Facts of rape – Gang-Rape, what is it and why’s it happen

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We think of rape as an individual not a group act. It is difficult to grasp its social dimention. We assume that, like sex, it takes place in private. It is difficult enough to face the idea of rape. To envisage gang rape is even harder, it is easier to ignore the distinction, to class it all as rape. Yet the historical origins of rape rest with the gang. The Latin word from which rape derives mean “to seize or carry off”. In ancient times, warring tribes abducted women, who then became the spoils of war.

It is generally believed for men who engage in gang rape to be pathological bullies, fiends or maniacs, and that gang rape is far less common that individual rape. The findings of research refute these assumptions. One of the first American researchers to analyse the characteristics of men reported to the police for rape in Philadelphia found that 43% of the 1292 men operated in pairs of gangs (Amir 1971). 55% raped in gangs and 16% in pairs. Contrary to prior research this study also revealed that 71% of these rapes were planned, rather than being the spontaneous explosion of pent up emotions. Other studies, since this, have supported this finding that gang rapes are more common than previously thought. In one study it was found that 10% of students had attempted rape in episodes involving more than one attacker (Warsaw, 1988).

Gang or pair rape, rather than being pathological, appears to be more about an extreme form of normative masculinity. It is in all-male communities such as the army, adolescent gangs, prison, college fraternities in America and competitive team ports that gang rae generally occurs. In war, gang rape takes on an added dimension and can be an integral tactic of warfare. Whether in peace or war, its function is to enhance male solidarity and domination. It appears to involve a process by which men distance themselves from everything denoting femininity. Women, homosexuals or those seen to be un-macho are the targets. The sexual orientation of many men who rape men and the victims who are raped, contrary to common belief, is heterosexual rather than homosexual (McMullen, 1990).

Humiliating and defiling women seems to enhance male cohesion is some siturations, a point made by Susan Brownmiller (1978), who also argues that male domination is strengthened by denigration and contempt for women. An Australian professor who studied gang rapes suggested that the reason that the gang defiled the female body in other appalling ways, often excretory, was in order to gain or maintain prestige within the group by over-emphasising the values of toughness and disregard for femininity other than as a sexual tool (Brownmuller, 1978)

The enhancement of male solidarity through such violence does raise the question f what constitutes and enhances male-bonding. A number of studies have indicated the mens friendships are generally less personal than womans (Rubin, 1983). Intimacy, the sharing of innermost thoughts and emotions, the main characteristic of female friendship, is not typical of male groups, where bonding is enhanced by posturing, competitiveness, toughness, jokes and risk-taking (Rotundo, 1989). Since one area of competitiveness is sexual, where to “score” is a way to impress friends, this inevitably involves exploiting women. Emphasis on “scoring” and objectifying women are forms of enhancing male power. Through rape, therefore, men can experience ppower, and avoid tenderness and intimacy, which often involve conflict for these men.

Generally men who partake in gang-rape are those who are brought up to believe that to be a man is to be hard and tough, and to keep emotional involvement at bay.

Myths and realities of male rape – men can be raped too

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Myth: Men can’t be sexually assaulted.

Reality: Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted every day. Any man can be sexually assaulted regardless of their size, strength, appearance, occupation, race or sexual orientation. Male rape can happen at home, work, out doors, in a  car, in the military, prisons, in locker rooms, rest rooms, public toilets, in fact just about anywhere a rapist thinks they can get away with it, and it can happen to any male.

It should also be noted that it is not unusual for a male to “freeze” during a rape, in part due to shock, and fear of ones life. Remember, the rapist will no doubt have done this before, and hence be prepared for what happens, but few, if any men, have even considered in their mind the possibility of such things happening and are thus totally unprepared.

Myth: Only gay men are sexually assaulted.

Reality: Although gay men are raped slightly more often than heterosexual men this is due more to the fact that they can be the target anti-gay violence, that often includes acts of rape, plus that gay men are at far more risk of date rape attacks from other men.

Heterosexual males can be, and are, also raped in very large numbers. An F.B.I. statistic put the number of males that will be raped as an adult at 3 %, a number most organisations think is very underestimated. Of this 3%, over 40% identify themselves as exclusively heterosexual.

Myth: It is only gay men that sexually assault other men.

Reality: The vast majority of men who sexually assault other men identify themselves as heterosexual. Many rapists will attack either males or females, while in their  consensual will only have sex with females. Some target males more than females as it gives them even a greater sense of power and control.

This fact helps to highlight another reality, that is, that sexual assault is usually more about violence, anger, domination and control over another person, than it is about lust or sexual attraction.

Myth: Adult men cannot be sexually assaulted by women.

