gammie
Betrayed': Male rape victims slam Oscar-nominated filmmakers over focus on women
by gammie
February 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

 

Natalie Cass / WireImage via Getty Images file

Michael Matthews, left, and director Kirby Dick attend "The Invisible War" premiere after party at Innovation Gallery last month in Park City, Utah. Matthews has blasted the filmmaker for abandoning male victims.

Two male rape survivors who appear in "The Invisible War," an Oscar-nominated documentary about military sexual assaults, are criticizing the movie's brief focus on male victims as an ironic snub — and, in a fiery diatribe, one of the film's characters says the director "should be ashamed and embarrassed."

"We're being abandoned by (director) Kirby Dick. The guys feel betrayed," said Michael Matthews, a 20-year Air Force veteran who, in the movie, tells of his 1974 gang rape by three other airmen. The publicity campaign hawking the film — and its Academy Award candidacy — includes a website that shows the faces of six female victims of military sexual assault, and no male survivors of that crime, as well as formal screenings to which only female victims have been asked to attend, Matthews said.

"What the (bleep) is that about? They don't list any of the men on the website. He's making millions of dollars but he's not bringing any of the men to any these appearances all over the country like he's bringing the women," Matthews told NBC News. "I appreciate them putting us in the movie but, now, the men are not being represented at all. He has turned his back on us. And the movie, some of it, is hurting us."

Navy veteran Brian Lewis — who was raped by a male, senior non-commissioned officer in 2000 and then discharged from the Navy shortly after reporting the attack — said he and Matthews are disturbed that the film's fleeting attention on male victims, both on screen and in promotional tactics, symbolizes the way male sex-assault survivors have been marginalized by society and by some lawmakers investigating the issue of rapes within the armed forces. Lewis has a 10-second soundbite in the documentary.

"'The Invisible War' runs for just under two hours (99 minutes) and men received probably a lot less than five minutes. How frustrating would that be?" asked Lewis, 33, who serves on the board of Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy group for service members who have been sexually assaulted by fellow troops.

Replies

  • gammie
    by gammie
    February 8, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    "There's a lot of disappointment in the male survivor community that this keeps being talked about as a 'women's issue,' and it's not," said Susan Burke, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who is spearheading a series of nationwide lawsuits meant to reform the manner in which the military prosecutes rape and sexual assault. She represents male and female military-rape victims.

    "From interviewing hundreds of rape and sexual assault survivors, both male and female, there's a persistent pattern by the military in essentially even refusing to accept the allegation, where the chain of command basically says, 'We are not going to even report this.' And that is much more prevalent with the male victims," Burke said. "What I've seen time and time again: a male who comes forward to report rape and sexual assault is accused of being a homosexual."

    But according to Dr. Loree Sutton, a psychiatrist and retired Army brigadier general, rapes are not about sex but are instead fueled by aggression and domination. The crime is almost an animalistic demonstration that the predator "owns" the prey. Many male-on-male rapes in the military are group attacks. Some involve drugging the victims.

    "It's not about gay sex. Typically the predators are heterosexual men who have this need to assert power, control and dominance," Sutton said. "It's similar to the dynamics of what happens with incest — those family bonds, the trust, the loyalty. I mean, in the military, loyalty becomes this huge factor and that is so difficult for men and women to sort out."

    She believes that many male victims never report sex assaults committed against them by other male service members often because "in society, people just don't know how to relate to them," and the confusion such survivors face among family or friends — after they eventually open up about their rapes — "can re-open very deep wounds," Sutton said. "It's almost unspeakable."

    Matthews, 58, kept the attack against him secret for nearly 30 years before he finally told his wife in 2001. Today, living in New Mexico, has launched an idea for a movie — now in post-production editing — that examines only men's stories of military rape and how those assaults changed those men forever. The title: "Justice Denied."

    "These men feel ostracized in our society. Nobody wants to talk about the truth — that most of the rapes in the military (victimize) men. Nobody wants to talk about it," Matthews said.

  • la_bella_vita
    February 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM

     Sad : (

  • Veni.Vidi.Vici.
    February 8, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    I think it's tragic that they have to live with the brutality of their rape and the disappointment in the portrayal in the film. Personally I wouldn't want to put myself and my story out there unless I felt that the tragedy itself was s factual as possible and included as much or as little intimate details as I was comfortable with. Unless you produce your own work a victim's accounts can be lost. Sad.

  • Woodbabe
    February 8, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Sounds like the movie is focused on the women...maybe these guys need to push to get their own movie specifically focused on the men's aspect. Every thing doesn't HAVE to be equal, for everyone, at every time.

  • mikiemom
    February 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

     This and not many men come out Male Rape is a very taboo subject for many people. For some reason it's more acceptable to talk about female rape.


    Quoting Woodbabe:

    Sounds like the movie is focused on the women...maybe these guys need to push to get their own movie specifically focused on the men's aspect. Every thing doesn't HAVE to be equal, for everyone, at every time.


     

  • futureshock
    February 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM


    Quoting Woodbabe:

    Sounds like the movie is focused on the women...maybe these guys need to push to get their own movie specifically focused on the men's aspect. Every thing doesn't HAVE to be equal, for everyone, at every time.

    yup

  • mandaday
    February 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM
    That's just terrible. I'm sure it took a lot of courage to share their stories. Sadly male on male rape is not taken as seriously as it should be, often even treated as a joke. These men were very brave to speak out. To have it minimalized and for them to be snubbed like that must be a real slap in the face.
  • gammie
    by gammie
    February 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    'The invisible War' is a very good documentary it should be seen. The documentary does also speak about the men who also have been raped, but most of the movie is about the women.

  • TruthSeeker.
    February 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

     

    Quoting Woodbabe:

    Sounds like the movie is focused on the women...maybe these guys need to push to get their own movie specifically focused on the men's aspect. Every thing doesn't HAVE to be equal, for everyone, at every time.

     Agree completely. It's the directors movie and his vision. If he chooses to focus primarily on female rape it's his prerogative.

     I do think a documentary focusing on male rape in the military is long over due though.

  • Kaya529
    by Kaya529
    February 8, 2013 at 1:10 PM
    I do agree but in this case I see why the men are upset. They put enough in the movie to hurt their reputations but not enough to draw attention to the problem, which is why the men put their stories out there in the first place. The filmakers should have either cut that portion all together or gave them more time.

    Quoting Woodbabe:

    Sounds like the movie is focused on the women...maybe these guys need to push to get their own movie specifically focused on the men's aspect. Every thing doesn't HAVE to be equal, for everyone, at every time.