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Male-on-male rape is rarely reported in South Africa. Often its silence comes from the shame men feel from having been raped, overpowered and/or humiliated by another man. This shame touches on feelings about being a man and carries the pressure to be strong and powerful, both of which are undone by the rape. Usually, male-on-male rape occurs in institutional settings such as prisons and hostels, but it has occasionally occurred as part of homophobic attacks on gay men and in certain circumstances by a minority of gay men themselves.

This serious issue carries much trauma and the risk of infection of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Physical damage to the anus and surrounding areas can be painful and might need extensive surgery and medical care. Male-on-male rape is usually forceful and violent. Both immediate medical and psychological care and follow-up are extremely important and should not be delayed; post-exposure prophylactic anti-retroviral therapy – pills to stop the potential infection by HIV – MUST be taken as soon as possible after the attack.

The shame and humiliation can lead to secrecy and the perpetuation of shame, creating a vicious cycle that reinforces the traumatic aspect of being raped. This is an unnecessary extra chunk of emotional pain and suffering that can be avoided in the long-run. The emotional consequences of rape can destroy trust in men and in subsequent relationships; it can also affect your sexual life by inhibiting desire, orgasm and sexual performance generally. Therapy is an essential after being raped as the trauma should not be left untreated psychologically.