How Homophobia Can Overstate "Rape"

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    Aug 29, 2007 6:39 PM GMT
    First, I am not trying to minimize the issue of rape, or any non-consensual forced sexual contact. It's a serious problem, and it's awful.

    But I wanted to relate to the group interested in the "tea-bagging" thread (without hijacking that thread) something that happened to a student of mine at my university. I started out being very sympathetic to the student, but ended up feeling very badly towards him.

    This student was a very good looking surfer who was mid-way through our undergraduate program. One semester, he suddenly disappeared. He sent us a brief email that due to personal reasons he was dropping out of the program. (We did make attempts to find out what was going on, but to no avail).

    Two years later he shows up again, and attempts to continue the program. His performance was awful, not the least reason for which was that he missed many classes.

    Finally, I got him to come to office hours and to "open up" (I thought). He said that all of his problems stemmed from the fact that he had been raped by his best friend. Now, we have counseling services here at the university, and I asked if he had taken advantage of that. He said he was undergoing counseling off-campus, which was good, of course. He said that the experience was so awful, that he had constant anxiety, lost his appetite, didn't socialize with male friends anymore due to a lack of trust. I did not (and could not) ask for more details.

    His performance continued to be awful in classes, and it was clear he was not going to do well. Finally, he asked to come in to talk again, and asked if I wanted to hear his "story" because it would help him to heal.

    This is what this guy called "rape." He was working at Starbucks and became close friends with another employee there, who also surfed. They became inseperable. Over a course of a year, they did more and more things together, hung out together, took trips together, and ended up taking an apartment together.

    Finally, they often would "sleep" together (no sex!!, just share the same bed, with, according to him, no touching) if they had been to a party and gotten drunk. (Doesn't that sound odd, considering the other guy had a bed too?)

    One night, while the two were sleeping together, my student awoke to find that his friend was stroking his cock through his jockey shorts.

    This, RJers, is what he called "rape." This is what resulted in his homophobic panic and rage, to the point that he threatened to beat the guy up.

    He moved out of the apartment, and actually contacted the police, to ask if he could prosecute the guy. By the way, I can't believe that he told the police this full story. They have more important things to deal with than this kind of hysterical reaction to, I guess, what might be viewed as inappropriate contact.

    In my mind, my student's credibility was gone as soon as I realized how much he overcharacterized what "rape."

    Now, I ask student is exceptionally handsome, and built. He's hot. Look at what distortion of facts his own internal homophobia created. Not once did he admit that he and his friend already had a relationship that was far more intimate, terms of contact, than straight "best friends." Not once did he even begin to think that he may have been "cock teasing" this guy all along.

    But, worst of all, to overdramatize this as rape, and use that experience to explain his irresponsible behavior in his university work, really buzzed me off.

    He never did finish our program.

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    Aug 30, 2007 1:57 AM GMT

    This is an interesting story.

    I think I'd have had mostly the same reaction as you, but I'm not sure I would consider this pure internalized homophobia so much as just an irrational overreaction. It seems likely that this sort of person would tend to "maximize" other issues as well. My instincts tell me there was more to the story as well.

    Do you think this guy had any real clue that what he was calling rape would never have stood up to the definition in a court of law? Given the context, especially with their having shared a bed several times before, I don't even think it would even constitute an assault. It's not like he was jumped in a dark alley, or wrestled down.

    I've seen various degrees of this same phenomenon so often that I find I have to work hard not to become jaded. I really think it is the same dynamic, if perhaps not to the same dramatic extent, that stands behind at least 50% of the "homophobia" stories that I have personally been told. This was actually a bit part of the reasons behind my stance in one of the homophobia threads that descended into a flame war. Some people really WANT to be victims. A scary number of people.

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    Aug 30, 2007 2:28 AM GMT
    I think your student is bullshitting you. I've said some weird stuff to prevent from getting that dreaded C. Everyone has at some point or another. If he left and came back, maybe college was too hard or he wanted to take "time off" so he took a break and now hes back and he's having trouble getting back into the swing of University life. Anyone in college will tell you, bullshitting is an art form practiced in high school and perfected in undergrad.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Aug 30, 2007 2:45 AM GMT
    Yeah...I agree
    There's more than meets the eye going on here
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    Aug 30, 2007 3:14 AM GMT
    just the othe day on youtube a member:

    IanCrossland(spell it like that)

    posted a video he titled: "a homosexual experience".

