The Sexual Abuse of Boys Is Not About “Getting Lucky” and We Need to Stop Promoting This Myth

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When we frame any sort of sexual abuse as a “sexual relationship” or call a male survivor of sexual abuse lucky, we harm survivors of any gender.

Another story rolled through my newsfeed this week about a female teacher who allegedly committed statutory rape against a male student. I’m sick of these stories. I’m sick of adults abusing children, and I’m sick of the way the media portrays male survivors of abuse as willing accomplices or “lucky boys” when the perpetrator is a female.

Why do we do this? Why aren’t we willing to protect our boys and stand up for them? Why don’t we think they deserve the right to bodily autonomy and consent?

My own personal opinion is that we are so attached to our gender binary when it comes to sex that we are willing to harm pretty much everybody to maintain it. This myth promotes the idea that men are sex-hungry beasts and women are the guardians of virtue, and harms people of any gender, pushing us deeper into shame and secrecy.

I reached out to Peter Pollard and Steve LePore of 1in6, an organization with a mission to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives. I wanted to know the history of the messages that say boys who are victims “wanted it.”

Peter explains,

We’re all raised in a culture that says boys are always supposed to initiate and enjoy a sexual experience and males are never supposed to see themselves or be seen as victims.

We all go to great lengths to avoid feeling vulnerable. So it shouldn’t be surprising that we scramble to find a reassuring explanation to convince ourselves that we, or someone we love couldn’t possibly be forced to unwillingly engage in something as intimate as a sexual act. The easiest default is to “blame the victim,” to say “he wanted it,” “he must have chosen that.”

It’s even more confusing if it’s a boy who is in the less powerful role. Even the boy has a stake in believing he “wanted it” rather than being seen by himself or others as a “victim.”

Since first taking note of the way the media covers these stories, calling them “sexual relationships” and “hot for teacher” scenarios, I’ve wondered how language that frames abuse as a mutual relationship can affect male survivors, and why the media insists on framing these stories as inherently consensual when they are not. Steve LePore explained:

“A lot of the confusion about sexual abuse is the result of focusing on the “sexual” aspect rather than the “abusive” use of power over someone who is in some way dependent. The most damaging impact of sexual abuse has more to do with a child experiencing a lack of control, a sense of betrayal, and loss of trust toward someone who was expected to be in a protective role.

And it’s not just the child in question who may be affected by the way the media or people in his life discuss it. Other survivors may feel the language used by the media and people discussing the case diminishes their own experiences and feelings. Steve elaborated on that point, too:

The description of it being a “relationship” can feel like a mockery of those feelings for any boy or man who has been abused. Especially in a student/teacher situation – because of the built-in power imbalance that that role gives a teacher over the life of a student – no child can ever be in a position to consent to a “sexual relationship” with a teacher.”

Chris Anderson, who advocates for and works with men who’ve survived sexual violence or abuse through MaleSurivor.org explains how damaging the “lucky bastard” mentality of believing that all boys want sex can be:

“The conversation around sexual violence routinely minimizes the experience of boys and men who are victimized. Comedians like Bill Maher joke repeatedly about how a boy or man who is raped by a woman is “lucky.”

This creates an environment where males don’t recognize rape and abuse for what it is, shames men who have been victimized, and stigmatizes the few boys and men who do have the courage to come forward.”

Kristen Sukura, Executive Director of the Sexual Violence Center in Minneapolis, which supports survivors and works to help end sexual violence, and also offers a 24-hour support hotline for survivors of any gender or sexual orientation, agrees that it’s dangerous to make light of the experiences of male victims.

When we treat certain acts of sexual violence as less serious than others – or something worth joking about – we are reinforcing the often-crippling shame suffered by victims of sexual violence who are not female-identified. Because what we are telling each other – and young people – is that a ‘victim’ looks a certain way, and acts a certain way, and anyone not fitting into that mold couldn’t possibly be a victim. And, therefore, what happened to them could not possibly be considered sexual violence.

