I’ve Got the T-Shirt and the Trauma Response to Go With It

James Landrith discusses life as a male survivor and recounts his experience of rape at the hands of a woman. 

As a vocal male survivor, when I’m not talking about sexual violence in writing or before audiences, I’m reading about it in many contexts and sources. A great deal of what I see on a daily basis is directed at men with the assumption that we know nothing about sexual violence or have no experiences that parallel those of female survivors.

Those making such arguments are often NOT sexual violence survivors themselves. Encountering such memes can be quite painful when you are a rape survivor yourself. The problem is not that female survivors receive the majority of the attention when sexual violence is discussed. The problem is that when sexual violence is discussed with regard to male survivors, there is often resistance, condescension, and outright mockery by people who quite often have not experienced such violence themselves. For those who have lived through abuse at the hands of women, that can be doubly wounding.

I’ve lived through sexual violence. I have my own story and my own experiences. I have my own triggers and my own issues. I don’t need to be educated. I don’t need to be taught what to do or not do. I don’t need any proven statistical bias to legitimize my life or my experiences. I lived it.

♦◊♦

Background

Approximately twenty years ago I met a friend at a club in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He came with a female friend. During the night, he disappeared leaving his friend by herself and without a ride. As she was pregnant and without a ride, I agreed to take her home when I left. She had not been out in a while and wanted to stay until the club closed that night. While she was not drinking, she bought me a few thank you drinks for agreeing to drive her home.

After a few drinks, I became very tired and disoriented. I never drank until I got drunk, especially when driving and off base. I didn’t like the feeling and it wasn’t secure off base. I just figured I was tired and had too much without realizing it. There was a motel next to the club. She suggested we get a room and sleep it off, then I could drive her home in the morning. I agreed as I was rapidly losing the ability to think or see straight.  She got us a room with double beds and we split the cost.

I vaguely remember laying down with my clothes still on. I probably took off my shirt per the norm, but I left my pants on. I did not feel comfortable taking my pants off around this strange woman. She warned me that she did not want to have sex and I remember saying that I was seeing someone and was not at all interested in that either. I laid down on my side of the room and was out almost immediately.

At some point in the night, I awoke to find her on top of me. I said something I cannot remember and she coaxed me back to sleep. I doubt very much that she could even understand what I was saying, given how disoriented I felt at that time.

The next morning, after the sun had risen, I woke again feeling confused and unsure of where I was or what had transpired since getting off work on Friday afternoon. My pants were nowhere to be seen, my underwear also missing and my penis was erect. I realized that she was on top of me, grinding and moaning. I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t fucking her. I didn’t want to fuck her. Who was she again? I moved as my legs were stiff and sore from being in the same position for hours with her on top of me.

She darted her eyes at me and told me not to move. I was ordered “don’t be forceful.” She then asked if I was trying to rape her when I could not remain perfectly still and again told me not to move. In addition, I was told that I could hurt the baby if I tried to stop it. After she finally finished, I was still expected to drive her home.

In short, I was drugged, raped, threatened and had a baby used against me as a human shield. To say that experience left me messed up would be an understatement.

Put yourself in my shoes for a minute. I was under 21, drinking illegally in a club, while on active duty with a local, pregnant civilian. Why didn’t I report it? Read this paragraph again and think about it harder if it eludes your grasp.

♦◊♦

The Reaction

How did I react? I buried it deep and pretended it didn’t happen, which is a common reaction for male survivors. That did not mean that it had no effect on me. I simply pretended it didn’t happen. I called it a bad night and said she was a little twisted.

As one therapist would later tell me, denial of trauma does not mean it isn’t affecting you. I believe she said that if unacknowledged, the effects would “come out sideways” and in a manner that may not be easily identifiable. For me, that was a sudden and ridiculous promiscuity that did not exist before the rape. I began to act out sexually by sleeping with any woman who offered. I turned down no one, to include several much older, married women. I did not seek out sex, I simply said yes every time.

To say that I was reckless then would be accurate. I was risking exposure to disease and potential violence from angry husbands and boyfriends. I did this for about three years before getting married and further stuffing the memories down further. Further, I lost nearly all trust in women – especially aggressive and loud women.

Nearly twenty years later, I decided to confront it. The time had come to do something about it. I sought out assistance and began to see a therapist. I spent a lot of time on me, thinking, analyzing and progressing. It was painful, but necessary work. I’m not done with it. I don’t know that I’ll ever be truly done.

While in therapy, it was as if the bandage had been ripped off suddenly and the wounds were newly raw. I had panic attacks, crying fits, sudden anger and loss of time. I felt exposed all the time, everywhere.

I had trouble being alone with a woman in a confined space like an office or elevator. Some days, I didn’t even want to stand next to a woman in line for a cup of coffee. Remember the controversy in the feminist blogosphere over strange men talking to women in an elevator? Reverse the sexes and I lived it. For me, the issue wasn’t hypothetical or used to demonstrate which gender has it worse with regard to potential sexual violence. It was based on an actual trauma response. The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.

I felt guilty all the time. I still feel guilty quite often. I feel guilty because I don’t trust women I don’t know. I feel guilty because I sometimes view women, particularly loud and aggressive white women, as potential threats to my well-being and mental health. I feel guilty because for a long time, I couldn’t look at a pregnant woman without seeing that sick woman from so many years ago.

I still struggle with some of these issues today, but not as often and not always in such intensity as before.  Presently, I have returned to my prior human resources career. This field is dominated by women and has proved a big test for me.

The biggest test is sometimes just getting through the day without losing it. Some days I pass without issue, on other days I just have to give myself a hall pass so I can get on with my life.

—Photo Unlikely Ghost/Flickr

 

Comments

  1. James,

    I can’t say that I understand your experience entirely, because yours was very different from mine. But you are definitely not alone here. Thank you for this.

    Chungyen

  2. What an insightful article. I know that I used to be guilty of only thinking of women as the victims of sexual violence. It is very eye-opening to read articles like this one from the perspective of male victims. What a brave writer to come out and speak so openly about his experience with a form of sexual assault that is frequently overlooked and belittled. Thank you for bringing awareness to this important issue. Hopefully, it will open the door for more male survivors to come forward and speak of their experience.

  3. Thanks for sharing. The lack of comments relative to other articles where men are abusers may lead one to think no one cares. But some of us do care.

  4. Very brave James. I’ve been technically raped many times by women (by technically I would show up on a rape survey for women as having been raped) but I’ve not had the PTSD inducing experience that you have had with it. The research I’ve see, indicates that women are far more likely to use coercion than men (some research show that half of women surveyed admit to using tactics that if used by a male on a female would qualify as rape.) I had a partner with BPD for a while, she was abusive and used the courts as a weapon… anyway, I think its great that you tell your story and have taken a role in the area of victim support, despite the headwinds.
    I think that lack of comments that Black Yoda is talking about is just a sign of how female perpetrated abuse is in the closet and hidden by myths, political correctness, ideology, manipulated data, dishonest PSAs etc.

    • I think the other reason for a lack of comments is that rape is a difficult subject to talk about. Doubly so when it’s in a form you’re not used to seeing, even if you understand and support the message. Me? I don’t know what say other than thank you for sharing your story, and I’m sorry.

  5. All to common…. Had a neighbor once that similar bad habits. 6 family building all young adults….Building wide New years eve party. Guy across the hall is fried/blotto/wasted….. 2 of us help him into his apt… he crashed. Couple of days later he says he woke up with “peg” riding him…..asks if she had helped us get him in apt…..nope. At the time I was not sure I totally believed him….forward about 11 months…..”peg” knocks on my door one night saying she smells gas ….. not having any interest in being blown up, I go down to check it out…….Pilot light on oven is out…..light it, close door and stand up…….and she still on her knees pants-ed me……before I can grasp what is going on she starts oral……very unwanted…….but I froze for 15/30 sec as doz of things ran through my head…will my GF kill me / will her mountain of a 350lb husband kill me / What could I have done to suggest this? / how do I extract myself without pissing her off……getting it was all my fault claims…. / end up telling her I’m way to small/quick to please her… apologizing profusely……go up stairs…shower for a good hour…..curl up in bed……..Try and think of anyway I can explain this to GF when she gets off work…without her blaming me…. It happens…..I spoken to a bunch of other guys about this type thing……It happens a lot more often than society will admit.

  6. I hear you loud and clear, James. For me, as long as I can keep my relationship with a given woman purely professional, arms’ length, it’s usually ok. But a lot of women have a thing about wanting to hug, even in a business setting, which is when I just freeze up. And sometimes with really assertive, controlling women I just have to get out of there. And so many therapists are women, I actually am scared just thinking about doing the hard work I know I need to, if it has to be with a woman therapist. Such a difficult time trusting women. My default is to believe a woman who is friendly just wants something from me and will find a way to threaten me and take what she wants in the end. Some effin “privilege” this situation. Anyway, thanks for writing this down, James. You sure captured the emotional truth in my lived experience.

  7. Thank you, James, for this, especially for the detail. It’s difficult for a lot of guys to imagine being raped or to believe it actually can occur. The fantasy is even a turn-on for many. So the specifics of how this can happen, and particularly the reality of being used without consent, of the psychic trauma, is a vital part of the story to make public.

    Another part of the story, of course, is male-male rape. Too often when the topic of men being raped arises, we think only of female rapists when in fact, males almost certainly rape other males even more frequently with consequences equally traumatic if not more so.

    • @Larry: “It’s difficult for a lot of guys to imagine being raped or to believe it actually can occur. The fantasy is even a turn-on for many.” So true! I have heard so many guys (and females) make insensitive remarks regarding men getting raped, insisting that the victims should consider themselves lucky if anything. The people who make these remarks really have no grasp (lucky them, right?!) on what it means to have another use their bodies without consent. They are ignorant for not realizing that a “fantasy of being raped” does not make sense – the fact that it is a fantasy implies CONSENT and therefore does not constitute RAPE. Like you said, it is great that people like James are speaking out and shedding light on the role that consent plays in the aftermath of having been raped. Gender doesn’t matter – clearly the implications of rape are just as traumatic for men as they are for women.

      • i don't believe you says:

        I disagree. A lot of men view it as a turn on because they imagine the “rapist” is the woman/man of their dreams rather than someone who looks like bigfoot.

        • I agree – they are likely envisioning the “rapist” of their dreams, but just the mere fact that you have to put “rapist” in quotations implies that it is not rape at all. It is someone they would like to have sexual intercourse with, and therefore is not rape.

          • i don't believe you says:

            I put “rapist” in quotes because of the stark contrast between reality and projection. The desire to have sex with a beautiful woman/erections and the agreement to have sex with that woman should not be conflated.

            Did you see Horrible Bosses? Sexy Jennifer Aniston abuses a male employee. Probably the only thing that stopped him from consenting to the hot Aniston was his relationship with another woman. Still it would have been rape, had she gone through with it.

            • I misunderstood what you were saying before. I was merely making the point that consent is at the core of rape – I wasn’t implying an erection means consent. I’m well aware that a biological response does not indicate consent. Thank you for clarifying your point.

