Male Rape Myths: Understanding and Explaining Social Attitudes Surrounding Male Rape
This paper provides a critical review of the literature surrounding male rape, aimed at exploring how male rape myths shape society’s responses and attitudes to male victims of rape and integrates the literature from a theory driven perspective. In doing so, this theoretical paper reveals information relating to the barriers to recognition of male rape. These barriers are male rape myths that prevent male rape victims from coming forward and seeking the support that they merit. There has been a lack of research on male rape myths, although some research has documented such myths to be present in practice. These myths could be harmful because they may influence societies’ opinions of male rape victims, so this could affect the treatment and responses toward such victims. To understand and explain such myths so some attempt can be made at eradicating them, this paper will explore common male rape myths that seem to be prevalent in Western society. This paper will examine male rape myths in the areas of media, incarcerated settings, and the wider community, focusing on England and Wales, UK. This is important to do to recognise which myths are harmful and are facilitating the under-reporting of male rape. This paper will help raise awareness of male rape myths and not only attempt to tackle them, but also encourage male rape victims to come forward to report and seek the help that they merit. It will also address the gaps in the literature and areas ripe for research, so further empirical research can be conducted on male rape, highlighting ideas for future research and providing guidance in areas most needed in research on male rape.
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