To Sukura’s point, when we start naming who can and cannot be a victim, we are also sending a message to female survivors re-enforcing the incredibly dangerous notion that there are some victims who matter and others who don’t, or some rapes that count and some that don’t. With the prevalence of victim-blaming against women and girls as well as men and boys, the last thing we need for anybody of any gender or orientation is more shame.

So, what can be done by those of us in the media, and people in general, to help support survivors? First, we have to stop using terms that imply consent of the victim when we discuss sexual violence or statutory rape. We need to stop ourselves, and evaluate how we speak about any survivor, and challenge our ideas of what it means to be a boy or man. As Dr. Andrew Irwin-Smiler wrote, the myth of the “roving inseminator” must die. Men and boys deserve to give consent and to have it respected.

To fellow editors and writers: Take the time to look over your headlines and content relating to the abuse of boys to be sure you’re not encouraging dangerous stereotypes and victim-blaming mentality. Statutory rape isn’t a “sexual relationship,” it’s rape.

Peter Pollard further explains that the emphasis should be less on the sexual aspects of the story, and more on the violation of trust and power that occurred.

Talk about the impact on the other students, what lessons the teacher has conveyed to the rest of the students and how that impacts their dependent relationships with other teachers. What are parents’ expectations of safety when they send their child to school? Explore the responsibility of other teachers, administrators and staff to speak up if they have concerns about a teacher behaving inappropriately with a student.

It’s our responsibility to support survivors of sexual trauma and abuse, and one way we can do that is by watching the language we use. We need to make our world a safe place for victims and survivors to come forward and receive the help and healing that is available to them.

For support and resources or to learn more about the advocates and experts quoted above, see below:

MaleSurvivor.org

The Sexual Violence Center of Minneapolis 612-871-5111

1in6.org

Photo: Flickr/Nina Matthews Photography

About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane, MariaShriver.com, TIME.com, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

Comments

  1. If the majority of contributors have failed to get this publication to stop erasing male victims and female abusers – after years of constant pressure and complaining, how are “we” supposed to influence the media at large to change?

    • John Anderson says:

      @ BAT

      I’ve been critical of GMP also, but I do need to stand up for them here. We should be able to accept growing pains when things actually change. I have seen some improvement in the coverage of issues affecting men. When initially discussing the Ray Rice incident, GMP was deleting any comments suggesting that Rice was defending himself effectively denying the fact that Ray Rice could show fear (of a smaller person) or doubt. GMP was essentially supporting the myths that men can’t be abused because they’re bigger, while 18% of men / boys reported that women used physical force to compel them to have sex in a recent APA survey. GMP was essentially denying the right of men to feel all the emotions like fear and doubt. You may not agree with what Rice did, but you shouldn’t just assume that he couldn’t be fearful. I’m glad that they’ve chosen in subsequent conversations to open up the discussion and I hope that it was this realization rather than clicks that motivated the change.

      They’ve removed articles that have minimized or made light of male victimization. I’ve seen more articles talking about male victimization. The thing I would ask them to look at more is female perpetration. This article was a great article. The reaction Joanna got was somewhat undeserved because I think her intentions were noble, but I think it would have been perfect if she had tied it into rape culture. I think that’s what most people were looking for and thus the reaction. That would have tied it into prevention, which of course can not be achieved without addressing the perpetrators.

      • I don’t share your optimism.

        These aren’t gowning pains. Its being stagnant for years. Watch how they will keep promoting the myths, while paying lip service to debunking them. The management are ideologically predisposed to promoting these myths.

  2. John Anderson says:

    “Why do we do this? Why aren’t we willing to protect our boys and stand up for them? Why don’t we think they deserve the right to bodily autonomy and consent?”

    The reason? Because we would have to tell women not to rape. When we talk about anti-rape campaigns targeted at men we say don’t rape. When we talk about how to help our boys and men, we say change the language. That might be a necessary component. I’m not arguing that, but the focus should be on preventing victimization in the first place. That’s how we’d approach it if the genders were reversed.

    • Bridgette Rodriguez says:

      John Anderson, spot on.

    • Robbie Knight says:

      It IS spot on.

