The rape of men... seriously; a gender issue?

This 'Gender & Sexuality Provocations' seminar discussed the rape of men in conflict settings. The event also launched the film 'Men Can Be Raped Too', developed by the members of the Men of Hope Association (MOHA), a refugee support group in Kampala, Uganda. There was 'provocations' from Refugee Law Project (RLP) Director, Chris Dolan and, via video link, members of the MOHA.

Thursday 19 November, 12.30-14:00pm at the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK. Live streamed on Interactions.

The seminar heared about a project between RLP, MOHA and IDS in Kampala which adopts a feminist understanding of ‘empowerment though collective action’ from a position of marginalisation – but applies that to men.

After screening the dramatised film developed by the members of MOHA, ‘Men Can Be Raped Too’, the audience heard two provocations about the reality of male sexual victimisation in the context of the Congo conflict. The discussed touched on how transitions into refugee contexts in Uganda can conspire to hide such men’s vulnerabilities in a context of frenzied homophobia and an ill-equipped international asylum response, compromised by outdated gender frameworks. Reflections on the project and the open discussion were based on questions such as:

  • 'Does appealing to male ‘victimisation’ and ‘vulnerability’ in relation to sexual violence not detract from the bigger problem of women’s victimisation and men’s ‘perpetration’?'
  • 'Is the problem significant enough to risk jeopardising the gains made in drawing global attention to violence against women and girls?'
  • 'What does homophobia have to do with any of this and how does it connect to gender?'


  • Chris Dolan from Refugee Law Programme (RLP) has been Director of the Refugee Law Project, a community outreach project of the School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, since 2006. RLP's practical work with survivors of sexual violence in conflict settings, as well as related research and advocacy, is helping to generate more comprehensive and inclusive theorising about 'GBV', as well as more responsive international policies and practice regarding men as victims of sexual violence.
  • Steven Kighoma from Men of Hope Association (MOHA)


  • Thea Shahrokh (IDS)
  • Jerker Edström (IDS) 

On Tuesday 17 November 2015, Chris Dolan (RLP) presented as a witness to the United Kingdom House of Lords Sexual Violence in Conflict Committee. 

Watch a video of the Committee

Join the conversation

  • Ask questions and join the discussion via #sexualviolence on Twitter, or email us.
  • Follow @IDS_UK for updates
  • Find out more about the issue of sexual and gender-based violence elsewhere on Interactions.

Men Can Be Raped Too: Watch the film

In viewing this film the audience will see some of the harsh reality of sexual violence in conflict. Please be aware that distressing events are dramatised, including sexual violence, suicide attempts, family disintegration, stigmatisation, exclusion and unemployment. 

Men Can Be Raped Too

This film breaks the silence around sexual violence against men in conflict. Scripted, filmed and acted by members of a unique support group 'Men of Hope', it captures the multiple impacts of this under-recognized reality; suicide attempts, family disintegration, unemployment, stigmatization, exclusion, and more.

Read this blog from two of the filmmakers, who talk about the challenges and successes they experienced, and the impact that making the film had on them. 

Watch the discussion

The rape of men...seriously; a gender issue?