The other way around

It is not the first time I’ve heard the story. We think it’s not common, but it might be more common than what we think. I have heard that story twice; I wonder how many stories are out there: boys who have been raped by women.

We usually hear about girls being sexually assaulted, child sexual predators, dark valleys that are dangerous, we often neglect to see possible a rape to a boy by a women. What is worst we often neglect having services for men who are victims of violence, sexual or other, and we often sin by believing it’s less traumatic.

In the study of gender, usually dome and focused on women after years and centuries of oppression and discrimination, we have to acknowledge the needs for gender equality, including men. We need men activist for women rights; we need men to fight for justice. But to be just and fair, we should also fight against stereotypes about men and women, victims versus oppressors, to consider men also as victims of abuse.

Sex is determined by our biological genitalia; gender is made of a social construction by a majority in society, influence by culture. That is why is varies in part from an American perspective, to a Hispanic one, to an African American and others. It is however generalized, it is more than having a pennies or vagina, is what we expect from each other. It is the reason we chose blue for boys and pink for girls. It is why we encourage boys into sports and girls into ballet. It is why some people think boys don’t cry while girls are allowed to be emotional, (if not expected). It is the reason why boys get cars and action figures and girls get dolls for Christmas. It is the social construction that passes on, teaches or misleads, how “things are supposed to be” and how you are supposed to act. Therefore, it is why when we talk of sexual assaults we think the men it’s always the perpetrator.

We cannot deny the facts, men are usually the majority of perpetrators, however we shouldn’t neglect the other way around being possible. We need to work with this so that boys are not traumatized and there issue is not neglected because it doesn’t “fit the norm”. We have heard and been thought that boys are more sexual, that they have more desires, “needs”, we even understand male masturbation more than we can think of girls doing that, we even hear how some justify rapes with their “big sexual appetite” seen normal. We even see how victims usually are to blame by the media for the way they dress, like with a mini skirt, saying that “she was looking for it”, is the concept of what else could he do? We see it as part of men’s nature.

What we haven’t done its think of the other way around. What happens when roles reverse; when the norm gets tampered. It is my personal observation, and this has not been research in dept but I have observed throughout the years I’ve seen male domination- in most of “women power” philosophies we have encouraged women adapting violence. We have come to the point where women are more violent- “imitating”- the bad side of the “macho men” or “chauvinist” they criticize, rather than giving them our years enforced knowledge of negotiation and talking things out. How many efforts have been made to make us like them, rather than equal in rights? How much is it about being allowed to do what they do, rather than sharing what we do while HE learns from us. Even in our fight for equality we have come to a point where we see ourselves inferior, we come to them, not the other way around. WHY?

Men are also being silenced. It was with great despair and sadness that I heard to horrible stories of men (young men- 11 and 8) being raped. They also reacted like most rape victims do, one has apathy and fear of new relationships, the other one is promiscuous, doesn’t respect his body or women. They haven’t been able to confess what has happened to them to families or professionals because they feel shame or fear of being laughed at. After all some have told them they should consider them lucky for having an early experience, that they were “the man” because of that. One of them after 14 years of the accident, haven’t been able to commit in a serious relationship and has issues making new personal relationships (friends or partners). The other one divides himself in two personalities. Great person, sweet and sensitive with girls, but when he feels he is opening up too much he engages in promiscuity, not being able to commit and having mini relationships of 1 to 2 months, leaving the girl behind. He even told me when he told me – I don’t respect women- and he even blames most women for how he acts with “what was I supposed to do, she jumped on to me”. Both have never received therapy, and is a strange way to go through life with fear. A fear kept silenced.

Now, ask why should they fear to speak out? How come no one sees their side as possible? Why should they suffer, how often unhealthy relationships are a result of traumatic experiences? How often we teach what a healthy one is? Which are our role models? Today I make a call to reverse the story, to put ourselves in their shoes. Today I consider gender roles. How many of the people that go through life breaking hearts had their hearts broken? What are our fears? What can we do to help? How can we manage to live to our fullest without passing through life “surviving”. This is for men who have been raped. Today I applaud those than even with fear, a fear kept in silence, chose to continue living.