    "Ian" had been out on the town (NYC), went barhopping till all hours of the night, returned home with a friend to his friend's apt. he claims his buddy sexually assaulted him-woke up to find his buddy giving him a bj.
    the story goes on and on.

    Like the student/surfer, the story just didn't add up.
    well the "ian" guy decides to put on a second video to recant what he said in the first.
    I urge you to take a look at this guy. Similarly, no credibility, he still dupes any number of people, marginalizes sexual assault.

    go to youtube, just type in search:
    a homosexual experience. It's an opener.
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    Aug 30, 2007 3:27 AM GMT, he made a complaint to the police, and I was also contacted by our university's counseling department. However, after I heard his story, (remember, I have to appear to be supportive, without getting involved), I had the OPPOSITE of sympathy for him. And, in fact, I felt awful for his friend. I think my student laid an unwitting trap for the other guy.

    italmuscbtm...I think my student was like a friend of mine. We massaged, wrestled, were very intimate...but he was married. When I finally told him...listen, do you want to go further, he went into an irrational rage about God condemning homosexuals etc.

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    Aug 30, 2007 4:30 AM GMT
    Once upon a time, in a gaybourhood much like any other, there was a young fellow intent on discovering all that gaydom had to offer in a single night on the town. He hopped from bar to strip-joint to drag-cabaret and finally to his favourite (ever!) disco. A few free drinks were downed here and two-for-one beers there and a lot of cock-teasing along the way until he finally found a familiar face in this strange gay world.

    This charming 'super-friendly' guy had been the host of his very first 'gay house party' a few months before and on that night, clearly seeing that the newbie was clearly very intoxicated and "in no shape to go home alone", he offered a place to crash for the night. How sweet! "Cool. Yeah, sure. I've had enough for tonight."

    The charming host rolled out a narrow folding cot from the hall-closet and set it up in the middle of the yet-to-be-furnished dining room situated directly opposite the front door. A generous down pillow and eiderdown and a disposable toothbrush were all provided. The 'happy' guest thought "Wow, gays really do do everything better." The host withdrew to his bedroom, which gave onto the dining room, and shut the door behind him. The guest tucked himself in and turned out the last lamp.

    Dreaming... mmmm... an erotic dream. mmmm... This is a good one because its the first time he can recall one of these horny dreams NOT featuring a woman (which was always so confusing to him). Mmmmmmm...


    "Huh? What the hell was that sound? Am I awake? WHO the hell is under the covers sucking my dick?!!"
    Just as I was about to snap back the covers, my host jumps off wearing the eiderdown whispering "Shhh... shhhh. don't say anything okay? Shhh... omg. omg." and dashes off into the adjacent bed room leaving me naked and with a hard-on in the middle of the frigging dining room. That's when I heard the vestibule door open and shut. It was 'the boyfriend' coming home.

    Did I feel raped? Well, sort of... more annoyed and bewildered.
    It never crossed my mind to call the Police. Maybe I thought "this must be yet another gay thing I hadn't heard of". lol
    Did I think it was downright TACKY? Definitely. I left at daylight with his antique hand-carved Chess-pieces (but not the board!), only to return them a year-and-a-half later stuffed into his letterbox! :-D)
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    Aug 30, 2007 4:37 AM GMT
    Aero: Darko said: "...Did I feel raped? Well, sort of... more annoyed and bewildered..."

    Exactly. You were groped, and more. But, did you cry rape and whine to the world that your life was ruined? No.

    It was an issue between you and your friend. You could talk to him, yell at him, terminate the relationship. But no drama.

    That's what I felt about my student...that he was intentionally creating drama, for essentially a groping incident. I thought it was manipulative and cheap.

    Yet, I could say nothing.....

  • NickoftheNort...

