GQ Article Discusses Male Sexual Assaults and Rape In The Military

By OckyDub | Posted Sep 16 2014 | 15 Comments  

MilitaryDue to many misconceptions and preconceived notions by groups and mass media, it may be hard to believe that based on some statistics, men are sexuality assaulted at a higher rate and with more frequency than woman. Male sexual assaults and rapes are vastly under reported and discussed. An eye opening article published at GQ.com gives us some insight and much needed attention on this topic via candid interviews from dozens of men. Below are a few snippets but you can read the full article here.


“Son, Men Don’t Get Raped”
Nathaniel Penn

Sexual assault is alarmingly common in the U.S. military, and more than half of the victims are men. According to the Pentagon, thirty-eight military men are sexually assaulted every single day. These are the stories you never hear—because the culprits almost always go free, the survivors rarely speak, and no one in the military or Congress has done enough to stop it

A warshipis like a city—sprawling, vital, crowded with purposeful men and women. But on a warship, as in a city, there are people who will see you not as their friend or their neighbor but rather as their prey.

After turning 25, Steve Stovey joined the Navy to see the world: Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Fiji, the Persian Gulf. His first year and a half as a signalman on the USS Gary was “the greatest time of my life,” he says.

In late September 1999, Stovey was sailing to Hawaii, where he’d be joined by his father on a Tiger Cruise, a beloved Navy tradition in which family members accompany sailors on the final leg of a deployment. Parents and kids get to see how sailors live and work; they watch the crew test air and sea weapons. The Disney Channel even made a movie about a Tiger Cruise, with Bill Pullman and Hayden Panettiere. The West Coast itinerary is usually Pearl Harbor to San Diego.

On the morning of September 20, two weeks before the warship was due in port, three men ambushed Stovey in a remote storage area of the ship, where he’d been sent to get supplies. They threw a black hood over his head, strangled and sodomized him, then left him for dead on a stack of boxes. Stovey told no one. He was certain that his attackers, whose faces he hadn’t glimpsed, would kill him if he did. He hid in a bathroom until he could contain his panic and tolerate the pain. Then he quietly returned to his post.

Stovey says he might have killed himself were it not for his father’s imminent arrival. The timing of the visit was “almost a miracle,” he says. “When I saw him, it was the most safe feeling I’d ever felt in my whole life.”

Father and son spent the next five days on board ship, almost certainly being watched by the three attackers. “I just kept it inside,” Stovey says in a low voice. “I couldn’t tell him.”


“I’m terrified of men. I’m gay and I’m terrified of men.”

Men develop PTSD from sexual assault at nearly twice the rate they do from combat. Yet as multiple research papers have noted, the condition in men is egregiously understudied. This is because so few men tell anyone. Those who do often wait years; many male participants in therapy groups are veterans of Korea and Vietnam. At Bay Pines’ C. W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in Florida, the country’s first residential facility for men suffering from MST, the average patient is over 50 years old at admission.

Military sexual trauma causes a particularly toxic form of PTSD. The betrayal by a comrade-in-arms, a brother in whom you place unconditional trust, can be unbearable. Warrior culture values stoicism, which encourages a victim to keep his troubles to himself and stigmatizes him if he doesn’t. An implacable chain of command sometimes compels a victim to work or sleep alongside an attacker, which can make him feel captive to his suffering and deserving of it.

Jones
I’m terrified of men. I’m gay and I’m terrified of men. I can’t even get an erection, especially since I got sober. I isolate. I don’t go to movies, I can’t handle concerts. I have horrid nightmares. Last Christmas, I went to dinner with some friends, and at one point I started panicking so bad I had to get out of the restaurant. I was shaking. I never even told anybody about this until last July. Do you know what it’s like to live with this for thirty years?

Neal
My first sexual experience ever was being raped by these guys. It screwed me up: That’s what sex is supposed to be—anonymous, painful. The nightmares never went away. I started getting really bad with alcohol and an addiction to anonymous sex. Having a relationship with somebody has been extremely difficult.

Owen
The hardest thing for me was the fear to be looked at as being gay. I went through a lot of women. I went through several marriages. I wasn’t a loyal husband. In college a couple guys brought up to me that they had an opportunity to make some serious money. I became an escort, and I did it for a good eleven years. It erased my thoughts.

Alexander
I’m afraid to go outside. I hate dealing with people. I hate being in crowds. I go grocery shopping at three in the morning, because there’s nobody out. I drive a hundred miles to Walmart to pick up my meds, because one of my friends works there and I can get in and out comfortably.

Welch
No supervisor was ever going to have me alone in his office again. If a supervisor was to call me into his office, I was done. I can’t tell you how many jobs I went through over the years because of that.

Phillips
I just couldn’t handle working around men. I’ve done masonry work, but I’d last only a couple weeks. I would have outbursts. Sometimes sexual jokes would trigger me. I’d be like, “Listen, you perverted scumbag…” When things upset me, I yell [my attackers’] names out to people. The guys would just look at you like, This guy is crazy.