      I’d like to see a campaign with pictures of attractive people of both genders and the caption: “Who’s the perpetrator?” and then under that, “They both are,”

      Rather than gender reversals, I’d like to see it become a non-gendered issue entirely.

      I think women fear that they will lose credibility and compassion if men are given equal consideration when it comes to assault and abuse, but I believe the opposite will happen. If rape is taken seriously and trauma is better understood, and if BOTH genders are treated with equal care and respect, wouldn’t that be a win-win?

      If it doesn’t matter what he was wearing, why would it matter what she was wearing? If men so rarely report it, then why would women get lambasted for not reporting it? If it’s recognized that trauma thwacks the brain, why would it be MORE traumatic for one gender than another? We know from studies on PTSD in soldiers that trauma does not affect the genders differently, other than women having a tendency toward more subsequent depression…but if both genders were treated for it, then no one would take depression in either gender less seriously.

      By taking gender OUT of the issue completely, would both genders get better care and respect?

  3. Honest to god serious question here, Joanna. How can you- and by that I mean GMP- run this article mere days before you ran this one: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/homeland-challenges-stereotypes-hot-guys-fat-women-shesaid/

    …I mean, here you have a sober woman taking advantage of a severely drunk woman, and we’re expected to believe that this is empowering? Because she’s a fat woman?

    This is rape.

    Or does the “you can’t consent while drunk” thing only apply to women?

    • Greg Allan says:

      In an earlier comment I mentioned the behaviour of my country’s womens’ magazines in their “reporting” of cutesy “romances” between little boys and adult women. At least those magazines don’t make any pretense about it. At least they don’t pretend to be oh so caring and empathetic towards male victims and victims of female perpetrators in order to lure them in to what is not a safe environment for them.

    • Bridgette Rodriguez says:

      Excellent point! (P.S. You had an error when you said it was a sober woman taking advantage of a severely drunk “woman”–I know you meant “man”.)

      I am rather new to GMP’s website (but not to them on twitter), and I agree there are articles here on GMP that contradict others. Therefore, I am not able to truly understand what GMP stands for/its values. This comes from not enough close review of articles before they are published.

      • Join the club on that one. This website was supposed to be about telling mens stories, and trying to find solutions to the problems experience by them.

        Unfortunately GMP has a rather large percentages of stories about women, their problems that have nothing to do with problems men are having.

        • Tom Brechlin says:

          C’mon, we know this is a feminist driven liberal sight and I’ve accepted it. I have noticed that there is a slight increase in showing real male issues but I don’t expect the site to go full tilt, it’s just not going to happen. So I’ve resigned myself to accepting the few bones that are thrown in that direction.

          What I will continue to struggle with is the silencing of many where responses are removed. At least give some leeway to allow voices to be heard and not silence them because it goes against the grain. In my experience this occurs more often with a few authors whom I will not name.

      • Theorema Egregium says:

        „This comes from not enough close review of articles before they are published.“

        I don’t think so. I believe it is because there are only very few people (male and female) who have an interest in the issues presented here. I’d guess most women don’t really see why they should engage themselves in men’s issues at all, and most men either don’t realize there are any issues – or they chose to deal with them in a very different (and in my mind utterly non-constructive) way, namely by joining MRA anti-feminist websites.

        So in short, contradictory positions are published, because they have to take what they can get. There’s simply not enough material of any one position compatible with this site’s mission to pull it off alone.

        Hence, as jatc also said, we get feminist, conservative, gender-essentialist, male-positive almost-MRA, male-bashing, Cosmo-like, and frankly irrelevant articles, including reprints from women’s websites.

        • Bridgette Rodriguez says:

          Theorema Egregium , as I am rather new to their website, I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. However, I will defer your opinion. Thanks.

  4. At this point in history, the most influential promoters of the myth that women don’t rape and men cannot be raped are the people that control the stats and continually and deliberately give out the stats for male to female rape, while always omitting the stats for male victimization and female perpetration.

  5. Bridget Rodriguez says:

    Thank you for writing this article, as it is a subject that both needs to be discussed in open and honest ways and one the public and media need to be better educated on. (FYI, I RT your tweet about this article from my Twitter account.)