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    Aug 30, 2007 7:29 AM GMT
    The experience fastprof relates in the original post could possibly be deemed as sexual assault or as lewd and lascivious conduct. There is an intimate violation of personal boundaries.

    Whether he had been cock-teasing would not give his friend the right to suck him while he was asleep; yet, it sounds like a situation (based on the description) that probably could have been resolved in-house.

    Rape is generally defined as unconsented penetration, oral or anal, and there is a significant difference between having someone grope or molest you and having them force a dick (or some other object) into you when you do not want it.

    Legally speaking, laws regarding rape vary between the US states and there are states where men cannot, legally speaking, be raped.

    Technically, what Aero describes can be defined as rape because it entails unconsented penetration. The response you describe and your own definition of it suggest that you did not find it so much as a violation of you as a person, but as breach of propriety.

    As someone who was raped and deeply disturbed by it and now getting back on track with salvaging the tatters of his graduate classes (if you are ever raped, I highly recommend NOT starting a vigorous graduate studies career the next semester), it is worrying how exaggerated and outright false claims of rape victimhood may jeopardize my privilege to be heard.

    Quite frankly, getting back on track with my life is not going to entail trying to convince any potentially skeptical professors of the validity of my experience. I will inform them and let them decide; I've had to put with enough shit as it is because an asshole of a person decided to ignore my right to decide if and when I want to engage in intercourse.
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    Aug 30, 2007 9:24 AM GMT
    It's wierd, because in my experience homophobia has more of a tendency to understate rape...
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    Aug 30, 2007 10:46 AM GMT
    Firstly I think everyone has the right not to be molested. It shouldn't matter if they are hot or not (does wearing a mini skirt mean a woman is asking for it?), just because a guy (or girl) is genetically blessed doesn't mean he should hide himself to stop the risk of being hit upon by guys.

    I think this guy was right to be affronted, but agree his over-reaction is probably due to his homophobia and he may have, as the story suggests, used this incident to skive off and not concentrate on his studies.

    The problem is, also as others have suggested, this sort of incident clouds the issue of what really can be considered 'rape' and belittles those who have gone through a much worse and abusive event.

    Best wishes to you Nick, hope you continue to grow and mend.

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    Aug 30, 2007 2:29 PM GMT
    I know I have tell you guys this thing before, you know about me being sexually assaulted during my teenager years. It also not my intention to throw some sob story, pity parties or anything, asking for sympaty because of my own foolishness.

    It happen to me when I was 19,just 4 months after arriving to United States. Completely naive , and still so excited about the sexual liberation of this amazing country. I was looking for sex . I meet this guys infront of an adult bookstore. He was so attractive, sexy and muscular . We started talking and then he invited me to his house. Foolishly I accepted. He then take me to some dark, wooded love lane. Stop his car and in a blink of the eyes completely change to be a total monster. He torn my cloth , force me out of his car . Slap my face when I dont coorperate . Press my face to the hood of a car and then forcibly sodomize me. He then throw my cloth on the ground and despite my plead to as least sent me home leave me there naked and bleeding. I was really lucky he dont actually killed me.

    Do I make this story up. Of course not and why should I.

    Just like that student my emotional being was really affected after that incident. I feel used, violated and despite how I try to convince myself (even now) I keep telling myself that it was I who asking for it. I got to his car and I who was looking for sex. And it not really a rape but a consensual sex.

    I make the same mistake with this student , trusting a wrong person . Hey, even parent rape and molested their kid nowadays. For people who never go thru it have no ideas how physicological damaging and traumatic the experience is. The withdrawal, failing grade sindrom is exactly what happen to me after the incident.

    The way I looked at it ,this guy must be a total lunatic if he go to the extreme of reporting to the police, telling the world he been rape by a man and involve in homosexuality if it its all a lie or just because he is homophobia. There maybe some truth to his rape claim.

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    Aug 30, 2007 3:23 PM GMT
    zacharaiazol and nick: thanks for those comments.

    But, let me tell you, this student was NOT a 19 y.o. inexperienced kid. He was "older" for an undergraduate, in his mid-20s. He was very good looking and built, and while not wearing skin tight clothes all the time, he knew how to show off his body.

