When Lara Stemple, a researcher at UCLA looked at the latest National Crime Victimization Survey, she was shocked to see that men experienced rape and sexual assault almost as frequently as women, and that women were often the perpetrators. Once the definition of rape was expanded to include more than just penetration, it became clear that men and women were equally likely to be raped, and more importantly, equally likely to be rapists. Researchers from the University of Missouri got the same results, finding that “43% of high school boys and young college men reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95% said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.”
How can women aggressively rape men? It’s very simple: men do not fight back because they will be the party arrested, as specified under the Violence Against Women Act, which has a mandatory arrest clause that almost always means the man will be arrested, no matter who the primary aggressor happened to be. A man who physically, violently resists unwanted sexual behaviors or any other physical attack from a woman will be arrested, and most men know that. That is why Solange felt perfectly safe slapping, kicking and punching Jay Z. If he lifted a finger in his own defense, he would be the one arrested.
Given that men have no reproductive rights, and given that men will be arrested if they physically resist unwanted sexual aggression from women, it is even more vital that we begin educating men about consent and victimization. But there is no point educating men if we are not going to educate women at the same time. A popular poster campaign suggests that we need to teach men not to rape. Well, okay. As long as we teach women not to rape, too. All rape is bad. No matter who the victim is, no matter who the assailant is. It’s not okay.