    However, I was wondering whether you are aware of and can cite any recent, credible studies relating to HOW people (of different genders and different age groups) feel about female teachers being arrested for having sex with underage male students and WHY they feel that way.

    While the stereotype of males ‘getting lucky’ (I believe) appears to still abound amongst many males, I have a feeling it is much less so with females—yet, I have found a very unsettling INDIFFERENCE to these instances of female teachers being arrested for sex with an underage male student, from female friends/acquaintances/family. I will post or RT some of these articles about female teachers being arrested, but get very little interest and/or feedback, even from females. And, when I speak to female friends about it, they almost never use the ‘he got lucky’ response, but they also only give a very lukewarm, “Oh, she’s a teacher and she should have known better” type response–no real concern that it was sexual abuse and definitely no outrage.

    I believe I know the true and hidden reason why so many females don’t seem upset when they hear about female teachers being arrested for having sex with underage male students, but I wondering if there are recent, credible studies you know of that have explored this.

    Any info you have would be appreciated.

    • I think having sons (as the author) changes your perspective some. I don’t mean that in a negative way. Having 3 daughters made me more aware of the obstacles women face in education and carrier choices. In my ‘neck of the woods’ there have been about 7 or 8 ‘Female teacher sexually abuses male student cases in about the last year or so (the last one about a week ago) Every time I see the headline I think to myself “Wow, I wonder how many hours of community service she’s facing.” as most of these cases are ‘pleaded down’ to a misdemeanor. (to spare the child the tram of a trial) yeah, right!

  6. I know I’ll be lambasted for this, but I have to say, I’m a little divided on the subject. On one hand, I’m completely for the equal concern and treatment for boys and girls, men and women. And if someone has been genuinely used and abused, particularly by someone with the authority of position or age, I sincerely hope they are believed, and helped. On the other hand, when it comes to sexual encounters that are merely considered nonconsensual by statute only, I balk at the insistence on calling it “rape,” particularly when the the “victim” engages willingly and does not personally consider the action forced. I understand that some minors are exceptionally impressionable, naive, and vulnerable to psychological trauma in such instances, but then there are some teenagers who are more mature than some senior citizens. Nevertheless, we assign an age of legal consent, and get all bent out of shape no matter what the particular circumstances of the case are. Plus, our culture is so warped regarding sex that it creates and exacerbates many psychological issues which are blamed solely on such encounters. I guess what I’m saying is that even though the pain and trauma that a boy or girl might feel in response to such statutorially illegal encounters might be very real, and it’s essential that they are helped, the true cause of their pain isn’t likely to be simply the encounter itself.

    • I once dated a woman who, while in high school, had a sexual relationship with one of her teachers. She never felt like a victim, never felt abused, never felt ashamed. It had been a pleasant experience for her. I was a bit surprised by this, but I realized I had no basis for telling her that her feelings about it were wrong.

  7. To fellow editors and writers: Take the time to look over your headlines and content relating to the abuse of boys to be sure you’re not encouraging dangerous stereotypes and victim-blaming mentality. Statutory rape isn’t a “sexual relationship,” it’s rape.

    If that is your position, perhaps you should not republish articles that minimize women’s violence against men (an article published after your admonition). Doing otherwise would give the impression that one’s concern about dangerous stereotypes and victim-blaming mentality is more spurious than it already appears.

    • Bridget Rodriguez says:

      Jacobtk, thanks for raising that point and that article. FYI, the article has been removed!

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        That article was up for no more than an hour or two – the section that mentioned that Hope Solo’s DV wasn’t the same as Ray Rice’s had alluded the editor (who was new that week) and I took it down the MOMENT my eyes landed on it. It was a mistake, as you can see from the editor’s note that I personally wrote, and even that editor felt absolutely sick about their mistake.

        Jacob would rather focus on the short-lived and immediately removed mistakes we make than the hundreds of articles we publish every year that support male survivors of sexual abuse and DV, work that we are lauded for and work that has helped pave the way for bigger media companies to discuss something that just a few years ago was entirely off-limits.

