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Male rape and the careful construction of the male victim

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ruth Graham



Sexual assault generates much attention in social research, but male victims are largely neglected by a predominantly feminist perspective that seeks to highlight the gendered nature of sexual assault as a social phenomenon. As a result there is a relative lack of empirical information on male rape, but it is possible to chart the theoretical development of male rape as a social problem as it emerges in the social research discourse. It is important to examine this development because the current direction of the research on male rape has worrying consequences for how we theorize sexual assault in general. Here I examine how male rape is understood in academic discourse, and I focus specifically on how a credible male victim is constructed with reference to sexual difference, sexuality, and hierarchies of sexual harm. The analysis demonstrates the problems around the concept of 'male rape', and the need for all those researching sexual assault to account adequately for both male and female victims alike. Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publicatons.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham RH

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Social and Legal Studies

Year: 2006

Volume: 15

Issue: 2

Pages: 187-208

ISSN (print): 0964-6639

ISSN (electronic): 1461-7390


DOI: 10.1177/0964663906063571