ALTHOUGH a number of Jamaican men still smirk at the idea of a woman raping a man, the increasing number of calls to the Marge Roper Counselling Service and the National Family Planning Board hotline are showing that more and more males are reporting rape and are pointing towards older women as the perpetrators.
“A number of men are now reporting rape,” National Family Planning Board Chair Dr Sandra Knight said. “Men who are in the 16 to 20 age groups are reporting rape, men in the 30 to 35 age group are reporting now that older women are raping them.
This is nothing new. Older women have always been having sex with our boys. But I think now, with the sensitisation that is out there, boys are now realising that if I did not consent to it, it is rape,” she said.
But some men still say that this cannot be true.
“You cannot rape the willing,” said Curtis Benjamin, 42, and father of three. “I don’t think it is physically possible for a woman to overpower a man and rape him. What she can do is seduce him and he will get aroused. Then he is not going to walk away he will give in to her. So that is why he now becomes willing. Once you are willing it is not rape.”
Ricardo Thomas, 40, shared the view.
“I feel it cannot happen, because if a man really doesn’t want to have sex a man will just not have sex,” Thomas said. “If another man comes to you as a man to rape you, you are going to fight him off tooth and nail, so if you don’t want to have sex with a woman it should be the same thing, you going to fight her off tooth and nail too. What I would call him is a reluctant participant in some respect, but I wouldn’t consider it rape,” he added. “I would only consider it rape if a bunch of women hold you down and use dildo, etc. But as a man, if I don’t want sex, I just don’t want it, and if as the woman you decide to force me even further then she would leave with a bloody nose and a black eye, even though I don’t believe in hitting women,” he went on.
However, Dr Knight said that male rape should be taken seriously.
“I know a lot of people find the issue of male rape funny; because they think that men want to have sex all the time, and all men will have sex with anything and anybody, but that is not true,” she said. “Men can be very discerning, men can be conservative with their sexuality and we should not generalise and feel that you getting some and you don’t want it. But we shouldn’t generalise because not all men are like that. Actually men can be very serious with their sexual preferences and their sexual interactions.”
While there is the issue of older women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s having sex with younger men, Dr Knight said that there is also a problem with teenage girls forcing teenage boys into sexual activities, while adolescent males are also being raped or sexually abused by adult females.
“We always do follow-ups when we get these calls and have these men come in to us,” Dr Knight explained. “We have come to the conclusion that we now have to expand our focus not only on the little boys — who are very, very important that CISOCA (Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse) sees — but also on the various age groups that we see turning up reporting that they have been raped, because it’s a big deal for an adult male to say listen this has happened.”
At present, statistics do not show the amount of male rapes by females as the agencies dealing with rape and abuse only does compilation of male children who are raped and not adults.
“We will have to tweak our database collection system, because we realise that the issue of adult male rape is also a problem,” Dr Knight said.
“I was at the hospital the other day and a father came in with his child and he said ‘doc I want to talk to you’ and he said ‘a lady had her way with me last week and I don’t feel good about it’. I asked him what he meant and he said he felt ashamed because he had an erection but he thought the lady raped him because he never wanted to have sex with her. This is a serious problem. Male rape is not funny,” she said. “A man might wonder why he had an erection and he did not consent to it. Erections are physical, they are also physiological. There are men in jail who have never had sex with men before who are raped and who have ejaculations and that is why there is so much shame attached to it, because they had an ejaculation and they would say ‘oh my, am I gay? Was I always gay?’ Now that does not necessarily mean you are gay but an erection is physical. The body will react to certain things,” Dr Knight went on.
Dr Knight said that the psychological trauma is just as much for a man as with women who are raped, as the men involved are traumatised, especially if the rape was by a female who is a family member or a one that they would not naturally be attracted to.
“Then the whole shame part is enormous because as an adult [it is felt that] you should be able to control your ‘tings’ and losing control of your sexuality for a man is a big deal,” she added. “I believe that men in our society have an enormous amount of social pressure that is placed upon them. We women are also pressured in a lot of ways, but men in particular are pressured enormously. They are pressured to perform sexually, they are pressured to perform economically, they are pressured to perform parentally. They are under so much duress that as soon as they turn 16 they are overwhelmed, and by the time they reach 20 – 21 they are pressured to do what society says they should do. For example, if you are 21 and you don’t have a youth you are a half mule.”
Shauna-Kaye Rowe, monitoring and evaluation Officer at the Jamaica Red Cross, which operates a psychosocial department that includes counselling services for men who have been sexually abused, agreed that rape of men by women is in fact a reality, but that the men are too ashamed to report it.
“That then cascades into poor behaviour — just like when a woman is raped and she might turn to drugs or drinking. These men are having problems establishing relationships, they are having problems working; they turn to alcohol and so forth. “Therefore, this is something that definitely needs to be addressed,” Rowe said.