            • Horrible bosses actually does present a situation of rape. The thing that tips over her employee into wanting to kill her (and so starts the rest of the film plot) is in realising she performed acts of rape on him when he was drugged in the dental chair AND took photographs of it to blackmail him into further acts of rape/abuse.

              But because she is considered hot and every man’s fantasy the film manages to invalidate male survivors and perpetuate a myth about rape all under the umbrella of comedy – because of course, it’s funny when it’s a hot woman doing it, right?! Horrible bosses, horrible film.

            • i don't believe you says:

              Depends on the definition one is using. Aniston makes faked incriminating black mail photos, but no more actual contact took place than all the other times she was harassing him.

            • You could argue the semantics of abuse but the photos themselves were ever presented as being faked. in fact, the very opposite is done. Albeit distastefully because we are supposed to laugh when anton shouts rape but it is presented as very real. She did perform acts of sexual abuse on him whilst he was unconscious and she did take pictures of it.

    • Larry: “Too often when the topic of men being raped arises, we think only of female rapists when in fact, males almost certainly rape other males even more frequently with consequences equally traumatic if not more so.”

      I hate to be the party pooper in this thread, but Larry, why do you say this?

      Especially the following “Too often when the topic of men being raped arises, we think only of female rapists”.

      You’re wrong, Larry. Really wrong. When the topic of male rape comes up, its a RARE thing to think of females having done it. And when this is even broached, there are people who just can’t resist trotting out “Men are raped by other men more frequently” like you have done.

      Look at what happened to James when he brought his story out. Nobody who heard him could ever imagine the scenerio at all. If they tried, like James was saying, he’d be laughed at, mocked, and even blamed for having been raped.

      So your claim that people always think of a female rapist is off base and very insensitive. Especially when you’re dealing here with a male survivor of female rape.

      As for the story itself, thank you James. I’ve read it before and thank you especially for bringing it to light in the “Survivor’s Tales” haven here.

      • You’re wrong, Larry. Really wrong. When the topic of male rape comes up, its a RARE thing to think of females having done it. And when this is even broached, there are people who just can’t resist trotting out “Men are raped by other men more frequently” like you have done.
        cosigned, What an incredible statement to make. When the average person thinks of male rape , theyre thinking of male on male, NOT female on male – they still barely even recognise that a female can rape a male.

      • David Byron says:

        It seems like it went:

        1) men are never raped
        2) men are raped in prison – funny
        3) men can be raped but “only” by other men
        4) boys can be “raped” by their teachers – those lucky kids
        5) ?

        As for the popularity it seems like outside of prison, men get raped by women mostly.

        • Take a look at the Time article on the 50,000 US military vets who have tested positive for “military sexual trauma”…

  8. As a white woman, who can be loud and, well, ashamedly bossy, and be overly assertive when something sets off my fight/flight triggers (yep, BPD – trauma including sexual abuse), I humbly apologize to you, James, and all other men whom have been conditioned to fear women. I know my barking mad tactics are self preserving and the thought of abusing another person with my fight/flight trigger response horrifies me. I’m often outraged by the cultural acceptance of abusive behaviour towards men by women. Including by women who seem to have a desire to balance the scales of power for what was taken from them by men. I am ashamed of my own fear of men, I’ve even been weary of boys until in my early 20’s. I’m saddened by how my response to “appease” men for self protection has made some men feel uncomfortable around me. I’m ashamed by the stigmatization of males and the blame placed on all males for the wrong doings of some. More so am I ashamed of the blind eye turned away from women who have abused men. Even being applauded my others for their actions.For my own offences and as a woman, I offer you men-folk of all ages, my humble apology. Please continue to help us learn the truth and come through our own awakening to our thoughts and actions. Help us to to understand, be more empathic and know how to support you.Sincerely,Klara

  9. James – Thank you for being one of the Dude’s highlighting matters that do need to be acknowledged and through that addressed.

    When I read this I though of only one thing:

    “As one therapist would later tell me, denial of trauma does not mean it isn’t affecting you. I believe she said that if unacknowledged, the effects would “come out sideways” and in a manner that may not be easily identifiable. ”

    I have seen that here in the UK – It was even covered on BBC Panorama – Crime wave

    “In the autumn of 2004 a local police officer, in Plymouth, made an astonishing claim: That a huge proportion of violence, drug and alcohol related crimes in recent years had a single cause: the activities of a paedophile who had abused hundreds of local boys.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/4225827.stm

    As the judge said :

    “BETSAN POWYS(Reporter): Why do some young men commit so much crime? A recent case encouraged a judge to speak out about one possible cause.

    JUDGE TAYLOR: I recognised a lot of faces that had been before me again, and again, and again. It just
    brought it home with raw simplicity why they were there, why they had been in the dock and why they
    came back again and again.”

    The Judge was shocked to see faces in the Witness Box – when he had seen those same faces in the Dock as the accused – time – and time – and time again!

    If the Trauma is not addressed – It does come out sideways, and all too often affects everyone!

  10. Eagle34, your point is well taken. Thanks for helping me see another perspective. I was grateful to James for bringing the issue into the light and I’m afraid I muddied the water by raising the question of male-male rape. There is enough pain to go around, and I apologize to you for having added to it.

    • There is nothing wrong with raising the issue of male-on-male rape. Except you don’t do it when dealing with a male survivor of female rape.

      It’s the same thing if a man were to go into a safe space filled with female survivors of rape talking about their experiences, dealing with the trauma and say “Well, females rape too.” They’d be called on it and kicked out, justifiably so. Becase it’s highly inappropriate to do so in spaces like that even if it were true.

      So, in the future, don’t ever bring up male-on-male rape in places where a man or men are talking about being raped or abused by females.

      • Edit: He’d be called out on it. Not “They”. Sorry. my error.

      • Again, thanks for the insight. I stand informed.

        • The notion that men are mostly raped by men are either based on an narrow definition of rape where the victims has to be penetrated or based on beliefs. What James Landrith tells about is rape by envelopment – or “being made to penetrate someone else” as the NISVS 2010 Report from CDC classified it. On page 24 in that report one finds that 79.2% of the men who reported “being made to penetrate someone else” reported a single female perpetrator.

          So going by the most current and reputable survey we now got it wasn’t just ill-adviced (and thank you Larry for a swift recognition of that) to bring it up in response to a survivor of a female rapist it also looks like it is most likely wrong as well.

          • David Byron says:

            Humans are bad at probability. (and Las Vegas says “thank God for that”)

            If people see something a lot they tend to assume it is more probable. That means when stories about male on male rape were beginning to circulate, and there was an awareness of prison rape growing, but there were no stories about men raped by women, no mental image to go to about it… to a human that means the things that come to mind easily are more likely than those that do not.

            Well I say bad… actually it’s all done at the subconscious level and that’s a pretty decent rubric for many jobs, but it has great deficiencies.

            Highlighting stories like this one will help people, but I it will take a lot of work before people’s intuitions about the occurrence of rape get even close to the true probabilities.

  11. David Byron says:

    Thanks.

  12. Thank you James for writing this here. It’s just awesome brave and well done. I’ve known two other men to tell of experiences like this so I believe this isn’t something we should think is uncommon.

    Thank you for helping us to understand.

    I wish it would get more attention and time.

  13. David Byron says:

    People usually react with disbelief about men getting raped with one of two reactions. The first is that really stupid thing about an erect penis meaning consent. That at least is usually handled by someone else thankfully. It’s not that big an issue but it seems like some idiot usually brings it up. If I have to handle it myself I usually get quite angry about it so I let someone else handle it. Anyone with basic comprehension of human physiology in the house? Thank you can you get this one.

    The second issue is the one I feel is more reasonable to not understand perhaps. It basically goes something like, “But men are stronger than women. How can a woman rape a man?”

    What I usually say is something like, “You are thinking about it all wrong. You are thinking of it like a boxing match with the Queensbury rules. It’s more like an act of terrorism. It’s more like do this or I will cut the children when you are at work again. Do this or I will stab you in your sleep.”

    But that is for more of a married / co-habiting situation, which looks to be about half of the cases of rape according to the NISVS but I had tended to assume it was more than that. and too it sort of pushes the question back to “So why doesn’t the guy go to the police or something?”

    In the two stories on this thread (one in comments) neither is in a relationship and the answer seems to be that there is a fear of violence by other men, by White Knights or those in authority effectively acting that way, or by a boy friend, or any other man who is going to be easily manipulated by the crazy woman to fight her battle for her. I think this aspect of violence by women, or violence by proxy is something that needs more attention.

    • Evergreen says:

      David, you raise good points – the assumption that rape is always the result of the physical overpowering of the victim by the rapist is a narrative that is applied wherever the situation didn’t go like that – whether as a result of threats or intoxication. It is the lack of consent that makes a rape, not the method of coercion.

    • The most important reason for people disbelieving that women can rape men is that women do not have to work or fight hard to get laid. If she wants to get laid, she just has to seduce the man by flaunting her assets to get him warmed up for action. It is really very traumatic to be intimately violated. In my opinion the lady concerned was a real nutcase for doing it. If she wanted to be laid so badly, she should have gone to some place and hooked up with some willing guy and if she would have played her cards well, she might have earned some money as well.

      • Justin Cascio says:

        Rapses, part of the mythology that feminists describe as the rape culture is this idea that all a woman has to do to get laid is basically bat her eyes at the universally available willing guy. The same myths that say all women can easily get laid is the one that says that nearly all men want to have sex with any willing woman, nearly all the time. Both men and women have desires, including to only engage in consensual sex. Rapists, including the woman who attacked Landrith, aren’t just trying to get laid. Rape is about power and control, and people who abuse it are sick, not horny.

        • @ Justin

          Don’t you agree that it is easier for a woman to sexually lead on guys than other way round. Rape is about power and control, but there are lot of pyschosexual pathology involved in it. I don’t want to make it X rated comment otherwise I have a lot to suggest.

          • rapses – This is a discussion about rape so discussing whether women or men find it easier to find sexual partners is neither relevant nor useful.

            Rape is not about sex…sex just happens to be the mode of choice when wanting to overpower someone; mentally or physically. I don’t think I will be the only one grateful that you have kept your x-rated suggestions to yourself.

      • DavidByron says:

        Huh. I’ve never got that one. I am mostly talking to feminist women when I am talking about this stuff so maybe if you were talking to regular guys they would have different objections.

        It never crossed my mind. I mean the woman’s a crazy rapist, right? Doesn’t seem all that much of a stretch to say she might have difficulty talking to guys normally or relating to people normally.

        • Julie Gillis says:

          Sociopaths don’t always have a hard time talking to people. In fact many of them are very good at fooling people that they are normal.

          • Julie you are quite right – there is no correlation between Sociopathy and reduced communication skills. In fact the opposite has been observed in studies.

            Most Sociopaths lack any comprehension of their own nature. To them it is totally natural, normal and they see all other people as being just like them. Since other people don’t talk about it neither do they.

            Sociopaths learn as children to ape normal behaviour and appearances of emotion to fit in socially. Emotions are feigned and not real.