    By his own account, he was friends with this guy for over a year...and friends enough to move in with him. He also was encouraging at least physical intimacy by sleeping with his friend.

    I think he not only was a tease, but that at some level, he was an exhibitionist and was definitely getting off on the physical contact, if not sexual contact, with his friend, by his own account.

    Nickofthenorth, I would never let this incident make me disbelieve a student's account of rape in advance. In fact, this has nothing to do with me disbelieving or minimizing student accounts of rape.

    What this has to do with is that student, an adult, mischaracterizing what happened to him as rape. And mischaracterizing to such a degree that he carried it to the level of filing a police report...and allowing himself the luxury of turning a groping incident into a a need for counseling.

    Finally, I don't think that this incident was "created" as a way of getting out of academic work or requirements. This guy ALWAYS had problems in classes...he was smart, but always felt entitled to blow classes off, or not turn in work. And I wasn't the only professor that observed this behavior.

    So, Nick and zach, your stories are quite different...and I would always be sympathetic to students in your circumstances.

    And, yes, if there was actual rape, and the associated mental trauma, a student should always consider taking a leave of absence from classes to recover.

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    Aug 30, 2007 3:25 PM GMT
    I also was sexually/physically assaulted between the ages of 10-14.
    At this point I separate social behavior from sexuality.
    It remains difficult to understand and process what I can only describe as moral immaturity on the part of the men that abused me.
    Sexuality, per se, is separate from this.

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Aug 30, 2007 3:29 PM GMT
    re: Zakariahzol

    Your experience is significantly different from the one conveyed in the original post; your experience included forcible sodomy (in a location strange to you no less), while the student's one consisted of being nonconsensually jerked off while sleeping.

    The student's experience is, understandably, upsetting and his "friend" violated him and his right to consent. The issue, as I see it being discussed, is whether he took his reaction beyond what was called for (and whether such a reaction came about as a result of homophobia, and if it was because he feared possibly being gay).

    If he was actually raped, then I am concerned as to why he told a much milder story when trying to obtain an external understanding for his experience. Assuming that the conveyed story is correct, I would say that his claim of rape was an emotional exaggeration on his part and a lacking understanding of what rape entails.

    There is a wide span of difference between being nonconsensually masturbated while sleeping and being forcibly penetrated (anal or oral); the latter includes a greater potential for the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

    Now Zakariahzol...

    You did not ask for being abused, forcibly sodomized in a strange location and left out there; you accepted an invitation to a guy's house presumably to play by ear and see how far you two might go.

    He deceived you, physically abused you (without having previously consulted to see whether you had any such interest), raped you, and left you in a strange location.

    The fault lies not in any mistake you may have made, but in his actions and his decision to abuse and violate you without regard for you or your person; do not let your sympathies fall to him (a difficult process, I know, but necessary if you are to successfully recover from his crimes).

    As for molestation and rape by parents against their children, I doubt that it is a modern phenomenon; instead, I believe that it is a series of violations that have taken place for centuries (if not millenia) in our species.
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    Aug 30, 2007 3:34 PM GMT
    elij, i'm sorry to say you've been had -- the video "a homosexual experience" is a joke.

    a convincing one, yes, but it's a satirical comment on homophobia. :)
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    Aug 30, 2007 5:16 PM GMT

    I dont get it. What is his age have to do with it. Is doenst matter if he is 19 or 20 or even 40's a rape is a rape. Since when being sexy, showing of one body mean invitation for sex.
    Just because some guys trusted you to share a bed with you doesnt mean he want to have sex with you. Me and my ex housemate share a bed now and then just because we feel like sleeping with some body. There certainly nothing sexual there.

    I just dont get it, some normal college kid go to the extreme of crying rape just because he dont want to go class. If I were him, I will just be lazy and dont go to class. Sound like a really nutty student to me.
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    Aug 30, 2007 5:56 PM GMT
    zachariahzol, I mentioned his age, because an adult, as opposed to a kid, should know better. His behavior suggested great interest in the other guy. And even if I grant you the point that sharing a bed is not something just "friends" do on a routine basis (I don't share that view, by the way), he should have realized that other guys would view that as a comeon.

