Editorial: Men deserve justice too
Editor’s Note: The following content discusses sexual assault. Please continue with caution and remember that the Counseling Center is available for all students in need.
The #MeToo movement sparked a desire for justice for female victims of sexual violence, but there should be an equal level of societal disdain for young men abused by sexual predators.
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the yearly average of sexual violence victims in the United States is 321,500 and one out of every 10 rape victims are male. RAINN also states that males ages 18-24 who are enrolled in a college or university are five times more likely to experience sexual violence than males within the same age range who are not.
Rape is an heinous crime no matter the gender of the victims and perpetrators. In American society, men are less likely than women to report their rape to their families or to public safety officials. Young men are rarely warned of sexual predators in the same manner as young women.
Perhaps the root cause is toxic masculinity, which is instilled in young males by adults. Phrases like “man up” and “boys don’t cry” teach young men to stifle their emotions. Men are also taught to be flattered by the sexual advances of older women. This rhetoric should not be the standard because if a 12-year-old girl can’t consent, then neither can a 12-year-old boy.
As a society we have to recognize that women can be predators too. Many men share similar sexual first encounter stories and its alarming that most started at a young age. What does that say about our feelings for the men who live among us?
Are we to be okay with their innocence being taken and their trust violated just because they are men? Are we ashamed to admit the problem?
The first step in healing is to recognize that a wrong has been done. Our society should be remorseful for the way we have treated male victims of sexual abuse.
Your feelings are real and your story is important. You are safe here.