Rape is not exclusively a crime of violence against women. While the majority of reported rapes do involve a male perpetrator and a female victim, anyone of either gender can commit rape against another person of either gender.
Accusations of Rape
A Hennepin man has been held on $100,000 bond in the Garvin County jail since March 22, when he was arrested on a first degree rape complaint. Investigators say Marshall Shawn Williams, 52, admitted to investigators that he used promises of food and shelter in order to lure men away from the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission.
He then demanded sex in exchange for meals and a place to stay. Last month, a 21-year-old homeless man contacted law enforcement to report that Williams raped him. The man told investigators that he was staying at the shelter when the suspect approached him and offered him work. The man went with Williams to his home, where Williams allegedly told him, "I already love you." Uninterested in the suspect's overtures, the man says he told Williams he wanted to leave.
Instead of letting him go, Williams allegedly told the man, "You're not going anywhere until I'm done with you." His accuser says Williams held him against his will, threatening him with a gun, tying him up, forcing him to take drugs, and repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting him. The man was eventually able to escape and get help.
An online court records search for Garvin County does not yet show formal charges against the suspect, but based upon the accusations, he could face one or more of several felony charges:
- First degree rape
- Forcible sodomy
- Sexual battery
- Assault with a dangerous weapon
- Use of a firearm in the commission of a felony
National Rape Statistics
According to the CDC's 2010 National Intimate Partner Violence Survey, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetimes. While there is a significant difference between the percentage of women (18%) and men (1%) who are raped, one percent is not nothing. In fact, if only one percent of the 151.4 million men living in the United States are raped, that means 1.4 million men will be raped in their lifetimes.
Other statistics show a closer gap. In the aforementioned survey, men were unlikely to identify themselves as victims of rape. However, if they were asked whether they had been "made to penetrate"--in other words, forced to have nonconsensual sex--the number of men and women who have been raped became very similar: 1.270 million women and 1.267 million men reported being raped or "made to penetrate" in the year prior to the study.
One reason that it is difficult to pinpoint the number of people who have been raped is that rape and sexual assault are notoriously underreported--especially among men. A study in JAMA Pediatrics reports that around the age of 18 or 19, the percentage of males and females who perpetrate sexual violence becomes similar: 52% of men and 48% of women instigate unwanted sexual acts.
Although men are sexually assaulted at a similar rate according to these statistics, they are far less likely to report an incident, often failing to see the act as a crime.
Let's take an example of sexual battery, for example. A man and a woman meet at a party and have a few drinks. While the man is interested in pursuing a relationship, the woman is not. He is persistent, perhaps even aggressive.
Although she has politely declined his advances, he grabs her, kissing her and groping her. Upset, the woman breaks away and tells her friends the man assaulted her. The incident is reported to police, and he is arrested for sexual battery.
But if you reverse the scenario, the outcome is likely to be much different: A man and a woman meet at a party and have a few drinks. While the woman is interested in pursuing a relationship, the man is not. She is persistent, perhaps even aggressive.
Although he has politely declined her advances, she grabs him, kissing him and groping him. Upset, the man breaks away. He may or may not tell his friends. If he does, he will try to play it off, and he is unlikely to define what happened as sexual battery. Both men and women are accused of making unwanted sexual advances, committing sexual battery, and even perpetrating rape.
While the law should be the great equalizer, gender bias may play a role in prosecuting cases of rape and sexual assault. Anyone accused of a sex crime must retain competent legal defense against criminal charges.