Rape is a Western problem too - and it will be as long as male power comes at the expense of women

The fact that rape affects both men and women must never be forgotten, but neither should the fact that it does not affect both genders equally.

Share
Related Topics

We need to talk about rape. While western society has gleefully turned its spotlight onto "India's problem with rape" – a symptom of a backward culture, they cry – an entire town in progressive America – Steubenville, Ohio – has allegedly orchestrated a cover up to ensure that two of its star football players are not convicted for that same crime.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, people are still being prosecuted for naming the victim of Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans, a crime for which he was imprisoned last year, because they truly do not believe that she deserves anonymity, nor that what happened to her was actually rape. Judge Niclas Parry summed up why in a separate case last month, when he told Caernarfon Crown Court that the victim there had "let herself down badly". Yes, Indian culture has it ingrained that victims of assault are to blame, and instructs them to limit their freedoms to prevent it – but it is entrenched in our society, too.

From the general public to Joanna Lumley to MPs and the police, the message is clear: women who drink too much and wear skirts too short have it coming. Unfortunately, statistics suggest that the majority of attackers are known to their victims, meaning that their clothing, levels of intoxication and location are largely irrelevant. Which might suggest, amongst other things, that responsibility is being pinned to the wrong party.

Women are by no means the only victims of rape, nor men the only attackers. However, statistically the two are overwhelmingly the case. This is why it needs to be considered a gender issue. This is why it is necessary to consider the way that society views women, and places the blame on them for the acts done to them by someone else, whilst ignoring that someone else.

Rape is an act of violence; it is about power, not sex. All the while that men are granted power in society at the expense of women, it will be endemic. This is relevant even when the victims are male. Often, they will be feminised, the implication being that weakness and victimhood are a woman's role. To suggest that rape will ever stop being used as a weapon whilst this is acceptable thinking is optimistic at best.

That rape affects both men and women must never be undermined. However, that it does not affect both genders equally should not be forgotten. Rape is about power imbalances, something that gender inequality enables very effectively, even when the victim is male. Negative connotations of femininity allow such an expression of masculinity to prevail regardless. Let us never underestimate the significance of gender equality.

The writer is a student of War Studies at King's College, London

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Java Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

SAP Functional Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000.

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Obama must speak out – Americans are worried no one is listening to them

David Usborne
George Osborne  

Blowing your pension was never a very sensible idea

Andreas Whittam Smith
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn