Rape by gender

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This rape by gender article classifies types of rape by the sex of both the rapist and the victim. The scope of the article includes both rape and sexual violence more generally.

Since only a small percentage of acts of sexual violence are brought to the attention of the authorities[citation needed], it is difficult to compile accurate statistics. Often, the statistics of successful convictions are looked at in lieu of this. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (1997) stated that 91% of United States people whose rape accusations resulted in convictions against the accused were female and 9% were male. It also stated that 99% of the people convicted of and imprisoned in response to rape accusations were male, with only 1% of those convicted being female.[1]

A large number of rape cases take place when the victims are below the age of consent, bringing in the problem of child sexual abuse. According to a 2013 report by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28% of victimized straight women and a full 48% of bisexual women experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17.[2]

Many studies argue that male-male and female-female prison rape are quite common and may be the least reported form of rape.[3][4][5]

Rape of females[edit]

Rape of females by males[edit]

In a 2000 research article from the Home Office, in England and Wales, around 1 in 20 women (5%) said that they had been raped at some point in their life from the age of 16 beyond.[6]

In 2011, the US Centers for Disease Control found that "nearly 20% of all women" in the United States suffered rape or attempted rape sometime in their life. More than a third of the victims were raped before the age of 18.[7]

Many rapes by males against females are unreported because of "fear of reprisal from the assailant"[8] and because of "shame...and deep-seated cultural notions that the woman is somehow to blame".[9] Researchers from the University of Surrey estimate that approximately 1 in 7 rapes by males against females are reported.[10]

Pregnancy may result from rape. The rate varies between settings and depends particularly on the extent to which non-barrier contraceptives are being used. A study of adolescents in Ethiopia found that among those who reported being raped, 17% became pregnant after the rape,[11] a figure which is similar to the 15–18% reported by rape crisis centres in Mexico.[12][13] A longitudinal study in the United States of over 4000 women followed for 3 years found that the national rape related pregnancy rate was 5.0% per rape among victims aged 12–45 years, producing over 32,000 pregnancies nationally among women from rape each year.[14] Experience of coerced sex at an early age reduces a woman’s ability to see her sexuality as something over which she has control.[15][16][17][18]

The rape of women by men has been documented as a weapon of terror in warfare.[19]

Rape of females by females[edit]

Female-on-female rape is often labeled "lesbian rape", though the sexual orientation of the persons involved may not actually be lesbian. Assault by forcible stimulation of external sexual female genitalia or forced penetration by another woman is possible with the use of strap-ons, other dildos, other foreign objects such as the use of the tongue (inserted or external) in forced oral sex, or forced digital manipulation, and non-consensual tribadism.

A few books, such as Violent Betrayal: Partner Abuse in Lesbian Relationships by Dr. Claire M. Renzetti,[20] No More Secrets: Violence in Lesbian Relationships by Janice Ristock,[21] and Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence: Does She Call It Rape? by Lori B. Girshick[22] also cover the topic of rape of women by other women.

Rape of males[edit]

Main article: Male rape

Rape of males by males[edit]

Although several major rape cases against men have been exposed in the media, rape is still widely thought of as a crime against women.[23] The cultural stigma against the crime inhibits male victims from reporting cases and seeking help, but the federal government now includes a broader definition for rape. The former definition of "forcible rape" focused on vaginal penetration, but the newer definition includes forcible anal or oral penetration. The old definition, "the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will," did not include forcible oral or anal penetration, the rape of women with other objects or the rape of a man.[24] This new definition encourages male rape victims to seek the help they need and concurrently include sexual assaults that previously were not covered by the definition of rape. The basis for changing this definition lies in the statistics provided by governmental institutions such as the United States Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study done by the CDC found that 1 in 71 men had been raped or had been the target of attempted rape. This study included oral and anal penetration in its definition and did not include men in prison.[23]

Male-on-male rape has historically been shrouded in secrecy due to the stigma associated with males being raped by other males. According to psychologist Dr. Sarah Crome, fewer than 1 in 10 male-male rapes are reported. As a group, male rape victims reported a lack of services and support, and legal systems are often ill-equipped to deal with this type of crime.[25]

Research from the UK suggests that almost 3% of men reported a non-consensual sexual experience as adults and over 5% of men reported sexual abuse as a child.[26] This does not take into account the possibility of underreporting. Recognition of male on male rape in law has historically been limited; the first successful prosecution for attempted male on male rape in the UK was not until 1995.

