Penetration politics and rape realities- Analysis of untold male gang rapes in Uttar Pradesh, India

Published: June 9, 2011

Sexual violence is defined as any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. In legal terms, sexual assault is any sexual contact that is against a person’s will or without consent. This includes situations where force, violence, or weapons are used as well as situations where the victim is too intoxicated or scared to give consent. Sexual assault happens to men as well as women. In fact, by most estimation, 5% to 10% of sexual assaults committed in the United States involve male victims. Some experts say that as many as 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. These numbers may sound startling because the problem of sexual assault against men isn’t talked about very much.

Male rape is any kind of sexual assault that involves forced penetration of the anus or mouth by a penis, finger or any other object. Historically, male rape was more widely recognized in ancient times. Several of the legends in Greek mythology involved abductions and sexual assaults of males by other males or gods. The rape of a defeated male enemy was considered the special right of the victorious soldier and was a signal of the totality of the defeat. There was a widespread belief that a male who was sexually penetrated, even if it was by forced sexual assault, thus "lost his manhood," and could no longer be a warrior or ruler. Gang rape of a male was considered an ultimate form of punishment and, as such, was known to the Romans as punishment for adultery and the Persians and Iranians as punishment for violation of the sanctity of the harem (Donaldson, 1990). Contemporarily its not given space for discussions and acknowledgement, yet a 2004 a Hollywood movie “I’ll Sleep when I’m dead” skillfully captures the nuances of male rape. Also, about 3% of American men – a total of 2.78 million men – have experienced a rape at some point in their lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2006), yet not is much talked about this issue.

During rape some assailants may try to get their victim to ejaculate because for the rapist, it symbolizes their complete sexual control over their victim’s body. Since ejaculation is not always within conscious control but rather an involuntary physiological reaction, rapists frequently succeed at getting their male victims to ejaculate. As Groth and Burgess have found in their research, this aspect of the attack is extremely stressful and confusing to the victim. In misidentifying ejaculation with orgasm, the victim may be bewildered by his physiological response during the sexual assault and, therefore might blame himself. Biologically if a male is anally penetrated, the pressure in the prostate gland also will cause an erection and the pressure on the prostate will, by it’s self, release some fluid, making the penis more sensitive to stimulation. Pressure on the seminal vesicle will likewise release a lot of fluid, and could resemble ejaculation to some extent, although may feel different.  Therefore it’s very natural for a male who is being forcefully penetrated to ejaculate against his wish.

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