Lincoln Anthony Blades’ quest to learn about rape culture led him to realize that society simply doesn’t take male victims very seriously.
Since the Steubenville High School rape case verdict was announced in March of this year, I have kept a keen eye on all rape issues that have occurred in 2013 because I truly believe many of us are ignorant about our society’s struggle with grasping what rape culture truly entails. From the New Delhi gang rape case, to Rick Ross’ “U.O.E.N.O”mdrama over his molly-lyric, to seeing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight get rescued from Ariel Castro’s house, there has been a lot to report, and I’ve definitely learned a lot more than I’ve ever known about rape before. But there is one thing that I found out this year while following these rape stories that I never really paid attention to: A lot of boys and men are victims of rape to, whether at the hands of other men OR women. As much as I hear (and agree with) the sentiment that rape is NEVER funny, the sad thing that these men’s sexual assault stories revealed to me is that rape, apparently, is a LOT funnier than I thought.
When I heard these men’s tales, it reminded me of one of Dave Chappelle’s most brilliant stand-up routines:
The brilliance of the joke is what the subject of his humour really is. It’s not the victim or the actual act, but society’s response to how we view male rape. His assertion that “society don’t give a f*^k about male rape” is 100% accurate because investigating these male rape cases has definitely helped illuminate some harsh realities on how we each individually respond to hearing a man was the victim of a violent sex-crime. For example:
On April 7th, a 19 year old man was sexually assaulted in a car by four women who offered him a drive home after a party. The suspects were all thirty year old white women, approximately 5’4 and 200 pounds. The general response to this story: “Too bad those women were built like linebackers because if they were sexy, that would be every man’s dream!”
On July 26th, Cierra Ross allegedly held a man up at gunpoint and forced him to have sex with her friend in the backseat of her car. The overwhelming response: “I’m confused. Was her friend a male? Because that’s the only reason I can see him being forced to do it.”
On August 23rd, a 27 year old female sex ed. teacher named Rachelle Gendron was charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year old male student. The top comment on the article: “Lucky boy, he had the best training and advice.”
And I can name many more, but the overall theme is the same: Rape is NOT a joke – unless a MAN is the victim.
Many times when a male is the victim of sexual assault, we often ask “how is that even possible?” because we firmly believe that it’s impossible for a man to produce an erection when he’s being forced, but that’s simply ignorant – and I know because I’ve been STUPID enough to voice that very same thought in group discussions before. The problem is, we have so few serious conversations about male rape that it’s easy to be oblivious to the real circumstances surrounding it.
I’ve heard countless people say that even joking about rape is not funny – but then those same people will roll on the floor laughing at Michael Jackson pedophile jokes about the Neverland Ranch. Some of the same people who say there’s no such thing as sexual assault humor will let the phrase “don’t drop the soap” easily slip off their tongue, as if that’s not belittling male victims. In fact, when we talk about jail, the idea of men being raped has become such a palatable reality that one doesn’t need to be in the confines of a comedy club or a private gathering to utter barbs at the expense of these men:
I’m not sure if we ignore what happens to men in jail because we think it’s unavoidable, or because we secretly believe it’s the price they pay for being criminals, but it definitely falls outside of the “rape is not funny” sentiment that we are often presented with.
So before you decide to comment on an article, online or offline, and make a “hilarious” or ignorant remark about a male victim, just ask yourself one simple question:
“Would I be making this same joke if the suspect was a WOMAN?”
Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site ThisIsYourConscience.com, he’s an author of the book “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer” and a weekly contributor for UPTOWN Magazine. He can be reached via Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at This Is Your Conscience.