Several studies argue that male-male prisoner rape, as well as female-female prisoner rape, are common types of rape which go unreported even more frequently than rape in the general population.[3][4][5]

The rape of men by men has been documented as a weapon of terror in warfare.[27]

Rape of males by females[edit]

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, female on male rape accounted for 0.2% of all known and convicted rapes in the United States.[28]

Two myths that men are not able to be raped by women include: Men always want sex, so women do not have to force themselves on men, and men must be aroused to have an erection.[29] However, much like female erectile response, male erectile response is involuntary,[30][31] meaning that a man need not be aroused for his penis to become erect and be placed in a woman's vagina; mechanical stimulation is all that is necessary. Arousal and stimulation are not the same thing. Stimulation is a physical response to a stimulus. For example, when a person steps on another person's toe, the stimulation felt is pain and there is nothing that can be done about this. Men can be physically stimulated without feeling aroused and thus causing an erection. Men can be scared and intimidated into one, especially if the person is older or an authority.[29]

Male victims of sexual abuse by females[32] often face social, political, and legal double standards.[33][34] Gender-neutral laws have combated the perception that rape rarely occurs to men,[35] and other laws have eliminated the term rape altogether.[36] In 1978 in the UK, Joyce McKinney was sentenced to 12 months in prison for forcing a man to have sex with her while chained up. With the prospect of male sexual victimization presenting itself in the media, the primary myths and facts about rape against can be accessible to the public. Many of the myths about male sexual victims are centered on cultural and sexual stereotypes that a proportion of society holds against victims. Some of the major myths about male sexual victims include the following: boys and men cannot be victims, most sexual abuse of boys is committed by gay males, boys are less traumatized than girls, and physical arousal by boys means that they were willingly participating in the encounter.[37] Each of these myths can be countered by sociological, psychological and scientific evidence.

Several widely publicized cases of female-on-male statutory rape in the United States involved school teachers raping their underage students. Federal law states that the age of consent in the United States is 18 nationally, but may range from 16-18 within differing states. Under federal law, any sexual encounters between adults and minors under the age of consent is considered sexual assault. (See, for example, Mary Kay Letourneau or Debra Lafave.)

Some cases in the United States have received increased attention and sparked awareness within the population. Sometimes referred to as "made to penetrate" cases, male rape victims are made to engage in penetration of the female without proper consent. Many times the male victims are under the influence of drugs or alcohol or being held in life threatening positions. The case of Cierra Ross[38] sexually assaulting a man in Chicago gained national headlines and Ross was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and armed robbery with a bail set at $75,000. Cases like this one are often described as "unusual" or "uncommon." In the case of a female being a victim of sexual assault, the male criminal could face up to a life sentence in prison, whereas the punishment for a female rapist is far less severe. A similar case includes James Landrith.[39]

Since most studies have found that people tend to blame the victim of rape for the incident, a study called Gender Differences in Attributions of Blame for Male Rape Victims in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence focused on where the blame lies in rape cases. In cases of female rape victims, a higher proportion of males than females tend to blame the victim for the sexual assault. In order to show whether males or female respondents blamed the rape victim at a higher rate, this study utilized a story of a man being raped to see if the blame was placed on the victim or the assaulter. After performing the experiment, researchers found that a statistically significant proportion of males tend to blame the victim, even when the rape victim is a male.[40] This study implies that even in cases of male sexual victimization, the male victims are held responsible for the assault by the majority of the uninvolved population.


