*While I’m talking about male survivors of sexual violence in this post, I am in no way undermining the experiences of women, gender non-conforming persons etc. These are my opinions on the matter and do not wish to offend in any way. I politely ask that any comments left are not malicious to anyone. Be kind to each other.
In recent years, more awareness and protections against sexual violence has begun to slowly take shape, most recently with the #MeToo movement.
This has been a coming together of people speaking out against sexual harassment, assault, rape, stalking etc. that has been a long time coming. From Hollywood actors and actresses to retail assistants, millions of people, predominantly women, have come forward to share and speak out about their experiences at the hands of family members, former friends, professors and bosses etc.
In my own social circle, I barely know a person, regardless of their gender, who hasn’t had their own “Me Too” experiences that they should never have had to endure, myself included.
However I spotted a pattern of behaviour that I found to be incredibly disturbing. While reading on the internet, I found a small pocket of people, mainly women, who dismiss and ridicule male survivors on the sole premise that they are men. This really bothers me.
Sexism and sexual violence towards women is a systematic problem. However, that doesn’t mean male survivors of these crimes should be ignored, shamed and ridiculed. If that’s the case, how are we any different from those who have victim-blamed us for the ordeals that weren’t our fault?
According the England & Wales based organisation Rape Crisis, around 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year, ranging from penetration to attempts. This is approximately 11 attacks every hour. As well as this, around 85% of attacks go unreported to police, due to fear of being attacked again should they speak out, victim-blaming etc.
As we’ve seen in the entertainment industry, men such as Anthony Rapp came forward last year to speak out about his experiences at the hands of Kevin Spacey, which triggered even more men who have said experienced abuse at the hands of the actor to come forward. Currently, as of early July, the Met Police are now investigating three new allegations.
Other actors who have reported sexual violence in the industry included Terry Crews and Brendan Fraser to name a few.
But as we know it hasn’t just been happening in Hollywood. In my own life, both my parents have been on the receiving end of domestic abuse from previous partners, prior to marrying each other. My father has experienced harassment and stalking at the hands of women. Male friends of mine have experiences from harassment, to domestic violence to rape.
Does this mean, because they were born with male parts and identify as men that we should push them to the wayside? Absolutely not. Does that mean my father’s and friend’s ordeals don’t matter just because of the gender they are? Of course they matter.
While this is predominantly experienced by more women than men, we can’t make progress in having the proper support and protections for survivors if we completely shut out one demographic. That’s not right.
By no means at all am I trying to undermine a women’s ordeals of sexual violence. I am saying that in order to make progress, we need to acknowledge and help all survivors.
Like I have said before, there is good and bad in every walk of life, regardless of gender, nationality, sexual orientation etc. A predator is a predator, again regardless of any of these things.
So while I’m talking about men in particular in this post, we can’t forget about any survivors.
To anyone who has experienced and/or been affected by what I’ve talked about in this post, links to charities and support services are listed down below.
You are not alone and we believe you.
All my love,