Lewis
Your certificate of discharge, form DD-214, says very clearly your reason for discharge. But if you [tell a prospective employer] the psychiatrist misdiagnosed you, the perception is, “Oh, he’s lying. He’s a troublemaker, and we don’t want to hire him.” So you either have to own up to it or you basically don’t get a job. You essentially have to tell a prospective employer you were sexually assaulted.

Robinson
It wasn’t until I got my records that I learned about the codes on the DD-214. Employers who offer benefits are not going to hire anyone with a pre-existing condition such as schizophrenia. I’ve spent many years just spinning my wheels trying to get jobs that I’m not gonna be allowed to get.

Owen
To this day, I still cut—arms, legs, stomach—with a hunting knife or a razor blade. It gives me a sense of control, endorphins, relief. The nightmares just play over and over. They’re so real I can feel the broomstick going up inside me.

Welch
I drank myself crazy and did street drugs—methamphetamine, codeine, morphine. At night I still have four or five drinks of vodka. It helps me relax.

 

About the Author
OckyDub

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

   
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15 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. BlackguyExecutive | September 16th, 2014
    0

    I think the issue is two-fold with respect to the military. I served as a Coast Guard Officer for six years and spent one-year at the Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay. I served during both Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Repeal of the dumb ass regulation. Part of my job as a junior officer was to sit on these reprimand review boards, commonly referred to as Article 15 or non-judicial punishment. When I arrived at the Navel Station I was shocked with the disciplinary problems and what I thought was a culture of rape and sexual assault. We were having sometimes 5 cases a week. Many of these cases were Men on Men sexual assaults. I was fairly certain that I was the only gay officer on the review committee and only a few of my own shipmates knew my status and few members of my command. I would review a lot of these cases and think that a lot of the man and man sex that occurred in the sexual assault cases were consensual sex that was caught between two soldiers or sailors and during the time of DADT that meant discharge from the service, therefore one or both parties involved in the consensual sex reported sexual assault in order to save face and remain in the service at the peril of the other person reputation and status as a service member. That is one of the folds, now that DADT is repealed I think those kinds of instances will be handled much differently. On the other hand the military in general has a problem with the rape culture and for a long time these issues were handled in-house at the lowest level possible (plausible deniability by commanders and leaders). That seems to be changing and service members are being protected more for speaking out and commanders are being punished for not acting etc. So I think that the spike in cases could be the result that the process is now much more open and service members fear less that if they report the will only cause more problems then the sexual assault. During my time I saw many cases of sexual assault and many cases of oops we got caught.

    • alton
      NYCforEVER | September 16th, 2014
      0

      “…a lot of the man and man sex that occurred in the sexual assault cases were consensual sex that was caught between two soldiers or sailors and during the time of DADT that meant discharge from the service, therefore one or both parties involved in the consensual sex reported sexual assault in order to save face and remain in the service at the peril of the other person reputation and status as a service member.”

      I never heard any cases of Male on Male sexual assault in the 8yrs I was in the Army, not even rumors, and my full 8yrs was during DADT. (and mo’ fo’s talked about EVERYTHING), but this statement makes perfect sense. Maybe the Army is a lil’ different from the Navy, but I never got wind of any clandestine goings on. I do believe in a LOT of cases this is the ultimate issue.

      For me tho, I think (towards the end of my tenure) shit was already starting to change in the military, because everybody I was close to; mainly section mates and section sgt, as well as some of the rest of the platoon/company (even my 1st Sergeant) knew about me, but I never caught flack about shit nor got any kind of negative feedback, from ANYBODY. Even the Kats that knew and didn’t like me because of it didn’t dare approach me about it. I think that is mainly owed to the fact that I was heavy on the orig “Ripped Fuel” formula at the time and had the personality of The Hulk on a bad day…EVERYDAY. LOL. But then again I had some associates from other company’s that were CLEARLY gay, and they never had issues either. So maybe (as far as my barracks area on Ft Bragg went) there weren’t many reports of M on M assault because mo fo’s didn’t need to assault anyone because there was enough to go around.

      • ControlledXaos | September 16th, 2014
        0

        This guy I met who was in the Army told me that it was very common for gay sex to occur. Now, this guy is not exactly Mr. Hyper Masculine but he definitely set my gaydar off so I imagine he would not have had an issue finding sex if he wanted or being approached.

        In the book Sweat Tea, well the audio version, there’s few military guys being interviewed who talked about their sexual experiences in the service.

        I’m guessing there’s enough going around for the willing but sexual abuse is about power and who you want, even if they don’t want you so even if there’s some guys who are ready willing and able, it doesn’t matter if the muscled asian 18 year old is who you want.