            This excerpt is from: “The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless vs. the Rest of Us” by Martha Stout Ph.D. is very illuminating – or chilling, depending on your point of view, and experience. http://www.cix.co.uk/~klockstone/spath.htm

            It is interesting on a professional level, that as more professionals of all types recognise that between 1% and 4% of the population meet the diagnostic criteria, such cases as James reports actually do have a great deal of credence.

            In dealing with many abuse cases of all types, it is clear to me that there have been many sociopaths at work.

          • David Byron says:

            I didn’t mean literally crazy. I simply didn’t want to make it sound like I was saying all women could be rapists, or that women in general might be associated with this behaviour.

  14. Sorry, I’m not buying it.

  15. Justin Cascio says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. “The problem is that when sexual violence is discussed with regard to male survivors, there is often resistance, condescension, and outright mockery…” and that should be the problem, full stop, whenever we are talking about any kind of suffering. I’ve been shocked and saddened to find that even among my close friends and acquaintances, there are people, including trauma survivors, who have this response to narratives like yours. It troubles me when we bury stories and their implications because they don’t match what we think or want to believe about the world, and it happens on both sides. For people who are traumatized and yet still don’t feel comfortable putting such a loaded label on their experience, and who will feel those “sideways” effects as a consequence. And also for those who withhold their empathy and concern, because it threatens them: they believe a story about how and why rape happens that explains why it happened to them, but not to you. At least, this is what I think I’m seeing in the hostility of my friends’ responses to the pain of men.

  16. By the way, this article was linked to by Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/when-women-rape-men.html

    I expect there will be many new readers of GMP after today. Hopefully some of them will walk away more knowledgeable about male survivors as well.

  17. I’m so sorry this happened to you. It wasn’t your fault.

    I’m a sort of loud, sort of aggressive white woman who has been pregnant twice, and doing this to a man would never occur to me even in my wildest fits of hormonal dementia. There was/ is something wrong with that woman that has nothing to do with her gender or her personality – she has a mental problem. Again, it wasn’t your fault, you were an innocent bystander.

  18. motownmutt says:

    you’re not alone.

    Peace

  19. James, Yes. It can happen to all of us, in so many ways. What you feel in the aftermath is instinctive and natural — you were entrapped, you were done to by another person. I too have awoken from deep sleep with another body, ardent, on top of me. It’s terrifying.

    I’m female, and was raped by a woman when I was a child.

    Your courage is huge.

  20. Gee, I’ve read several stories and not one said he woke up with a knife point in his side and a hand over his mouth while a gruff FEMALE voice says, “Don’t scream or I’ll kill you.”
    “Rape” by a female is VERY different than rape OF a female, so different they are like apples and oranges. Yes, both are unwanted, but I fail to see how being told not to move so the baby won’t be hurt is as traumatic as being restrained physically, threatened with death or disfigurement, and forced to submit to sex acts.
    James’ definition of violence is very much at odds with typical male violence which is generally about proving something, besting someone, desiring to hurt someone for a number of “reasons.”
    My sympathies to male victims of opportunistic women. And welcome to the club of those used and hurt because of someone’s twisted need for power, control, and domination.

    • What I’ve read on many sites is that the majority of rapes don’t include use of a weapon……..and in my personal case it was fear of her using others as a weapon…..as this was the 80’s, I had the fear that no matter what I’d be deemed as the instigator. I always saw it as unwanted sexual assault / her drug and alcohol issues exacerbating poor judgement. I’ve wondered ever since, It seemed more about having something to hang over my head…she’d send her kid to cadge beer / small amounts of cash…..up till this happened. More than a few women I’ve told the story to told me it was equivalent to rape….. I can’t say for sure..That doesn’t feel quite right…but it made me very uncomfortable to be alone with certain types of women…….I always want a witness around.

    • i don't believe you says:

      So I guess all those campus rapes of WOMEN that don’t involve a stranger and a knife shouldn’t count as “real” rape eh? Seriously, Lupita. What is your problem?

    • Lupita – Just because you haven’t personally read an account where physical violence has been involved with a female rapist and male victim, does not mean you can arrogantly claim female on male rape is less traumatic, less valid as a form of rape.

      Women have and do, also use physical force in rape too. Probably one of the reasons that is not talked about is the shame men feel at not being able to over power a woman. The same trauma and shame that is felt when a woman manipulates and coerces a man to rape him.

      And, whilst James doesn’t venture into the motivations of his attacker, it is very presumptuous of you to say that his attacker hadn’t wanted to prove something or “best him” or that she never had the desire to hurt someone.

      It seems we still have a long way to go on educating people on what women are like.

    • Lepita, he was drugged and raped.

      Who cares if a weapon was involved or not? He woke up to find a woman having sex with him without consent.

      And yet you think it’s much less traumatic.

      You’d better be prepared then because the next time a female rape victim speaks out, there will be opponents who will use the same reasoning you have and minimise her rape as well.

      You wouldn’t want that, would you?

    • Gee Lupita, your own definition of rape has erased MILLIONS of female survivors simply because they weren’t beaten up or guns/knives weren’t used to subdue them. Wow. You know what that makes you?

      A rape apologist and not a very compassionate person.

      How are not aware that the OVERWHELMING VAST MAJORITY of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim and do not involve weapons? Why did you come here when it is clear you don’t care about rape survivors in the slightest?

    • David Byron says:

      Why do you seek to dismiss or diminish men’s pain?

    • Lupita:
      Starting a comment in response to a rape survivor’s story with the word “Gee” is very seldom the right and decent thing to do. Putting quotation marks around the word rape when it’s applied to male victims while not putting them around the word when it’s applied to female victims is not a decent thing to do. Minimizing James’ trauma by finding it too light in comparison to what you think is real rape is is not a decent thing to do.

      The only decent thing you did was to offer your sympathies to male victims of opportunistic women – no wait – calling women – who proceeds to have sex with an unconsciuos man (because she drugged his drink) and continues to have sex with him when he wakes up under the threat of her yelling rape and harming her unborn baby, all without his consent – for merely opportunistic is not decent. In fact I find it beyond pale.

      Fake sympathies aren’t worth a dime.

    • Lupita – I have not read such stories either – just been the person listening when they were told to me!

      Your premise is blown out of the water. I detect that you are coming at the issues from an emotionally motivated state. That is you issue, and has no validity when it is sued to disparage others by Gross Assumption and emotionally motivated stereotyping.

      Emotional Invalidation of another is abuse – it even becomes domestic abuse when it is piped into another’s home!

      To Paraphrase you – “It seems we still have a long way to go on educating people on what is abuse and even domestic abuse”!

      “…..the club of those used and hurt because of someone’s twisted need for power, control, and domination” is bigger than you seem to realise. P^/

  21. Thank you for sharing your experience. We need people of both sexes to speak out more about rape.

    • Phillip Brandt says:

      Maybe I’m the only one, but I have been raped by both male and female…female very much as described in article, male very much as described in article. I didn’t like it, but it was just easier to let it go than pursue any actions. I wasn’t actually hurt, so I marked it off as no big deal and an experience in life.

  22. Kudos for telling your story.
    Of *course* sex without consent is rape – whether through weapons, drugs, blackmail, abuse of authority, or youth. The implied threat to accuse James of rape is coercion enough. The question here isn’t whether this is rape or not – it’s how we educate everyone to avoid raping anyone, and to seek help if they have urges in that drection.

  23. Fragano Ledgister says:

    James: That sounds completely horrible and frightening. It’s no wonder you’ve been traumatised.

  24. This is heartbreaking. I am sorry you had to go through this.

  25. I’m with you right up to the point where you talk about a “whole new level of offensive” in the controversy about women being afraid of men in elevators, because of concern that they might be raped. You say you yourself had trouble being alone in an elevator with women, and that you felt discomfort in other situations around strange women. Why then can’t you understand why some women might feel this way around men? When I heard your story, I immediately understood why you’d feel uneasy, and if I had made you feel uneasy simply because I’m female, I would never take offense at that or take it personally. But strangely, you would find it offensive when women have that same fear? Why? Isn’t empathy your first response, given your experience? Like: yeah, I know what it might feel like to be uncomfortable in an elevator with a stranger, and that it’s not anything directed personally at the stranger. Why is it somehow more offensive for women to assume that a man could have the potential to be a rapist, then it is for you to assume that a woman has that potential? I don’t think either case is offensive–it’s just that some people have good reason to struggle with trust.

    • Those are really good questions Suzy and I’m glad you took the time to ask them, rather than attribute feelings, words and thoughts to me that I didn’t say, don’t feel and didn’t think. Oh wait. You did the opposite.

      Anyway. I don’t have a problem with a woman being concerned about a possible man being a rapist. I have a problem with certain women who used that fear to make the case that ALL MEN SHOULD BE FEARED OMG ALL THE TIME BECAUSE MEN ARE RAPISTS and any man who is not sheepish and submissive or doesn’t like being treated like a rapist is clearly just looking for an opportunity and hates women. Some of the discussions around that topic were far less simple then you conveyed in your comments above. If you are going to speak for that entire discussion then you get to own that bit of it too.

      Do you see the difference? Or do you even care about it? It seems you came here with an agenda and you revealed it.

      • CJ,

        No, she did not simply ask polite questions. She accused me, in the form of a thinly veiled question, of not having empathy for female rape survivors. Then you, despite the question being answered by multiple commenters, go on to repeat the same baseless allegation re: empathy.

        That is a big, giant, crazy manipulation of a lie.

        I did not mock her ANYWHERE in my response. You don’t like my response because you clearly agree with Suzy, which is coloring your interpretation of my response to her. That’s fine and that’s your right, but please don’t pretend that Suzy was super sweet and nice and did not make ugly accusations in the form of questions. That much was clear to other commenters as well. Had Suzy asked real questions, rather than accusing me of lacking empathy, she would have found a different response waiting for her.

        Please learn the difference between mockery and anger at being accused of lacking empathy for female rape survivors. You have NO idea of how many female rape survivors I know and have supported over the years. Neither you, nor Suzy, get to attempt to paint me as lacking in empathy without getting called out for it. Suzy clearly attempted to call me out on her mistaken perception and got it incredibly wrong. Yet, you ignore that and paint me as a victimizer and Suzy as my victim.

        Think about that for a second. You came on an article about a man being raped by a woman. A woman came on here and accused me of lacking empathy for female rape survivors. Think about the inappropriateness of that posting she made in the context of the space and whether you’d have supported a male accusing a female of lacking empathy toward male survivors in a space reserved for their issues.

        You have admitted that you are ignorant with regard to the mentioned controversy, yet still feel compelled to assign a lack of empathy to me based on something which you don’t remember or know about. Rather than asking about the controversy, you simply decide to support a person who made baseless accusations in the form of thinly veiled questions. Why would someone do such a thing, if they were truly interested in understanding, rather than chastising or silencing?

        I responded and defended myself from a baseless and cruel allegation made by a stranger. Then you come in and support that allegation and chastise me for not being submissive in my response. As the kids say nowadays, you need to check your privilege here.

        As I stated plainly in my response – as have SEVERAL OTHER COMMENTERS – the issue is not with female rape survivors experiencing PTSD or fear in an elevator with a lone male. The problem was with the ugly meme that Because Some Men Are Rapists, All Men Deserve To Be Treated Like Rapists, Even If They Are Survivors Too. This has been explained REPEATEDLY since then.