        Again, I apologize that the article about Hope Solo even made it onto this site. It shouldn’t have.

        However, that doesn’t undermine this article or any of the hundreds of others on this site that support survivors and hold female perpetrators to as high a level of scrutiny as male perpetrators.

  8. LifeandLessons says:

    Excellent! Thanks so much for your article. True Dat!

  9. As someone studying sociolinguistics and masculinities at the PhD level, I agree with the author. Language is ridiculously powerful social element, and the intersection between the gender binary that we presently have and the language value attached to it is one of the major components that drives this issue. Hegemonic models make it hard to define men who are sexually abused by women as “victims” because of the (erroneous) assumption that they wanted it, and that this assault in itself can reinforce manhood.

    This also has to do with a cultural narrative which pushes the idea that men have to be the “hero” in a sexual scenario, or at least in control. To be anything but the victor/hero/dominant places a man lower on the hegemonic spectrum.

  10. Mat Bryan says:

    Joanna,
    Love the follow up to the sharing of my story, and the story of 2 other men… who were sexually abused.

    The change has to come from Men who have healed through this trauma… and yes it is a trauma. After more Men have healed and overcome their past is when we can move on to making this change. Too many Men are responsible for this BS myth. Those Men make me chuckle with their false bravado and Manly words… I know the child that is hiding on the inside throwing those barbs and I know his pain.
    Why?
    Because I was that guy before I removed the sting and before I removed my attachment to that bullshit judgment by society.
    If you want more information on changing this “Myth”… look at the article… From Hurt to Healing.

    • Bridgette Rodriguez says:

      Mat Bryan, I definitely understand what you are saying about men healing to bring about change; however, I must respectfully disagree that (as is inferred) this is the only thing needed for positive change. I don’t believe the rest of us have to wait for all abused men to heal before we do our part to address the sexual abuse of men/boys, including by women. At the end of the day, in my opinion, as sexual abuse and IPV cross all demographics, they are a “people” problem and it will take “people” to come together to help solve them.

  11. Tom Brechlin says:

    Ephebophilia is the primary or exclusive adult sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19

  12. Tom Brechlin says:

    From a recent NYT’s Op Ed “The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals with mental disabilities, in areas such as employment, education and medical care. Congress, however, explicitly excluded pedophilia from protection under these two crucial laws.

    It’s time to revisit these categorical exclusions. Without legal protection, a pedophile cannot risk seeking treatment or disclosing his status to anyone for support. He could lose his job, and future job prospects, if he is seen at a group-therapy session, asks for a reasonable accommodation to take medication or see a psychiatrist, or requests a limit in his interaction with children. Isolating individuals from appropriate employment and treatment only increases their risk of committing a crime.”

    I should note that the article when referencing pedophiles pretty much refer to them as “males.”

  13. Tom Brechlin says:

    I remember when Barbara Walters gave validity to a female teacher who’d has sex with a teen student by having the both of them on her show (he had grown to an adult). This was back in 2004. Watch the interview, it was sickening in that there was no hard hitting “What you did teacher was sexual assault/rape.”

    • Oprah did the same thing, iirc

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        We are trying to change that. We are working very hard at it, too.

      • Greg Allan says:

        “Oprah did the same thing”

        As do womens’ magazines in my country. Regularly. In fact one of those magazines – New Idea – paid the travel and living costs for a US woman who traveled to Australia to consumate her internet grooming of a 14/15 year old boy. It, as with all other instances, was treated as a cutesy romance.

        Oprah Winfrey and those womens magazines know exactly what they are doing. They are successful BECAUSE they cater to exactly what their audiences want.

        • These comments remind me why I have been staying clear of any women’s magazines since delving into them over one or two summers at my aunt’s when I was 12/13. The world they portrayed had nothing to do with the reality around me and it wasn’t a world that I wanted to live in.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          To be clear, Oprah was the first mainstream media outlet to TRULY cover male survivors of sexual abuse, and give them a forum to draw HUGE national attention to the issue, without shame and in a very empowering way.

