When you think of a sexual assault, you may think of an altercation between a man and a woman. The man overpowers the woman, rapes her and she's left to pick up the pieces. While rape is an overwhelming huge issue women around the world face — 97 out of 100 rapists in the U.S. receive no punishment, and in New Delhi, India, 92 women are raped on average every single day — they aren't the only ones susceptible to this heinous crime.
Yes, men can be raped, too.
Our culture ingrains in us, through media portrayals or news stories, that victims can only be women, but that is not the case. Men can be raped and/or molested by men and women alike. And like stigmas that prevent female rape victims from coming forward, there are stigmas that prevents men from seeking help, too.
Sweden, however, wants to combat that.
A spokesperson for the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) announced a plan this Wednesday to create the country's first emergency clinic in their South General Hospital (also called Södersjukhuset) dedicated solely to male rape victims.
"There are myths about masculinity that make it difficult for men who have been sexually traumatized to talk about their experiences," Inger Björklund, a spokesperson for the group, told The Local.
Last year in Sweden, there were 370 cases of sexual assault against men and the country is not about to let that slide.
The clinic will be open 24 hours and, in addition to already catering to female assault victims, will cater to men as well.
Perhaps the U.S. should catch on. A 2010 Center for Disease Control report found 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped.
Hanna Rosin summed the issue up perfectly in a Slate article:
"Feminism has fought long and hard to fight rape myths — that if a woman gets raped it's somehow her fault, that she welcomed it in some way. But the same conversation needs to happen for men," she wrote. "By portraying sexual violence against men as aberrant, we prevent justice and compound the shame. And the conversation about men doesn't need to shut down the one about women.
'Compassion,' she says, 'is not a finite resource.'"
Help for victims shouldn't be either. Congrats, Sweden.