This article was originally published on April 8, 2013.
Over the weekend a young man came forward to the police to file a report of a sexual assault that occurred early on March 31. The 19 year old told police that he had been out and upon leaving a club in Toronto’s Entertainment District he was offered a ride from four women. Instead of dropping him off, the four women took him to a parking lot and each sexually assaulted him. The police are looking for four white women between 30 and 36 around 5’4″ and between 190 and 200lbs who were out in a Honda SUV on the night of March 30.
The story has made the rounds of all the major news outlets.
The response from some cretins on social media has been jaw-droppingly ignorant and abusive towards the victim.
One might think that, with the Steubenville rape case barely gone from the cultural rearview mirror, in 2013 people may have learned how to better approach rape cases in a helpful and supportive way. Instead the young victim is being told:
1. It is funny that he was raped.
2. He should consider himself lucky.
3. He wasn’t raped because men can’t get raped.
4. It is his own fault and he is to blame.
These attitudes are not only disgustingly ignorant and wrong, but they perpetuate these same dusty old antiquated ideas for future generations and prevent victims from getting help and keep them suffering in silence.
It is hard to think of a famous case where a man was sexually assaulted because people — society, the media — openly laugh at male victims of sex crimes and these cases don’t make it to light. We don’t need to look any further than Adam Sandler’s recent attemptThat’s My Boy to see an example of a male victim of sexual assault being treated as lucky and the situation as a funny non-issue. It is no wonder that it took this young man until April 5 to go to police: there are almost no resources for male victims of sex crimes and everything out there on the matter completely delegitimises his experience.
Even Nicole Pietsch of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres took the opportunity while being interviewed by the Toronto Sun about this case to say that “statistically and anecdotally [rape] is a crime experienced mostly by women, and the offenders tend to be male.” Her statement has no bearing on the case of the young man who was raped other than to reaffirm notions that this case is an oddity and men aren’t victims, notions that keep victims (like this young man and others) from coming forward and seeking justice for their rape.
This young man is so amazingly brave to go to police with his story.
The reaction on social media has been downright disturbing, with a limitless number of heartfelt LOLs and LMAOs from people like this, who seem to think it is totally okay to laugh at a real human person being gang raped:
To ignorant misunderstanding of the basic idea that men can be victims of rape from people like AHL defenseman Mike Banwell from the Springfield Falcons:
The chatter is easy to breakdown into the four basic categories of dismissal listed above, along with a category specific to this case where we are told that the rape victim wouldn’t have been “raped” when the four attacked abducted him and sexually assaulted him in a secluded parking lot if they weren’t as fat.
Here are some of the most retch-worthy tweets, responses, and Reddit comments.
It’s funny that he was raped
Men can’t get raped
Old fashioned victim blaming
This guy, who manages to be offensive to gays, women, and the victim, really takes the cake:
It wouldn’t have been rape if they weren’t chubby
If you’ve made it this far down just be warned that after reading all that garbage it may take some time for your faith in humanity to return.
Join our conversation on Twitter and Facebook about why these attitudes are bad and rape is not okay, regardless of the sex of the victim.