        I just don’t understand the attraction with male rape though. I mean… I hate to go there but it is what it is… the cleanliness factor, or lack thereof, must not be a problem for predators and prisoners.

        • alton
          NYCforEVER | September 16th, 2014
          0

          I know it was going on. LOL I personally only had 3 sexual experiences my whole time in the service (pathetic I know), but I could tell the other dudes that were getting in it with (consensual) each other on the reg. Luckily tho, I never did have to hear about any type of sexual assault, tho realistically I’m sure that was going on as well, because most times it IS a “control issue”, M2M, M2F, F2F, or Pedophiles, mainly they’re deprived individuals desiring to exert some kind of control over someone. A lot of these dudes that join the army come from “being nothing” and being ridiculed their whole lives, so a lil’ rank and authority mixed with sexual deviance and a splash of control freak, and voila! Rapist. smh

        • Rod Turpin
          Rod! | September 19th, 2014
          0

          Even though rape is a sexual crime, its very rarely sexually motivated; its very frequently about displaying power or control over an individual. That’s why prison rape is as common as it is, it has very little (if anything) to do with sexual attraction, and much more to do with displaying power over the victim.

      • BlackguyExecutive | September 16th, 2014
        0

        Yeah, my experience in the Coast Guard was wonderful. Since the USCG is a small service there is not much you can hide and as soon as I added a few people from my Station onto my FB is was gameover with being in the closet. As an officer, I was always straight up with my troops and they respected my business for that….but back to the M on M sexual assault. There was significant male on male consensual sex going on at Naval Station Guantanamo and I worked in a Joint Task Force and I worked mainly with Soliders and Sailors and a few Marines and I could say that I knew of at least 6 gay service members and a couple of them appeared before me at their Article 15 hearing. I always felt so bad rendering punishments to these 18 and 19 year olds having sex and getting caught….I hated the fact that I even had to use the term “getting caught” there is NO HONOR in that sentiment. With that being said, I also want to be clear that the military is home to a significant number of predators and serial rapists who should be punished and until recently many of them went unpunished because reporting was low. Sexual Assault, Sexual Violence, Rape, and Sexual Harassment is a very real problem in our armed forces…I surprise there isn’t more outrage and its sad we let these men suffer in silence and shame.

    • ControlledXaos | September 17th, 2014
      0

      Have you ever caught any one?

      That seems to be an equally awkward position to be in. It would seem that you’d have to report it, even if you didn’t want to, because it could get back to you that it was condoned. Or you saw the consensual ‘assault’ and did nothing.

      • BlackguyExecutive | September 17th, 2014
        0

        I personally didn’t catch anyone and regardless of my personal opinions on the matters I followed the law, rules, and regulations. I was probably one of the more compassionate officers but I also was tasked with maintaining Good Order and Discipline. It was all rather unfortunate, especially when you knew it was more then likely consensual gay sex and the men were just caught by others.

  2. Cam | September 16th, 2014
    +1

    That is horrible. It’s crazy that these men’s stories sound similar to women who have been sexually assaulted, even though people perceive men and women to be different.

    Sexual assault victims of both genders feel as though they can’t talk about it. Male assault victims feel like they can’t come forth because they will be called “fag” or “bitch” and female assault victims feel like they can’t come forth because they will be called “slut” or “liar”. My mother is a retired social worker and she has seen cases from both sides (even though more women come forward) and the physical and emotional damage on victims is sad.

    We really have to change that.

    There is nothing acceptable about rape and sexual assault. Nothing at all.

  3. SB3000 | September 16th, 2014
    0

    I was just reading about this article a couple days ago and forgot to go check it out. This is insane. I dont even know what to say, other than my obvious empathy for the victims.

  4. African King | September 16th, 2014
    +1

    Yeah there is a lot of male to male rape unfortunately in the military and in jail/prison. It is the taboo topic and like it was mentioned in this article that people feared being called gay because it is like their manhood was stolen from them along with the experience.

  5. Jamie | September 16th, 2014
    +1

    This is the sick sadistic conquest mentality that organizations like the military breed…conquest…conquer, even if it’s another man’s body.

    • Rod Turpin
      Rod! | September 19th, 2014
      0

      Thats what most of this comes down to: conquest. A means of displaying power over someone weaker. And unfortunately, the military historically hasn’t been great about handling these issues (they’ve been remarkably inadequate about handling male on female rapes; one can only imagine how few male on male rapes they actually handle correctly).

  6. Rox808 | September 18th, 2014
    0

    Being a man in the military. I honestly have never heard a lot of stories like that, but I am aware it goes on.

  7. uptown177
    BrooklynNative | January 26th, 2015
    0

    I’m in the military and we briefly talk about it. The overall climate is machismo Alpha-male and any sign of weakness you are done. We were informed that a majority of the incidents go unreported. SO it is extremely rare for a guy to file a complaint. Even for women they make it so difficult for the victim. So work places have the accused still working with the victim.




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