The arrest of a male SMU student last week for allegedly sexually assaulting a male acquaintance sheds light on the small percentage of male victims who actually report such assaults.
John David Mahaffey, 19, was arrested after the victim, also a student, told SMU police he was forced to perform oral sex on Mahaffey in a parking garage at 3050 SMU Blvd., which is the address of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity where Mahaffey was a member.
Mahaffey has been banned from campus and suspended from the fraternity.
Jana Barker, executive director at Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center, said national statistics show that 3 percent of men will experience or commit rape in their lifetime. She said among male rape victims, only about 7 percent will report the sexual assault. Barker said gay men are often targets of sexual assault because of their sexual orientation.
No statistics could be found on the number of gay men who are raped and the number of male rapes on college campuses.
Many men never come forward to report the encounters because of the stigma of being raped and being a man and often because they feel they are targeted because they have gay tendencies, Barker said. Some male victims question their sexual orientation afterward.
She said male victims also believe only gay men commit rape, but that is untrue.
“Rape is about power and control,” she said. “It’s not sex. It’s violence.”
Police later recorded a phone call between the victim and Mahaffey during which Mahaffey told the victim he should say the encounters were consensual.
Mahaffey is part of prominent SMU legacy. His great-great grandfather was a member of SMU’s founding committee and one of its first professors, NBC 5 reports. His grandmother, father and two aunts are alumni.
SMU spokesman Kent Best said the university isn’t commenting beyond a written statement because the investigation is ongoing.
“On Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, SMU Police arrested an SMU student for an alleged sexual assault that occurred Sept. 23, 2012, on the SMU campus,” the statement reads. “SMU Police will present the findings of its investigation to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. The student is temporarily banned from campus pending further investigation.”
The U.S. Justice Department extended the definition of rape in January to include male rape. The definition had only stated that men who forcibly have sex with women was rape, excluding men who rape men and forced oral sex.