The Herald (South Africa)

Male rape victim mocked at police station

- Yoliswa Sobuwa and Zandile Mbabela

A MAN who was allegedly held at gunpoint, drugged and gang-raped by three women in an open field in Kwazakhele was ridiculed by police when he went to report the incident on Tuesday.

The Herald witnessed the laughter and mockery as the traumatise­d man laid the complaint at the New Brighton police station in Port Elizabeth. He declined to comment. The women allegedly stopped the 33-year-old man in Seyisi Street and asked for directions to New Brighton, before pulling out a gun and forcing him into the black BMW they were travelling in.

They drove with him for less than a kilometre to an open field in Khuzwayo Street, where they allegedly raped him, before fleeing with his semen in a cooler box.

Efforts to track the man down later at the address he provided in the police report were fruitless.

Nobody in the area in Kwazakhele recognised his name, although some of them said he could have provided a fake identity after being openly mocked and laughed at by police.

Martin Pelders, of MatrixMen, a support group for male survivors of sexual abuse, said being ridiculed was one of the main reasons men did not report rape.

He said although male rape was prevalent, it was extremely under reported for obvious reasons.

“Men are embarrasse­d by this and a lot of the time they are ridiculed by the very people they report to,” he said.

“The general notion is that women can’t rape men and as a result you won’t find statistics because the crime is seen as rare or bizarre. There may be statistics for corrective rape, but not necessaril­y for male rape as cases are not reported,” Pelders said.

Many Kwazakhele residents, when they heard of the alleged rape, sympathise­d with the man and lambasted those who thought the incident was a joke.

Tshepo Linko, 21, said it was not uncommon for men to be made fun of when reporting abuse or rape by women.

“I feel sorry for the guy who had to experience this terrible painful thing,” she said.

“People should remember that it was against his will and he was forced into that car at gunpoint.

“He was brave enough to report the case at the police station, but he was ridiculed – maybe that is why he decided to give out the wrong informatio­n.”

Thandeka Mzikanisi, 26, said although it seemed odd for a man to be raped, she felt sorry for the guy.

“We have heard of such stories in Johannesbu­rg, but it is shocking that it has now happened in our backyard,” she said.

“Maybe the guy is someone that we know but who is very ashamed to show his face after the treatment he got at the police station.

“People need to be taught that even men can be the victims of abuse and they need the same support given to women when they are in the same situation.”

Police spokesman Mncedi Mbombo condemned the police’s response when the man reported the case.

“When people go to open cases at the police station and they experience such treatment, they have a right to complain to the station commander.

“They should give the name of the police officer who was helping them with the case and the time it happened.”

Mbombo said Port Elizabeth police were not aware of any other similar cases in the city.

“If it is a national issue, our national office might get wind of this and send an e-mail to that effect,” he said.

Similar cases were reported in Diepsloot, north of Johannesbu­rg, in January, and in the East Rand’s Tembisa township in March.

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