“Men’s rights” and male sexual assault

[Content warning: References to sexual violence, no vivid descriptions or imagery.]

[Epistemic status: I’m uncertain what the standard of evidence for believing sexual harassment allegations should be—I had a post arguing for a weak standard of evidence before, which has since been taken down because of increasing uncertainty. I should also note that the feminist movement has by no means been perfect in this respect, but my guess is that it’s been better than the men’s rights movement, on balance.]

[Update: The 2–10 percent statistic has serious problems, summarized here and here, and if I had the chance to rewrite the piece, I wouldn’t use it.]

My article for Feminism in India about how the men’s rights movement hurts male survivors of sexual assault has been published. You can view it here. Here’s an excerpt:

The same principles that these organizations apply to women and non-binary people, in terms of disbelief of accusations and outing their identities, also apply to men who have been sexually assaulted.


[P]atriarchal systems of oppression – which men’s rights movements declare as illusory or non-existent – also oppress male survivors of sexual assault. Masculine gender socialisation means that men are taught that they cannot be ‘vulnerable’ or ‘powerless’ and thus cannot be sexually assaulted. Pop culture displays male sexual assault as something to be mocked. A study by Whatley and Riggio in 1993 found that male survivors are likely to be blamed for what happened to them. In short, patriarchal norms of ‘masculinity’ and ‘aggression’ have spread myths about the existence of male sexual assault that make it hard for male survivors.

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