About a month ago, some women working at a crisis center came to give a presentation at my school about what to do in case of rape or sexual assault. It was a very interesting and informative presentation except for one thing. Both girls and guys at my school attended the presentation, and the speakers were always carefull to say "he or she" when speaking of rapists, and to point out that girls as well as guys could be the victims of sexual assault and rape. I kind of felt that by including guys as rape victims, they were sort of infringing something that really only belonged to women. Since then I have wondered, how would a girl rape a guy? WOuld that even be possible? Were the people giving the presentation just being politically correct?
Posts: 19 | From: Chicago | Registered: Jun 2000
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It is a sad fact that often many male rape victims are either disbelieved or simply ignored, which is something that should happen to no rape victim, ever.
Anyone can rape anyone. Rape simply means forcing someone else to do a sexual act (intercourse, oral or manual sex, anal sex, etc) they do not want to do. That force can be inflicted by physical strength, by a weapon, by intimidation, or even by words.
It is possible for a woman to rape a man. It is possible for a woman to rape another woman. It is possible for a man to rape another man. And of course, it is possible for a man to rape a woman. Transsexual people can also be raped, and can also commit acts of rape and other sexual violence. It's not limited by sex or gender.
Rape is usually understood to mean any unconsensual or forcible penetrative sexual activity. It is not only penis-in-vagina penetrative sex. Nonconsensual, abusive, forced sexual penetration can take many forms and can be perpetrated by anyone of any sex or gender, on anyone of any sex or gender gender. Obviously this can involve various different orifices, not just vaginas. Men as well as women may have histories of being victims of sexual violence -- we don't hear about it as much from men as we do from women. It's kind of a dirty little secret still, that men can be victims of sexual violence and rape, but they certainly can.
So yes, the educators at your school were not just being politically correct, but actually and factually correct, as well, by including people of more than one gender as possible rapists.
Their inclusion of males as rape victims has more to do with political correctness than it does with guys actually getting raped.
Sure, it can happen. But just how often does it occur in comparions to girls getting raped? Very rarely.
The people who gave you this presentation knew this, they've probably got hard numbers to back it up. But they can't say anything because they think they have to be "gender neutral." It never ceases to amaze me the lines that people will tow.
It's really true, girls raping guys can happen, but its rare.
But that's if you think of sex the way I do. And I dont want to sound close minded or homophobic or anything, because I'm not, but I believe true sex is straight sex and anal sex. And I believe true rape is forced sex. So for a girl to rape a guy, it would have to be straight sex, which means its a little more difficult than a guy raping a girl.
Men tend to be stronger than women, so it's hard to pin one to the ground in a dark alley. And no matter what a women can do, she cant force a man inside her if he isnt hard, right?
Lee, I think you'd be amazed at in fact, how many times it DOES happen. Please remember that men can also rape men, and women can rape women.
It is MOST common for men to be the ones who rape - be their victims male or female. But it is hardly always the case, nor are women as perpetrators something that happens once in a blue moon.
In fact, I think you;d see more of it if men and boys didn't come to this sort of disbelief and attitude when they tried to report these crimes.
As for this "true sex" business, that's not a term or notion ever used in legal issues or in sexology. In terms of rape it is, by the book, ANY forced sexual act.
So, let's try and open our minds a little. As a former rape victim who was at the time disbelieved (because "no one would rape a 12-year-old"), there isn't much worse than having someone doubt or question something for which you need support to heal. It's practically inhuman.
I recently heard a story about my friends 15 yo brother. He went to a party and got drunk, and fell out on the bed in an upstairs bedroom. It seems that a 13 yo girl went into the room and started playing with him. When he awoke, she was bouncing up and down on him and riding him! He thought it was the most awesome thing in the world, but couldn't this technically be called rape? I mean if a guy did a strange girl who was asleep it would be, right? My friend sure thinks so!!
Posts: 384 | From: Malibu, California, USA | Registered: Jun 2000
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I didn't say it couldn't happen. I said that it was rare. Presenting something that is extremely rare as being on the same level as something that is tragically all too common, especially for the sake of political correctness, is insulting to me as a listener and and especially to the women who have been hurt and raped by men.
Men can be raped by women. Anyone can be raped by anyone. But I'd be willing to bet any sum of money you'd like that 95% of the time it is a guy doing the raping, whether it be a woman he's raping or another guy. The use of politically correct euphemisms like "he/she" when it is really a he the speaker is thinking of, don't change that.
George Carlin really summed it up in one of his skits. What was once known as "shell shock" during the first world war had become "battle fatigue" by the second. Now we call it "Post-Traumatic Stess Disorder." There were other terms used in-between that I don't recall right now. But for each step along the way, the term used to describe the condition was further separated from the nature of the condition. Where "Shell shock" gives even someone who has never heard the term before a good idea of how bad it is, "post-traumatic stress disorder" is so vague that only someone trained in the lingo would have any idea how serious a condition it was.
When someone creates a euphemism to refer to something that makes themselves or others uncomfortable, they are hiding behind words. Euphemisms are used because they don't bring to mind a thing that people are uncomfortable confronting. It's a way of sticking your head in the sand and pretending that something isn't there instead of looking it in the eye like you should.
That is all this "he/she" business in regards to rape is. The plain fact of the matter is that the vast majority of rapists are men. Pretending otherwise is just another act of hiding.
Lee, I think if you really worked in crisis centers or community centers, especially with young children, or beefed up on molestation cases, you'd be surprised.
What using neutral language in this case does is allow a victim who needs support to feel included, not disbelieved or outcast. While that may seem overly simplistic, and perhaps too general for your taste, when it comes to victims and perpetrators, it is an incredibly important thing to do.
Yes, a majority of rape perpetrators are male, but I'd gander it (especially when you include child molestation) at more like 75%. As far as victims go, in all the material I've read and the victims I've encountered, it's more like 65% female and 35% male, but we base those figures on REPORTED assaults, not actual ones, and that's important to note, especially when in many places, a boy or man would be laughed out of a police station for reporting a rape.
Discounting even one of those victims or perps isn't fair to anyone.
I'm not saying you should discount victims. In fact that is the last thing I would recommend. I just have a problem with language that distorts a listener's perception, leading him or her to assume that a sizeable percentage of perpetrators were female.
It would be far more effective to directly discuss men being raped, and women being rapists. Doing that does more to address the issue than simply using "he/she" at every opportunity.
I still think its just a case of PC nonsense. There is this special tone of voice that people employ when using PC-speak. I can't describe it but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Emphasis is placed on the euphemism, as if to say "Look, I'm using the Politically correct word and you should too."
I think it must be very difficult to mean what you say when you're unable to say what you mean.
I think the PC term for someone who isn't PC must be "Euphemistically Challenged." No wait, thats still a little too honest. I guess "politically incorrect" is vague and meaningless enough, not that "Politically Correct" is any better. Both terms are a non-sequitur.
I guess all I'd really have to add is that this appears to be mainly about semantics, which -- especially as an editor who deals with many forms of use when it comes to language -- seems of very little importance when compared to the main issue at hand.
I don't really give a hoot HOW all victims and perps get included. What is most important is simply THAT they do. Anyone listening to that talk could have asked for percentages, just like they asked here. It was a school talk, not a doctoral dissertation, you know?
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