The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 54.0°F | Thunderstorm Heavy Rain and Breezy

Male rape victms also need support

(Editor's Note: The Tech has agreed to run this letter anonymously due to the sensitivity of the subject.)

"I've been RAPED!" It's a horrible thing to hear from someone you know, from someone you care about. It's a horrible thing to say to anyone, to your mother or father, to your best friend, to yourself.

"I've been RAPED!"

There! I said it!

That's right, I was raped. It happened in a fraternity. It happened right in my own bed; a place I considered safe. I was raped by my girlfriend right in my own bed! I knew what they were going to say:

"You shouldn't have let her get you drunk," or "You should have told her to go home," or "You should have just stopped it."

Oh, I tried not to give in to her pleading. I tried not to let her manipulate my mind. But she played on all my male insecurities and all my personal weaknesses. She was good at that. (She even threatened to start a rumor about the size of my masculinity.)

I told my friends what happened. I told them that I had been raped. Most of them laughed at me or turned away in disbelief. Some of them even asked me if I enjoyed it! Some fraternity brothers they turned out to be! But, I suppose I should have expected it. Who is going to believe that the man got raped, right? I mean, this sort of thing never happens to the man, right?


The fact is that 1 in 7 men are raped before the age of 18. 1 in 7! And if you think the number of women that report rapes in low, you would be appalled at the figure for men reporting rapes.

But it does happen! Most rapes do not involve excessive force. So why can't a woman rape a man? Women talk about men overpowering them. The fact is that a woman can also overpower a man! Maybe she won't hit him or throw him across the room, but she might manipulate him emotionally or threaten him with slander. In many cases men give into these ploys and are coerced into doing things sexually that they may not want to do.

So why am I telling you this?

When a woman gets raped she can get support from rape-crisis centers, friends and family, even the justice system. But when a man gets raped, he usually gets laughed at or ignored. Rape-crisis centers do help men who have been raped, but rarely do men get the initial support from the people around them to help them accept their problem and help them to get professional counseling.

Men need the support of their friends just as much as women do. I was lucky. My best friend was sensitive enough to help me deal with the situation. But most men don't get that support and many of them end up scared for life. Current rape-awareness programs concentrate on women as victims and men as rapists. Men are never told that they, too, can be victims and women are never told that they can be rapists.

Rape is an important issue on this campus, and I am glad that it is being addressed. Just remember that there is another side of the problem that rarely gets addressed. If your friend, male or female, comes to you looking for help, please be supportive and help that person because rape can be a horrible experience for a man or a woman. If you have been raped, get help from professionals and from your friends and family. And, for God's sake, never turn away from anyone who comes to you and says, "I've been RAPED!"