknowledge the fact that he has been raped to his family or friends, much less to the police. This is one of the key reasons why male rape is not ever heard of, and is hidden by a curtain of silence.

Like female survivors of sexual assault, male survivors experience fear, anger, and a feeling of no control. Men who have been raped also feel very ashamed, guilty, and embarrassed. It is not uncommon for a male rape victim to blame himself for the rape, believing that he in some way gave permission to the rapist. Male rape victims suffer a similar fear that female rape victim\'s face - that people will believe the myth that they may have enjoyed being raped. This is why male rape is one of the most under – reported acts of violence.

Over the years, male rape has been showing up in more films, and on television, opening the eyes of the public viewers to something that has long been put on the back burner so to speak. Some of those movies include Sleepers, and Pulp Fiction. One movie in particular that displayed a very disturbing rape scene was American History X. It is in this movie that you see the main character, Derek get violently raped by another man in the shower. It is a very disturbing scene that you would think would make one feel very bad for the victim. But instead, one is drawn into the fact that a man is engaging in a violent attack with another man, making the assumption right away that “oh that’s disgusting. Their gay!” As far as we know, neither Derek nor this other man raping him is gay. In most cases, men that rape do this because they are trying to prove a point, or trying to get a message across. The fact is, rapists who rape men have been proven to be heterosexual in 98% of cases reported.

There are many reasons that male victims do not come forward and report being raped. After talking to a speaker from the Gay/Lesbian Alliance here on campus, I found out some interesting information. One of the biggest reason’s males do not come forward and report being raped is the fear of being perceived as homosexual. However, male sexual assault has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the attacker or the victim, just as a sexual assault does not make the victim survivor gay, bisexual or heterosexual. It is a violent crime that affects heterosexual men as much as gay men. The phrase "homosexual rape," for instance, which is often used by uninformed persons to designate male-male rape, camouflages the fact that the majority of the rapists are not generally homosexual. According to the man that I spoke to, Gay’s are sick and tired of hearing about male rape. “It seems that every time someone hears about a man being raped by another male, the first assumption