Double Standard on Sexual Assault? Twitter Reacts to Case Alleged Against Four Women Involving a Man
April 8, 2013
True: Toronto police are searching for four heavy-set, short women in black miniskirts who they allege sexually assaulted a 19-year-old man in the city’s entertainment district last Friday. Also true: Some people think that’s funny.
According to police, the man met the four women in a nightclub and hung out with them for a few hours. But when he accepted their offer of a ride home, they drove him to a nearby parking lot and sexually assaulted him before speeding off without him. The man didn’t require hospitalization.
The police described the assailants as being in their 30s, white, dressed in high heels and black dresses and all were thought to weigh between 190 and 200 pounds. They say the driver may have been British and has a distinctive butterfly tattoo on the back of her neck.
“The details are serious. This is not something to be taken lightly,” Toronto Constable Wendy Drummond said.
And yet, perhaps predictably for a world that often fails to take the sexual assault of women by men very seriously, there are those who find the idea of the alleged assault to be hilarious. “LOL,” one tweeter said. “LMAO,” another one said. “Only in Toronto,” another said. And, of course, “Who’s the lucky guy?”
It’s not funny, but it is odd. Women are far more likely to be sexually assaulted than men, and virtually all the most serious forms of sexual assault are committed against women and girls, and, to a lesser extent, boys aged 3-14. As well, vast majority of all sexual assaults are perpetrated by men.
One Toronto Police Services constable put it this way: “Although the majority generally is females that are victims or complainants, it is not completely unusual for a male to be the victim of a sexual assault.”
So it is rare, at best, and it also carries a social stigma. It takes a confident man to acknowledge he has been sexually assaulted by a woman. Sexual assault is about power, not sex, and men don’t generally want it known that they have been overpowered by a woman.
As usual, the cruel comments on Twitter have provoked their own backlash, especially on Reddit. “Rape is rape, doesn’t matter if it’s male-female or female-male,” a typical poster said. If only.