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Rape is rape regardless of gender

By River Reporter Apr 30, 2013


Why is it that a man cannot be raped by a woman according to British law?

Sofia Capel

According to British law, a woman can’t rape a man. This indicates skewed perceptions of how power and sexuality works between men and women.

Rape is defined by a man penetrating the vagina, anus or mouth of another person with his penis without that person’s consent. 

Penetration with fingers or tools is not counted as rape, but assault – just like causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent is not fully counted as ‘rape’.

Words affect how we view sex

When we learn about sex we are told that the penis penetrates the vagina, rather than the vagina enclosing the penis.

It is not merely a question of how we phrase it; this is how we view sex: men as active and women as passive. In the same way men are viewed as perpetrators and women as victims.

Although the vast majority of reported rapes are carried out by men towards women, we must never forget that there are exceptions to the rule. 

Don’t belittle it

When a man is raped it is just as real as when it happens to a woman. So, why make it less serious by calling it something else? It only exacerbates the prejudice that men are never weak and untouchable to women.

According to the law, rape can only happen in one way. But in real life rape can happen to anyone, by anyone.

And while rape can occur in a number of ways and therefore should be recognised as such, there is only one type of rape: the unacceptable – regardless of gender.

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