    If that's the case, and he trully cared for his friend, he should have had a frank talk about the "limits" of the friendship somewhere along the way.

    To not do so is excusable for a 19 y.o., but not for a guy who is mature and older.

    As NickoftheNorth pointed out, I believe my student was dishonestly "exploring" his closeted feelings of sexual attraction to this other guy, and had a panic attack when he realized this guy was reading the signals "correctly", not "incorrectly."

    I just thought he was dishonest and the victim here is his friend as much as it is him.
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    Aug 30, 2007 5:58 PM GMT
    FastProf, I too think it's a little extreme for him to consider what happened rape.

    That said, I think you have to keep your personal judgement of the situation separate from your professional judgement.

    Some people are very sensitive when it comes to things like this. As you know, there is another thread on this site regarding Teabagging. It's almost the same situation where the person(s) involved are so effected by the experience that they can't function.

    I think the best you can do is validate what he's feeling and let him know he is not alone. It has happened to other people and in some cases the experience was much worse.

    Guys are curious sometimes and his friend was probably horny, maybe drunk and the situation was right for him to experiment. Especially with all of the signals your student was sending. Perhaps your student wanted to be more in control and wanted to be the one that called the shots. Instead he woke up to a handjob and didn't know how to deal with it.

    I know you're handling it professionally and just venting here. Just make sure your meetings with him are documented and that someone else knows about you meeting with him. I also think regardless of what's going on with him, he should receive the grade that he deserves.

    Good luck. - Jorel
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    Aug 30, 2007 6:04 PM GMT
    Jorel... "...I know you're handling it professionally and just venting here. Just make sure your meetings with him are documented and that someone else knows about you meeting with him. I also think regardless of what's going on with him, he should receive the grade that he deserves..."

    This happened years ago. The student is long gone. And he was never penalized in any way for the way I felt about his story.

    However, he was penalized for not showing up for class, for poor performance, especially since I advised him to take a leave of absence, again. His response was that I should just pass him "...just because..." of what happened.

    Bull bleep. Thankfully, he is long gone.
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    Aug 30, 2007 6:53 PM GMT
    Thanks for the clarification. I need to pay more attention.

    I wonder how he's doing today. He's probably a very popular drag queen headlining at some club. ;-)
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    Aug 30, 2007 7:06 PM GMT
    "...I wonder how he's doing today..."

    Well, by enormous coincidence, I found out today that he is back here in a different program. As for the other part of your observation, he'd never be a drag queen. I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't modeling...
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    Aug 30, 2007 8:53 PM GMT
    You'll have to let us know if you run into him.
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    Aug 31, 2007 1:59 AM GMT
    I think that if you are straight, you look to other men and you assume a straight orientation.

    When you are gay, you might think straight when you look at guys, but you keep your gaydar pinging - and you are conscious of m4m intimacy as potential signs.

    I slept with male friends up to the age of 16 and there was no expectation or desire for sexual contact to happen. I might have thought about it happening, but it wasn't an expectation or desire. By 16 I was having sex with my gf, so I definitely wasn't into being in bed with a guy.

    Possibly this 19yr old was still a virgin.

    At 9 I experienced an unwanted sexual encounter from an older neighbor boy who was my best friend. I didn't flip out or suffer in school from it. I did stop associating with him and it was 2 years before I even spoke to him. He picked right back up on the unwanted sexual encounters and I severed the relationship again. I resented him for 15 years. I blamed him for my m4m thoughts - but later came to accept he wasn't the cause.

    So small encounters can have big emotional weight. I internalized mine and dealt with it over time. This guy flaked out.

    I can understand your view that he was wrong for flaking out. As an adult he has a social responsibility to guage his reactions. Seeking council with his friend present was probably the social action that never occured, and might have helped him deal with the encounter, or see it from his friends viewpoint - possibly engender a bit of understanding.
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    Aug 31, 2007 2:43 AM GMT
    At 9 years of age, no one has the right to engage you in any type of sexual activity, wanted or not. Thats just flat out wrong, it's way too early.