Attitudes to male victims of rape. A study of attitudes among therapists, counsellors and crisis intervention practitioners in dealing with male victims of rape and an investigation of levels of care available to male victims of rape
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Most research on the subject of rape and sexual assault regards the perpetrator as male and the victim as female. Rape is prevalent across all cultures and the reporting of rape tends to be contingent on societal attitudes and the prevalence of rape myths. In 1990 the Criminal Law (Rape) (Amendment) Act adjusted the law in Ireland with regard to the definition of rape, the occurrence of rape within marriage and substituted the word 'woman' with the word 'person'. In Ireland, no comprehensive records or statistics existed with regard to rape, prior to the Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland Report of 2002, (SA VI). This report included statistics with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of men. For all rape victims, societal attitudes determine reporting, level of care and degree of recovery. Literature suggests that different rape myths exist with regard to male victims of rape and can tend to influence frequency of reporting, levels of care, and degree of recovery in different ways to those affecting female victims. Therapists, counsellors and people who are the first port of call for victims e.g. crisis intervention counsellors, are part of society; they have their own upbringing, backgrounds and experiences and are as familiar, or more familiar with societal attitudes, mores and myths, which may tend to influence their attitudes towards and treatment of male victims of rape. The general hypothesis to be tested is whether therapists, counsellors and crisis intervention staff use a phenomenological approach, where the victims account of a situation is the most valid, or as Coolican, (2004, p229) points out' .. . at the same time the principles of phenomenology themselves dictate that any attempt to report on another's experience will necessarily be distorted by the phenomenology of the reporter. '