This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Anshul Tewari. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Yes, Men Get Raped Too, And Let’s Not Ignore That

More from Anshul Tewari

By Anshul Tewari:

I in no way intend to divert the attention from the on going fight against the crimes that happen against women around the world. I have been an ardent fighter against all such crimes, and for me, the fight has always been against men who harass women, never the other way round. I believe that since centuries patriarchy and the ideas of men being the dominant sex have existed and have been the reason why we have a societal culture where men commit crimes against women.

distressThe reason why I write this post is only to tell about a reality that does exist. You can debate whether it needs attention right now or not. You can debate whether we need to even consider that fact or not, but let’s not forget this reality which might be happening at a minuscule percentage, but does take place. It might be tough to imagine this, or might sound completely ridiculous, but it is important for you to know this – because while we fight for an anti-rape bill, we fight too for a society where we do not treat any gender above the other, and all remain equal. In most cases men are raped by men, but in a minuscule percentage of cases, men are raped by women too.

Over a discussion with a few friends, I debated the fact that men can be raped too. The logic many people give is that to rape a man, the victim male must be erect, which would not be possible if the man being raped is not sexually stimulated, in which case it would not classify as rape. This is the biggest myth about men and their sexual organ. Much like any other mammal, the erectile response of males is involuntary, meaning that a man might not be aroused for his penis to be erect and be placed in a woman’s vagina. Mechanical stimulation is all that is necessary. Sometimes not even that.

A friend’s mother, a sexologist tells very clearly, “There are men who get an erect penis even due to temperature changes. It does not necessarily mean that he wants to have sex.”

Another popular myth around male rapes remains that if a man is being raped, he cannot ejaculate or orgasm. Firstly, we need to be careful to understand here is that orgasm and ejaculation are not the same thing. Erection (arousal) and ejaculation can occur without orgasm, and for a variety of reasons; any touching of the penis can stimulate arousal, being penetrated anally can place pressure on the prostrate gland producing erection and/or ejaculation, and the ‘fight or flight’ stress response also can cause erection and/or ejaculation.

The Rape Victims Advocacy Program website (read further) has this to say regarding the sexual arousal commonly experienced by (male) victims, “Male victims/survivors are often ashamed and confused when their body responds during an assault. Frequently, men who are sexually assaulted or raped have an involuntary or forced erection and/or ejaculation. Also, muscles in the anus often relax when a man is raped. This does not mean that the survivor wanted to be raped or sexually assaulted. Involuntary erections and ejaculations are normal reactions to physical stimulation even when sex is non-consensual”. (27th May 2008)

As the doctor puts it, “Ejaculation is a spinal level reflex; it can happen. I have seen it happen in people having seizures or read documented evidence that it happens during hanging too. It’s even a question asked on med boards often enough whether a tetraplegic can ejaculate.”

Moreover, it needs to be understood that rape does not only mean penile penetration. As the current law puts it, it is only when there is penile penetration. There is no account for oral penetration, violence on sexual organs, or any other form of violence or harassment perpetrated.

But again, the largest question is, do women rape men? In most cases – No! Most cases of male rapes are those perpetrated by men themselves, but a minuscule percentage of the total rapes on men, about 1.4% are those where women perpetrators have been accused.

1 out of 10 rape victims have been men. 1 in every 71 men have had some or the other case of being sexually harassed or assaulted, in most cases by a male perpetrator.

Chennai-based Vinodhan was gang raped by six men at the age of 18. The incident occurred 12 years back, but scars of the horrific incident is still fresh in his mind. In order to get rid of the trauma, the 30-year-old victim constantly writes. In another case, Krishna was sexually assaulted when he was 29, in a small town in Kerala. “I had got off a bus and was walking to my aunt’s house when I noticed a man following me.” “The gate was locked when I reached, and the moment he realized it, he pinned me down. The sheer shock and shame at what was happening left me with no voice”, says Krishna. (source)

Most cases of female-on-male rape have been registered in the United States. Cases of female-on-male rape get the comedic treatment they do not deserve. The police finds it hard to believe, and the false thoughts of “being a man” often disable the victim from coming out in the open and speaking up about it.

But there are cases that have come out. Former U.S. Marine James Landrith was raped by a pregnant woman decades ago. This story about him points out, female sexual predators are often depicted as objects of teenage fantasy in popular culture, but this ignores the fact that men can be victims of rape by women. In another case, a 20-year-old Ohio woman has been charged with raping a teenage boy at knife point.

In reality, we never hear about cases of men being raped. As a New York Times article perfectly puts it, “For many men, the subject is so discomfiting that it is rarely discussed – virtually taboo, experts say, because of societal notions about masculinity and the idea that men are invulnerable and can take care of themselves.

“We have a cultural blind spot about this,” said David Lisak, a clinical psychologist who has done research on interpersonal violence and sexual abuse and is a founding board member of 1in6, an organization that offers information and services to men who had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences as children.

“We recognize that male children are being abused,” Dr. Lisak said, “but then when boys cross some kind of threshold somewhere in adolescence and become what we perceive to be men, we no longer want to think about it in this way.”

Now the question is, while we strive hard to create safe spaces for women to come out and fight back against crimes perpetrated on them, shouldn’t we also focus on creating similar safe spaces for men? And why men alone, we need these spaces for transgenders, transsexuals and people who identify themselves as any sex. We need a gender neutral safe space.

The fight, rather than making it one against all men, should be against the idea of rape; should be one that challenges the ideology of a rapist.

You must be to comment.
  1. Sugam Singhal

    Hi Anshul.

    I found your article very interesting; it was an eye-opener and thought provoking too. We certainly need gender neutral safe spaces and a fight against rape, irrespective of anything else.

    However, I do have some questions for you.

    1. You wrote, “1 out of 10 rape victims have been men. 1 in every 71 men have had some or the other case of being sexually harassed or assaulted, in most cases by a male perpetrator.” Are these international statistics, or they are India-based, or a particular city?
    2. How many do you mean, when you write- “most”?
    3. On what do you base your numbers?
    4. How would you suggest we fight against it? What should be done? (Just seeking your insights)

  2. rajat

    hey Anshul, I never seen or heard about man rape before till I watched PULP FICTION, I was quite perplexed watching that scene(in movie) in which a black guy got gagged and fucked by a policeman.Apart from that, It is nice to read you posting this less discussed topic.

More from Anshul Tewari

Similar Posts

By Vaivab

By Debarati Sen

By Prabhanu Kumar Das

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below