Trigger warning due to discussion of rape of both men and women. Also, spoilers for Game of Thrones.
This is a post I’ve been holding off for a while now because I’ve been worried of accidentally offending victims of rape. I’m sorry if I have and please call me out if I have done so. Also, if the moderators don’t think this is relevant for observation Deck, please tell me and I’ll quickly remove it.
Discussing male rape on Jezebel isn’t new, the site has addressed the issue several times over. However, for whatever reason, commenters seem to be completely unaware of the idea. In a recent article about how little protection US military victims get, despite the article mentioning both men and women, the comments only focused on women and completely ignore men. The exception being one commenter making fun of male rape victims and another calling him/her out because of it. This despite the fact that 56% of rape victims in the US military are men.
This by no way means that we ignore or diminish the tragedy and blight of women rape survivors. We should do more and make sure people are aware about what’s happening. I just feel that male rape often gets ignored or is used for comedy by many people who should know better.
Part of the problem I feel is that male rape is almost never depicted in our fiction to the point that some writer seem to be completely oblivious to the idea that men can be raped and consider it something that only happens to women. Why else is it only women who get raped in GOT? Why else would we not have writers trying to be, “dark and edgy” and have Ramsey rape Theon? Not only does this continue a nasty stereotype for both genders, but it makes it harder for people discuss male rape when he was torturing him?
But even when male rape is depicted, it is often treated as either something to mock like prison rape jokes or is completely ignored. Let’s take comics for example. In 2004, Nightwing (aka the first Robin), was brutally raped by superhero Tarantula. Not only is the rape never mentioned again, but the comic writer decided that to put these two into a relationship. Worse, is that many fans claim it wasn’t really rape. This despite Nightwing saying “don’t touch me” and him obviously trying to get away, but unable to do so. Hell, it took over 10 years for someone involved in the comic to address it.
People rightly call out writers and artists for the crap that they’ve put the women superheroes through. Sue Dibny’s rape in Identity Crisis is often credited as being one of DC’s lowest points because it was quite frankly, f***ing disgusting and gross. But when male superheroes are raped, it never makes news. People never mention when Batman was raped by Talia Al Ghul to conceive a child, or when Bruce Banner was nearly raped at the YMCA, or Peter Parker being raped twice (once as a child and the other by an Insect Queen), or Green Arrow, or Constantine, or Superman etc. Hell, in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 2, Mr Hyde rapes the Invisible Man to death and is not only not punished for it, but rewarded for it.
I also again don’t mean that we should only focus on male rape. Of course not. People should rightly call out shitty writers for misusing rape and I really hope the recent backlash from Game of Thrones has made writers think twice before using rape to be, “dark and edgy” or as development for male characters.
I just want to see that same backlash happen when the same happens when male are raped in fiction so we can finally get rid of this idea of rape being this dark and edgy subject you use to be more adult. But instead, something that when it is brought up, given the seriousness, gravitas and sincerity needed to make it work. Outside of fiction, we need to remember that rape can happen to anyone and disavowing knowledge of male rape victims isn’t helping anyone.
I’m sorry for being incredibly depressing in the post and many of my recent ones. I’ll try to make it up to you guys somehow.