        Several female survivors have also posted here in disagreement with Suzy. You and Suzy can paint me as lacking empathy if you like, but that cannot and will not make it so.

        • In all honesty I don’t think the comment needs or needed to be clarified. Even if you hadn’t been party to those other blogging discussions, and i wasn’t, the meaning of them was implied.

          “Remember the controversy in the feminist blogosphere over strange men talking to women in an elevator? Reverse the sexes and I lived it. For me, the issue wasn’t hypothetical or used to demonstrate which gender has it worse with regard to potential sexual violence. It was based on an actual trauma response. The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.”

          From this, Suzy seemed to get that James wasn’t sympathetic to women. Do you see that anywhere in this segment? I certainly don’t. He even specifies that the issue ISN’T about which gender has it worse. He is talking about his experience, as a man, being assumed as a rapist when he was in fact the rape victim. This neither mentions a hierarchy of victims nor invalidates women.

          So when a person comes in and reads that, puts 2 and 2 together and gets 5; one can only assume they have come into the discussion with a less than open mind. Not necessarily with intention – just slightly morphed by their experiences and knowledge.

          • Show me a link where a female rape survivor is challenged and criticized this strongly.

            He has every right to be angry at you both.

        • James,
          I want to clarify something. I did not accuse you of “lacking empathy”. In fact, when I said this: “Isn’t empathy your first response, given your experience?” I was assuming that you DO have such empathy, and indeed that it is probably your first response. Precisely because you DO have it, you can probably understand why women might have a generalized fear of men in certain situations. That is my point. I don’t want to argue about the other things you said–that’s fine, water under the bridge.

          • Thank you for the clarification Suzy. Perhaps it will be interesting to note that MANY people, including several female survivors, took your words to mean what I took them to mean. Also, my empathy is for sexual violence survivors regardless of gender. I’ve served as a secondary to many people for nearly 20 years, including several close female friends. My empathy is for real people, not the hypothetical men and women described online by certain idealogues on the internet (what I was speaking to – and most readers understand) who seized upon elevator-gate to demonize all men and promote a concept that was NOT rooted in reality.

            My compassion and empathy for survivors of sexual trauma is something that cannot be expressed adequately in words, nor would I want to try. I’ve cried with more people than I can remember. I’ve walked on more eggshells than you’ve probably ever seen. I’ve been angry at many people I’ve never met for hurting people I love. That is real empathy.

            The elevator-gate controversy was not about empathy, but sexism disguised as “concern.” We are not even talking about the same thing.

            Empathy for real people with real fears? Yes. I’ve never stated otherwise and anyone making such a claim is seriously incorrect or just plain concern trolling. Empathy for hypothetical people who only exist in arguments on the internet? Please. There are real people with real fears and real traumas who deserve real empathy.

            • “The elevator-gate controversy was not about empathy, but sexism disguised as “concern.” We are not even talking about the same thing.”

              James I’m not sure if you are aware that there is a significant twist in the elevator-gate controversy.

              It turns out that the main protagonist has an unusual disability – (Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson) is disabled and has “Prosopagnosia” – a cognitive impairment which means she is unable to recognise or recall faces.

              So she was not creeped out by the guy – she was creeped out because she could not tell if it was a guy she knew or not!

              It’s funny how she changes the story too – when she links the event to 4.00 in the morning – with her having been speaking some 12 hours earlier. One wonders how it is possible to leap across so many hours and be so certain that the supposing offending person was even present during the conference session and heard the speakers – and in particular Her Comments. …. and then everyone has to consider if a person in an elevator is a foreigner, in an unfamiliar hotel etc etc etc.

              And she is a supposed sceptic – valuing evidence over inference!

              It did find it fascinating to find some hidden grains hidden in the pepper – and for me it added a whole new level of offensive on top – using Disability as a tool to promote sexist fanaticism!

              Wonders will never cease!

      • @ CJ Fields – I have to say that I have been watching your unfolding analysis and it is extremely flawed.

        It is interesting to see just how “Comments” can be added to threads in particular places and actually make it hard for readers to see the Wood For The Forest – and how criticisms can be made to appear more valid than they actually are. The added comments disrupt time lines and communications flows. It is a known limitation of the format – but that limitation is also open to manipulation as well. The trials and tribulations of text based none sequential net communication.

        You have stated that you are/were personally unaware of references within the piece and also indicated that in particular one other person was equally unaware. I can’t agree with you!

        They said ” I’m with you right up to the point where you talk about a “whole new level of offensive” in the controversy about women being afraid of men in elevators, because of concern that they might be raped. ”

        That construction with “Because” does indicate that they grasped the situation and events. If the person did not understand the references and events they would not have been able to build that language construct – they would not have been able to “re-frame” what James Wrote to have that meaning.

        I did note quite clearly that when James First responded he did pick up on matters – and how he had quite literally had words put in his mouth – had ideas and feelings attributed to him which were not there – and they had all been done under the guise of questions.

        There is that well known Rhetorical device of presenting a construct and then asking what becomes a rhetorical question in relation to that construct. It is not the same as asking a genuine question – it is a false question and designed to control the person the question is addressed to.

        As you said – you did not grasp the whole set of issues, events and implications around “The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.”

        If you are not aware of the issues, as you have clearly said, why are you so determined to de-construct what James has said?

        Beyond that – if you are, as you state, unaware of central meanings, how can you perform a deconstruction of one person’s knowledge, state that another person “Did Not” have knowledge – given that you can’t place what was said in relevant context – and then keep on with repeated deconstruction and pseudo construction?

        I found this construction very odd “But strangely, you would find it offensive when women have that same fear? Why?” – supposedly rhetorical question which is false – as it puts words and ideas supposedly in James mouth and head – and of course anyone reading also has such ideas and words supposedly attributed to James – and then there the “Why?” arrives.

        That “Why?” is a known modifier as it turns a false rhetorical question into a supposed reality – nice trick – except where people are aware of it and don’t see it as a set of questions, but the rhetorical device it is and also how it misleads.

        AS James said – “Those are really good questions Suzy and I’m glad you took the time to ask them, rather than attribute feelings, words and thoughts to me that I didn’t say, don’t feel and didn’t think. Oh wait. You did the opposite.”.

        I was quite aware that James had spotted the devices being used – and how they did in fact attempt to attribute to him Ideas, views and feelings that he had not expressed. Maybe you missed that, as you have stated you were not aware of core information that would be needed to grasp how the Rhetorical devices were playing out.

        I also have to look at the way the whole thread plays out – including time line analysis – as in who said what and when. I do find it interesting that your posts appear so selective and targeted, as if you have not read other posts – some which actually explain the whole issue and place matters in context.

        Again – the format of none sequential text communication via the net has it’s limits, and when you mix that with people not knowing the subject and not reading whole threads and picking up information in what is real time, it does lead to multiple perceptual errors and misunderstandings – The trials and tribulations of text based none sequential net communication, indeed.

        • picking gnat-s**t out of pepper – I will pick out one thing from the pepper!

          You claim that you did not/do not understand the reference to “The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.”.

          When do you intend to ask what it refers to and clarify matters for yourself?

          You have been apparently attempting to clarify a great deal for other people, but that piece in the pepper still needs to be picked out. So perhaps you will clarify and improve the pepper?

        • Regardless of whether Suzy was ignorant, malicious or otherwise intended the insinuation that he was invalidating female survivors was offensive. Don’t mistake my understanding that it might not have been purposeful as supportive. I think James has every right to be offended. If I had been brave enough to write my story and people accused me of invalidating fellow survivors through admitting I share a fear..well, I would be royally hacked off too.

          To be honest, if all people can find to complain/argue about is the semantics of a sentence that has been explained to death by commenters and James himself; well, then I think he is doing damn well. It would be nice if people could be more appreciative of that but there will always be some friction when survivors choose to speak out.

          • I agree Tara! I am bemused as to why some are looking for small objects in the pepper when the whole thread is peppered with information! P^/

            “If I had been brave enough to write my story and people accused me of invalidating fellow survivors through admitting I share a fear..well, I would be royally hacked off too.”

            You may be hacked off – some would be standing by with rifles and buckshot to pepper offenders backsides with a lot more! You’re not alone – and there is a guard on standby!

          • Thank you Tara. I greatly appreciate your support, as always.

    • I think you have entirely misread him.

      “Remember the controversy in the feminist blogosphere over strange men talking to women in an elevator?”

      He is asking us, as readers, to cast out minds back to the controversy than occurred over men speaking to women. He isn’t forming an opinion on that issue at all – that is something you have discerned yourself. He only regales the point to help us to understand that he feels as women have said they do about strangers in elevators.

      I can only imagine when reading this post, Suzy was coming in from the place of what men/women have said in the past so she didn’t really _read_ what she was reading; only the echoes of past opinions. It’s not somethign that can always be helped; particularly over subjects that are highly emotive.

      I truly do not understand this necessity people seem to have of separating out the genders. This isn’t about them and us, male vs female. It isn’t about who suffers the worst. It is about a collective pain and shared experience of heinous violence. There should be a goodwomen counterpart to this project. The lack of such a project only highlights the rose-tinted view we have of women and their capabilities — (well, aside from when women are being accused of being bunny boilers or malicious creatures who lie about rape for money…aside from then)

    • David Byron says:

      You are equating all women with a PTSD survivor?

      If a woman has had a terrible experience which has given her PTSD I can see she might have a problem with men in lifts… or women in lifts… or anything I suppose… any ORDINARY life experience for someone else might be a problem. But where does the idea come from that all perfectly healthy women should behave as if they have suffered such a disability?

      • I’m not sure where you got the impression anyone here thought that.

        • Tara – it is a “Trope”(That word has to be banned along with conflate) that has been rolled out repeatedly across many threads.

          I have extensive experience in dealing with both PTSD and Sexual assault survivors with PTSD. It has been extremely UNhelpful when some have put forward the view that all men are to treat all women as if those women have been raped and now have PTSD. It is such an extreme view, and also grossly disrespectful to those with PTSD ( From any Trauma ) and also to those who are dealing with any form of sexual assault who are not women. It has been manifestly anti-equality and little to do with feminism.

          I have also had to point out, as David has here, that treating a person as disabled when they are not is actually Grossly Disrespectful to people with Disabilities. I can say that is the case from three positions – as an equality advocate – disability rights advocate – and from the position of being a Professional 24/7 365 days of the year cripple in my own right! P^)

          If you follow the extreme views expressed by some just around elevators, the only logical solution is to demolish Manhattan and create a single story metropolis. That of course would need to be served by some form of lateral transport system, and the issue stops being about vertical transport and becomes lateral. What some fail to grasp is that there is a need for better support, diagnosis and treatment for all – but the whole issue gets trapped in a mindset of a box with buttons that some demand ownership of and only they may press the buttons. They have been unhappy when their toy box has been removed.P^)

          Some have attempted to pervert “The Social Model Of Disability” to fit a very few people – and some have been quite unhappy when their personal perversions have been less than welcome and rebutted.

          Predictably – when people with extreme views have been asked to justify them…… well the responses are still awaited.

