Not all rape victims are women. We might know this to be true, but it’s a dark side of life that affected one man’s life in Franklin, Tennessee. Out & About Today reports of a victim told police of how he met up with a man who “wanted to be friends” on Grindr, a popular mobile hookup website, who then apparently drugged him and then raped him. When he told his story to Franklin police, he described it as a “degrading and humiliating” experience:
“Just going to the police station was degrading and humiliating,” he says. “With the questions they asked and how they were worded, I just felt nasty. I’m not saying he was a homophobe, but just the way he went about (the questioning process) was uncomfortable.”
Of course, Franklin police are mum on the case as it’s “under investigation.”
This story is disturbing on a number of levels, but it brings up at least two major issues. First, it brings up the fact that yes, there IS such a thing as gay rape, and that it IS a degrading, horrific crime that usually goes completely unreported. Secondly, how many men — gay or not — would be willing to tell police that they allowed another man to violate them against their will?
The fact that this wvictim is a gay man has also brought on some damning comments as well. “What’s a guy with a boyfriend doing on Grindr?” or “He met the guy on Grindr, what did he expect?”
We might as well be saying, “She dressed like that, what did she expect would happen?”
Rape is rape. Period. Any time someone penetrates someone who does not consciously consent to being penetrated, it’s rape. It’s a crime. It’s not a sex act, it is a humiliating act of violence that renders the victim to being completely and utterly degraded.
And we wonder why someone might be too ashamed to report being raped.
These issues are precisely the kinds of issues that led the Federal Bureau of Investigation to radically alter its official definition of rape for the first time since 1929. According to ABC News, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III informed congress of the change last month. The previous definition was both vague and limiting: “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” Mueller acknowledged the fact that it leaves out sexual assaults on men as being “rape.”
“…By definition, sexual attacks on males are excluded from the rape category and must be classified as assaults or other sex offenses depending on the nature of the crime and the extent of injury…That definition was in some ways unworkable, certainly not applicable–fully applicable to the types of crimes that…it should cover,” Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee…
The new definition, as approved by the FBI’s policy group is much more descriptive and fit for the 21st century: “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
This new definition will help to categorize and compile statistics on various types of rape that are not currently being listed or submitted. Unfortunately, it will do little to encourage the men who have been victimized. For them, they must deal with an extraordinary amount of shame that no definition or report can cover; it’s a demon they must face, but often they suppress.
If anything, the unidentified victim in Franklin will remind us all just how deeply personal sex really is, and that we should — nay, we must speak out against those who would take advantage of another human being. We must also come to the aid of those who have been violated. No matter their sex, and no matter their age.