The Healthy Bear On Sexual Assault And Male Rape

Hey there Guys,

Today  I wanted to talk about the sensitive topic of male rape. A recent post in the Star Observer had reported that a man was sexually assaulted while attending a sex on premise venue, political speak for sauna, in Melbourne.

Police say a male victim was held down in a private room and was sexuality assaulted by two men on Sunday night, September 25.

The scary part for me was that I had a similar experience only recently when visiting a sauna in Brisbane.

I had met with a guy with a bigger and more muscular build than me, and we were having what seemed to be a good time. Sure he was a little rougher then normal but I was rolling with it as it was nothing I felt I could not handle.

At one point he said that he wanted to fuck me and threw me onto my back. I explained to him that it had been a very long time since I had been fucked so to go slow and we’ll see how it goes. I put the condom onto him and tried my best to relax and see how it would be.

On penetration it was rather painful, too painful. It seemed that the guy I was with was not understanding the pained face I was pulling. I said no, this is too painful and said let’s stop.

At this point he pushed in deeper and just grinned. I said stop again and tried to push him away. He was not moving and made no attempt to withdraw. This was when the fear stuck.

It was gut wrenching. I had all sorts of images going through my mind, not sure what to do, and then it hit me that if he wasn’t going to move, I would. I was able to slide back on the bed to get away from him.

Thankfully he still had the condom on, one of the biggest fears in my head. I was able to get up, call the guy a fucking asshole and leave the room.

What pissed me off the most was that the fuck head stood there in the shower telling me that I should have fought back harder and he would have let me fuck him.

I was white hot angey. I wanted to fucking smash his teeth in. I don’t even think he understood that what he had done constituted rape.

So does rape happen to men?

Absolutely. More sobering is the frequency that male rape happens.

Statistics from the Australian Centre for the Study of  Sexual Assault report that in 20o5 alone there were more than 900 sexual assaults on men reported to the police. However, reporting of male sexual assault is considered low for a variety of reasons, as mentioned in the ACSSA’s report “What lies behind the hidden figure of sexual assault?”

Male rape victims are increasingly likely to be represented among sexual assault survivors, who as adults feel more able to disclose incidents that occurred to them as children. Approximately 70 per cent of the male victims represented in the 1992 national survey were assaulted prior to the age of 17, most commonly by family members or other adult male acquaintances. Almost half (47.4 per cent) of the male respondents had, prior to the survey, never disclosed their abuse to anyone.

While men describe similar disincentives to reporting sexual assault, there are other factors that have historically worked against any serious public or legal recognition of the sexual victimisation of men and boys. For example, prior to 1980 in Victoria, the offence of rape was gender-specific – men could only be the offenders of rape, not the victims. Further, prior to the last decade, most studies examining the prevalence of sexual violence have tended to focus almost exclusively on women’s experiences. Any public recognition of the extent to which men and boys experience sexual violence has therefore been minimal. Moreover, male victims have themselves been hesitant to disclose their experiences for fear of being labelled future perpetrators or homosexual, or because they fear being treated as social outcasts, liars or as emotionally weak.

However, in recent years there has been an increasing awareness of sexual violence crossing gender boundaries, particularly in terms of adult men disclosing child sexual assault. The Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Interim Report (2003) indicated that just over one-fifth of reports of penetrative offences such as incest and other sexual assaults against children were made by male victims over the past eight years. Some counsellor/advocates from the Centres Against Sexual Assault also suggested that men were accessing their services in greater numbers than they had in the past and relating experiences of both childhood and adult sexual assault.

The reality is that male on male rape does occur, probably more than we care to admit. Most frightening for me is the thought that it can happen at a sauna, a place I had always thought to be safe, where people relax and enjoy time with other guys.

What is sexual assault and rape?

In Victoria Australia the definition of rape and sexual assault is based around the idea of consent which is defined as free agreement to engage in a sexual act. Sexual attention that is not requested or freely agreed upon means that consent is not present and therefore is a form of sexual assault.

Rape is an older definition used to encompass physical penetration. However, at least in Victoria, you do not have to be physically penetrated for there to have been a sexual assault. Each state’s laws are different.

The overriding factors, at least in Victoria, are:

  • if you are placed into a sexual situation that you do not wish to occur or
  • if the sex is against your will or
  • if you have been drugged, lied to or misguided, then this is against the law and considered sexual assault.

Your right to say no is always present. Even if you are mid-sex, even if you are in the middle of a sex on premise venue. The moment you no longer feel comfortable and wish the sexual attention to stop you have the right to say no, or stop and the attention should cease.