          Some see GMP as a venue for only one equality issue to be discussed or addressed. This Crippled, Queer, Racially Diverse Equality Advocate and Activist takes second place to no one – and no one has lesser rights either! P^)

          • I’m aware of it existing as an opinion but none of us here have shared that view. Hence my confusion

            • Tara – there was not just Trope but Sub-Trope to the Elevator Trope.

              I agree with James “The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.”

              Some attempted to argue, and even still do, that as it’s possible for someone who has developed sexual assault related PTSD to be exposed to re-experiencing that was linked to a lone male in an elevator and a women. Some have gone so far as to claim through the Rape Culture Trope/meme that this means all men have to accept that all women can and even will view them as rapists – and all men are obliged to consider all women as having been raped, having Sexual Assault related PTSD and disabled by it – and so all men are to view and treat all women that way – ie all women are to be viewed as disabled through neurodiversity and subject to PTSD. Supposed failure to accept this as fact and act accordingly makes one a bad man and subject to correction and the whim of those holding such views.

              The argument has been presented here at GMP a number of times in different forms – so you will have to bear with those of us who raise it when the Tropes and Sub-tropes are at risk of being played.

              It’s also interesting that direct challenge to the meme is met with silence. P^)

              It’s fascinating to see how some world views are formed and just how fixed they have become. As I’m not in the US, its all turning into a fascinating psychology field trip. P^)

              I’m wondering about looking for a University that wants to address Internet Anthropology!

          • Hi, just curious, may I asked what your disability may be? :)

            Off topic, I also just came here to say many of you have such eloquent writing styles. I could learn a thing a two.

            To the writer of this article, I’m sorry you had to experience such a thing. It’s scary, because I feel the same way about men, I can’t seem to trust anyone who tries to get too close to me.

    • Honestly, I’m not sure what you’re talking about–apparently there’s some deeper controversy about this elevator issue that I’m not aware of. I was responding mainly to this: “The back and forth over why men should expect to be viewed as rapists by women in elevators took on a whole new level of offensive when viewed through the lens of my own experience.” I don’t understand what was offensive here. If you’re not offended by the idea that many women would be uneasy about being in an elevator with a strange man, given their experiences, then it would seem we agree, but I don’t understand what was being called offensive. Sure, I know very well that women are capable of sexually assaulting men. My husband had it happen to him, which is why I clicked on the link to read this article in the first place. However, I don’t think he’s concerned that some women might find him, as a strange man, potentially threatening based on their past experiences and fears. Am I missing something here?

      • The controversy isn’t in the simplicity of a man or a woman may feel uncomfortable around the opposite sex. It comes from “feminists” taking the tone to imply that all women should be wary of ALL lone men in elevators etc without thought for non abusive men, abusive women or victimised men. Which is why James points out that he as a _man_ felt wary too. It isn’t a women’s only issue.

        • It was interesting to come back here (Andrew Sullivan’s blog linked to this story again, because of another more recent one by the same author) and read a bunch of replies that I never saw before. Maybe I can clarify a few things. My husband was raped by a woman when he was in college and had come home drunk from a party. I’ve been sexually assaulted more than once (as a child, and then later as an adult). So I have a pretty clear grasp of the idea that anyone can be sexually assaulted, and anyone can perpetrate an assault, and we shouldn’t try to place responsibility for this, even indirectly, on people who are assaulted.

          I was puzzled by the comment about “a whole new level of offensive”, since I didn’t (and still don’t) see what was offensive about the idea that women might be wary of men in an elevator, or other situations where they can’t easily get away. There is nothing inherently offensive to men about pointing this out, any more than there’s anything offensive about the author of this piece being wary of women who are “loud” or “aggressive”, given his experience with a trauma. We’re all working out our own issues, so I’m not going to criticize the author for responding to me as he did. Whatever. However, now that I’ve seen links to a few of his other essays, I believe my initial questions do address a legitimate issue. In general, his position seems to be that it is not right for women to have a knee-jerk assumption that men, in general, are a potential threat. The reason for this is that it might be damaging in some way to men who are the target of those fears, and who themselves might have been victimized or are otherwise innocent. If this is not true, please correct me–I don’t want to mischaracterize anyone’s position.

          My own view is that it’s perfectly okay for women (or men, in similar circumstances) to have that knee-jerk reaction, especially when they have been traumatized by violence in their past. What matters is not what kinds of fears we have–we really cannot control that–but how we respond to those fears. I try to act in spite of my various fears whenever possible. I hope nobody is offended that I feel such fear, though; I don’t think it says anything about other people. I find it healthier to acknowledge such fear so that it’s easier to get past it, rather than trying to suppress it, which doesn’t seem to work.

          I definitely didn’t mean any offense with my comment. I agree with almost everything the author said in this article. I just have a question about that one item, since apparently my opinion about this differs. In no way did I intend to accuse the author of “lacking empathy” for women; indeed, it is precisely because I assume he DOES have such empathy that I thought he might be persuaded, there is no problem with women having fear of strange men in the elevator. We all know what it’s like to have our choices take away by someone; there is really no need for us to attack each other, right? Let’s assume we all have a basic good will.

          • Andrew K says:

            Here is the thing Suzy. This isn’t about “the idea that women might be wary of men in an elevator, or other situations where they can’t easily get away.” It was about the appropriate behavior of a) only men b) about ALL men, c) the reactions of ALL women, not just rape-survivors, and d) over a behavior that most men or women would do.

            Here is what happened in “elevator-gate” for anyone reading this who doesn’t know what happened: Rebecca Watson was speaking at an atheist conference in Dublin, after which she had a few drinks with the rest of the speakers and conference goers at the hotel bar. At 4am she got in an elevator with a fan of hers from the audience. According to Watson: he told her “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I find you very interesting, and I would like to talk more. Would you like to come to my hotel room for coffee?” She was uncomfortable and told him no. Nothing further was said, she went back to her hotel room, slept the night and nothing further happened between the two after she left the elevator. However she then flew back home and posted a video blog about the incident saying that she felt sexualized and uncomfortable and “Guys, don’t do that” To this point nothing other then the public discussion of a trivial encounter has happened, but then people began calling Watson’s outrage at being politely asked to go back to another room ridiculous, which arguably it was, but then one of her colleagues wrote an inappropriate satirical article/letter, opposing Watson’s comments, to a fake Muslim woman that satirically trivialized the sexualisation, including sexist laws and genital mutilation, Muslim women face by saying that the west features much worse things like “a gentleman on an elevator politely asking a woman back to his hotel room then acting courteously when she says no.” It was in extremely poor taste, but naturally the poor taste attracted worst, and soon the trolling began as the discussion quickly turned into feminists talking about how this man “without a doubt” intended to have sex with Mrs Watson and that all men are the same, that this discussion about a “non-rape victim” (Watson wasn’t even actively pursued) is somehow about rape victim and a lack of respect in society for women who have been raped, and that all women should never trust any man, that guys shouldn’t even talk to girls when sharing an elevator or a taxi with a stranger, etc. etc. As the “Mail&Guardian” put it “what could have been an intelligent debate about sexism in the skeptic and atheist communities descended into a free for all, name-calling brawl. ”

            What James Landrath appears to be saying is as a victim he understands the actual psychological effects and scars that are generating these negative responses in rape-victims, as I am sure you do to, but that for him this is not a mentality that is healthy or should be promoted. In his next paragraph he talked about how guilty he feels when the now engrained responses comes forward.

            I’m sure we would all agree that this negative reaction towards the gender of a persons rapist is a perfectly natural and entirely excusable reaction, but where I see his outrage is from his point of view that, however excusable the reaction is, it is not a GOOD reaction or the RIGHT reaction, and not one he consciously wants to have. One of the hardest things he has had to do as a result of his experience is to overcome the damage that this one woman did in his attitude towards other women. He empathizes with both women and men who have to overcome the same thing.

            Then this controversy comes up with feminists telling people that women should treat all men as if they are potential rapists, and men should accept this behavior. That the behavior he knows to be destructive and negative is one that feminists, who may or may not themselves be rape victims, are advocating that the general population should take on. Not only is this the behavior that he is trying to suppress because he knows how harmful it is, but the feminists were actively trying to tell other women that this was the appropriate way to act. It was also such an inherently biased argument from the beginning towards women being victimized by men that it marginalized James and people like him.

            You end your response with: “Let’s assume we all have a basic good will.” I couldn’t agree more. THIS is what James has been fighting to regain in himself, THIS is what James has been fighting for in society as well with this article, and THIS is what James was outraged about in the article. It was not about non-empathy with victims. It was about feminists who only were willing to extend this basic assumption of good will to women, and reverse it for men. THAT is what he was so outraged about in his article

            • Thank you Andrew K. I appreciate you speaking out. Having my words twisted or outright IGNORED in favor of imaginary words I never uttered is getting really OLD.

              I appreciate it.

          • CJ, accusing someone of lacking empathy (as SEVERAL commenters here ALSO pointed out REPEATEDLY), is pretty rude, as were many of your prior postings that were deleted by the mods for abuse.

          • I need to check some of me email in boxes more often!

            Suzy you say:

            “I was puzzled by the comment about “a whole new level of offensive”, since I didn’t (and still don’t) see what was offensive about the idea that women might be wary of men in an elevator, or other situations where they can’t easily get away.”

            Some credentials for me – male sexual abuse survivor, human rights advocate, I have worked with and for all persons who have suffered all forms of sexual violence and abuse – ignoring sex, gender, age, ethnicity … in fact any supposed minority characteristic that may get in the way of human rights – I’m out loud and proud as a G.A.Y. man, and I also just happen to be a Cripple who kicks ass on crutches when Disability Equality issues arise…. which happens to be far too often!

            Is it offensive that it promoted that men have to consider all women as potential rape victims – and yet the same is not true by reverse?

            Is it offensive that men who are innocent of any wrong doing have to self stigmatise to appease some people’s world views, agendas and propagandising of a single event?

            Many people are not puzzled by “a whole new level of offensive” – it was how the Subject and ONE case was being deliberately Exploited that was offensive! It remains offensive! It was abusive to women, men, all people who have had to deal with Sexual Violence in all forms – and then I discovered the Icing On The Cake.

            I have to say – I find that exploitation even more offensive now – as it has been pointed out the Woman in question is also Disabled with a Nerodiverse condition, “Prosopagnosia” – a cognitive impairment which means she is unable to recognise or recall faces.

            So she was not creeped out because of rape – she was creeped out because she was unable to recognise the person and remember when and how she had spoken to him. The lady concerned makes it clear that it was no stranger issue as some have attempted to make it all about!

            So from where I’m sitting it has not just been the exploitation of one case in an attempt to impose a global view of how men should view women, with no commensurate balance – It has been exploiting Disability and degrading the experience that Disabled People have.

            I find exploitation of any kind offensive, and when it’s cynical exploitation, I apply an inverse cube law – and when that happens, I can assure you that James has been mild in his criticism and comments.

            I wonder how the scenario of elevator gate would play out if I was the man?

