Silent Suffering: The Invisible Plight of Male Rape Victims in Ghana

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Men in Ghana are enduring the trauma of rape in silence, as the prevailing societal belief denies their victimhood. Despite the harrowing experiences faced by these men, the country’s constitution explicitly states that men cannot be raped, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

And because it’s hardly spoken about, there is no statistics to show the number of men raped. But it’s becoming a big social issue. The National Alliance To End Sexual violence suggests that about 14% of reported rapes involve men or boys, and that 1 in 6 reported sexual assaults is against a boy and 1 in 25 reported sexual assaults is against a man.

The widespread societal disbelief in male rape victims has created an environment where men are afraid to come forward and seek justice for the heinous crimes committed against them. The prevailing misconception perpetuates the notion that only women can be victims of sexual assault, leaving male survivors without the necessary support systems and resources.

Numerous cases have emerged where men, both young and old, have fallen victim to rape at the hands of both girls and grown women. These victims, already burdened by the trauma of the assault, face additional threats and intimidation, preventing them from seeking help or reporting the crimes. The absence of legal recognition for male rape further exacerbates their suffering.

The Ghanaian constitution, while providing protection against sexual assault for women, fails to acknowledge that men can also be victims of rape. This legal loophole allows perpetrators to act with impunity, knowing that their actions will likely go unpunished due to the prevailing societal views.

Bernard, an Accra-based accountant, recounted how his elder step-sister used to rape him.

“She used to visit my room when no one was around and forcefully have sex with me. It was traumatizing because I had to deal with it every day because my step mum was always at the shop selling. But I couldn’t tell her because she won’t believe me. It continued until I left for university and she got married.”

Kwame, an Accra Uber driver says anytime he gets an order from a woman it scares him.

“I’ve being raped twice on this job: the first one happen when I dropped a lady at East Legon around 12am and she said she was going in to bring my money but later came to beg me to help her carry her load inside because it was heavy. As a gentleman, I did exactly that, and when I got inside, I meet two more ladies inside. They immediately locked the door and asked that I sleep with all three of them or they will scream and cause some commotion to alert people that I came to rape them. So I had no option than to do it. But that trauma never left me. I feel very scared around women now – even my wife – but who will believe my story?”

Victims like Kwame and Bernard suffer rape and threats like this every day, but no one cares what happens to them. Some end up being blames.

Efforts are underway to raise awareness and challenge the prevailing societal perception surrounding male rape. Advocacy groups and organizations like The Human Right Advocacy Centre are working tirelessly to educate the public, lawmakers, and law enforcement agencies about the existence and significance of male rape.

They are calling for urgent reforms to the legal framework, urging the government to close the existing gap and provide equal protection for all victims.

As the stories of male rape survivors continue to emerge, it is crucial for Ghanaian society to confront its biases and address this pressing issue. By acknowledging the reality of male rape and providing support for survivors, the nation can take significant strides towards ensuring justice, safety, and equality for all its citizens.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, please contact DOVSSU of the Ghana Police Service or seek assistance from local support organizations such as The Human Right Advocacy Centre specializing in sexual violence.

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