“Can a man be raped?” “That means he is soft/feminine/weak.” “He is not masculine enough!” – These you may think after reading the topic of this article, but let me shock you: “Boys/men can be sexually used or abused, and it has nothing to do with how masculine they are.” (Raperesponce.com). One out of every ten male is said to have been molested from the age of seven to nineteen. This is a worrisome issue, yet no one is talking about it – this bothers me.
Any guy who dares open up to have been raped is stoned with questions/comments like those of the fore-lines of this article. Male rape is a global problem that has always been silenced, bundled, and swept under the rug; the time has come for it to be preached.
I know a young lad who was molested by his family’s domestic help, Murai. Murai was in her late twenties while David (these names are false) was eleven. Murai would sneak into David’s room every night and sneak out at first light. David kept the whole thing to himself. Seven years later, David decides to answer God’s call, he was enrolled in a seminary school to become a catholic priest. As it is the tradition, David was tested. Lo, eighteen years old David was confirmed HIV positive. Investigations showed that the house help, Murai, who had died two years back – of the same disease – infected the kid through sex. Rape!
Men who are raped, like David, are more endangered because of the saying: “Men don’t cry.” That ego and charisma of the supposed ‘male child’ will not let them voice out. They suffer these abuse and pretend or are forced to pretend like nothing happened. They seal their mouths and carry on daily activities, trying to fight the enormous battle by themselves. But, inwardly, they suffer.
I know there are many other ‘David’s out there being assaulted by one aunty, big sister, or older female bullies – as in mixed boarding schools. They won’t talk, they won’t come out, because there are no platforms where they can register their ordeals without being looked like weak creatures.
Men who are sexually assaulted are highly unlikely to report their victimization or to seek medical or mental health services. (Richard Tewksbury.) These victims find it hard to come out because: “No one should see a man’s tears”. They cry in their closet, wipe their faces dry, hide under facades of false smile. Then their families will be like: oh, Kazeem is doing great; David has no worries; Obinna is fine. How and why won’t they look great to you? Do you go to them and have a hearty talk with them? Do you let them confine in you such that they pour out their deepest fears to you? Or you just pat the boys on their back but sit with the girls for hours?
It will shock you to know that men are not only victimized by older women but other men too – which is more disturbing. They are molested by oral and/or anal penetration which causes excruciating pain among other effects like: infection (STIs, STDs); genital/rectal trauma; sexuality questioning (Forman 1983, et al); bleeding; abrasions; tear of the anus; erythema; discolouration with tenderness; fissures; friability; etc. men who are sexually assaulted report poorer physical health status than their counterparts. (plant, 2005) And mostly recorded, weapons are used to tame these victims, especially when they try to resist. (Richard Tewksbury).
In that same document, it is written that somatic symptoms like: tension, headaches, nausea, ulcer; and effects like: sleeping difficulties, self-harm, depression, alcoholic/drug addiction, suicide attempts, and violence and hostility are registered of male rape victims.
There is a pressing need for resources to help these victims. There should be more voices chanting ‘help’ in the air. There should be more articles/ online resources like this to sensitize parents, school/youth councillors, pastors, public figures, the government, and the masses at large of male rape.
Parents must earn to talk more often with their male children as they do with the females. The females hear things like “if a man touches you, you get pregnant”, and their senses are always active when they are alone with a man. Their minds are programmed to shout whenever anything funny is about to take place. Who tells the male child such? Who tells him that his pp shouldn’t be played with by anybody – not his teacher at school, not the housemaid, not an older friend?
The male child must be aware that whenever someone forcefully exploit him sexually, it is Rape, and he has the right to report and bring such person to book. He should be armed with knowledge about these and not drown in self-pity, thinking it is his fault, thinking he is not man enough, or thinking the criminal is doing him a favour.
Platforms should be made available where these boys can come out freely without fear of being ridiculed, without fear of being blame for his victimization, without fear of being scolded, without being further abused. The masses should be in the know of this evil act via social media campaigns, hand bills, etc. Families should not shun their victims but draw him closer and educate him. Talks about this issue should be preached in school and institutions where young men gather.
If everyone is aware of this peccadillo, we will be more conscious of it, and the rapists will give room for a rethink before indulging in the despicable act, because the masses are awake and night-watching with lit lanterns on their left hands high above their heads and machetes on their right hands, ready to strike. If we do those, male rape will be drastically reduced – if not totally curbed.