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UK research focuses on the hidden issue of women ‘raping’ men in Britain

Research at Lancaster University reveals many men have been forced by women to penetrate them using various strategies, including blackmail, threats, lies and verbal abuse.

world Updated: Jul 31, 2017 08:00 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
rape,Lancaster University,forced to penetrate
The majority of participants who completed the survey reported that they knew the woman, often as an acquaintance or a friend. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Men forcing women to have sex is called rape, but experts have turned their attention to the hidden issue of women forcing men in the United Kingdom to have sex, coining a term to describe it — “forced to penetrate”.

New research at Lancaster University reveals that many men have been forced by women to penetrate them using various strategies, including blackmail, threats, lies, verbal abuse, spreading rumours or threats to end relationships.

Considered a first of its kind research examining the extent of men who have been “forced to penetrate” women, the university said the strategies also extended to the use of force, such as pinning down with bodyweight or having a weapon.

The least frequent strategy was the administration of drugs non-consensually, the research based on experiences of men said.

“Rape” was the most frequent label used to describe the ordeal, despite the law not recognising such cases in this way. “Sex” was used least frequently.

Siobhan Weare of the Lancaster University Law School said: “The term ‘forced to penetrate’ has been coined for these cases because, while they involve non-consensual penile penetration, they do not fall under the offence of rape.

“The offence of rape can only be committed by men due to the requirement of penile penetration of the victim. In ‘forced to penetrate’ cases, the offender is the one being penetrated by a non-consenting victim.”

Weare added that said the findings provided compelling evidence to rebuff two of the most powerful and pervasive stereotypes around men experiencing sexual violence by women — the presumed inability of women to overpower men due to their “weaker” physical stature which means this kind of penetration cannot or does not take place, and because men are taught to value and enjoy sex they must view all sexual opportunities with women as positive – the “lucky boy” syndrome.

The issue, she added, was under-reported and under-discussed. The “hidden-hidden” nature of the crime and the “complex” gender dynamics involved meant that huge numbers of survey participants were highly unlikely – not because this is not happening to men – but because many are made to feel too ashamed or feel too distressed to report it.

The majority of the participants who completed the survey reported that they knew the woman, often as an acquaintance or a friend. Just over half the participants were in or had been in a relationship with the perpetrator.

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 22:17 IST