Why is Rape Gendered?

Source: Hilly Turner Source: Hilly Turner

(Warning: includes talk about rape and domestic violence.)

I feel as though rape is gendered, the females are the victims and the males the perpetrators.

Most posters/videos/websites I see to do with sexual assault and how to avoid it are aimed towards females, using the pronouns such as ‘she’. Not all do this, but most seem to ignore the fact that males experience sexual assault too. According to statistics from rapecrisis.org, approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped every year in England and Wales. This works out to be roughly 11 assaults every hour and this is only adult victims. This shows that the majority of people who report sexual violence are women, this does not mean that the majority of people who experience sexual violence are females. Around 15% of people who experience sexual violence choose to report it to the police, meaning approximately 85% of people choose not to. This statistic is extremely shocking and I believe most of this is to do with the stigma around sexual violence, the victim blaming, the seeming ‘weak’ and so on. I believe we need to stop focusing so much on teaching people how to stay safe but teaching people not to sexually assault others and why it’s wrong, teach them about consent, and not only focusing more on this but focusing more on both genders and how sexual violence can happen to anyone. Also on the flipside, most attackers are referred to or seen to be males and this is not always the case. Females can also sexually assault people and this needs to be taught more to help educate people on the subject and help keep them safe and get support if needed.

Not only is rape gendered, but other types of abuse too such as domestic violence. An advert was recently on the TV and I’ve seen it quite a few times now and each time it angers me more and more. It talks about how using physical/emotional abuse isn’t right and if you could look at yourself would you see you’re doing wrong; the aim of the advert is great. However, the advert refers to the victims as female and the perpetrators as male. Once again forming this stereotype and putting it out into society. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Men experience abuse every day. There was an episode of Jeremy Kyle about domestic abuse, the woman was hitting her boyfriend. The audience laughed at him. A man being abused by a woman, or anyone, is not weak or humorous. It is just as serious as if a woman was being abused. So please, stop applying these stereotypes to such awful crimes.

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