James A Landrith on the equalization of healing between male and female sexual violence survivors.
This will be a bit of a rant. I know – shock of shocks. You can pick your jaw up off the ground now.
I’ve been an activist and advocate on sexual violence issues for a while, having served as a moderator for one of the largest online survivor communities around. Since 2008, I’ve been a speaker involved with the RAINN Speakers Bureau and previously for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. I’ve been a secondary survivor and ally to male and female survivors alike. I’ve been interviewed repeatedly on male survivor issues and female predators. I’ve written some widely quoted and shared articles on male survivor issues and in support of female survivors who were publicly victim-blamed. I’ve allowed my own experience to be adapted for educational use in a dramatic production as well as volunteering my time with a playwright on her important one-woman show on intimate partner violence. I serve on the board of directors for a national organization for survivors of sexual assault in the U.S. military. I am also currently a rape crisis worker for a hotline service.
Through my advocacy work, I read a great deal about sexual violence issues, especially with regard to male survivors, military survivors and female predation. The overwhelming majority of media coverage tends to focus on the female survivor, male predator model as a rule. That is not a condemnation or complaint, but simply an observation.
Sadly, I have noticed a disturbing trend when there is competent and mature coverage of male survivor issues. Too often, a small number of angry but vocal female survivors, advocates, veterans or others with separate agendas will react negatively to male survivors getting a bare minimum of coverage. I have felt some great support from many female survivors and veterans who’ve been there and treated me as an equal in healing. If you’ve had my back, then know I appreciate it and I’m NOT talking about you.
However, it is absolutely ridiculous, utterly lacking in empathy, and inexcusable for fellow survivors, advocates, activists and veterans to begrudge male survivors the few advances we’ve fought and bled for over decades. I do not plan to let up on my work and advocacy, but I cannot sit idly by anymore while people push their external agendas on those of us working hard to make positive change.
I’m done with anyone or any organization who sees this work as a gender-based competition. I don’t throw a tantrum when I see yet another story on Military Sexual Trauma that completely neglects to include male survivors or trivializes our issues. I expect it, take a deep breath and remember to keep educating, writing and opening eyes. I don’t use it as an excuse to play Who Is The Bigger Victim.
We all deserve to heal. We all deserve to be treated with dignity. We all deserve to live our lives in peace. We do not deserve to have our hard work co-opted, mocked or trivialized by callous exploiters, charlatans or low information bullies with entitlement issues who just happen to also be survivors or fellow veterans.
This article originally appeared on JamesLandrith.com
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