DiscussionIn this section I will examine the results of the study in greater detail, and offer some insights and interpretations of the data. I will also relate the data to the Literature Review presented earlier. Glaser (1998) states that in grounded theory research, the literature review should be treated as simply another source of data, to be compared and added to the raw data which one obtains from interviewing participants. ThemesAs indicated in the chapter on Results, six main themes emerged from analysing the data from the interviews. These were: Changes that may helpExperiences of counselling receivedHelpful things not via counsellingReasons for not accessing soonerEffects of assaultTelling people.
For each of these main themes a number of secondary issues emerged, as listed in the Results chapter. The issues which were most important to the participants will be discussed in the remainder of this chapter, and I will also show where my results concur with the Literature Review. Changes that may helpFourteen issues emerged for this theme, with all participants agreeing on the importance of the following three issues: Media; More information; and Information in public places.
Eighty percent of participants also agreed that the following were important: Information on normal reactions; Support of others; Stereotypical views; and Increase of government funding. A central concern for all participants was that male rape carries a social stigma, which is reinforced rather than challenged by the media. Most participants discussed common stereotypes about male rape, such as its portrayal by the media as an issue affecting only gay men or male prisoners. This is similar to the portrayal of rape as only a women’s concern. Although statistically more females than males are victims of rape and sexual assault, as reported in the Literature Review, literally hundreds of males are affected by these crimes.
Many or most victims are heterosexual males who are not prisoners at the time of the assault (Groth and Burgess, 1980; Lipscomb, 1992). Male rape is inaccurately stereotyped or trivialised in the media, and the resulting stigma sets up a major barrier for male victims to access counselling services. Of great concern is that most participants in this study perceived the Police to have the same stereotyped views of male rape.
This made them more reluctant to report the assault, and in fact some participants did encounter Police hostility when they reported their assault. Another related concern for all participants was the lack of publicly available information about organisations that serve male rape victims. Several participants indicated that there is an expectation that men should not need to talk about their feelings, not even following a sexual assault. This contributed to their problems with trying to find out if there are organisations to serve male victims.
Often it was friends or relatives of the victim who made the initial phone calls or set up an appointment, as the victim himself was in a kind of paralysis or depression. This can make it very difficult for a male victim to seek out sources of support, which means it is all the more important to have information about resources and services widely publicised and easily available.