When A Boy Is Raped
In a country where females are thought and treated as less; where cultural and religious beliefs emphasize male superiority and female fragility, daughters endure countless lessons on how to live, breathe, and move in a man’s world while sons are simply taught to be a man. What then happens when sons experience things that are considered unmanly?
The strict adherence to traditional gender stereotypes in Nigeria not only encourages violence and abuse against women but denies men the opportunity and right to be anything but fearless, strong, and invulnerable humans - as expected of them by society. Therefore, in a case where they experience a vile plight like rape or sexual abuse which is traditionally attributed to femininity, the fear of being mocked, dismissed, or considered weak, makes it near impossible for them to speak up. This explains why there’s inadequate data and discussion on male sexual rape and abuse both nationally and internationally.
Although the misogynistic system run in Nigeria means that most men don’t live with the constant fear or threat of sexual and gender-based violence, we must acknowledge the fact that males can and do get raped. Like all children, young male children may be weaker against perpetrators who are stronger or are able to lure and manipulate them, while adult males can also be helpless, unable to fight back, or refuse sex and have their refusal ignored.
To deal with this, we must first do away with our limiting ideas of masculinity; however, this cannot be done by de-emphasizing the violence and bias against women in Nigeria. In fact, by calling out and eliminating the misogynistic and patriarchal culture which enables it, we give credence to the issue of male rape.
Written by Pearl Azu-Okeke
Founder, Consent Haven