            Me: Hey like your ideas – can we chat more?
            Her: I have lectured today on the objectification of women, I am offended – leave the lift at once.
            Me: Sorry there – I need it more than you do, you can use the stairs, so you get out and get over yourself!
            Her: I’m disabled too, your behaviour is not only sexist but abelist – and I still fear you will rape me!
            Me: Ha – Disabled and Queer – sorry you don’t Float My Boat and it’s rather rude to assume that all men are straight – how Heteronormative and anti diversity can you get – any more Jokers to play?
            Her: You don’t understand rape and rape culture!
            Me: Whoops that’s your Last Joker played – been there – been the victim, work with victims so they can become survivors – … and I’ve changed my mind, you may have had some valid points earlier – but as a sceptic you just failed! So I’m on floor three and I’m pushing the button now. Which floor are you on – or will you wait for the next lift?

            Offensive is relative – and people do need to have all the facts to make judgement! P^)

            I own my own issues and don’t impose them upon others – and if people attempt to use me as a whipping boy for their agendas, I take no prisoners. What a Pity Rebecca “Skepchick” Watson was happy to collude – “a whole new level of offensive” indeed”.

      • Suzy – It also has strong links to Rape Denial and Rape Apologia – If a male dismisses, or discounts in any way, a female’s experience of Rape all hell breaks out.

        But – If a male says he has been raped by a women the responses are to Trivialise the experience by Numerical/Quantitative Argument – Qualitative Argument – and basically deny the effect.

        By the definitions used by Feminist writers on the subject of rape, that is rape denial and rape apologia – and it highlights a grave double standard and gross sexism. There is a lot of history around the subject.

        As I wrote in another comment:

        “Tell us what to do so that we don’t annoy you—and give us the qualitative barrier that even one man has to exceed so that he is not a number but a Human Being!”

        I have seen the dynamics play out before in the history of HIV – AIDS – and I deliberately used a real world example, which you can see here, from the film “And The Bad Played On”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5vJa1LnSEY

        • But – If a male says he has been raped by a women the responses are to Trivialise the experience by Numerical/Quantitative Argument – Qualitative Argument – and basically deny the effect.
          Yeah I remember that. A post here recently that boiled down to. “I’m not trying minimize male sexual assault victims. I’m just saying that if you look at the Quantitative Differences you’ll see that women have it worse.”

      • Suzy I saw it the same way. I believe that the sentence and paragraph does not accurately portray the meaning. Just clearly what the offense is is not clear except by surmise. And James I hope perhaps you might look at the comments about that sentence to find a way to perhaps expound or expand on what is offensive. Cause for sure you are not offended that women have talked about suffering pstd but something else. Yet the sentence or paragraph doesn’t say that. That’s all that Suzy is indicating.

        I think that as human all day we are giving off signs that indicate who we are and what sort of person we are. Perhaps the issue here is that as a male victim one might particularly want to give off a protective vibe and yet if some female victims are saying they want men to act submissive around them well that’s kinda messed up. Especially when the female perpetrator demanded submission. No body should be demanding submission from another.

      • No CJ, her post was not written with politeness and curiosity. She clearly accused me of lacking empathy for female rape survivors. The fact that she phrased in the form of a question really did little to change the meaning.

        You may agree with her, and that is fine, but don’t mischaracterize me or my response simply because you agree with Suzy. You are now doing the same thing that she accused me of doing, lacking empathy.

        A woman came onto a thread about men raped by women and then accused a man who was raped by a woman of lacking empathy for women. You have admitted you were ignorant of the facts, yet still support the claim that I lack empathy. Can you see just how offensive that is in that context?

        Would you have supported a man saying such a thing to a female rape survivor who had been raped by a man?

        I doubt it.

    • Can the man share is experience?…WITHOUT question…can we just ’empathize’ with his personal experience?…

  26. I’m actually really grateful to hear this perspective because, it reminds me to look past the obvious features we all have on the outside, into the full human life beneath that we all have in common. That men could suffer fear from women is something I had not heard a single man testify to himself although I had imagined it was possible, but to hear it in your own words is of course very powerful and I’m grateful. I have heard many rape stories from women in college as part of my gender studies and that is really not fair actually, in retrospect. Statistics should not be used to justify treating any group of people a certain way, and stories like yours really help break down the barriers that we throw up in order to categorize people and justify brittle behavior. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thank you, Rose, for reminding us that we are all human beings underneath. Just as we love each other as men and women, we also fear each other–in different ways, to be sure–but the fear is fully human. In fact, most psychologists of masculinity have a great deal to say about how men fear women at a deep level. We just don’t acknowledge it readily in large part because we think it is unmanly to express fear, especially fear of the feminine. Anyone wanting to explore this further will find Terry Real’s “I Just Don’t Want to Talk About It” a powerful read. And David Gilmore’s “Misogyny” is a comprehensive and sometimes lurid description of how men’s fear of women plays out as violence against them across cultures and down through history. Our fear of women does not justify our violence in any way, but recognizing it is a first step toward addressing it.

      • Interesting how we pathologize men’s fear of women and rationalize women’s fear of men.

        Men have no real right to fear women, but women have every right to fear men.

        “And David Gilmore’s “Misogyny” is a comprehensive and sometimes lurid description of how men’s fear of women plays out as violence against them across cultures and down through history. Our fear of women does not justify our violence in any way, but recognizing it is a first step toward addressing it.”

        I’m curious how your comment relates to the OP being raped by a woman and subsequently developing a fear of them. Is his fear really do to deepset aversion to the abstract ‘feminine’?

        This would be a bizarre comment, IMHO, except that I think I know where it’s coming from. Here we see a story about a man being acted upon by a woman in a very negative way and developing a fear response.

        This comment illegitimizes the man’s fear-response to a woman’s actions and recasts women in the role of victim and acted-upon. (The real problem is how men’s illegitimate fear of women causes them to commit violence against women.)

        Men Act, women are acted upon.

        • Hey typhon. . .. I have to say that as a woman, I’ve done a lot of “actions” in my life. . . including being a top athlete in the country in college (12th at national level). I grew up in an all girl – very tomboyish family. I think what you are talking about, is not about actual biological males and females of the world (otherwise we’d have much more pronounced sexual dimorphism!), but the memes, or stories or masks we are expected to play out in order to be accepted in society.
          So it would really be more proper to put your broad statement “men act and women are acted upon” in its proper context (i.e. in the majority of american popular myth) otherwise it is at the least intentionally inflammatory, at the most ignorantly sexist. It is and can only be true from a socio-linguisitc standpoint, and actually could be considered a very ethno-centric statement. If for example, I belonged to a matriarchal culture (there are a few, yes, remaining in this world- and even then, some of the nomadic peoples like tibetans are patriarchal but environmental factors alter the distribution of labor to make it about equal and their representations of the female divine are actually vividly, incredibly, ACTIVE. . look up “dakinis” or “tara” or “sky-goddesses”) These days there are puritanical vestiges in american culture which still dominate our subconscious programming here in the west, but that is a western and a recent meme in human history. . . . Oh yeah, and lets not forget, what little we know of so many other cultures out there, and how the women and men themselves individually, identify themselves to themselves and others. . . .sorry . .. too many anthropological classes in school, plus I practice esoteric buddhism with an emphasis on the active dakinis. . . so fyi . . do more reading. . .

        • I agree with you that there is a cultural subtext casting men as actors, women as acted upon. It is pretty culturally universal in the public sphere. In the private sphere, it may be quite different, though. Some men learn all too well from their mothers at an early age how terrifying women can be and may carry that into adulthood. They have every “right” to fear the feminine. If they are then hurt or attacked by a woman, that fear is confirmed or intensified.

          My comment about men’s failure (or refusal) to express that fear is not to pathologize it but simply to observe that this is part of the emotional armor that our culture presents us with. Our job in growing up is to recognize it and turn the armor to inner strength.

          • Hey Larry, I’m sorry you still have to put up with knee-jerk reactions like that. I don’t know how to describe it or defend it, only that generalizing like that is not helpful and is embarrassing for me to see come from my side, as a woman and a feminist. My kudos to you for being patient with it, but I think it was more of the drop a bomb and run style. You shouldn’t have to defend yourself from that. Its why I brought my shot-gun full to bear on ridiculous spin statements like that which are so last years feminist book store poetry jam. : D

            • Thanks, Rose. As a 71-year-old white male college professor, this format is new to me. I don’t mean to be a techno-curmudgeon, but I prefer the more civil face-to-face conversation where we know who is saying what to whom and generally have to do so with due regard to the feelings of the other since they are only feet away from us instead of infinite cyber-miles. This technology lends itself to a certain coarseness, I’m afraid.

              In any case, it is clear that you have thought a lot about these issues and if you have a chance to glance at those books you’ll find Real’s a rare view of men’s pain, and Gilmore’s a complex and fascinating (if somewhat discouraging) view of how my sex has all too often chosen to deal with it.

            • Julie Gillis says:

              Civil face to face should be the ideal, in my mind. But now we have the internet and that allows for that coarseness as you mention, the “drive by comment” as I think of them. It’s easy to be cruel when one is anonymous. Thank you for your piece here. I appreciated reading it.

        • Oh and lastly typhon, don’t know your rep here on this blog, but I think the larry guy was responding to my post mostly, as a friendly thing, and if you re-read it rather, or re-read it as I did (the always skeptical) I would see that he’s not being anti-feminist or sexist or apologetic at all simply stating some interesting knowledge. Your reply however, contains much more in it that could be contrived as generalizing. . . which if you know what that is. . . is not that helpful. Like I said before, you should consider that other people lives whether male or female are much richer and deeper than you think, and their cultures, concepts, fantasies and myths might be much richer and deeper than you project as well.

          • I’m responding because I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a ‘drive by commentator.’

            However, I have nothing substantive to say to your comment aside from noting that I think you’re arguing with something that isn’t there.

          • “I would see that he’s not being anti-feminist or sexist”

            Stop conflating these concepts. Being against feminism is not related to being sexist. Period.

            • Agreed. I think one can be very against this new brand of feminism because it is the feminism itself that has become sexist. The origin of feminism comes from wanting to be on equal footing; not from wanting to turn into our oppressors and rule ourselves more important than men, our sufferings more important than theirs etc. It was about fighting sexism.

              I am a feminist/human activist but I am against a large branch of feminism.

            • That’s a problem some of them have. They depend on conflations like that to protect themselves from criticism.

              Another one to look out for is the trying to make anything that could be seen as equality with feminism. That way if you disagree with a feminist on something suddenly you are against equality.

      • Thanks a lot for your recommends. I will check them out for sure!

    • Thank you Rose, for understanding and responding with compassion.

  27. Thanks so much for sharing and for your courage. I am sorry you had that experience and the years of your life you have lost. I know that healing from trauma is possible and there are amazing interventions that help. I hope you find that works for you – you deserve to have a life free from the pain of being violated and victimized by someone else. Again, thank you for your courage in speaking your experience.

