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Male rape victims share their harrowing stories in this powerful new documentary

“I felt ashamed,” one man says. “I felt like someone is stealing something from me.”

“I just wanted to run away,” another adds, “and get away from everything.”

According to the 2014 National Crime Victimization Survey, 38% of rape victims are male. And 1 in 6 males are sexually assaulted before the age of 18.

“Sexual violence does not discriminate against men,” activist and filmmaker Vanessa McNeal says.

McNeal’s new documentary The Voiceless examines the stigma that surrounds male rape. In the film, five brave men share their accounts of being sexually assaulted and how they coped with a situation that is still considered by many to be taboo.

Related: Sir Ian McKellen reflects on his youth as a closeted gay man in this heartbreaking short film

Some of the men kept their feelings bottled up for years. Others ran away from home. And some turned to violence and joined gangs. Despite their different backgrounds and strategies for coping, all five share one thing in common: None of them received justice for what was done to them.

“We live in a society that continues to state that sexual violence can’t and won’t happen to men,” McNeal says.

The Voiceless has just begun making its rounds on college campuses and has already received a strong response from viewers.

Watch the promos for the film below.



h/t: Daily Iowan

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31 Comments

  • Xzamilloh

    I will most definitely be looking for the full release of this. Really important topic that needs more coverage.

  • alanballs

    My BF was raped a year ago, and contracted HIV from his assailant. Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.

    • Neonegro

      Is that his story? and I am sure he is sticking with it.

    • Juanjo

      Alan – I had a friend who had this happen to him. It was tough for him psychologically, as well as, physically.

      Thanks fakenegro troll for once again demonstrating the total moral bankruptcy of trolls.

  • o.codone

    When I was in the military I was assaulted by 2 guys after I passed out at a drunken, drug, smoke party, and it was humiliating. Truth is, I have been sober since then. (I can’t ever let my guard down like that again). My rape was not violent, it was the “funny”, “hey, let’s cum in his ass” party rape, like it was a joke. I never got justice. I never got over it. I don’t need to see this film.

    • John

      I’m so sorry that happened to you. Have you talked to therapist about it?

    • Juanjo

      This happened to my cousin in 1966. He complained to his superiors and received a dishonorable discharge for being gay.

    • o.codone

      I talked to my commander who said, “nothing happened”. It officially ended there. I have spoken to a therapist, yeah, but you live with rape forever. I blame myself. It stays active in my psyche and comes back time after time. The therapist said it’s PTSD. He gave me Valium, sometimes Xanax. Truth is, I haven’t had a relationship since. There is no bright side. Thx for asking after me.

    • ThomasThoma

      O.C, i’m just a reader but I created an account so I could talk to you. I work in the psychological field, and I can tell you there are some really bad therapists out there who actually make things worse. I was in marital counseling with one. You need to see somebody else and you need to get treated. Is there a GLBT community center in your area? Don’t give up until you get help. The military sucks when it comes to sexual assault whether it’s men or women.

    • Kangol

      o.codone, I am very sorry to hear what happened to you. Very sorry. I hope that there’s a counselor out there who can provide you the support you want and need, and help you.

    • o.codone

      There’s nowhere to go with this. I don’t want to stir the pot of self loathing any more. The reach-outs from you guys: John and Thomas and Kangol really matter. Thanks. (I do have access to LGBT services in NYC). We can leave it here.

    • airbnb302006

      o.codone, you can file a disability compensation benefits claim with the VA and they will assign a case manager who works with military sexual trauma. Go to va.gov or call 1-800-VA7(827)-1000 to start the compensation claim process.

      To establish healthcare, you can go to va.gov or call -877-222-VETS (8387).

      Anyone can file a claim, regardless of discharge. If it was a “bad discharge,” VA will make a new determination for eligibility for VA benefits.

  • Ken A.

    This is a sensitive subject and long overdue to be addressed. Some guys who have been raped, especially gay guys suffer these shaming women do, one guy told a story of being assaulted in a gay bar bathroom and he was drunk but not too drunk. Some guy came up to him, he said no and the guy grabbed his dick while he was pissing and then tried to have anal sex with him. His friends told him he should expect that he was drunk and gay bar bathroom. He felt alone and wanted to kill himself. Luckily he sought therapy. He never reported it to the police.

  • baal61

    I was gang raped in the Castro in San Francisco’ I was 19′ confused about my sexuality’ aren’t kids usually I was drunk’ in a bar called the Elephant walk across from Walgreens’ 17th and Castro I trusted the wrong man’ I was visiting a friend’ I felt a third wheel’ so I decided to find out if I was queer; these feelings’ I went to what I thought was a party’ after the bar closed’ I contracted syphilis’ and then I went through GRIDS’ that was the term in the eighties for AIDS’ It has been a journey’ I’m now 55;and survived much; my advice to the youth’ don’t trust everyone who says they understand. Your body’ your spirit is precious and is only yours’ to control. Xo

    • radiooutmike

      I am glad you survived.

