WHOEVER SAID MALES CAN’T BE RAPED… by Joy Owusu

“1-9-1 what’s your emergency?”

          Female speaking: “Please…please help me. He-he raped me.”

  1-9-1: “calm down, we’ll help you”

 

“It’s because of what she was wearing”

“What was she doing there at that time?”

“Who are her parents?”

“oh! What will her parents say? How will they feel?”

And the most popular slang, “Men are trash!!”

 

“1-9-1 what’s your emergency?”

Male speaking: “I’ve been raped. Please-please help me”

1-9-1: “are you high? Tssssw, focus on your education and stop doing drugs. Your parents will be very disappointed.” END

 

The chorus sounds louder each time. Let’s study the trend of the comments that flood the timeline whenever there’s a rape case. Study the particular pronouns used. She/her, hardly he/him with regards to the victim.  It is very easy to side with the masses to say that only females can be raped. Does it make it some form of achievement for females that they can be raped and males can’t? Does it make them more special than males because males can’t be raped? If that’s the case then does that mean a good thing for females? Definitely not! It can’t be and will never be. But there’s something everyone seems to ignore or brush off- that males can be raped too. Could it be a revenge on males? Or the revolution of the rise of the females? Not to betray my precious gender but can’t males be raped too? Or are females the only victims of rape? 

What do our laws say about this or are our laws silent on this? Rape is defined by Section 98 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) as the carnal knowledge of a female of not less than sixteen years without her consent some key things worth noting include; of a female. Our laws are of the view that surely, males can’t be raped. Only females can be raped because females can’t consent to rape but males can? Carnal knowledge which is the penal-vaginal penetration during a sexual intercourse. One school of thought strongly deny that males can be raped because per the definition of rape, it has to be a penal-vaginal penetration and not a vaginal-penal or a penal-penal penetration. True, yes, but have we never thought about that maid in the Osei household, who takes advantage of seventeen years old Osei Jr when he’s asleep after she has drugged him to make him unconscious, so she can use him as her sex toy? Or even that housemaster in that all boys private high school, who has his way with the freshmen when his ‘seniors-but-servants’ bring them to him?

Another school of thought believes that males can’t be raped because they have an erection during the sexual activity. Having an erection during the activity does not may not necessarily mean he is enjoying whatever is going on. It could just be a reflex or a defense mechanism like females. When a female is being raped, her vagina may naturally lubricate so as not to hurt so much. That doesn’t mean she is enjoying it or she has consented to the sex. The same may be the case for males. They may have an erection but it does not necessarily mean they may be enjoying it. Yes, most and almost all rape cases in Ghana are gender specific but the males can’t be sidelined forever. Think of that 16 year old boy whose father abuses him at home- both physically and sexually. His father can’t be charged with rape because rape is gender specific- only females can be raped. And here’s the case he can’t be said to have been defiled because he’s not below sixteen. 

What about the likes of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, who would have sex with young men when they were completely wasted or they were unconscious, unaware of whatever was happening and later murder them and still use their dead bodies for their sexual gratifications. 

Have we ever thought sincerely about why males do not come up to report being raped? Or do we just sing along to the tune of “males can’t be raped?” there are different reasons why we hardly hear of males as victims of rape. For one, there’s still this myth about males not being vulnerable. Since the patriarchal era, males are taught to be bold, courageous, fearless, strong and whatnot whiles females are taught to be caring, motherly and most important of all, vulnerable. It was and still is an abomination for a man to show his emotions, even a young boy too. It is seen as a disgrace to the entire male population and defies his existence as a male. If a male is “raped”, he’s expected to keep it in, better still, he’s expected to fight off his perpetrator. Failure to do that makes him less of a man.  Then what about those male warriors in war, like those in the Democratic Republic of Congo who were captured and used as sex slaves? They didn’t have the ability or strength to ward off their perpetrators. Did that no longer make them males? Obviously not! They were still men. Men who were used and abused. Men who were raped. If females cannot consent to rape, how can men consent to rape? Saying that men cannot be raped is just like saying men consent to being raped which is a fallacy. Rape is without consent and so if anyone says she or he has been raped, their consent was not sought. This stereotype makes it close to impossible for men to report rape cases where they’re victims. As much as we all love to see men being strong in action all the time and being our strength, we must accept that men can be at their weakest point too.  

Also, generally, people believe males always want sex and so even if peradventure he’s “raped”, it is not seen as rape but as consented sex because males always want sex and so even when they’re being “raped”, they have an erection. Males have been so much associated with sex that even when it’s not consented sex, it is quickly assumed to be so. Are males to be blamed for this? Males indeed want sex but is it always? Remember the boy who cried wolf?

Aside not being vulnerable, males hardly or never report to the police because they fear being called homosexual specifically with male-on-male rape. The particular gender that takes the greatest offence in being called homosexuals is males. And if a male files a complaint about rape, everyone’s mind unintentionally goes to the perpetrator being a male too. The disgust coupled with the shame is more than enough to wear off any kind of boldness to report. 

 

If the laws in another jurisdiction recognize the fact that males can also be raped and as such rape should not be gender specific, why can’t the same be said of our homeland Ghana? Males are males wherever they may be. With the same organs and organ systems, why does one jurisdiction recognize that males can be raped and another doesn’t? 

“Say no to rape!” Yes, but say yes to “can males be victims of rape?”

No one wants to be a victim of rape. Not even males. Let’s give males their day in court when they’re victims of rape. Let’s not condemn them when they come out to say they’ve been raped. Let’s accord them the needed attention we give females who have been raped.