Female Sexual Offenders Part II, War Rape

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Sexual Assault of Adult Men by Women

The first reaction to this concept is incredulity that women can commit sexual offences against adult men. Yet sexual offences are defined by lack of consent so if a man is coerced into sex without his consent this should be regarded as rape. People may object, some may even suggest that  the man should be grateful like Barbara Ellen writing in the Guardian in 2009 but any other view is sexist. Evidence is accumulating that female perpetrated sexual abuse is surprisingly widespread and just as severe. Stemple, Flores and Meyer reported their findings on sexual victimisation in two academic papers in 2014 and 2017. They analysed data from four major surveys in the US carried out by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) in the period from 2008 to 2013.

Their work is summarised for the general reader in a Scientific American article in 2017:

The National Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Violence survey  for 2016/17 showed that 3.2% of men and 6% of women reported being forced into non-consensual sex in the previous 12 months (sexual coercion and being made to penetrate). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2016/2017 Report on Sexual Violence (cdc.gov)

Being made to penetrate was found to be perpetrated by women in 83.8% of cases.

These findings are a remarkable debunking of the popular notion that female perpetrated sexual abuse is rare.

National Crime Victimisation Survey

Another source used by Stempel et al, the National Crime Victimisation Survey is more limited in that it does not include forms of abuse involving coercion rather than force. Bearing this in mind the study found that female perpetrators acting alone accounted for 28% of assault incidents with male victims. Incidents of assaults involving at least one female perpetrator were reported in 34.7% of incidents involving male victims and 4.2% of female victims. For cases of sexual assault by a female perpetrator, 57.6% of male victims and 41.4% of female victims reported that they were attacked physically. Stemple, Flores and Meyer also quote a large range of other studies.

Among studies conducted in the UK are those by Dr Siobhan Weare a Senior Lecturer in Law at Lancaster University Law School. She has conducted the first research study exploring the experiences of men who are forced-to-penetrate women. She shares some of the findings from her research, including the contexts in this video from the ONRECORD Podcasts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jdfla3a1HQ&t=47s Men forced to penetrate.

As is the case for rape of women, most of the perpetrators were someone they knew. Asked to rate the severity on a scale of 1 to 10 the average was 6 but the commonest was level 10, most severe. Asked to pick a single word to describe their experience, easily the most commonly chosen was “rape”.

Finally in respect of female prisoners’ experience of sexual victimisation, Stemple et al observe: Despite the common assumption that for female prisoners, male staff constitute the greatest sexual  threat, BJS studies have instead consistently shown that women are much more likely to be abused  by other women inmates than by male staff.

In juvenile corrections facilities, female staff are also a much more significant threat than male staff.

 

War Rape

War rape is often assumed to be an issue for females only but the victims are invariably of both sexes. War rape is sometimes called a weapon of war, but this is inaccurate. According to William Collins war rape occurs once a military victory has been achieved. The purpose of war rape is to humiliate the vanquished. This can just as easily be achieved by raping the defeated men as by raping their womenfolk.

Collins commends the work of the Refugee Law Project and Will Storr’s article in the Guardian  “The rape of men:  the darkest secret in war”, July 17 2011, in this regard.

One of the few academics to have looked into this is once again Lara Stemple. Her research “Male Rape and Human Rights” Hastings Law Journal 60(3) 605 shows that sexual violence against males is a component of wars all over the world including Chile, Sri Lanka, El Salvador. A study of 6,000 concentration camp inmates in Sarajevo found that 80% of men reported having being raped but this is rarely reported. Googling “Sarajevo rape victims” will bring up any number of reports of the rape of women but you will have  to work harder to find mention of male victims.

The Prejudice of International Organisations

Stemple’s work also suggests that international aid organisations are failing male victims. She cites a review of 4,076 NGOs that have addressed wartime sexual violence. Only 3% of them mentioned the experience of men in their literature and then only in a passing reference. In Storr’s article one comment is “The organisations working on sexual and gender-based violence don’t talk about it (male sexual victimisation). It’s systematically silenced…there is no data, no discussion”.

In the Observer article Stemple is quoted as describing “a constant drum beat that women are the rape victims and a milieu in which men are treated as a monolithic perpetrator class”. She continued “International human rights law leaves out men in nearly all instruments designed to address sexual violence. The UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000 treats wartime sexual violence as something that only impacts on women and girls…

Chris Dolan, Director RLP

Once again this confirms our worst fears about the prejudice of not only the media and the UN but of international aid organisations.

Here is Dr. Chris Dolan – Investigating Conflict-Related Sexual Violence against Men in Africa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ADpH7VkbbY

“The organisations working on sexual violence don’t talk about it”

Just as with domestic violence it is really all about money. The NGOs keep men’s victimisation suppressed because they don’t want their funding reduced. Storr’s article concludes with this dreadful story: Before receiving help from the RLP, one man went to see his local doctor. He told him he had been raped four times, that he was injured and depressed and his wife had threatened to leave him. The doctor gave him a Panadol.

Refugee Law Project 2015: They Slept With Me www.Youtube.com/watch?v=xQ2RH8kxCTI

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