n Ubuntu : Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation - Male rape or consensual sex : hidden hegemonic masculinities by Zulu speaking men with disabilities

Volume 8 Number Special Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-760X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4950



Male rape is a phenomenon that is assumed to be rampant in warzones and prisons, where the perpetrator is commonly a man. In contrast, male rape where the perpetrator is a woman in the domestic space is still ambiguously conceptualised across cultures, largely because of the hegemonic masculinities embedded in society. Written from a hidden masculinities approach, this paper seeks to explore and conceptualise how Zulu speaking men with disabilities perceive their experiences of sex with their female caregivers. Qualitative data used in this paper was drawn from focus group discussions conducted in a community engagement project, titled 'gender-based violence among people with disabilities in South Africa'. This paper contributes to gender studies on consensual sex, male rape and masculinity debate by exploring the contradictions that exist on how Zulu speaking men with disabilities respond to sexual acts that take place between them and their female care givers. They argue that their families' and communities' understanding of their sexual relationships with their caregivers, as gender-based violence and male rape is a misperception. Thus, to resist this, they argue that what communities refer to as 'rape of men with disabilities by female care givers' is not actually rape; but consensual sex. To justify their argument, they use the Zulu masculine perspective that a man does not turn down sexual advances by a woman.

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