This paper critically explores voluntary agencies’ responses to, and attitudes toward male survivors of rape in England and Wales. There has been a gap in this area, so this paper attempts to fill this gap in knowledge by examining how these survivors experience service delivery and by examining what contributions feminist theory and research has made to understand ‘male rape’. This paper argues that feminist theory and research neglects male rape and this negligence can also be seen in voluntary organisations for survivors. Therefore, through the neglect of male rape, the gender roles of men and women are reinforced instead of being tackled. This paper contributes to knowledge by opening up a discussion on male rape in the academic setting, in feminist theory and research debates, and in research surrounding voluntary agencies. This, in turn, helps to raise awareness of such a ‘hidden’ phenomenon in policy and practice and helps to form a better understanding not only of male rape, but also of the responses and attitudes toward it by voluntary provisions and the wider society.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
If rape crisis centres are given more power without any responsibility on them to attain equality in service provision, it can have serious consequences for male rape survivors.
Secondary victimisation is the re-traumatisation of the rape survivor, abuse, or sexual assault. It is an indirect result of assault, which happens via the responses of institutions and individuals to the survivor when dealing with the survivor after the attack.
The Stern Review (2010) is an independent review, directed by Baroness Stern, that investigates the treatment of rape complaints by local authorities, particularly looking at how such authorities deal with, and respond to survivors of rape.
Abdullah-Khan, N. (2008). Male rape: The emergence of a social and legal issue. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
AHRC, Research Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality. (2006). Response to the Office for Criminal Justice Reform’s Consultation Paper: ‘Convicting Rapists and Protecting Survivors of Rape—Justice for Survivors of Rape.’ Retrieve at http://www.kent.ac.uk/clgs/news-and-events/consultation_responses.html.
Amir, M. (1971). Patterns in forcible rape. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Anderson, I., & Struckman-Johnson, C. (Eds.). (1998). Sexually aggressive women: Current perspectives and controversies. New York: The Guilford Press.
Barrett, M. (1980). Women’s oppression today: Problems in Marxist feminist analysis. In M. Humm (Ed.), Feminisms: A reader. Harvester: Hertfordshire.
Brownmiller, S. (1975). Against our will: Men, women and rape. London: Penguin.
Carpenter, S. (2009). The psychological effects of male rape. [Online]. Retrieve at http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counselloradvice9907.html. Accessed on 09 June 2014.
Christie, N. (1986). The ideal victim. In E. A. Fattah (Ed.), From crime policy to victim policy (pp. 17–30). Basingstoke: MacMillan.
Cohen, C. (2014). Male rape is a feminist issue: Feminism, governmentality, and male rape. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
Connell, R. W. (2005). Masculinities (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.
Davies, M. (2002). Male sexual assault victims: A selective review of the literature and implications for support services. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 7, 203–214.
Donnelly, D., & Kenyon, S. (1996). “Honey we don’t do men”: Gender stereotypes and the provision of services to sexually assaulted males. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 11(3), 441–448.
Duncan, K. (2010). Female sexual predators: Understanding them to protect our children and youths. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers.
Dworkin, A. (1981). Pornography: Men possessing women. London: Women’s Press.
Felson, R. B. (2002). Violence and gender re-examined. Washington, DC: APA.
Felson, R. B., & Krohn, M. (1990). Motives for rape. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 7, 222–242.
Fiebert, M. S., & Tucci, L. M. (1998). Sexual coercion: Men victimized by women. Journal of Men’s Studies, 6(2), 127–133.
Gelsthorpe, L. (1989). Sexism and the female offender. Aldershot: Gower.
Goodey, J. (2005). Victims and victimology: Research, policy and practice. Harlow: Longman.
Groth, A. N., & Burgess, A. W. (1980). Male rape: Offenders and victims. American Journal of Psychiatry, 137(7), 806–810.
Hodge, S., & Canter, D. (1998). Victims and perpetrators of male sexual assault. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13(2), 222–239.
Home Office. (2010). Interim government response to the stern review. London: Government Equalities Office, Home Office. Retrieved from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100418065537/http://equalities.gov.uk/pdf/Response_to_Stern_finalWeb.pdf. Accessed 29 June 2014.
Isley, P. J., & Gehrenbeck-Shim, D. (1997). Sexual assault of men in the community. Journal of Community Psychology, 25(2), 159–166.
Jamel, J. (2010). Researching the provision of service to rape victims by specially trained police officers: The influence of gender—An exploratory study. New Criminal Law Review: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal, 13(4), 688–709.
Javaid, A. (2014a). Male rape: The ‘invisible’ male. Internet Journal of Criminology, pp. 1–49. Retrieved from http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Javaid_Male_Rape_The_Invisible_Male_IJC_Jan_2014.pdf.
Javaid, A. (2014b) Male rape: The unseen world of male rape. Internet Journal of Criminology, pp. 1–42. Retrieved from http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Javaid_The_Unseen_World_of_Male_Rape_IJC_Jan_2014.pdf.
Javaid, A. (2014c). Feminism, masculinity, and male rape: Bringing male rape ‘out of the closet’. Journal of Gender Studies. doi:10.1080/09589236.2014.959479.
Javaid, A. (2014d). Male rape in law and the courtroom. Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 20(2). Available at: http://webjcli.org/article/view/340/434.
Javaid, A. (2015a). The role of alcohol in intimate partner violence: Causal behaviour or excusing behaviour? British Journal of Community Justice, 13(1), 75–92.