  28. Christina says:

    Thank you so much James for sharing your story. I hope it inspires other men to be more open about their experiences with rape and sexual assault. I am disgusted by what that woman did to you and I am so sorry that society’s gender expectations forced you to bury the pain for so many years. I am a survivor of physical abuse and this has given me the privilege to meet and befriend many people who have survived similar traumas. Several of my women friends are survivors of rape. But one friend in particular sticks out in my mind. Like you, she was raped by a woman in high school (a horrifying situation of a child raping a child). Instead of relying on physical strength to threaten and intimidate, this girl used emotional manipulation to force my friend into submission, just as your rapist did with you. She also threatened to accuse my friend of rape. The problem is that we can’t let go of the stereotypes of who rapes and who gets raped. If we were asked what a rapist looked like, I’m sure that no one would say a pregnant woman, and yet it happens in real life. A 15 year old girl raping a 16 year old girl- just as unlikely. We silence victims with these stereotypes because we make them think that no one will believe them. I am sorry that this happened to you. It is difficult for any survivor of rape to get justice in this country, but it must be even harder when the victim is an adult male. Both society and the law need to catch up with real life.

    P.S. Panic disorder sucks. I wish you speedy healing.

    • Thanks Christina, I appreciate your compassion and willingness to discuss your own experiences with abuse. Our stories help so many others than we can truly know. Somewhere, someone is sitting in silence and feeling more validated after reading your comments.

      Thank you.

  29. You are so brave! Thank you for speaking out.

  30. Thank you for sharing this story. So important for advocacy to put a face to the experience and the reality that men can be victims, too.

    So sorry this had to happen to you, but thank you for being a part of trying to find a way to stop sexual abuse and rape for all.

  31. How did I get PTSD when I’ve never been in the military?
    By James W. Love, M.Ed.

    Until my marriage crumbled in the close of the eighties I had very little knowledge of the psychology of spouse abuse. That is often the case with the abused even educated ones like me. Yes, I am a male spouse abuse victim or I was for twelve years. This may seem strange since I am extremely well read. As soon as I started reading in the first and second grades my Mother; who only had been allowed to attend the third grade of public school, always found money for books. Being mountain folk we were quite industrious. So, in addition to my Dad working in the local paper mill also we ran a reupholstery business and had about an acre and a half of garden plus a Burley tobacco crop. So, a few dollars here and there was not a problem especially since I was an only child.
    During high school I was homosexually seduced by someone I thought of as a brother. It profoundly changed my life. It was the sixties and gay was worse than being black in a small Southern Appalachian town. So I was never allowed to date. I don’t mean that my parents wouldn’t let me date; the entire town wouldn’t let me date. So a few years later when I entered college everyone that knew me was amazed. Because I didn’t just date I would often take two and three girls on a date at the same time. The little college town that was near the college had nothing in the way of entertainment. Two restaurants, a one screen movie house, and a liquor store. Of course, there were a number of gas stations but they didn’t count when it came to dating.
    My favorite place to hangout happened to be the Baptist Student Union because it was easy to make friends with all the girls there. Of the eighty or so students around half were female. So my friends from my high school that were also attending the same college were shocked when I went down the street with three beautiful young things in my car. Getting the dates was simple. My parents’ house was about twenty to thirty minutes from a fair sized city that had two duplex theatres, an adult theatre, bunches of restaurants and a new mall! For 1971 it was pretty tricked out. In addition my parents were the epitome of Southern Hospitality. So my undergraduate years were not lonely at all. But as I started my senior year I was uneasy about what came after school. Because I knew that after I finished my degree in Blind Rehabilitation that I’d be back out in the cold cruel world and that was really scary.
    In my first semesters of grad school I didn’t have time to be lonely. In graduate school you learn to sweat blood. But I had the summers off. This allowed the professors to monitor second year students’ internships.
    That summer while visiting friends and an old girlfriend at my alma mater I met my future wife. She was in a summer program for visually impaired students and her room was next to my old girlfriend. Since the incoming students in this program were encouraged to mingle with the old timers we saw a lot of each other. So I asked her out and it was lust at first sight. We had sex on our first date. Often after that I would show up on weekends and we would spend the whole weekend in bed. Actually even if it was the Swingin’ Seventies that wasn’t a good thing. We only had three real dates. So summer was a blur of lots of sex some chit chat and not much else.
    When I returned to grad school I missed all of the lust and companionship. Of course I had given her my number. But since she was visually impaired we could also exchange boxes of cassette tapes and not have to pay postage. So I was soon spending hours and hours taping to her and on Saturdays I would spend a couple of hours on the phone. Looking back though I realize that all of this was feel good chit chat; I didn’t get to really know this hot little number that I was thinking about marrying. After all I was a psychology major and getting a masters, boy were those famous last words.
    When I returned at Christmas I asked her to marry me. Twelve years later as I was being tossed out with the garbage I was informed that she had never really loved me; she was trying to get away from her insane father.
    I would learn a couple of months after we married that over a number of years her father had developed into a paranoid schizophrenic with heavy layers of ritual behavior and delusions in her early adolescence.
    During our marriage he was constantly being sent to the state mental hospitals and wound with a full mental disability check from DSS. After we separated I was to realize that my wife had been a victim of severe sexual abuse as a child and teenager. Unfortunately, she had been taught to be adamantly opposed to any type of therapy. For twelve years I tried constantly to get her to get therapy. To my knowledge she never has.
    I think it’s ironic that she chose to be silent about all of these problems. Because if she had enough courage to come out about these issues right after we married our marriage could have been her happy ending. Instead I slowly descended into hell.
    Understand that what I’m talking about is behavior that usually at normal levels being ramped up to extreme levels. It’s normal for couples to argue but it’s not normal for one of the people to still be going after the other one at 3 AM; and that was a regular part of my life.
    When I started to work for the state of SC I was extremely lucky to get a job at the School for the Deaf and Blind. In fact by the second winter I had a house a mile from the school. Since my job involved constantly walking it was a short stroll away. But when the school year ended they had me to be itinerate; I had half the state for a territory! That summer I would put over 50,000 miles on my car. I would be between clients or waiting on the rehab teacher that I worked with and would walk around in a mall to get away from the 1050 heat that was blanketing the state. One time I saw some really cute china horses in a gift shop and they were only a dollar a piece. Knowing that my wife loved horses I got her three or four.
    When I got home not only did I get yelled at for being late. It was around seven when I finished but for the next two weeks I was yelled at for rubbing it in that I got to drive all over the state and she couldn’t drive. I soon learned never to say anything about having to make long drives after a hard day’s work; that was my rubbing my being able to drive in her face.
    When the job fell through in SC (because I had a co-worker that no one could work with) I was forced to leave Blind Rehab. She didn’t want me to be itinerating. I was offered a position with the Commonwealth of Virginia; they had three openings and they wanted to show them to me and let me take my pick but no I had to retrain and work in factories. For the next eight years I was working in hell. I loved working with people not in factories. By that time she had finally forced me to have a kid. I had been trying to avoid children because I didn’t want to expose them to her. But the demands about work didn’t stop there; she always had a DSS check because of being born with RP. So she would suddenly decide to go visit her mother, I had to call into work and take her. It might be for a weekend or it might be for several days. Thankfully she could only handle her mother for so long; the woman was a bitter person who constantly complained and was totally cold. Once my wife told me that she couldn‘t believe it when she started being around my parents. Because they were constantly telling each other that they loved each other and rarely even said a cross word.
    Because of my having to lay out and frequent taking off to appease her I couldn’t even keep a job with temporary services. In 1988 I had to be listed with seven different agencies just to keep from starving. In fact, that winter things got so bad that I had to sell all of my books to get food. I had several dozen autographed copies of Science Fiction.
    I hate to think of all of the good jobs I had to quit. Even if things were going great I would be expecting it to go to hell because it was going good. A number of times I was offered permanent jobs and promotions that I had to turn down because she didn’t want me to have any raises and such. Several times it also cost me the temp job! She didn’t care because we always had her DSS check and Foodstamps!
    But the humiliation didn’t stop there. Early in our marriage my wife would act very suspicious and try to cover things up. Being a trained observer as an Orientation & Mobility Specialist and having a degree in psychology I knew that as early as two months after our wedding she was fooling around. While we were in Jackson, MS we went to the swimming pool several times so I had bought her a string bikini to ware. I enjoyed having other men stare at her; my trophy wife. She would often flirt with the janitors at the place where we were staying and “work on her tan” while I was at work doing my internship for graduate school. Later when we moved to South Carolina she would hang out with the neighbors in the apartment complex we were in. When I asked her about it she said that she was just smoking a joint with him and the guys. She was always complaining about the fact that my having to be careful about image. Smoke a joint; I couldn’t even go to a bar to have a beer and I bought our whiskey when we visited one of our parents since each was far away from the kids at the schools parents.
    About nine months after we arrived we were in a house that we had bought and she confessed that she had been being a “slut” and having sex with the guy next door.
    I told her that I had known just by the way that she was acting that it was very obvious. But it only excited me. I showed her some old men’s’ magazines with stories about men sharing their wives with other men that I had kept for years. Polyamory was not known to me then, but now I live by a simple philosophy I don’t put limits on love. During our marriage my wife introduce me to twelve of her lovers; who knows how many others there were. So yes the sex was incredible but because of how badly I was treated out of the bedroom it wasn’t worth.
    Just before I was kicked to the curb I learned how little I meant to my wife. I was working a brutally hard job at a blanket factory. I was filling boxcars with forty pound boxes of blankets. We were only allowed a twenty minute break for lunch; so by the end of the day I was so tired I could barely drive home. I fell on the bed when I came into the house. My wife was on me pulling at my clothes. At first I thought that she was helping me to undress so I could sleep. But she kept saying that she had to have sex right then. I tried to push her off but she only laughed and started working to give me an erection. As soon as I was erect she mounted and got herself off. As she rolled off she laughed and said, “See I knew you’d enjoy it.” I dropped to the pillow thinking; “So that’s what rape feels like.”
    A couple of months after that she told me to hit the door that I was totally worthless. Looking back it seems silly that I was shocked when the therapist informed me that I had PTSD.

  32. Peter Houlihan says:

    Intellectually I had fully accepted that women could be sexual victimisers just as men could. I knew aggressive women, I knew aggressively sexual women, but until I read your very person encounter with this kind of behaviour somehow I hadn’t really believed it.

    Thank you for sharing. More stories like this need to be told.

    • I’ve heard a similar sentiment from other before Peter. Usually, at least a few people will approach me after a presentation on a campus or church to remark that they never really realized how it could affect a man.

      It will take more time to get our stories (male survivors and female survivors of female predators) included in the greater narrative of sexual violence. The more of us who speak out, the faster that will occur.

  33. James, thank you so much for your courage through your experience and sharing it with others. I know how difficult it is to go through rape as I have been in similar shoes in my life. Whether it is from a man or woman, it is absolutely unacceptable and wrong. Each day, I believe we are healing little by little, and learning to love ourselves even more for what we went through. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like a victim, but people like you give me strength to be a survivor.

  34. Like a Lie Detector Test (Polygraph Test), there is an urgent need to develop “brain monitoring” techniques which are currently at an experimental stage. Once such a procedure is perfected, and implemented as a judicial tool, it should expose MANY people and relieve all those who have been falsely accused of crimes, not just related to sexual abuse/assault/violence, but overall.

