Starting yesterday, 140 London subway stations are displaying posters for a new campaign encouraging male rape victims to speak out about the crimes against them.
Launched by the group SurvivorsUK, the ads will run during the Six Nations rugby tournament as a way to convey that anyone can be a victim of rape. According to the organization, one man is the victim of a sexual crime every hour in London, but another site says that only 11 percent of men report these crimes.
“We’ve chosen to use an alpha male sport in our advertising to challenge assumptions about the type of men who get raped,” spokesman Michael May said. “It’s just as likely to be a rugby player as a librarian, a suited city banker as a hooded gang member. And we hope that by challenging our innate assumptions about the identity of male victims, we can make it even fractionally easier for a male rape victim to ask for help.”
This campaign could do a lot of good and a lot of bad. The good: it’s important to acknowledge that rape happens to men, too, and removing the stigma of talking about it is a necessary step in stopping it. The bad: the ads insinuate that there is such a thing as a “real man,” a connotation that’s problematic in and of itself. Who is a “real man”? Do “not real men” get raped too? Why is it necessary to use the word “real” at all?
This is a really interesting case. What do you all think?