  1. ^ "Sex Offenses and Offenders". United States Department of Justice/bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov. pp. 5 and 8. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Heavey, Susan (January 25, 2013). "Data shows domestic violence, rape an issue for gays". Reuters. Retrieved October 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Human Rights WatchNo Escape: Male Rape In U.S. Prisons. Part VII. Anomaly or Epidemic: The Incidence of Prisoner-on-Prisoner Rape.; estimates that 100,000–140,000 violent male-male rapes occur in U.S. prisons annually.
  4. ^ a b Robert W. Dumond, "Ignominious Victims: Effective Treatment of Male Sexual Assault in Prison," August 15, 1995, p. 2; states that "evidence suggests that [male-male sexual assault in prison] may a staggering problem"). Quoted in Mariner, Joanne; (Organization), Human Rights Watch (2001-04-17). No escape: male rape in U.S. prisons. Human Rights Watch. p. 370. ISBN 978-1-56432-258-6. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Struckman-Johnson, Cindy; Struckman-Johnson, David (2006). "A Comparison of Sexual Coercion Experiences Reported by Men and Women in Prison". Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21 (12): 1591–1615. doi:10.1177/0886260506294240. ISSN 0886-2605. PMID 17065656. ; reports that "Greater percentages of men (70%) than women (29%) reported that their incident resulted in oral, vaginal, or anal sex. More men (54%) than women (28%) reported an incident that was classified as rape."
  6. ^ Rape and sexual assault of women: findings from the British Crime Survey. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-10-01.
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  12. ^ Evaluacio´n de proyecto para educacio´n, capacitacio´n y atencio´n a mujeres y menores de edad en materia de violencia sexual, enero a diciembre 1990. [An evaluation of a project to provide education, training and care for women and minors affected by sexual violence, January–December 1990.] Mexico City, Asociación Mexicana contra la Violencia a las Mujeres, 1990.
  13. ^ Carpeta de información básica para la atención solidaria y feminista a mujeres violadas. [Basic information file for mutually supportive feminist care for women rape victims.] Mexico City, Centro de Apoyo a Mujeres Violadas, 1985.
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  17. ^ Roosa, M. W.; Tein, J. Y.; Reinholtz, C.; Angelini, P. J. (1997). "The relationship of childhood sexual abuse to teenage pregnancy". Journal of Marriage and the Family 59 (1): 119–130. JSTOR 353666. 
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  20. ^ Renzetti, Claire M. Violent Betrayal: Partner Abuse in Lesbian Relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1992, ISBN 0-8039-3888-8.
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  22. ^ Girshick, Lori B. Woman-to-Woman Sexual Violence: Does She Call It Rape? (The Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and the Law). Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2000, ISBN 1-55553-527-5.
  23. ^ a b Rabin, Roni Caryn (23 January 2012). "Men Struggle for Rape Awareness". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  24. ^ Savage, Charlie (2012-01-06). "U.S. to Expand Its Definition of Rape in Statistics". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
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  28. ^ "Sex Offenses and Offenders". p. 11. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
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  32. ^ Barbara Krahé; Renate Scheinberger-Olwig; Steffen Bieneck (2003). "Men's Reports of Nonconsensual Sexual Interactions with Women: Prevalence and Impact". Archives of Sexual Behavior 32 (5): 165. doi:10.1023/A:1022456626538. 
  33. ^ Myriam S. Denov (2004). Perspectives on female sex offending: a culture of denial. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-7546-3565-9. 
  34. ^ "Male Sexual Victimization Myths & Facts". malesurvivor.org. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  35. ^ Rape – Overview; Act and Mental State, Wayne R. LaFave Professor of Law, University of Illinois, "Substantive Criminal Law" 752-756 (3d ed. 2000)
  36. ^ See, for example, Michigan Statutes for the first degree felony, section 520b, "(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree if he or she engages in sexual penetration of another person."
  37. ^ "Male Sexual Victimization Myths & Facts". MaleSurvivor. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  38. ^ "Cierra Ross, Chicago Mom, Charged With Raping Man At Gunpoint". huffingtonpost.com. 2013-09-06. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  39. ^ "Against his will: The reality of male rape". CNN.com. 2013-10-10. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  40. ^ Whatley, Mark A. and Ronald E. Riggio. (1993). Gender Differences in Attributions of Blame for Male Rape Victims. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 8(4), 502-511. doi:10.1177/088626093008004005)