I cannot be alone in thinking that a woman might assault a man who is unwilling to have consensual sex. It may even be an act where the man is persuaded to penetrate the woman and Norway, for example, concluded this was rape in 2004. The cases of Vanessa George & Madeline Martin in the UK make it clear that women can be the aggressor. The conviction, recently, of Claire Marsh is also telling: but she was guilty of being an accomplice to rape. She was the ringleader in a gang who punched and then assisted in the rape of a 37 year old victim known as Miss X. We still need to do more work to see that proper justice is done and that victims of either gender are treated fairly and with due respect.

Rape is about power and consent; it might also arguably be about penetration. It is not about a penis.

Personal testimony

I write as the partner of a victim of male rape. I met him for the first time a few weeks after the incident but it took a further 2 months before I realised fully what had happened to him. We worked together for the next 11 years to bring both the perpetrators and the country to justice. We were ultimately successful, but I know that, today, I live with a man thoroughly damaged by the experience and I also know that no one wants to talk about it.

Necati arrived in Crete on an illicit journey to Italy. We have often been asked about the reason he wanted to leave his native Turkey and repeatedly he has refused to talk about that. Indeed, it is an irrelevance and does nothing to explain what happened to him in Hania. There, two uniformed officers brutally assaulted him in a public lavatory. It was the climax of days of intimidation and torture. One threatened him with a truncheon which he eventually stuck in his bottom, while the other watched the door. "Do you want this much? this much? or this much?" the man had asked measuring out the length of his truncheon with his fingers. They had no common language but Necati could repeat accurately the single word, "Poso" "How much?"- in Greek. The man's name was Dandoulakis. Vardakis watched.

The case is fairly well documented in both the press and on the internet. Indeed, we even made a film about it that in itself caused some offence - elderly ladies in North Oxford were shocked that a male rape victim should infuse his own story with humour. I think they were more shocked that he should have told his story at all. One of them complained that he was not really a proper torture victim anyway. "He's survived," she said. "Why make any further fuss?"

The "Athens News" printed a number of letters and articles about the case: "This is the first time officers in Greece are charged with torture and abuse of authority based on article 137A of the Greek criminal code. If convicted, they face from three years up to life in prison." They were later convicted although their sentences were commuted immediately to fairly modest fines. At length, after 11 years, the European Court of Human Rights demanded compensation from the Greek Government. It was a token sum but Greece was heading towards austerity and we drew the line there. We both felt we had more friends in Greece than we had enemies, and this case had run its course.

In the final 2 parts, I will look at Necati's court case in Greece, the process of taking the case through the EU courts, and draw some general conclusions about the silence that still surrounds male rape. #Lawsuit #Society