In an article in the Guardian, journalist Will Storr reports about the invisibility of men as victims of rape in war-torn African countries. He talks to survivors in Uganda, whose experiences are not only horrific, but are endured in silence and fear of being discovered.
Storr explains that rape is often used as a brutal weapon of war, but not exclusively against women as is commonly thought. Men run great risks if they admit that they have been raped: police may think they are homosexual–a crime in most African countries–and arrest them. Wives and family may leave and shun them, thinking they have lost their ability to be men. And if they do approach organizations for help, they are often rejected by NGOs and UN initiatives, whose mandates are focused on women only.
Underlying much of these issues in dealing with the rape of men has to do with the ideas of gender and the nature of this kind of violence. The article states that gender roles in African societies tend to be rigid and traditional in their concepts of masculinity, and a man who has been raped does not fit those concepts. However, the organizations that serve war-stricken areas perpetuate the invisibility of this violence against men by failing to acknowledge that it happens when they do encounter it. These groups function according to the the idea that women are the only victims, and that men are only perpetrators of rape.
The rest of the article can be found here.
Storr’s photographs from his trip to Uganda can be found here.