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There is one main reason why male victims of rape and abuse are not taken seriously. It is the patriarchal mindset of machismo. Men are strong, powerful, sexual, dominant, and there is no way a man can be a victim.
This conditioning starts at a very young age. Male kids are told, boys don't cry. If a little girl is harassed or bullied, she will cry and complain. It is OK for her to cry. It is OK for her to feel victimized. She isn't told you are weak or a sissy. In fact she maybe pacified for being brave by bringing the bullies to justice. On the other hand a little boy will silently suffer the harassment. If he cries or complains, he loses his social standing. He will be teased as sissy, weak or girly. It is not OK for him to be a victim. He has to man up and suck it up. The little boys bravery is in either fighting back or showing that he can tough out anything thrown at him.
This carries on into adulthood. Not that admitting rape or sexual abuse or violence is easy for women. It is extremely traumatizing and scarring for any victim. Especially in cultures that focus on virtue, shame and dignity - there is a lot of anguish. However, the woman has the minor comfort that if she cries and complains people will empathize. She will be comforted and cared for. A male victim not only faces the trauma and anguish, but they also face the fear of being deemed weak, unmanly and effeminate if he acts victim.
A man is also considered sexual and dominant. Men may harass, eve tease or cop a feel to embarrass a victim - but the reverse isn't true because a man is deemed to enjoy sex. If a woman, especially an attractive woman invades his personal space - he isn't supposed to feel victimized but enjoy it. If an older man hits on an underage girl, he is lecherous and all the girls peers sympathize with and protect her. If an older woman hits on an underage boy, she is a cougar and all his peers encourage him to go all out and enjoy sexual prowess with an experienced woman. Recently, Chris Brown created a lot of controversy saying that he lost his virginity at eight. The truth of the matter is that he was raped. But rather than admit being raped and abused, men will try to turn it around and show it as a display of their libido and sexual power, that they were active and virile at a young age. They paint themselves as desirable hot studs. The fact is that psychologically men have as much as a notion of personal space like women. Consent, genuine affections, emotional connections, matter equally to men. When sexually infringed upon they too feel extreme fear, shame, anguish and a plethora of frightening emotions. But if they ever express their discomfort, displeasure or fears, their own peers will tell them that they should be proud of being a sexual and macho man instead of play victim.
Also homosexual contact is still a huge taboo amidst men. Women who have been sexually abused by the same sex don't fear a loss of feminity. However, men who have been raped or abused by men face an even bigger social stigma. They can't even write it off as sexual prowess. If they speak up, despite being raped they will be teased as fags or chided for being someone's bitch. It was an ordeal to investigate cases like Penn State because a lot of the victims had macho public images of being tough muscular football stars and athletes that none of them wanted to admit to being raped by a man. In countries where homosexuality is a crime, victims fear the tables being turned on them and being executed.
So due to the patriarchal nature of society male victims are rarely taken seriously. I didn't even touch upon jokes of men being whipped, henpecked etc.
Believe it or not the only way to protect boys and young men from this trauma and get every rape and abuse case treated equally is feminism. Not the misconception about feminism that states all men are evil misogynists, but genuine feminism that encourages equality of the sexes. We need to end the stereotypes that this is how girls behave and that is how boys behave. We have to end the stereotypes that men enjoy sex no matter what while only women are emotionally vested. We have to end the assumptions that men are always stronger and dominant and men who are weaker than women are effeminate pansies. We have to end the notions that homosexual acts strip a man of his manhood. We have to end the notions that being a victim is a loss of masculinity. And to do that we have to change the way men think about themselves and other men - socially, psychologically and biologically. Women have to change too, but the change of male attitudes is key to this. Because in the end the truth is the same male dominated patriarchal legal and social systems are guilty for abuse of both women as well as men.
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