On college campuses (and everywhere around the world), the media focuses on “rape culture,” particularly the victimization of women within it. It portrays men in a negative connotation and places them in an uncomfortable atmosphere.
A lot of the negativity is specifically directed to males in fraternities.
“I am Greek, and Greek houses always seem to carry negative stereotypes about how they treat women. But I know that when I was pledging, one of the first things we were taught was to respect and protect women,” junior Dylan George said. “Just because we’re Greek doesn’t mean that it should be any different than from how a man should normally interact with a woman.”
Not a lot of men will even comment on the issue of sexual assault because the media has made them out to be the ones more often in the wrong.
Freshman Lane Schlicher said, “Men have just become accepting of it. Not everyone is a good guy, but a lot are that don’t get recognized.”
“I think, because a high number of sexual aggressors are male, we automatically assume men to be sexual predators and that they are always guilty,” stated George. “I’m not defending the men who do these heinous crimes, but it is important to remember that sexual assault is not gender specific and that men can be victims too.”
What about the men who are assaulted? How does this affect them?
According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice, one in 33 men in America will be the victim of rape (attempted rape included).
When Schlicher was in high school, men got victimized in more ways than the stereotypical sexual abuse. He said that girls from his school would go to college parties (including WittFest), not tell anyone their ages, hookup with college guys, and then turn around and sue them for having sex with minors. Schlicher said that these girls would come back to school and act proud of what they had done.
Stereotypes can put others at a disadvantage, especially those in Greek life. “Anytime people are stereotyped, those biases can distort the way people perceive them,” George said.
According to the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) online site, the survivors suffer from many psychological issues, such as anger, intimacy complications, and self-loathing. Men can be emasculated from the experience, question their sexuality, and have phobias that concern assaults or rape incidents.
Schlicher stated that men are uncomfortable talking about the issues regarding assault for both men and women. “It’s not something that is open to discussion; not a lot of people talk about it,” said Schlicher. “There are so many touchy variables. When it comes down to it, there are victims on both sides.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, there is help out there. According to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, 10 percent of victims are male. You are not alone. You can contact RAINN by its website, online.rainn.org, or call them 24/7 at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673).