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I recently came across a Facebook post containing a photo of a young woman "twerking" on a male infant. Much to my surprise, the Facebook community found it amusing and I was utterly disgusted. This post really struck a nerve with me. Why was I the only one who saw a problem with this picture? Hypothetically speaking, if it were an adult male and a female infant, the internet would be in flames, so why not the same outrage for this very real situation? The post eventually led to a deeper discussion of people not taking the sexual assault of males seriously.
When the topic of male victims of sexual assault comes up everyone turns a blind eye. They laugh it off and jokingly say things like "he's a boy, it's fine" and "boys usually start earlier than girls anyway." Adult males even tend to defend abusers when the victim is a male child/teenager. They say "I wish I could have had a woman like that when I was that young." It is honestly sickening! Boys deserve their innocence just as much as girls. Men must give consent just as women do.
According to 1in6.org, at least one in six males have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime! Many male sexual assault victims do not even report their assaults. I blame this on three things; shame, stigma, and normalization!
First, there is shame. There is a certain level of shame that comes with being the victim of anything. Sexual abuse and/or sexual assault is no different. It may actually care the heaviest load of shame. The feeling of having your body be violated is one that never really goes away. Shame can also come from the way your body naturally responds to unwanted sexual encounters. We can not always control our bodies, but that does not mean we should not always have control over our own bodies!
Secondly, there's stigmatization, there is a huge stigma that comes with being a male victim of sexual assault. Many feel that it makes them weak or "less of a man," but it does not. A lot of males think they have to always be tough or that they must be incapable of hurt, but we are all victims of something. Being a victim does not make you weak. We are all a victim of something.
And then there is normalization. Often times we normalize toxic and damaging behaviors, for example, the photo mentioned above. Her actions were not normal nor were they acceptable. The positive reaction she received on social media was not normal nor was it acceptable. We see things like this (the post and positive reaction) and believe that it is okay when it is not. This positive reaction allows for these kinds of things to continue. Posts and reactions like the ones mentioned above do nothing but invalidate male victims. They begin to feel like there is something wrong with them for feeling victimized or being made uncomfortable by something the general public does not view as wrong.
Saying all of this to say children are children and should never be viewed in a sexual manner by adults PERIOD. The bodies of males are just as sacred as those of females. No one should have to experience unwanted sexual encounters and no one should have their victimhood questioned because of their sex.
IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW IS OR HAS BEEN A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL THE NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT HOTLINE: 1-800-656-4673