          It doesn’t mean she’s been perfect on the teacher thing, but let’s remember the good Oprah’s done on this subject, too.

          • Greg Allan says:

            As soon as Oprah Winfrey referred to them as “my victims” I realised that Oprah is in it for Oprah. This is an article about attitudes to victims of female perpetrators. She has demonstrated little interest in them. Just like many institutions and settings** the male who is abused by another male will be heard or accepted. Victims of female perpetrators can eat cake.

            And what’s this “teacher thing”? Not all the female perps Oprah treated as celebrities were teachers. Only about eight percent of female perpetrators ARE actually teachers. The only reason we hear mostly about teacher perps is that those are the hardest to cover up.

            ** CDC definitions and publications which hide victims of female perpetrators. The Australian Institute of Family Studies wants female perpetration of child sexual abuse covered up because it runs counter to their preferred narrative as to the “gendered nature” of domestic violence. Indian government – due to pressure from outraged womens’ and feminist groups – drops proposed gender neutral elements in it’s sexual assault laws leaving women free to sexually abuse with impunity.

          • Ophra walks lock step with the rest.

            No mention of female perpetrators, erasing most of the male victims.

          • Greg Allan says:

            “It doesn’t mean she’s been perfect on the teacher thing”

            Still waiting for a response here. What is “the teacher thing”? Is this yet another euphemism for female perpetrated child sexual abuse?

          • Statutory rape isn’t a “sexual relationship,” it’s rape…spoken like a true victim of brainwashing…so a 16 year old dating his 21 year old gf whos in a loving realionship and it happens to be “rape” and i use that term loose cause its a bs term in this case…in one state but yet not rape in 32 other states your gonna sit there and blanket call all these types of realionships rape..stautory rape is a made up term that changes in every country and state its so fluid one person whos “raped” in one state is another states wonderful loving bf/gf realaionship…stop being a sheep and painting brodstrokes..i speak for many people who dated an illegal partner the law lableed rape that turned into marriages and long lasting courtships..

  14. I would be hard pressed to think about a teenage male that didn’t dream about that chance encounter with a hot teacher during my years in high school. Its a pipe-dream for many at that age. Not saying its right but it was a reality that I witnessed. Kids joked about it and talked about the what if’s is Ms. So-and-So asked them to stay “after class.” The reality is most kids didn’t know what sex really was and probably would have freaked out if something like that presented itself.

    I think most times, men think back to those times when we read about these incidents.

    As a father of three boys, I would be completely outraged if this sort of thing happened. We cannot kid ourselves, this is sexual abuse, it is statutory rape. Although some boys may think and feel they want it, its predatory and there’s no way to deny that. It takes advantage of the innocence and the whirlwind of confusion that comes with sexual maturity.

    • Bhagavati says:

      That’s precisely why this whole issue is so delicate: because teenagers (and actually even children) do have a sexuality – and in teenagers this sexuality is becoming mature.

      Female students also dream about teachers.

      And a few teenagers may even really want a sexual encounter.

      This is where strict differentiation must be practised, and teachers must always be mature enough to handle the blossoming sexual desire of young people. It is our responsibility as adults to guide young people towards a responsible sexual conduct, even and especially young people who may be infatuated with us (if we are their teacher or similar). Even more so as in this day and age, in this society, wherever one looks – there is no such thing as responsible sexual conduct anymore. In the name of “freedom” anyone can do what they think they have the right to do, and that actually doesn’t start with sexual conduct. It’s a profound disease of modern society.

    • depends on the situation and in many cases abuses wouldnbt be the right word..stuatory rape is a legal term but abuse has to be something abusivive a blow job is not abusivive if consneted and yes 14 and 15 year old boys can give thier consnet

  15. You suggestion about changing language IS NOT the first thing we should do to change this attitude. The first thing we should do in any story, media coverage, Blog or any writing or video is to stop saying “Men get raped/sexual assaulted but women have it worse”. If we do this then it will make the sexual assault of boys (and men) meaningful in and of itself and not be conditional on what is happening to girls.