  • vonric

    childhood sexual abuse has its own nuances, but from my own experience, the stigmatization and the steriotypes are very much the same…. guys cannot be victims, guys can walk away, guys can fight back…..

    kudos to these men who have spoken to their stories in order to help sustain a real discussion about the challenges and biases….

  • Maximiliano5458

    I was 13 years old when I was raped by another man. I couldn’t tell anyone, considering that my own father was a severe homophobic and he knew, when I was still too you to know that I was gay and he wanted to repair me to become a straight man. I remained silent until I turned 57 years old and came out. Thank you for recognizing and giving voices to this terror and agonizing pain that many of us have to bear silently, and in some cases for the rest of our lives. Thank you!

  • lester_lasa

    Powerful wasn’t aware of either thanks

  • He BGB

    I had a male friend who was raped and went to the rape crisis center and being the only man he wasn’t taken seriously. This was 30 years ago. I hope times have changed

    • davidjohng

      I think it has. As a therapist I went to special workshop on male victims of rape a few years back at the Cleveland Rape Center. The consciousness has changed in the therapeutic community but not so much in the general community. The belief that men cant be raped is still very, very strong. All you have to do is read the comments section on articles about male “victimization” about almost anything. Men are not allowed to be people, human in an important sense. No doubt it’s tied into the whole patriarchal society structure where men cannot be seen as victims and not in control.

  • linniejr

    I work with a lot of young people, especially some that have just come out of jail/prison and I would like to know when this will be released. It can help especially as it relates to HIV infections. As someone who has survived sexual assault, I know that it is not easy to get over and the things people say makes it even harder. I’m glad this issue is finally being addressed.

  • linniejr

    I just looked at the promos and the memories that came back to my mind like a flood. I had to keep myself from crying, because I was told that if I wasn’t gay, I wouldn’t have been raped and then it went from there.

  • ThomasThoma

    This promo doesn’t say anything about when and where it will be released

  • Kangol

    I replied to o.codone above, but my thoughts are with everyone who’s responded who’s lived through rape. I was nearly raped in my 20s, but fought the guy off. So often male rape is treated like a joke or punchline, but it seriously harms the victims, and should be taken far more seriously. I’m glad this film is out there, and I wish our politicians would take prison rape in particular seriously.

  • gcorrell

    When I was 14 I was jailed as an incorrigible runaway in St. Louis. It was 1970. With the collusion of corrupt guards I was made to take a turn in a ‘special’ cell with three older boys, where I was raped, beaten, and humiliated for five days. It ultimately resulted in a partial anusectomy and corrective surgery, and a lifetime of mental dislocation, denial, and pain. I knew I was gay before it happened, but it took me over forty years to recover my identity. My confused identity, still, and probably forever.
    Rape lasts forever. Severe trauma is never healed. I engage in healing behavior and activities instead.
    I recommend Bessel van der Kolk’s book “The Body Keeps the Score” for anyone struggling with the aftermath of rape, and for trauma of all kinds.

    • o.codone

      Brother. I am sorry for you. And, I know about the physical scars, the physical hurts that don’t heal. I’m gonna check-out the book. Thanks for the recommendation. Carry on.

  • alanb32244

    I was molested for the first time when I was nine. I remember it vividly. My older brother warned me not to tell anyone “especially not Mom and Dad.” The second time it was rape and it was brutal. Once again I told no one, not even my brother. I blocked the rape out entirely. The only memory that remains is the sense of trauma. Both of these were by males. The third time was by a woman who drugged me when I was 21. I have never gone to sleep since without thinking about the first time and the last. I think there must be something about me that sets me up as a victim. The wondering, “Why me?” is operative. The real tragedy is there are no support groups for male older victims anywhere near where I live, and the shrinks I have tried tell me to put it in the past. I am a successful professional with a great family who just happens to carry a scar that will not heal.

  • John

    I am not saying that none of these guys were raped, because I am sure some were. “Rape” has become one of those “buzz words” that stirs immediate comdemnation of the accused. My question is at what point does it become “rape” too much to drink along with the accused (who also had too much to drink) and it goes too far and the morning after out of your fog you go wtf happened? (it wasn’t brutal but uncomfortable and people see you so your embarrassed) You then say, “i didn’t want that to happen” but you were both intoxicated so was it rape? or poor choices? I also question college co-eds who at the end of the night have had too much to drink and “hook-up” with an equally intoxicated co-ed and the morning after cry “rape”. We live in a society/culture that we skew the lines.

    • radiooutmike

      That’s skating the edge.

      I, too, wonder how much personal responsibility should in play in the determination of rape; when both parties may be impaired. But you’re considering one type of rape, date rape, less valid in some ways than a violent or a malicious rape.

      You can’t have that. Because all it leads to is people ignoring whatever abuse or trauma they did experience. This is in turn normalizes the whole experience. I’m not sure where there have been many actual accusations of rape after the fact that have been proven wrong; versus the more common instance of an accusation later to be found untrue.

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