For a few years now, there has been a meme in circulation containing a quote by George Takei —
“You know, when a man is raped you never hear about what he was wearing.”
Of course, George is right. Male survivors are not usually asked about what they were wearing. At first glance, this seems like a valid point — until you peel back the layers a bit by talking to male survivors as if we are actual human beings.
So, point taken George. However, this well circulated meme lacks context with regard to how male survivors are shamed and blamed. Like so many discussions on this topic, only one type of victim-blaming is seen as destructive and an “official” type of shaming. This, sadly, feeds rape culture.
For those of us who live this, the truth is far more nuanced. While we are not asked about our clothing, we do get shamed for drinking, told we “must have wanted it”, mocked for “not fighting back harder”, informed that our erections = consent, called “weak” or outright told to our faces that we are liars because everyone knows that men cannot be raped. If our perp was a woman, multiply all of that by a thousand and add some more ugliness for variety.
I would say to sexual assault prevention and survivor advocates that if you truly consider yourselves to be allies to male survivors, please address this toxic behavior. Male survivors are living, breathing, human beings.
We deserve better than to be used as disposable talking points by our so-called allies and friends.
— James Landrith