just for men
Advice for men
- You should
know that 1 out of 4 or 5 undergraduate women will experience rape
or attempted rape from men while in college. 9 out of 10 of the men
who do this will be boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, classmates, residents
in shared living space, acquaintances, coworkers or professors-that
is, someone the survivor already knows. For just this reason, nearly
half of the survivors may not be able to admit that what took place
was rape. But it is.
- Think about
whether you really want to have sex with someone who doesn't want to
have sex with you; how will you feel afterwards if your partner
tells you she didn't want to have sex?
- If you are
getting a double message from a woman, speak up and ask questions to
clarify what she wants. If you find yourself in a situation with a
woman who is unsure about having sex or is saying 'no,' back off and
suggest talking about it.
sensitive to women who are unsure whether they want to have sex. If
you put pressure on them, you might be forcing them.
because of the frequency of sexual assault among college-age women,
your potential partner may already have experienced sexual assault,
attempted sexual assault or otherwise unwanted sexual attention,
either in college or earlier in her life. She may be unsure about or
afraid of sex or of being victimized again. She may not feel safe
enough, or may feel too ashamed, to tell you, or may feel it is not
your business to know. This will require you to go at her pace, to
honor her privacy, to make yourself a safe person to be with, and to
respect without question her physical boundaries.
- Do not
assume you both want the same degree of intimacy. She might be
interested in some sexual contact other than intercourse. There may
be several kinds of sexual activity you might mutually agree to
- Stay in
touch with your sexual desires. Ask yourself if you are really
hearing what she wants. Do not let your desires control your
your sexual desires honestly and as early as possible.
- Do not
assume her desire for affection is the same as a desire for sex.
- A woman who
turns you down for sex is not necessarily rejecting you as a person;
she is expressing her decision not to participate in a single act at
- No one asks
to be raped. No matter how a woman behaves, she does not deserve to
have her body used in ways she does not want.
- Not having
sex or not 'scoring' does not mean you are not a 'real man.' It is
okay not to 'score.'
sexual advantage of a person who is mentally or physically incapable
of giving consent (for example, drunk) is rape. If a woman has had
too much to drink and has passed out, or is not in control of
herself, having sex with her is rape.
- The fact
that you were intoxicated is not legal defense for rape. You are
responsible for your actions, whether you are drunk or sober.
Rape is a
men's issue for many reasons. One we don't often talk about is the fact
that boys and men are sexually assaulted. We need to start recognizing
the presence of male survivors and acknowledging their unique
experience. The following questions and answers can help us all learn
about male survivors so that we stop treating them as invisible and
start helping them to heal:
often are men sexually assaulted?
While the numbers vary from study to study, most research suggests
that 10-20 percent of all males will be sexually violated at some
point in their lifetimes. That translates into tens of thousands of
boys and men assaulted each year alongside hundreds of thousands of
girls and women.
there are so many male survivors, why don't I know any?
Like female survivors, most male survivors never report being
assaulted, even to people they know and trust. They fear being
ignored, laughed at, disbelieved, shamed, accused of weakness, or
questioned about being gay. Perhaps worst of all, men fear being
blamed for the assault because they were not "man enough" to protect
themselves in the face of an attack. For all these reasons, many
male survivors remain silent and alone rather than risk further
violation by those around them.
- Can a
woman sexually assault a man?
Yes, but it's not nearly as common as male-on-male assault. A recent
study shows that more than 86% of male survivors are sexually abused
by another male. That is not to say, however, that we should
overlook boys or men who are victimized by females. It may be
tempting to dismiss such experiences as wanted sexual initiation
(especially in the case of an older female assaulting a younger
male), but the reality is that the impact of female-on-male assault
can be just as damaging.
only men in prison get raped?
While prison rape is a serious problem and a serious crime, many
male survivors are assaulted in everyday environments (at parties,
at home, at church, at school, on the playground), often by people
they know -- friends, teammates, relatives, teachers, clergy,
bosses, partners. As with female survivors, men are also sometimes
raped by strangers. These situations tend to be more violent and
more often involve a group of attackers rather than a single
offender. As with female rape, drugs are sometimes used to
incapacitate male victims of sexual assault.
does rape affect men differently from women?
Rape affects men in many ways similar to women. Anxiety, anger,
sadness, confusion, fear, numbness, self-blame, helplessness,
hopelessness, suicidal feelings and shame are common reactions of
both male and female survivors. In some ways, though, men react
uniquely to being sexually assaulted. Immediately after an assault,
men may show more hostility and aggression rather than tearfulness
and fear. Over time, they may also question their sexual identity,
act out in a sexually aggressive manner, and even downplay the
impact of the assault.
men who get raped become rapists?