Javaid, A. (2015b). The dark side of men: The nature of masculinity and its uneasy relationship with male rape. Journal of Men’s Studies, 23(3), 271–292.
Javaid, A. (2015c). Police responses to, and attitudes towards, male rape: Issues and concerns. International Journal of Police Science and Management, 17(2), 1–10.
Javaid, A. (2015d). Male rape myths: Understanding and explaining social attitudes surrounding male rape. Masculinities and Social Change, 4(3), 270–294.
Javaid, A. (2016). Male rape, stereotypes, and unmet needs: Hindering recovery, perpetuating silence. Violence and Gender, 3(1), 7–13.
Johnson, R. L., & Shrier, D. (1987). Post-sexual victimization by females of male patients in an adolescent medicine clinic population. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144(5), 650–652.
Jones, I. (2000). Cultural and historical aspects of male sexual assault. In G. Mezey & M. King (Eds.), Male victims of sexual assault (pp. 104–115). United States: Oxford University Press.
Kassing, L. R., & Prieto, L. R. (2003). The rape myth and blame-based beliefs of counselors-in-training toward male victims of rape. Journal of Counseling and Development, 81, 455–461.
King, M. (1995). Sexual assaults on men: Assessment and management. British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 53(6), 245–246.
Koss, M., & Harvey, M. (1987). The rape victim: Clinical and community approaches to treatment. Lexington MA: Stephen Green.
Lees, S. (1997). Ruling passions. Sexual violence, reputation and the law. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Lees, S. (2002). Carnal knowledge. Rape on trial. London: The Women’s Press Ltd.
Lockwood, D. (1980). Prison sexual violence. New York: Elsevier North-Holland.
Lundrigan, S., & Mueller-Johnson, K. (2013). Male stranger rape: A behavioral model of survivor–offender interaction. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 40(7), 763–783.
MacKinnon, C. (1989). Feminism unmodified. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Messerschmidt, J. (1993). Masculinities and crime: Critique and reconceptualization of theory. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
Mezey, G. C., & King, M. B. (2000). Male victims of sexual assault. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ministry of Justice. (2014a). New support for male rape and sexual violence victims. London: HMSO.
Ministry of Justice. (2014b). £500,000 to help break the silence for male rape victims. London: HMSO.
Monk-Turner, E., & Light, D. (2010). Male sexual assault and rape: Who seeks counselling? Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, 22(3), 255–265.
Newburn, T., & Stanko, E. (1995). When men are victims: The failure of victimology. In T. Newburn & E. Stanko (Eds.), Just boys doing business: Men, masculinities and crime (pp. 153–165). London: Routledge.
Oliver, B. E. (2007). Preventing female-perpetrated sexual abuse. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 8(1), 19–32.
Owen, J. (1995). Women-talk and men-talk: Defining and resisting victim status. In R. E. Dobash, R. P. Dobash, & L. Noaks (Eds.), Just boys doing business: Men, masculinities and crime (pp. 46–68). London: Routledge.
Pitfield, C. (2013). Male survivors of sexual assault: To tell or not to tell? PhD thesis. Retrieved from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:BBMfwrMnd34J:roar.uel.ac.uk/3442/1/2013_DClinPsych_Pitfield.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&client=safari.
Rentoul, L., & Appleboom, N. (1997). Understanding the psychological impact of rape and serious sexual assault of men: A literature review. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 4(4), 267–274.
Russell, D. I. (1984). Sexual exploitations. USA: Sage.
Sarrel, P. M., & Masters, W. H. (1982). Sexual molestation of men by women. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 11(2), 117–131.
Scarce, M. (1997). Male on male rape: The hidden toll of stigma and shame. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.
Sepler, F. (1990). Victim advocacy and young male victims of sexual abuse: An evolutionary model. In M. Hunter (Ed.), The sexually abused male, Vol. 1: Prevalence, impact, and treatment (pp. 73–85). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
Stanko, E. (1990). Everyday violence. London: Virago.
Stanko, E. A., & Hobdell, K. (1993). Assaults on men: Masculinity and male violence. British Journal of Criminology, 33(3), 400–415.
Stermac, L., Sheridan, P. M., Davidson, A., & Dunn, S. (1996). Sexual assault of adult males. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 11(1), 52–65.
Stern, V. (2010). The stern review. London: Government Equalities Office, Home Office. Retrieved from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100418065537/http://equalities.gov.uk/PDF/Stern_Review_acc_FINAL.pdf. Accessed 26 June 2014.
Vearnals, S., & Campbell, T. (2001). Male victims of male sexual assault: A review of psychological consequences and treatment. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 16(3), 279–286.
Walker, J. (2004). A study of male rape survivors. PhD thesis, University of Central Lancashire.
Walker, J., Archer, J., & Davies, M. (2005). Effects of rape on men: A descriptive analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34(1), 69–80.
Walklate, S. (2004). Gender, crime and criminal justice (2nd ed.). USA and Canada: Willan Publishing.
Washington, P. (1999). Second assault of male survivors of sexual violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14(7), 713–730.
Weiss, K. G. (2010). Male sexual victimisation: Examining men’s experiences of rape and sexual assault. Men and Masculinities, 12(3), 275–298.
My humble thanks go to the anonymous reviewers for their important, valuable and inspiring feedback of the draft manuscript. Thank you.
Conflict of interest
This theoretical and conceptual paper was not funded. The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights statement
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by the author.
About this article
Cite this article
Javaid, A. Voluntary Agencies’ Responses to, and Attitudes toward Male Rape: Issues and Concerns. Sexuality & Culture 20, 731–748 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-016-9348-z