Human Rights, Movement, Politiks

The untold story of raped men


Most males who have been victims of a rape do not ask for help.  In some areas, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, sexual assaults on men are used as weapons of war and are a serious violation of human rights.


Miriam Valero

Similar to women, men are also victims of rape and are robbed of their human rights by oppressive individuals who leave them in such a way that they are never the same people they were before the assault.

Society generally associates rape with the sexual assault of women, which means the cases where men are the victims remain hidden.  Added to this, is the shame involved for many men in facing up to the reality of the assault, for which the statistics do not reflect the majority of the cases which remain forever hidden in the minds of the victims.

According to the study “An Analysis of Empirical Estimates of Sexual Aggression, Victimisation and Perpetration, Violence and Victims” carried out by Dr Brian H. Spitzberg, 3% of the global male population has suffered a rape throughout their life compared with 13% of women who have been victims of the same nature.

Although in reality, male assaults are fewer in number than those suffered by women; experts state that the extent of male rapes are significant and even very high depending on the countries.

Male assaults are reported worldwide.  These are sometimes carried out by others of their own sex and in other cases, by women.  Both male and female reproductive organs as well as sharp and cutting instruments are used to carry out the assaults.

Weapons of War

One of the greatest horrors of rape is when it is used as a weapon of war in conflict countries as in the current Democratic Republic of Congo and the Syrian war.

Some of the countries which have reported a widespread incidence in the cases of rape used as a weapon of war on the male population have been Sri Lanka, Iran, Chile, El Salvador, Greece, Croatia and Kuwait, according to the study “Male rape and human rights” carried out by Lara Stemple, director of the Health and Human Rights Law Project at the University of California.  According to information contained in the report, 76% of political prisoners from the 80s, in El Salvador, admitted having suffered sexual assaults.  Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka during the Civil War, 21% of male prisoners admitted the same, adding other assaults such as genital mutilation to the rapes.

Similarly, a study carried out in the concentration camps in Sarajevo during the Yugoslavian war brought to light that 80% of prisoners had suffered sexual assaults, which included forced incest.

Congo: Hell

The former General Vice Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Johm Holmes stated that “Sexual violence in the Congo is the worst in the world.” These words not only referred to the high rates of sexual violence which are reported in the country but also to the impunity of the perpetrators.

This country is one of the few in which the percentage of rapes on men and women are evident.  A study by the “Journal of the American Medical Association” estimates that 22% of men in the East of the country have suffered a rape compared with 30% of women.

These chilling statistics add to the testimonies by raped men who tell how they were assaulted by groups of men when they were alone; they were thrown to the ground and were repeatedly raped by the group of men.

The perpetrators in the Democratic Republic of Congo belong to both rebel groups and the country’s government.

The perpetrators see their actions as war victories or as a premeditated strategy to weaken the enemy, as the victims belong to other ethnic groups.

It must be highlighted that the rapists and perpetrators in this country enjoy impunity given that in most cases they reoffend without even one going to prison.


One of the latest conflicts where they are using rape against men as a weapon of war is in the conflict in Syria.

A recent report by the United Nations Human Rights Council concerning the oppression by Bachar El Assad showed how men detained by government forces had been “subjected to blows to the genitals, forced oral sex, electroshocks and cigarette burns to the anus”.

Meanwhile, the recent study, “I wanted to die, Syria’s torture survivors speak out” carried out by Amnesty International through gathering testimonies of Syrian citizens, indicates how military forces rape the rebels with broken bottles and sharp objects.


Outside Conflict Countries

On other occasions, rapes are carried out for superstitious or fetish motives.  This is the case in Zimbabwe, where a large increase in male rapes carried out by women, were reported last year.

According to a study by the University of Zimbabwe, women who commit these crimes in the country, work with businessmen and assault the citizens in order to obtain their sperm and concoct potions in order to be successful in business.

In this case, the assaults were committed by injecting narcotics into the male’s body for his subsequent rape.

In some countries such as the USA, men have not been included in the definition of rape, until recently.  The old definition referred to it as “the carnal knowledge of a woman, forcibly and against her will.”

The new definition which includes male victims was approved at the beginning of the year, with the text “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Before this change took place, rape statistics did not include men.  However, according to the “National Crime Victimization Survey” it is estimated that 11% of the country’s rape victims had been men.

In the case of Great Britain, a study carried out by the School of Medicine at the University of London assured that 3% of men had been victims of rape, although it indicates that the actual figures will be much higher due to victims remaining silent.

To put an end to situations such as this, humanitarian organisations such as Amnesty International have asked the International Criminal Court (CPI) to “ interpret and apply (the legislation) to men and women equally concerning crimes of rape and sexual violence, as required by its own statutes and as a matter of international rights of human rights.”



(Translated by Louise Jefferson – Email:




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