Sadly this is not always the case.

What can be done in a scary situation?

If you find yourself in a situation you are not comfortable with the highest priority is to get out as fast as possible without harm to yourself.

In a sex on premise venue creating noise, screaming to gain the attention of other people around can scare the person enough that they will stop what they are doing and give you a chance to get away. Don’t ever feel afraid to kick, punch or bite to buy time to get away. The idea is not to cause harm but to create a diversion to allow you to get away. As a police friend of mine says…”stun and separate”. Do a quick unexpected act of force that stops the assailant briefly and then get the hell out.

Some people have recommended that if you are in a situation you are not able to get away from, doing whatever you can to make yourself less desirable such as vomiting over yourself may be enough to cool the situation to one where you can escape.

Who to turn to after a sexual assault or situation you are not sure of.

If you have been through an episode of sexual assault it can be a very scary and confusing time. Thankfully each state in Australia has a group that you can contact.

These services are a great place to start as they are able to offer phone advice, counselling and guidance regarding the next steps to take if you have been the victim of an assault, feel uncomfortable about a sexual encounter or would like an open ear to talk about possible issues. They will also be able to assist with medical help and support if you wish to contact the police.

 What are some ways to protect your safety when out and about?

Special thanks to Donovan at the South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault for his fantastic help with some suggestions about personal safety when out and about on the scene.

Probably by far the best advice was to always go with your gut feeling. Your personal intuition is there for a reason and if you are getting a bad feeling about a situation it might be best to avoid it if you can. If you are just unsure the following are some great ideas that may help you if you run into trouble.

  • If you are leaving to visit someone from a pub, club or from your home, make sure you let someone know where you are going. Pass on their name, address and phone number as a protective measure. Some people may have a mate that they check in with and if there is no call organise them to call you to check if you are ok.
  • Always keep an extra bit of cash in a separate pocket or part of your wallet. If you get robbed that cash will enable you to get a taxi if you need to get away.
  • Some recent assaults have occurred where a person will arrive at a person’s home expecting there to be just one person and suddenly there are a number of people.
    Statistics have shown that predatory men can sometimes work in packs. This was clearly demonstrated in the attack I mentioned at the start of this article.
    If you arrive at someone’s place and it’s not what you expect, leave straight away.
  • Drink spiking has been on the increase. Substances like GHB are easier to obtain and very simple to place into people’s drinks.
    I always recommend keeping your drink in your hand. Don’t leave it on the table if you go to the bathroom as you never know what may be done to it.
    If a person you don’t know offers to buy you a drink go to the bar with them and that way you can watch it be poured. If you notice a funny taste in your drink leave it to be on the safe side.
    If at any time you start to feel dizzy, ill, or disorientated, talk to a friend or someone working at the bar to get you help. If you are not around people you know, call a friend on the phone and get their help.
  • Finally if you are the victim of an assault remember that it’s not your fault. Don’t be afraid to get help, the numbers mentioned above are a great place to start.

 Helpful sexual assault websites.

On a final note I just wanted to share some websites that can help if you are looking for more information.

Living Well is a fantastic website with plenty of information for male victims and survivors of sexual assault. This site is Queensland based however its information is fantastic and a perfect place to start.

The South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault has a fantastic page with information specific to male victims of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. They also have an excellent DVD available where men talk openly about their experiences. If you have a good internet connection you can even watch the video on your computer. Be sure to check out Back On Track here.

1 In 6 is a USA based website positioned a little more towards people who have suffered with sexual abuse as children. There are good resources in the website, however I’m not sure this would be the first stop if you have had a recent incident.

Finally Men Thriving is another USA based forum for boys and men who have suffered sexual abuse. If you are looking for peer support in a more anonymous environment this may be a good place to start.

Of course if you have links that you feel should be included, please feel free to send me an email and I’ll make sure they are added to the list.

Finally I’d like to share two info pages for you. The first page is about safe cruising. It is a resource that was created for men who are attending sex on premise venues.
The second resource is information about sexual assault in sex venues.

Guys I know that this has been a bit of a heavy topic however I honestly felt it was an important one. Silence to sexual assault does not help anyone. Standing up for yourself, your rights and your self care are important. I hope that this conversation may enable someone to be able to do this very thing.

Be strong mate, you are worth it. If you need a hand there are people who care and who want to help.

Yours in good health. Dr George

I know it’s not a nice topic but please consider sharing this article. You just never know who you might help. One simple way to do this is to hit the “like” button below.


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