  35. Wow, thank you for sharing your story. I actually held my breath during the second part of it and felt panicked.
    It is one thing to understand that rape is something that can occur to men and should be treated the same way as female rape, but another to actually hear it from the perspective of a victim. This is an article I’ll share with my friends.

  36. I loved this article and appreciate your courage to speak about your trauma. However I, like a few others here, was also thrown off by your reference to “elevator gate.” (I was also surprised that you responded so angrily, because her tone didn’t strike me as impolite in the least) like her, I found myself thinking “why doesn’t he understand where those women are coming from when he himself feels the exact same way?” if you were to avoid me in an elevator or an empty parking lot, I wouldn’t get angry with you in the least because I know what it’s like to be triggered back to a traumatic memory. Something doesn’t really add up here…

    • Cathy,

      Thank you for taking the time to write. As I have explained repeatedly along with many others, the elevator-gate reference is not AT ALL how you portrayed it. I am not talking about REAL PEOPLE WITH REAL FEARS, but the ridiculous hypothetical argument made by some extremists that all men SHOULD be treated like rapist because SOME are rapists. Once again, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT REAL PEOPLE WITH REAL FEARS. Okay?

      Really. I’ve explained this REPEATEDLY. Suzy, and one troll who found many of his abusive and off-topic posts deleted, refused to even NOTICE that and kept going back in time to pretend it means something else entirely. Several other commenters have also called that out, to include some female survivors as well.

      I’m done with people misrepresenting my words for their own purposes.

      • Adam Antoszek-Rallo says:

        James,
        It was perfectly clear the first time you wrote it. Anyone who does not understand is either severely linguistically challenged, or most likely just not putting in the appropriate effort to understand perceptions beyond their own point of view. Thank-you for writing. All of this.
        sincerely,
        -Adam

  37. By the way, this article has been linked to and quoted by Andrew Sullivan on two separate occasions:

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/01/when-women-rape-men.html

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/04/how-many-women-rape-men.html

    Hopefully, that will help change a few minds with regard to male survivors, victim-blaming and the healing process.

  38. I’m very saddened by this story but also hoping that your story will help others to come forward. I myself understand what you’ve been through and burying it etc …..so I’m proud whenever survivors can come forward and speak out.

  39. This woman was either severely messed up or disgustingly manipulative. Who uses a pregnancy as an excuse for rape? That is sick. No wonder you couldn’t seek help for such a long time, I’m glad you did in the end

  40. Braden Schecter says:

    I just want to pop in and say thank you to James. This comment thread seems like a bit of a mine-field, and one based mostly on people’s assumptions and misunderstandings. Suffice to say, James, telling your story was brave. Your honesty and insightful observations are both necessary and helpful. As a fellow survivor of sex abuse, I salute you.

  41. James,
    I am so sorry for what you have gone through, and are still going through. Sadly, being a ”survivor” of a sexual crime does not mean that you don’t struggle daily with the emotional aftermath.
    I am a survivor of a sexual assault as well, and I experienced many of the same things that you did. I can remember a point where I was irrationally afraid of going to retrieve my MAIL. I would run from the front door to the mailbox…terrified. Even if there was no one outside.
    I also remember feeling that no man could understand, as it was something that is DONE to a woman. A completely flawed way of thinking on my part! I guess I needed for whatever reason to selfishly think that way for a short time.
    It took me many years to realize that I fought a battle for my life, and more importantly, I WON. As did you.
    I think it is important for victims, as well as people in general to realize that it IS a fight…to get what you feel is normalcy back.
    I’m proud of you.

  42. I’m sorry to say, so many people get stuck in stereotypes. I do what I can (not much) in the feminist community to treat people like people, not as stereotypes. This means carefully separating ideas, and trends, and feelings from each person you talk to. It’s a shame that we need (and I do mean need) people like you who experience the lesser statistic to speak up just for people to even understand what that statistic means.

    But thank you for sharing with us, it helps me understand more. :)

  43. Though it is unfortunate that you went through something so traumatically disgusting, it wasn’t life threatening as it is when it’s men against women. Overall, men are far more violent (for example, war is not a product of femininity) and that sucks because men are physically stronger 99% of the (biological) time. Some women are raped SO hard that thy can never have children. Some women are even murdered after rape, because the rapist doesn’t want to be identified. Men don’t usually tell their stories of abuse because they want to appear strong, but for every man, there are hundreds of victimized (silent) women. So I apologize for not being too sympathetic, it’s just that your (rare) experience was merely unfortunate, NOT widespread & detrimental.

    Editor’s Note: This comment has been addressed by the article’s author at the following commentary – http://goodmenproject.com/on-rape-and-sexual-violence/dear-allison-or-vile-female-rape-apologists-are-vile/

    • James A. Landrith says:

      Allison,

      Anyone who believes that sympathy, empathy and compassion should be granted based SOLELY on the basis of gender is not much of a person to begin with, nor are they someone who should be trusted around survivors. You strike me a dangerous individual attempting show a little fake concern. What happened to me was not “unfortunate.” It was traumatic. It is called rape. It isn’t called “unfortunate.”

      I was raped. It left me mentally and emotionally wounded, unable to trust women and shaped my future life in ways that a person like you could never comprehend. I’d call that detrimental.

      Do you know what someone who actually cares about survivors does? The opposite of what you did here. I get that you aren’t sympathetic. That much was clear by your promotion of hierarchy of survivorhood and blatant, callous minimization of male survivors and your outright trivialization of what I endured.

      It isn’t your right. Take your hate somewhere else and tell your friend not to send anymore flunkies after me. If you or her attempt to harass or minimize my experiences again, I will name names.

      I don’t tolerate bullies. Your friend is a bully.

    • “Though it is unfortunate that you went through something so traumatically disgusting, it wasn’t life threatening as it is when it’s men against women.”

      You are a rape apologist, Allison. You are a rape apologist.

      Just sit with that for a while.

      • victoria sanders says:

        Allison
        I think your comment is not helpful. Having your life threatened does not come in a form of having a gun held to your head. A comment, a statement, feeling helpless, forced to do something you did not plan on. All of these are threats. I cannot understand the thinking of a person who does not believe a man can be sexual assaulted or raped. Did you not hear about the priests in the Catholic Churches? So many young men unable to find a way out of being a victim because a priest would never do THAT.
        Just for perspective I will tell you I was raped, held down, but no my life was not threatened. Did that change the outcome for me? No, 28 years later I found myself having symptoms that made me almost take my life. I carried the blame because I was not held at gun point. Yes he was stronger than me but that is not the reason he was able to rape me. He raped because he was a predator. Women can be predators too. He was able to gain my confidence enough to take me to a place where he could rape me. You myopic view is part of the reason men cannot come forward. I have heard women tell me stories of being raped while having a weapon. They feel guilt because they could have defended themselves. To them and to you I say, when you are assaulted shock sets in, then fear, then shame, those are just some of the many feeling you have. You don’t know where to turn, who to trust, can you even trust your own feelings? Those feelings of’ I caused this’ take over you stuff and stuff until one day it all comes out. I hope it never happens to anyone you love because you would not be helpful.

        • Allison, it repulses me how unsympathetic you can be considering you have also been raped. Yes people sometimes do have weapons held against them and that is awful. However, James had a rapist on top of him who he could not defend himself from because she was pregnant, and the fact that the stupid media and public portrays rapists as only being men, meant that she could easily yell rape and be sent to prison and in my opinion that is far worse than having a knife held up to you. Why dont you go be a heartless bitch somewhere else because unlike you, all the rest of us are proud that James can tell his story and spread awareness about female perpetrators.

  44. EmpoweredOKC says:

    Some of the comments here are very appalling. In particular, there are some replies that actually treat James with unqualified contempt, simply on the basis of his gender, in order to make the point that rape is far worse when it happens to females. I have no argument with the facts that men perpetuate rape more often, or that women are victimized more often, or even that the physical harm done to women tends to be far worse–crime statistics bear out ALL of those. But that’s not where the hostile commenters left the argument. No, for some reason they thought to to advocate for these facts, they also had to disparage James. And I don’t get that at all.

    Look, it does NOT benefit the Survivors’ Movement to be seen acting so shabbily. One does not successfully advocate for Survivors (be they female or male) by firing off words of contempt at another rape victim based on the premise that HIS victimization is somehow less “valid” purely because he’s male. Not only does that not contribute to the anti-rape movement, it actually contaminates it with unnecessary hostility. I was appalled to see that someone actually thought that taking cheap shots at James was a healthy step toward positive anti-rape action. It’s not; it’s merely sexist, condescending, and counterproductive.

    It is true that most rapists are male. It is NOT true, however that rape is a “male behavior.” We need to be very, very clear on this, lest someone persist in their misconception that bashing men (including male victims) is synonymous with oppsing RAPE. It’s not. It’s merely lazy thinking. Just like lamely saying “I apologize for not being sympathetic”–such a comment is clearly not an apology, and tends to reveal more about the personal sexist biases of the person hissing it out than about the broader issue of rape and gender. I would personally be ashamed of myself to be found publicly telling a rape survivor, “I’m not sympathetic” because of their gender. Bottom line: if you can’t talk about this complex and difficult topic without resorting to bullying, sexism, and cheap shots, DON’T mistake yourself as an “ally” or “advocate” for survivors.

    • “It is true that most rapists are male.”

      Given that until very recently (and still in many places of the world) in order for something to be considered “rape” it had to be sexual assault using a penis, and that in still more places it only counts as rape when the victim is penetrated (not, say, enveloped) How can you actually be sure this is the case?

  45. That’s so terrible! I’m really sorry that happened to you. I’m sorry a woman did that to you & while I wasn’t the one who did it I’m really sorry that we as women have ever done anything to hurt you or make you feel unsafe. I really hope that your journey to full healing is as swift & gentle on your heart as might ever be possible in such a circumstance.

    • You as women, the whole group, did nothing it was a woman, singular, that did it so don’t worry. Just like when a man, singular, rapes a woman it doesn’t mean that men, the whole group, did anything to her.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This comment was from Justin Cascio on James Landrith’s post “I’ve Got the T-Shirt and the Trauma Response to Go With It.” […]

  2. […] my CNN column on the change in the Justice Department’s definition of rape to include men to “I’ve Got the T-Shirt and the Trauma Response to Go With It” to my buddy who was the first to come forward in the Boston priest scandal going […]

  3. […] am a male rape survivor of a female rapist who drugged a drink and then raped me repeatedly over several hours while unconscious and […]

  4. […] What’s it like to be a male survivor of rape at the hands of a woman? James Landrith tells his story. […]

  5. […] in the discussion were Curtis St. John of MaleSurvivor.org, James Landrith, who published his own story on The Good Men Project (yes, we often give TGMP grief here, but kudos to them for publishing James’ piece), and AVfM […]

  6. […] male survivors of assault by men. That’s why we’ve been so grateful to writers like  James Landrith and Levi Greenacres, who have shared their stories with The Good Men Project community in the […]

  7. […] may also like: I’ve Got the T-Shirt and the Trauma Response to Go With It by James […]

  8. […] January 15, 2012, I told my story to the world via The Good Men Project. This article was quickly one of the most popular on GMP for months. It gained traction again […]

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