n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Male rape : a real crime with real victims

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Whilst one would not expect the incidence of male rape to approach that of female rape in our society, the finding is that it is not so rare an event as would appear from the reported incidents. Unfortunately, the underreporting of the crime supports the general acknowledgement as established fact that rape is almost exclusively a crime against women and children.

This is extremely unfortunate, as the effects of male rape are manifold and far-reaching.
  1. Male victims make it clear that the rape on its own is stressful. This strain is then exacerbated by the scepticism of family members, peers, police and the judicial system.
  2. Rape is commonly misconstrued to be a sexually motivated crime and it is assumed that males are unlikely targets of such victimisation. That he was a victim is sometimes linked to questions being raised around the victim's own sexual orientation.
  3. It not uncommon for a victim of a rape to ejaculate during the assault. In misidentifying ejaculation with orgasm, the victim is often discouraged from reporting the assault for fear that his sexuality may become suspect.
  4. Further disruption in the male victim's lifestyle has been evidenced by eating and sleeping disorders, psychological reactions, drug and/or alcohol abuse, social reactions, and sexual changes.
  5. Finally, there is the reality of rape trauma syndrome symptoms.
Under South African law, rape is, by definition, gender specific. Despite the Constitutional guarantees to equality, as far as men are concerned in South Africa, the law of rape does not apply. In an attempt to remedy the dissonance, the South African Law Commission was tasked with developing relevant legislation. In its final proposals it has presented for approval, a definition of rape consonant with the Constitutional guarantees is being put forward.
Other international jurisdictions have already introduced similar legislation.

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