U.K. group launches “Real Men Get Raped” PSAs

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Real Men Get Raped PSA

Advocacy group Survivors UK has launched a new series of PSAs addressing male sexual-assault victims, featuring the slogan "Real men get raped. And talking about it takes real strength." The spots are launching to coincide with the rugby tournament in London, and feature the confusing yet extremely graphic image of a punctured rugby ball, referencing what's arguably the manliest sport in existence.

Not everyone's thrilled about the ads, which some argue might reinforce rather than refute the stereotype that sexual abuse or assault never happen to "real men," who are strong enough to fend it off, or something like that. Arguments have also been made that aggressively tying the issue into rugby, not exactly a sport with disproportionately high reports of male sexual abuse, is superfluous and not much more than a shock-value tactic.

I'd argue that the real issue is the wording of the slogan, which is kind of a confusing usage of the "Real Men [do XYZ]" paradigm, and seems to imply at first glance that being raped is something a "real man" would do. Even so, education about sexual abuse so often targets female victims exclusively, so it seems like an overall positive thing that someone is advocating for men, too.

At the end of the day, sexual abuse doesn't happen to men because they're weak, just like it doesn't happen to women because they're sluts. Maybe Survivors UK didn't pick the most graceful way to get that message out, but at least they have people talking about it.