Reality: Although the majority of reported perpetrators are male, (97 to 98%), women can, and do, also sexually assault men but is seldom reported… not that many males feel safe reporting rape anyway.

If you include emotional blackmail as a way of giving the victim no choice, then the number greatly increases. Also don’t think that if a woman rapes you that you have to penetrate her, there are such things as vibrators that she can use on you as well.

If you think a female can not force a male to get an erection against his will, think again, you have little (to no) control over that part of your body with your will power.

Think you could never be forced to gain an erection? Wait till the most important football match you ever want to watch is on TV, then see if your partner can distract that part of your body against your will 🙂
You will lose every time.

Think an unconscious (drunk or drugged etc ) male can not get an erection ? Never known a man wake up with morning “wood” or it happen on a bus or at the supermarket, or work, against their will …. the mind has little control on getting it to just go away

Myth: Male rape victims don’t suffer as bad a female rape victims, after all they do not risk becoming pregnant.

Reality: All rape victims suffer in many different ways, some responses are gender specific, some are not.

Male male rape frequently involves higher levels of violence, weapons, and is also more likely to involve multiple assailants. Male rape victims are also more at risk of committing suicide as a result of rape.

As for the risk of becoming pregnant, no male rape victims do not run that risk. However anal rape does have a much higher risk of internal tearing and damage, and with that comes a higher risk of possible HIV transmission.

Myth: Most rapists are strangers.

Reality: Whilst many gang rapes and acts of anti-gay violence are committed by strangers, most rapes, like in women, are committed by people known to the victim. They may be a friend, neighbour, boss or a relative, father, uncle, co-worker, brother or ex partner. They could also be a trades person, or a professional e.g., a doctor, teacher, psychiatrist, police officer or a public servant. One worrying increase is in the amount of rapes during robberies, muggings and house break-in’s in an attempt to stop the person reporting the crime.

Myth: Getting an erection or ejaculation during sexual assault means you “really wanted it” or consented to it.

Reality: This is one of the things that can cause male rape survivors a lot of confusion and guilt when they do not know how things work. For a start I can honestly say that getting an erection shows nothing other than your body responds how it is suppose to do. It is a totally normal thing to happen and has nothing to do with desire. Have you never been on a bus, or sat in an office meeting, and it has gone hard all by it’s self  for no reason ?

Basically, unless you have some medical condition that stops you then you will get an erection when it is manipulated. It is a result of stimulation, and it does not matter if you do not want it to happen or not. There is little you can do to stop it most of the time.

Sadly, some males become confused and think an erection equals arousal equals them wanting it. In reality all it means is that part of the body has nerve endings that respond to touch and that touch can be wanted or not wanted, pleasant or non pleasant. With lubricant you will have even less choice as to how it responds to touch. It is the same as the body will respond to someone tickling you and you will probably laugh, but if it is done at a time or by a person you do not want to tickle you it will still respond.

If you were penetrated, the pressure in the prostate gland also will cause an erection.  Anyone who has ever had a DRE (short for Digital Rectal Exam) of the prostate at their doctors will know that getting an erection often happens during the examination.

Now as far as ejaculation goes, again this is a very normal thing to have happened. In fact, the rapist will very often go out of their way to make sure that you do ejaculate, in order to try to make you more ashamed, (adds to their dominate feeling of power) and also they know it will likely reduce your chances of reporting the crime. First off, it is because it is a normal reaction to stimulation. Second, the pressure on the prostate will, by it’s self, release some fluid, making the penis more sensitive to that stimulation. In fact, it is possible for a doctor to obtain a semen sample during a DRE. Pressure on the seminal vesicle will likewise release a lot of fluid, and could resemble ejaculation to some extent, although may feel different.

One other thing to remember, is that ejaculation against your will, and an orgasm when having a wanted sexual encounter are, two totally different things.

(my degree actually came in useful there…)

Myth: Rape in Gay couples does not exist.

Reality: Rape in marriage or any relationship, straight or gay , can and does often occur. Through physical, psychological or emotional coercion, some men are forced by their partners, to engage in unwanted sexual acts, including oral or anal sex. A spouse, or partner, boyfriend can be charged with the rape of their partner in many countries now. The law recognizes that a spouse is not the property of their partner, to be used sexually by them. Gay relationships deserve the same recognition.

Myth: Male rape only happens in prisons.

Reality: Rape does happen a lot in prisons, there is no doubt about that. In fact, in the USA, it is said that there are far more male rapes every day in prisons alone than there are rapes of all females in the USA. However, males are raped outside of prison every day of every year, in their homes, cars, at work and just about anywhere. Male rape also happens in the military and armed services as well, collages, universities, and all sorts of places.

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