    A good example (though not sexual assault) is the episode of the “The Talk) where a man got his penis cut off by his wife (she was convicted an given a long sentence) for asking for a divorce, the hosts all joked and laughed about it. Simply put this is how people view any assault (I would say the mutilation of a man is close to the worst you can do) of a man, a joke. Did GMP do a ‘hit piece’ on that. NO not as far as I have seen they didn’t. Reverse the genders and there would be dozens of articles on it.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I don’t understand your complaint. Did I not just write an entire article where NOT ONCE did I reference who “has it worse”? Did I not just write an entire piece supporting male survivors and talking about how, for some reason, our society doesn’t feel the need to protect our boys and young men (and even grown men)?

      I don’t understand why, when I put out the effort to do something like this that is INCREDIBLY close to my heart, there is someone who comes in and tells me that it’s not enough, and accuses me of doing something that I didn’t do, or NOT doing enough.

      GMP has been a pioneer in media in supporting male survivors. I do it despite people who come in and tell me that nothing I do is enough, or doesn’t count because of some thing I didn’t even do in the first place. I do it because it matters. I don’t know why you need to come in and undermine that effort and make accusations. It makes me SUPER resentful.

      • I thought you did a wonderful job of dealing with the topic. It’s especially nice to hear women refusing to take sides in that asinine contest of who get abused the worst.

        I remember Dr. Phil said in one of his books that it doesn’t matter whether that guy your sharing a hospital room with is in a full body cast, it doesn’t make your leg any less broken.

      • Joanna: I wasn’t talking about YOU or even this article, I was talking about the conversation as a whole, I was saying that if we truly want to help boys and men we have to deal with the problems that have , NOT on the condition that they be helped but only if we helped girls and women first OR MORE.

        This site has plenty of example of Authors who feel the need to justify their help of boys by pointing out they women have it worse.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          Jatc I just don’t think your negativity needs to be here. I think it hijacks the comments unnecessarily and draws attention to the point of THIS article, and what needs to be done.

          • Tom Brechlin says:

            Joanna, you know I’m as critical as anyone when it comes to my views of GMP and the balance of articles regarding abused women vs men BUT to GMP’s credit, I have seen some changes that give me a feeling that there are attempts to balance the issue.

            What I take from what Jatc is saying is that there not only be more awareness of males being abused but an entire retooling with respect to how society sees men in general and on many levels. We should be pointing out areas where main stream media facilitate the degradation of men/boys. An example that comes to mind would be bullying. Bullying isn’t a gender specific issue.

          • I am disappointed in your approach. There is a comment area for a reason—so people can comment and provide their opinions, as long as the debate is civil.. He was not bashing your particular article, only disagreeing that correcting language should be first in helping to resolve the problem.. Further, he expressed what he thought should be first, which was asking people to not say women have it worse then men (as survivors of sexual abuse) and that something needs to be done about a society (and women on the Talk) that make fun of the mutilation/cutting off of male genitalia. And, he is also right about looking in house (The Good Men Project) for articles that need to be corrected or eliminated because they also feed into the problem. This is not negativity–this is expressing an opinion that relates to what you wrote about. Please stop trying to stop the opinions of your readers when they are expressed in a civil way..

        • Jatc, I understand what you are saying and believe you have a right to say it here, as you are responding to some of the pointswithin the article. People don’t have to agree and that is why there is a comment forum—mature people understand this.

      • I believe what Jatc is trying to convey is that we shouldn’t have to pay lip service to female victims and women’s issues in order for male victims to be recognized and be considered legitimate. Yes, women do have it bad but isn’t this already recognized and therefore should go without saying? Does acknowledging male victims somehow undermines the status of female victims as unimportant? Men’s issues should be considered important in and of themselves and shouldn’t have to piggyback women’s issues.
        Vice versa, If we recognize women’s suffering as a big problem then it should be unnecessary to devote attention towards them when they aren’t all that relevant to the discussion or focus of the group, women have their own socially recognize and respected spaces where their lived experiences are considered legitimate and valid. This is a men’s social space where they can do the same without scrutiny.
        http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/phmt-argument/
        The Clarifying Concepts in the link apply here too.

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