NO! This is a destructive myth that often adds to the anxiety a male
survivor feels after being assaulted. Because of this
misinformation, it is common for a male survivor to fear that he is
now destined to do to others what was done to him. While many
convicted sex offenders have a history of being sexually abused,
most male survivors do not become offenders. The truth is that the
great majority of male survivors have never and will never sexually
- If a
man is raped by another man, does it mean he's gay?
NO, again! While gay men can be raped (often by straight men), a
man getting raped by another man reflects nothing about his sexual
orientation before the assault, nor does it change his sexual
orientation afterwards. Rape is primarily prompted by anger or a
desire to harm, intimidate or dominate, rather than by sexual
attraction or a rapist's assumption about his intended victim's
sexual preference. Because of society's confusion about the role
that attraction plays in sexual assault and about whether victims
are responsible for provoking an assault, even heterosexual male
survivors may worry that they somehow gave off "gay vibes" that the
rapist picked up and acted upon. For a gay man, especially one who
is not yet out of the closet, the possibility that he is
broadcasting his "secret sexual identity" to others without even
knowing it can be particularly upsetting.
should I respond if a man I know tells me he has been assaulted?
While there may be some differences in how rape impacts a male
versus a female survivor of sexual assault, the basics of supporting
survivors are the same for men as for women. Believe him. Know what
your community's resources are and help him explore his options.
Don't push and don't blame. Ask him what he wants and listen. Be
cautious about physical contact until he's ready. Get help for
can male survivors go for help?
See Sexual Assault/Rape: Campus and Community Resources.
information has been adapted from
Men Can Stop Rape.
Additional Online Resources
what men can do
You have the
power, with other men, to put a stop to rape and other kinds of men's
violence against women.
1. Check yourself. Examine your own attitudes and
actions. Some of the ways you act or the things you believe, whether you
know it or not, may actually support rape. Some examples of these are:
With women you see in public:
- Staring at, taunting or whistling at women
when you're standing around with other men
- Following women around
- Embarrassing women in public with putdowns,
name-calling, sexist jokes, comments on their looks or bodies,
mocking, or otherwise ridiculing
you know personally, whether casual or intimate:
- Controlling a woman you know-a classmate,
friend, or girlfriend--by using threatening gestures, using a loud
voice/monopolizing the conversation, blocking doorways, or driving
- Criticizing or trivializing what a woman says
or belittling, even in fun, her attitudes or thinking
- Pressuring a woman to have sex
2. Check your men friends: confront their attitudes and
actions when they do any of the above.
3. Do the same thing about
homophobia--attitudes or actions you or other men might have that are
anti-gay. Recognize homophobia and speak
out against heterosexism. Discrimination against lesbians, gays,
bisexual and transgender people is actually one way we use to try to
prove to each other that we're "real" men.
4. Learn about yourself.
documentaries and read articles, essays, and books about masculinity,
gender inequality, and the root causes of sexual violence. Educate
yourself and others about the connections between larger social forces
and the conflicts between individual men and women. Some resources are:
- Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in
Masculinity" - documentary by Jackson Katz , available in the Campus
Media Resource Library
- Timothy Beneke, Men on Rape, St Martin's,
- Timothy Beneke, Proving Manhood, University of
California Press, 1997.
- Michael Kimmel, Manhood in America: a Cultural
History, Free Press, 1996.
- Paul Kivel, Men's Work, Ballantine, 1992
- Michael Messner and Donald Sabo, Sex, Violence
and Power in Sports: Rethinking Masculinity, Crossing Press, 1994.
- T. Walter Herbert, Sexual Violence and
American Manhood, Harvard, 2002.
- John Stoltenberg, The End of Manhood, Plume,
- John Stoletnberg, Refusing to be a Man,
run by men taking a stand against sexism include:
5. Don't put your money into
anything that, subtly or in the open, supports violence against women. That means boycotting magazines,
videos, music, comics, websites, radio and television that portray women
in a sexually degrading or violent manner. Notice that these portrayals
actually also put down and delimit men's sexuality-or make it invisible.
Tell your friends. And make noise about it: tell the people who produce
these products to cut it out.
6. Support and fight for increased
funding for battered women's shelters, rape crisis centers and campus
resources for women-and women's sports.
7. Organize or join a group of men
in school, at your workplace or among friends to work to end sexual
assault and other forms of violence against women. A great place to organize is among existing
men's groups, in athletics, fraternities and elsewhere. All over the
country, from Wisconsin to Harvard to Berkeley, men students are
stepping up and speaking out!
8. Volunteer in public schools,
youth outreach and childcare centers and other organizations.
These are places where, often,
women are doing the work. They could use your help, and young people
could use your presence.
9. Listen to women. No sexual assault survivor is
ever at fault; no one wants or asks to be assaulted. Avoid blaming the
10. Support women's leadership and
gender equity. Come out and
support No Woman Left Behind, Take Back the Night, and other student
groups at ISU who are dedicated to ending the violence against women.